January 2020, Week 3

This is the shortest intro ever here because I need to make breakfast for the grandkids.

Here's the Week 3 weekly conversation thread. I'll be back later to write more but wanted to get this started.

Have a great week.


Comments (28)

  • slowpoke_gardener

    My daughter and grand daughter were over today, I always enjoy their visits. I told them to order any seeds that they might like to grow. I want to get them interested in gardening, and caring for nature. I am not sure what all I have coming, but I expect it to be fun. We will be ordering more seeds later, mostly flowers, I think. It looks like I had better get a light shelf ready.

  • hazelinok

    How exciting, Larry! Get that light shelf ready. FUN!

    Dawn, hope you had a good day with your little girls. What do they like to eat for breakfast?

    I worked this morning and then met Mom for lunch.

    Then made a couple of chili recipes for our friends who came over tonight. It was a good day, but I am ready to sit and relax with a glass of wine.

    A couple of lettuces are sprouting on my light shelf and the Rainbow Lacinato kale. The other kale (Vates Dwarf Blue), spinach, and 3 other lettuces have NOT sprouted. Some of my seed was old, so I'm not surprised.

    Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and it might be hard to stay indoors and work on stuff. My house is clean, though. Mostly. So, other than laundry and a dentist appointment...why not spend time outdoors. I could start digging up future flower/herb beds.

    So...I have a question about my Chaste tree. I would like to make a large bed around it and plant annuals or maybe small perennials. Has anyone done anything like that. My Chaste tree is only between 3 and 4 feet right now. It did double in size since being planted last March.

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  • hazelinok

    Well, apparently today is NOT nice. Foggy and dreary. Oh well.

    New lettuce choices have been made and ordered, along with a new kale. Thank you for your opinions (on last week's thread). Here they are:

    Anuenue Batavian (pretty sure I never spell this one correctly. haha)

    Drunken Woman

    Jericho Romaine

    Red Sails

    Thai Oakleaf

    These varieties should make a varied and interesting salad.

    Also ordered Premier Kale. Anyone have an opinion on it? I've only grown Vates Dwarf Blue and Rainbow Lacinato.

    I have another question. What exactly does self blanching mean? I tried to research it, but don't get it really. I also can't tell if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

  • OklaMoni

    Yes, foggy and dreary is right. I had planned on doing laundry (not a good option today, as line drying (no dryer) is not going to happen well) and then a bike ride, before more Bermuda removal. But, I am going to chase the vacuum through the house after a while, and thus, feel like I will be doing something worth while.

    Meanwhile, I want to share what I do for conserving water... one of our most precious resources.

    In order to have hot water at my kitchen sink, I save the cold... in these:

    both fill up, before the water is hot. I later use that water whenever I need some, or pour it in my watering can that lives in my kitchen:

    I then go outside and water something... at the moment, pansies are the lucky plants. :)

    Prior to using those nice looking (but heavy) pitches I would use a juice bottle:

    I decided to stop buying that... and to drink water instead. Great money saver and good for the environment. :) Honestly, I am surprised I still had one of these... must put it in the recycle container.

    Have a nice day everyone!


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Thanks so much for the tip, Moni! DUH. Your vases are lovely--and I had two lovely ones, also, that have spent their entire lives up to now, being shut behind glass cabinet doors! Liberated! Regarding the line drying, I've been wanting to do that. GDW didn't take kindly to the idea of putting up clothes lines. But I just figured out! I can have a line drying rack or two right here on the deck, Hahaha!

    Larry, I got a couple of my young friends all excited about flowers by teaching them about butterflies. . . works every time with kids.

    I've complete changed directions this year, Jennifer. I was excited to get a chaste tree a year ago. Now of course, I find out it's not a native and so am not nearly as excited about it. Besides, don't really have enough sunlight for it. Oh well. BUT now Garry is on the hunt for a pawpaw tree. So far everyone's out of stock, but we'll find one eventually. Have you all eaten pawpaw? What do you think of them?

  • hazelinok

    Pretty vases, Moni. And the old-looking watering can is so cute! I know that is not the point...

    We don't really do anything like that for conserving water. In a way, we're lucky because we have a well. Still don't want to be wasteful though, right? I have rain barrels.

    We do recycle. Because we live "in the country" and don't belong to a city, we do not have curbside recycling, so we have to take ours into Norman every week. We take it to the Cleveland County fairgrounds right before grocery shopping each week. They actually take glass too. Some places don't.

    Honestly, if I was single and lived alone, I could do a lot more. To me, it's not worth it to fight with husband about everything. I am happy that he is good with driving in the recycling. He doesn't complain about the compost bowl that is always on the counter either. He lets me hoard cardboard to use in the garden, which eventually composts. I'll take it.

    Nancy, I don't remember eating paw paw.

    I'm still excited about my chaste tree. It was so fun watching the bees and butterflies cover it. I'm just happy to have anything that is easy to grow and is somewhat attractive. I'm also excited about the Chinese Pistache, also a non native.

    I would also like a clothes line. There's an elderly woman in our neighborhood who has one of the round-ish kinds that she probably used when her family was young. It's very heavy duty and I've not seen one exactly like it. I've thought about asking her if we can buy it. I do dry a lot my clothes indoors, hanging on doors and such.

    Because it was damp outside all day, I decided to work on changing out our closets. And sort through a LOT Of stuff. We have two large bags to take to the thrift store. We just took a giant load last week! I feel like I accomplished a lot. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile. Our bedroom only has one regular closet. We came from a house with two closets in the bedroom and mine was absolutely huge. I didn't have enough clothing to fill it. Tom has used the 3rd bedroom closet since moving here. I wanted to change my clothing to the 3rd bedroom and put my dresser items in the dresser in that room. It's a very feminine room. At some point, I'm going to take the bathroom across from that room. Right now it's the bathroom that Ethan uses...but I'm going to make it mine soon and he can share with Tom.

    Being organized feels so good.

  • jlhart76

    I had a clothesline in Tulsa and loved it, but had to give it up when my allergies flared one summer. Then when I met Cliff and we adopted the pups, there was no way to use it without the mutts playing tug with my pants.

    Cliff and I bicker about the recycling all the time. He sees no reason since OKC has specific rules about how and what can be recycled. So a lot of stuff ends up in the regular trash. And I have one coffee can I use for collecting used coffee grounds and eggshells, and he thinks it's gross. Gotta pick my battles...at least until we move to the country and I really need all those food scraps for the compost.

  • luvncannin

    Hi all

    survived the icy rainy mess from Saturday.

    i am trying to figure out the best way to reclaim my fil garden space. Unused for years now it is weedy mess. I have access to tons of cardboard. It is going be huge this year. I gotta make up for two years of not gardening. I ma y just get a good hoe and get busy. As soon as the mud dries a l ittle.

    tiny house living is okay. after my mom passed I had one week to move since my daughters house sold. It was a terrible time. One of the darkest times of life. I had no plumbing at all no insulation little heat. I took showers at my daughters and the rest of the plumbing issues well it was like camping and not much fun. Youngest son cane got septic water tub insulation wiring etc done. Now that I have new garden shed to store tools and lumber my little home is more homey.

    i scored a water trough for four dollars and can’t wait to plant in it. May do lettuces. What do y’all think. It’s big oval maybe 2 1/2x 4 feet.

  • OklaMoni

    Hi Kim

    No real fun camping in the winter... at least for me. I am glad you have a roof over your head.

    Sorry about that awful week.

    Good luck in your new to you abode and garden.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry, There's nothing better than sharing the love of gardening with the people you love.

    Jennifer, Breakfast here, at least when the girls are here, usually involves Belgian waffles or pancakes with fresh fruit, bacon and fried eggs, cooked sunny side up. Tim is the breakfast chef and it is his favorite tradition with the girls---whipping up a big weekend breakfast. I think he enjoys making weekend breakfasts so much because on weekdays he is up and out of the house quickly for his long commute and his breakfast here at home is a protein shake and a cup of coffee at 5 a.m.

    Your soil isn't too wet to dig? We had almost 3" of rain fall here on Friday, and our entire place is either a lake with huge puddles or a swamp. I just hate it. Our soil already was pretty wet from previous rainfall, and now it feels like we'll never dry out. I believe more rain is expected at the end of the week although that's the last thing we need.

    We had a lovely weekend with the grandkids. Jana's birthday is this week, so we took the girls' shopping for birthday gifts for her, a little tradition we started a couple of years ago, and then they spent a long time at the dining table adding further decoration to her birthday cards and envelopes. I believe all coloring methods were used....colored pencils, markers, crayons and colored ink pens. Then they rummaged through their craft supplies (I have everything under the sun in the craft supplies) and came up with beads and waxed string to make her jewelry (bracelets and necklaces) to go with the gifts we'd bought her. Both girls love making homemade gifts for the ones they love. In the evening when she came to pick them up after work, we had birthday cake, and had enough left over to send home for them all to share with Chris on Monday. There also was time for lots of kitten play time and watching those 2 girls with the 4 kittens is pretty amusing.

    I don't see why you couldn't plant underneath your chaste tree. I don't do it. Mine is fairly old and about 12' wide by about 15' tall and provides fairly heavy shade beneath itself, plus I need to be able to access it on all sides to prune it regularly or it would be much larger. Be sure you consider how you'll reach your tree to prune it and leave places between the perennials where you can stand with your pruning shears or pruning saw.

    Self-blanching, with regards to edible plants, generally means the leaves grow upright around the main stalk, surrounding it, so you don't have to lift them up and tie them around it. You most often see the phrase self-blanching used with cauliflower plants. It is preferable to keep direct sunlight off the cauliflower curds. In the old days, this meant you used garden twine to tie the large cauliflower leaves around the stalk to shade the curd as it developed. Now, with self-blanching plants, the upright growth of the leaves covers the curds (mostly) for you.

    It was foggy and hazy, almost misty, here all day long until almost 5 pm when the sun finally came out for a few minutes before sunset. I think today is going to be the same.

    All the seeds I ordered (flowers and herbs) last week arrived today--ordered from 3 places the same day and arrived in the mail the same day. The Kitazawa seeds catalog arrived too. It usually is about the last one to arrive each year.

    Moni, Nice containers!

    Nancy, I love line drying, but the pollen season and my allergies have banished it from our lives. We also have so many wild birds flying around and dropping 'stuff' that it just isn't a good option here and I just hate that. One of the things I looked forward to when we moved here was that we'd have the space for a big clothesline, but things didn't work out the way I expected.

    If you're going to have a paw paw tree, you need two to get fruit. They are slow to fruit so you won't get fruit for years and years yet. They need to start out as understory trees because they are native to the eastern US where they grow in rich, humusy soil, often in areas with lots of moisture---drainage creeks and ditches and beside rivers where their roots tolerate (quite well) being flooded quite often and in the shade of older trees. They will develop somewhat more tolerance for direct sun after they've gotten older. What usually happens is that they happily remain understory trees until an older tree dies, opening up an area to more sunlight. By then, the paw paw tree usually is old enough at that point to tolerate more sun....in the southeastern US where they have plentiful moisture and lots of humidity. I don't know if they'll tolerate our summer sun as well here. Their flavor is unique. I cannot say it tastes like anything else and, to me, it is an acquired taste--either you like it or you don't. People describe it in many different ways---like a blend of banana and mango, which I don't think is how my taste buds perceive it, and some people's stomachs (I don't know why) cannot tolerate paw paws at all and they cannot eat them. You usually can find paw paw trees online. I know that One Green World and Evergreen Nurseries usually carry them, but those places both can be pretty pricey. You might check Almost Eden or Stark Brothers for them.

    Jennifer, Our chickens made hanging clothes out to dry impossible...they'll roost on your clothesline poles and clothesline whether there's clothing hanging on it or not. I don't know if your chickens will do the same, but ours were very annoying and they still are...I cannot even spread out a jacket or a blanket, for example, to dry over the back of a chair outdoors or I'll find a chicken sitting on top it.

    Our place is a mix of natives and non-natives that we've planted, and they all have their place. Of course, we started out with property covered in natives and were careful to not remove them, so I don't have to feel compelled to plant only natives to restore our land. I am careful to choose plants that will feed the pollinators, bees, hummingbirds and birds, whether they are native on not, and that means I generally have to avoid newer hybrid flowers as they often do not produce pollen that attracts anything. That frustrates me at times when I'd rather choose pretty, showy varieties over less showy old open-pollinated varieties, but I generally make the choice that is best for the wild things.

    Congrats on getting organized---it does feel good, doesn't it?

    Kim, I'm sorry for the worst and darkest week ever, and glad things are looking up now. Is your daughter moving somewhere else? To another house nearby or further away?

    I think greens will work in your water trough, but they'll work best in shade during the hottest part of the day. I've grown virtually everything under the sun in a 4' round galvanized water trough that I've had at least 33 or 34 years now. The bottom is rusted out, but since it holds soil-less mix and not water, that doesn't really matter. Mine has worked best when situated in shade during the hottest parts of the afternoon. I've always filled the bottom 1/2 to 2/3s with hügelkultur materials---mostly old tree limbs that are half-rotted when I add them to it and topped it off with compost and a good soil-less mix on the top third, so it has a lovely rich, humusy growing mix nowadays. Last year we moved it from the back garden to the front garden and placed it, and my decorative windmill, right beside the garden shed in morning sun and dappled shade in the afternoon. I often grow sweet potatoes (ornamental or edible) around the edge of the tank so they can trail over the edges and shade the galvanized metal from direct sunlight. Some years when I have had it in full sun, I just placed smaller containers (5 gallon buckets worked fine for this, and so did cat litter buckets although they were not as attractive) all around it and planted stuff in them---this also helped shade the galvanized metal from the hot July and August sunlight.

    Another dreary day awaits. January has got to be grayest, dreariest month.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    A long time ago I figured out the dryer shrunk my clothes. When you're fat, that is unacceptable. So I put an expandable curtain rod above the washer. It handles blouses on hangers and the occasional slacks. This has annoyed my husband for 25 years. When the kids moved out and the front bath wasn't used for showers I put a drying rack in the tub and I started hanging blouses on the shower rod. We have one of the umbrella style clothes dryers outside, but I get vertigo tilting my head to use it. Ron loves to dry sheets on it (I'm with you, Dawn, pollen). He sometimes dries his jeans on it. I have wondered if I put it through a hole in a table like a patio umbrella if it would be easier to use, but then, we need the tables.

    Kim, I am so sorry you've been roughing it. I hope it's better now!

    Your pitchers would go with my stonewear Moni.

    I can't tell you if Ron and I are well yet. He wants to go for all you can eat ribs tonight. I have doctors appointments Wed and Thurs for other things, so hopefully I will do better. Mostly I have no stamina. I've been trying to talk myself into winter sowing, hasn't happened. I watched Tea with the Dames on Hulu yesterday. Famous British Actresses Maggie Smith, Judy Dench and 2 I didn't know, but one was married to Sir Lawrence Olivier.

    Ron is discouraged with store bought lettuce. Every time we buy romaine (my fav) it gets recalled. He buys the "artisan" for a big price and it rots..or was already rotten when he got it. I HAVE to get some lettuce started.

    3 or 4 years ago I bought a Meyer lemon and a Baress (?) Lime. Finally got fruit. They are both lemons. Not sure 4 lemons are worth the time and effort and space.

    Hey y'all 3 days till the end of Persephone days!!!

    I want a witch hazel tree (bush). Have you seen how they bloom in winter? And American Strawberry bush, maybe desert willow, rusty blackhaw. Maybe a sassafras tree. I've been looking at the white fringe tree. Ron wants redbud and a dogwood.

    Have a good day.

  • OklaMoni

    YAHOO! The sun is shining!



  • dbarron

    Amy, sassafras doesn't do well in Oklahoma (at least that was my experience and what someone told me)...ie mine died immediately all 3 or 4 times I tried it. I believe the reason given was ph.

  • luvncannin

    Thank you all. I am getting afrig this week. Moving on up Next step water heater.

    this trough is black plastic and I think I will put on the north side of shed number two. I will take pictures when I remember.

    i will fill with sticks and rotting logs. Then I can get leaf compost from “forest”.

    after living in the panhandle anything with more than 2trees is a. Forest.

  • jlhart76

    As a kid, we had sassafrass growing on the chainlink fence around our playground at school. I remember the teachers would fuss at us for breaking pieces of & chewing on it every day at recess. That was in Grove, so maybe we just had the right type of soil for it there.

  • okoutdrsman

    I figure I’ve been lurking long enough! Trying to keep up on reading is a little tougher with the way OGN has grown.

    I saw the tomato grow list thread and will try to add mine soon.

    My overall garden plan is going to be much smaller this year, in case I get busy like I did last summer. I finally got around to digging through my seed stash and about the only thing I need to order is a couple of tomato varieties. Vorlon, Sioux and maybe Cherokee Carbon?

    Kim, if it weren’t for the distance, I have a small tankless water heater I’d just give you. I got it to use when I build my butcher shop/canning kitchen, but I’m looking at going a different route.

  • hazelinok

    HI Kim. I'm glad your house is coming together. I'm sorry about your dark time. I hope you're feeling better. I am excited about your future garden. Have fun with your feed tub. I would put greens in it too. Something like that might be easy to cover with insect netting once those little bugs start eating on our greens.

    Dawn, we didn't get much rain. It didn't even register in the rain gauge. Our little area is often missed. Sometimes we get too much, but normally only when everyone else gets WAY too much. I wanted the rain, though. Maybe we'll get it at the end of the week. It's a mess, but I would like my newly planted trees to have some.

    It is a beautiful afternoon, but I spent most of the day doing inside chores. I'm trying to sort through everything and clean out. It's my winter project, although days like today make it hard to stay focused. I did go out and clean up the coop a bit.

    Thanks for the reminder, Dawn, about leaving a place to do pruning on the chaste tree. It's in the middle of our "backyard". I want to get rid of the yard and make paths and beds (sorta like what you're doing), so thought about making a giant circular bed around it.

    Shoot. I didn't tie up the leaves of my cauliflower plants. Never heard of such a thing. LOL

    Curd is the edible part? The curds on mine have enlarged. I did find a stupid tiny little worm on one this morning.

    I can see my jerk chickens lounging on the clothesline. They are having a hard time staying in their yard. And their yard is BIG. They have plenty of space to more around. We will work on it soon. I'm think about repurposing some chainlink from the dog's old yard. Chainlink will make it easy for Tom to weed eat around. It's a mess right now. I wasn't smart when I made that yard and used plastic fencing. Live and learn.

    Amy, I'm with Ron on store bought lettuce. I'm tired of buying it. I must find a way to grow it year 'round. What lettuce seed are you going to order?

    The only thing left I need to order is onions. I think I'll do the intermediate sample pack that Dawn talked about. Normally I plant at least 120 onions, but maybe I'll do fewer this year. As much as we cook with them, I should rethink that....

    Don't know anything about sassafrass. Except it's fun to say!

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Kim, prayers for you. Thanks goodness things are progressing for you. Yay for fridge and will pray that the water heater gets there sooner rather than later.

    I have a large seed catalog library here--SO many catalogs. I'm going to contact most of the companies to tell them to take me off their catalog list. They're fun to look at, but such a waste of paper!

    Thanks to Jen for the tomato and pepper seeds (and partridge pea seeds). She's an expert seed envelope maker. I am going to have a field of cilantro out in the raised beds, it appears. What fun that will be! It even jumped over to the next bed. And over where I threw the wildflowers, I've NO idea what's coming up. That'll be fun, too.

    We've been getting more than our share of rain. We got just a little over 4 inches last Friday and Saturday. I feel so sorry for the Whitehorn Cove Marina--they just can't get a break. But I am thankful that we don't have clay right here and that it runs off well.

    Speaking of rotting logs, Kim. . . I'm excited to build my first real hugelkultur bed with a bunch of the half rotten firewood the neighbor dumped off here. I'll haul it over to the sunny area near the raised vegetable bed area and begin working on it (or them) in March. Might take a while to get all the compost materials added to them.

    Thanks for the information on the paw paws, Dawn. Guess we'll skip those! Next. Plum trees. What are some favorites from you all? Garry's two pear trees and apple trees are hanging in there just fine, though they haven't produced yet. Two or three little apples last year. . . This will be their third year. But he wants some natives now! Haha, I think I have created a monster--but I love it.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Lettuce. I have lots of lettuce seeds and despite the fact they aren't supposed to be viable long, I find they'll make it 2 or 3 years. I'm a sucker for red lettuce, or green with red streaks. I prefer romaine or a sturdy leaf lettuce. All time favorite is Chadwick's Rodan. Next is Black Seeded Simpson. I bought Mayan Jaguar. I have Muir from Johnny's to try. Last year I threw all the old lettuce seeds under the tomatoes for living mulch. Most went to seed, so I could have a pretty good stand in those beds if I can keep Ron out of them. I also have seeds for moshe, claytonia, tatsoi, chicory (which is a pretty plant even if you don't like the taste.) If you want summer salads, plant purslane (cover with netting) and I like Jewels of Opar leaves. I TRY to like amaranth, and I keep buying seeds for varieties that are "tender and sweet". I'll let you know if that is ever true. However, my chickens LOVED amaranth leaves. Egyptian spinach grows like gang busters here (also known as jute and melokia) but I didn't care for it raw. You can make herbal tea from it and it is supposed to be nutritious.

    I believe we got about 2.5" of rain. The only thing growing in the garden is one kale plant I hope will look better when there is more light. I have one pot with ornamental cabbage and a red kale in it that has been pleasing me all winter.

    I didn't plant garlic last fall and I'm not doing onions this year. I still have onions in the freezer, and they take up too big of a footprint. I have walking onions and I'll probably plant some scallions.

    I have to go, I have a medical test today and we have errands to run. We'll see how I hold up.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Amy, I feel the same way about store-bought lettuce. We buy romaine, it gets recalled. Buy anything else, and it seems to go bad so quickly. It has been so warm that I bet lettuce seed sown directly in the ground a couple of weeks ago would be up and growing now, though always at risk on cold nights. (Row covers could solve that.) Now that we're turning colder again with weather more in the normal January temperature ranges for the next couple of weeks, I don't know that lettuce outdoors would have a chance. Maybe sow some seeds in a pot you can set outside to catch sunlight all day and bring in at night? January is such a tough month. I hate starting lettuce seed indoors. Even when I keep the flats very close to the lights, the lettuce tends to get leggy so fast, and that just drives me nuts. I hate leggy plants.

    I understand the difficulty in getting one's energy levels back to normal after being sick. That flu knocked me for a loop. Last week I thought my energy level finally was back to where it belonged, but now it is even better this week so maybe this week it finally is back where it belongs. I had the flu right after Thanksgiving, so look how long it has taken for me to really feel normal again! I always heard that the older we get, the harder it is to bounce back after illness and I hate to admit how much I do believe that is true based on my experiences the last few years.

    I love citrus trees and had a lemon, lime and orange for a long time. The best thing about them is the scent of their blossoms. I found production low and slow and don't really think they are worth the time and space so no longer have them. That doesn't mean that I don't want to buy them again....every single time CostCo has citrus trees in the stores in spring, I want to buy them. I usually talk myself out of it though.

    I'm glad the Persephone days are about done! That is one nice sign that the growing season approaches.

    Most of those trees you list would not do well for me, so I haven't planted them here, even though I want them. Your area likely is a lot more acidic than mine though. Sassafras, for example, needs acidic soil and I have extremely alkaline soil. Since you're east of I-35 and have higher rainfall than I have, maybe they would work for you if your soil is acidic enough. However, they don't like heat and need to be grown as understory trees in our climate, so do you have a place one could grow in the shade of a larger tree?

    American Strawberry Bush isn't picky about soil pH as far as I know, but it likes part shade, does best as an understory plant and prefers a woodsy, humusy, moist soil. This is the part that gets me every time, because none of our soil stays moist in the heat of the summer. It all goes dry as a bone except in the wettest of summers...and sometimes even then. I love strawberry bushes and would plant one if I didn't fear I'd have to water it constantly in the summer. I am trying to landscape with plants that will grow on whatever summer moisture we get, so that future irrigation needs (at least once the plants are established) will be minimal.

    Desert Willow has done well for me, though it really needs a soil that is more well-drained than the clay around our house. They are happier in a soil that drains more quickly than ours does.

    Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum is one of my favorite plants. It is a tall (sometimes tree-sized), native understory shrub in our woodland. We don't have a lot of them....maybe a dozen or two scattered across about 10 acres of woodland. Their foliage is attractive and, when they bloom in springtime, the flowers are just gorgeous. I think they look attractive year-round, as even the bark and shape of the virburnums is attractive and quite noticeable after the leaves fall in autumn. The leaves are glossy and pretty during the growing season. It actually prefers a drier habitat which probably is why these work so well for us, so the places in the woods where we have them growing tend to be upland slopes where the soil drains away to lower land nearby. I think one of these could work in almost any part of OK, other than NW OK and far western OK.

    I would think hard before planting a white fringe tree as they are being killed by Emerald Ash Borers. Unfortunately, EABs are found in northeastern parts of OK now, and perhaps in other parts of the state. Other than that, I know they need moist, understory/sheltered locations.

    Redbuds obviously are native here. We have them as understory trees all over our property and I have a very strong love-hate relationship with them. They look incredibly gorgeous for the 2 or 3 weeks they are in bloom every spring and I love them during that brief period of time. The rest of the year, they have a tendency to get all sort of foliar diseases and look like crap, so I hate them and want to cut them all down (on our property, not everybody else's) during that time....which is most of the calendar year. I don't know that I'd ever plant one on purpose unless the breeders can breed or select one that doesn't get anthracnose and all the other foliar diseases. Redbuds seem like a magnet for fungal diseases on their leaves and I have little to no patience for plants that need regular applications of fungicide just so their foliage can be healthy.

    Dogwoods are so pretty when they are in bloom. I love them and would plant them if they'd survive in my area. There's only one kind of dogwood that tolerates the soil and heat of southcentral OK, and that is the roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii), which is native on our property where it only grows as an understory tree in part shade. It seems to prefer morning sun and afternoon shade much more than morning shade and afternoon sun. To me, it looks more like a shrub than a tree until it eventually gets really old and then attains a height of maybe 12-15'. As far as I know, it is the only dogwood that prefers alkaline soil. Since that is the only kind of dogwood that would survive our alkaline soil, alkaline water, poor drainage and heat, I'm going to love it. Actually I do love them---they have very pretty white berries that feed a lot of birds. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on viewpoint) the birds drop the berries and the roughleaf dogwoods spread everywhere along fencerows in the shade of taller trees and on the edges of woodlands. I am not sure if they spread as thickets from underground roots/suckers or if the thickets are from birds dropping seeds, but down here, if you have one roughleaf dogwood, you have tons of roughleaf dogwoods. So, assuming you have acidic soil and aren't bound by the same constraints I have, I bet normal dogwoods would do well for you. I have a friend who lives near us on a high limestone ridge where the soil is mostly limestone rock very thin gravelly soil and is highly alkaline---worse than our red clay. She kept raving about how gorgeous her huge dogwoods were in spring time, and I kept telling her that her soil was too alkaline for dogwoods. So, finally I went over to her place and looked at her huge dogwoods (downhill in the woods, so not on the worst part of the rocky ridge) and they were not dogwoods---they were very mature Mexican plum trees. They are still just as pretty, but I got the impression she was disappointed that they were "only" Mexican plum trees and not dogwoods. I don't know why---I'm never disappointed when I find a tree that does well enough here to naturalize and spread itself around. If you find your soil pH isn't right for dogwoods, a Mexican plum could give you a similar look in springtime.

    Moni, Hooray for the sunshine! We still have fog and clouds, but are expected to eventually have sunshine sometime later today.

    dbarron, Exactly! I'd love to have a sassafras tree but they'd never survive down here, so I look at them in photos and long for one every year.

    Kim, I bet it is good to be around more trees again, and I am glad that the water heater is next on your list of improvements. Just keep plugging away and your tiny house will be what you want it to be eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Bruce, For as much time as being Admin for the FB groups takes, I don't know how you have time to do anything else.

    Jennifer, We often are in the same boat with you, getting missed by the rain, but not this year (or last year, most of the time). This rain was supposed to mostly miss us and I was relieved that our forecast showed us only getting somewhere between 1/10 and 1/2 of an inch. So, naturally, we got 3", and most of that fell in a relatively short period of time, leading to flooding and flash flooding. I wish it wouldn't rain again for the next two months so we could get the sod cut and removed for the landscape renovation, etc. You cannot use a sod cutter when the soil is too wet, and our clay stays too wet for far too long. Now we are playing the waiting game waiting for puddles to dry up and the soil to dry out and, instead, there is more rain in our forecast for Thurs-Fri.

    Yes, the cauliflower curd is also known as the head and is the edible part. It is not too late to tie up your leaves. If you don't blanch, the world won't necessarily end---the cauliflower heads just will have a stronger flavor, hopefully one that still is acceptable. If you found one caterpillar, there undoubtedly are more, so you might want to spray the plants with Bt 'kurstaki'. Those caterpillars will be just as bad on cauliflower (and your brussels sprouts) as they are on broccoli and cabbage. Usually at this time of the year, there's not many caterpillars around, but it has been warm enough that perhaps you already have the cabbage moths laying eggs there. I think army worms will prey on these plants as well. I know they were on my brassicas last spring.

    Nancy, I've liked pretty much every plum tree we've ever grown, but am especially partial to Methley, Ozark Premier and Santa Rosa, which all are Japanese type plums. I don't grow the European plums. Be sure you do your research and figure out if you are planting Japanese varieties or European varieties because they bloom at different times, so you cannot depend on the two different types to pollinate one another. The Japanese varieties bloom earlier, and in my yard the three I listed all pollinate each other. The European varieties bloom later, so if you have more than one European variety they would pollinate each other but not the Japanese, except maybe in a weird year when they all pollinate together (and I haven't seen that happen often in my lifetime). My dad grew European plums and I didn't like those for fresh eating nearly as much as I like the Japanese plums. As with all stone fruit grown in OK, getting a harvest is iffy here because of our erratic spring weather. The plums tend to have their chilling requirements met pretty early in the season, making them more prone to burst out into bloom during winter warm spells, only to lose their flowers and fruit when the typical colder weather returns. I prefer native sand plums to all of the above because they only get fooled by a warm winter spell very rarely, making them more likely to actually produce a crop. With stone fruit crops in OK and with our erratic spring weather, I usually get a great peach and/or plum crop about 1 year out of 3, no crop 1 year out of 3, and a fair to middling crop about 1 year out of 3. In more recent years, let's say maybe the last 8 years or so, I think it has been harder....maybe a great crop 1 year out of 4, a fair to middling crop 1 year out of 4 and no crop 2 years out of 4. When we renovate our landscape, the last of the fruit trees we planted 20 years ago are coming out. They are getting shaded out and sickly, not that productive any more and will be replaced by something else. I don't think we'll plant any more fruit trees in any other location either. We'll just rely on our little thicket of native plums for enough fruit to make jelly. As our climate becomes seemingly more erratic in winter/early spring, it seems like the fruit trees are struggling to produce and I think our best production is a full decade behind us.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Dawn, we had a redbud at our other house. I don't like the seed pods. But Ron really wants one and they support a large number of insect species, so there's that. The east side of the front yard is shaded by the neighbor's large maple tree and a @%&$# privet hedge, so I think it would work as an understory area. In the back on that side it stays wet, so if that pattern is maintained, it should be pretty wet there, too. Ron is also enamored with dog woods. The lady across the street had one in basically the same position, though I don't know if it has survived. Maybe I could convince him to add a Mexican plum...or a sand plum, but I don't need a thicket. Nixing the white fringe tree will save me money and I've seen those ash borers, so I know they're here. I'll probably try an American Strawberry bush, on the east side. The west side of the front yard is full sun and hard to water. It will take something tough, and short since there are power lines there. I want to get something planted because we took out bradford pears and I don't want them to regrow.

    I think established lettuce is hardy down to 25* and you can throw a frost blanket over it for a few more degrees. But there has to be light. 2 more days now ;).

    Went for my appointment, a bit too much walking, but that is the point, I can't breathe. Then went to the bank, then Braums. I'm tired now, but at 4 we pick up a grandkid from school. I'll sleep tonight. I just want to take my "public" clothes off. It was nice out, though.

    I saw chickens on my clothes line a couple of times, but I had a lot more sturdy roosts for them that they usually chose.

    Bye for now.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Amy, I don't care for the redbud seed pods either, but after a while I don't notice them because I'm looking at all the horrible fungal leaf spots on the leaves. lol. If they weren't so pretty in spring, I'll go out with a chain saw and cut them all of them. As it is now, there's only two close to the house---one the southern edge of the woodland near the front yard and one in the front pasture that needs to be cut down because we try to avoid letting trees establish in that wildflower meadow and we've been ignoring this one for 3 or 4 years now. All the others are in the woodland and I can ignore those---I only notice them in spring when they are blooming.

    Do you have room on the west side of the house for a vitex? They are median trees in Texas where they get no care and they do just fine, even in brutally hot weather. When I was a kid in Fort Worth, somebody in our neighborhood planted one in their front yard, down near the street, attempting to hide the fire hydrant in the corner of their yard there. Well, it never really hid the bright red fire hydrant but it eventually got big enough and wide enough to really block a lot of the view of the house from the road, which made it sort of an unplanned "privacy hedge" even though it was just the one tree---it spread out twice as wide as it was tall. Probably they were pruning it back almost to the ground every few years, but if they were I wasn't paying attention because I was just a kid. I did love it when it was in bloom.

    Lettuce this early outdoors always freezes so I don't bother. Maybe I would if I like lettuce more than I do, but it just isn't worth it, especially since chickens love lettuce. That's a hard enough battle to fight with them when the weather is nice and I'm out daily.

    I remember how hard it can be to breathe after a lung infection. Hope you get back to where you can breathe better soon.

    It is rainy and icky here today. I am so tired of it. Even on the good weather days we mostly had fog and low clouds and very little sun even though at least we did have warm temperatures. They are saying 1-2" of rain for us over the next two days. Ugh. We don't need it. The ponds and creeks are full, there's puddles everywhere, and needless to say, there's deep mud. Bah humbug. Who needs all this mud and rain in January. It has rained so hard a couple of hours south of us in the DFW metro that some areas, especially in Fort Worth, had flash flooding earlier today when the rain really got to going pretty good. I hope these storms rain themselves out before they move too far into southern OK. So far the rain that has fallen here has been light rain and that's more than I want at this point. At least we aren't under a Winter Weather Advisory for ice like parts of western and northwestern OK.

    I try to send dogs and cats out to play in between rain showers. They aren't thrilled with the wet ground, but they are immensely bored indoors too. I could spend all my time mopping up muddy pawprints off the floor, but I ignore them for a while and have stopped trying to keep the floors spotless because it simply isn't possible.

    I am going stir crazy from the winter gloom and mess. I intend to go shopping this weekend. Not exactly shopping for anything specific, just shopping to get out. We do have to go to Costco, so I'll find places to drop in and look around while we are down in the metroplex. Maybe we'll go to Central Market. We haven't done that in a while. I always try to stack shopping on top of planned Costco trips so we are being efficient and getting the most out of the time and gas spent driving down there. Maybe someone will have gardening stuff of some sort in the stores. Nobody here around us really has anything yet---they still have too much Christmas clearance stuffed into the garden center aisles to have put out much spring merchandise yet.

    The outlook for the next couple of weeks continues to show us cool and wet, just like January ought to be, whether we like it or not.


  • dbarron

    I like the glossier redbuds, which I am given to understand probably means the Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var texensis), though I don't know if they are any better with pests. Sometimes Redbuds (driving by at distance) do better than others..sometimes they look purely sickly (in my yard for instance) (lol). Though I've certainly grown lovely Redbuds too. Roll the dice?

  • hazelinok

    Well...I don't have much to talk about.

    All the newer lettuces have sprouted. None of the older lettuce has sprouted. Both kale varieties are up. And about a third of the spinach is up. I'll probably throw out the old lettuce seed. There's no reason to keep it. I have the new stuff coming in from SESE soon. My friend gave me several more varieties too.

    If I can't plant it outdoors in March, I'll eat it from the light shelves. The smell of seed starting....ahhhh!

    We are getting our rain now. It is cold and miserable. I feel like sleeping quite honestly.

    Dawn, have fun on your shopping trip. Our stores have the Christmas cleared out finally and there are seed racks out. Obviously, no plants, other than the few house plants.

    Y'all were talking about fruit trees. It really is too bad that fruit trees do not do well here. What a dream to have tons of fresh fruit. My poor little columnar apple trees haven't bloomed or made fruit in 2 years. They didn't make many apples, but the ones they did make were so tasty. Even the smell...delightful. So...because fruit trees don't do well here, I should look into other types of fruit. Blackberries maybe? And more melons.

    I feel jealous of the featured gardeners on the facebook page, Humans Who Grow Food. So many of them have nice fruit trees. They get loads of food.

    Maybe some hot tea and a hot bath?

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Hi all. . . . yes, cold and miserable here, too--but thankfully like January should be. I told Garry even though I don't like this weather, I was glad it was being January again, after yesterday. Yes, a hot bath sounds good, Jennifer--maybe a hot toddy instead of the tea. :)

    The kitties were even glad to spend nearly the whole day inside, for a change. I'm supposed to go into town first thing in the a.m. but am not sure I'll make it, as forecast shows 29 and rain. Guess we all know what that means. Plus I'll be feeling sorry for myself because it'll be cold and rainy. Plus I don't like to go anywhere first thing in the a.m. LOL

    My SIL in Wyoming and I have started something that is really a lot of fun! I told her I wanted to get rid of plastics this year. She liked it. At first we were just talking about how we should be better at living sustainably. Then I sent her a link on laundry sheets, then she sent me a link on shampoo and conditioner "bars," as opposed to bottles. Then Moni sent that deal about the water pitchers by the sink--and I happened to have to great pitchers, so promptly got them out.
    At any rate, now we have turned it into quite a fun game. I'd love to invite you all to play along. Garry and I have a smaller footprint, in general, probably, than many, since we're not big shoppers, and since I don't like going into town. I've unplugged everything in the house that we didn't use. . . and now unplug most of the rest of the stuff if I'm not using it. I think my most fun thing is seeing ways to not use water. I pretend like its rationed out, maybe a few gallons a day. Have any of you put a brick or stone or something in the toilet tank to use less water? And paper towels! Those are going buh-BYE. I never ever used paper towels til I moved down here. Now I need to get GDW to see it's quite possible to live without them. Worst of all, baggies and garbage bags. I know there are biodegradable garbage bags, but some are not as "biodegradable" as others, so will have to do research into that. Baggies have me stymied a little--suggestions? I especially was using a lot of them for freezing purposes.

    At any rate. . .I've been quite preoccupied with sustainability/creation care/saving-the-planet issues. I find it to be SO rewarding.

    Now you lettuce freaks have me wanting to run out and plant it now! LOL. But I won't, Dawn. Listening to you is often like listening to my better angel. How about that! First we had you pegged as a kind of Tinker Bell. . . now you're a better angel. WOW! And indeed, you are both.

    Our yard is SO ugly right now, but isn't it always in January. I was out in the 68 degree weather yesterday and just DREADING the clean-up that is to come. But seeing henbit up everywhere, crazy tickled at all the cilantro here there and everywhere, new parsley and oxalis hardy upstarts. Ditto, fennel, everywhere. I'm thinking about letting fennel just for the most part HAVE that center bed, along with hyssop, some zinnias, the St. Johns wort and echinacea-- and ripping out all the lemon balm, an otherwise fierce contender, I will rip it out and confine it to a container.

    I love gardening for all the new things to learn, for all the challenges, for all the open-ended questions and experimentations. And now, for tending God's gardens.

  • luvncannin

    I might be making a trip to Shawnee soon ;) it’s only 2 1/2 hours.

    thank you a ll for the well wishes. It’ was so strange knowing my mom was leaving me and yet when it happened I was completely unprepared. And my siblings were so distant with my mom I had no one who could truly understand the depth of the pain. I was the only one with her as she passed and it was an honor for me. My son tried to get here in time from the panhandle.

    she loved that I enjoyed gardening so much even tho she did not understand why anyone wanted to get dirty and sweaty on purpose. So now the seed catalogs including baker creeks new market gardener catalog are all over my table and I can’t focus on anything else. Bulk seeds!!! I am going to order purple pac choy. For sure and maybe okra. Forgive me if I repeat myself. It happens allot lately.

    Nancy a hugel bed sounds awesome. When I have my own land I will experiment so much more.

    Dawn natural grocers in Denton carries Nice selection of all organic produce. And Saturday I have samples from 1-3. Just saying☺️

  • hazelinok

    Kim, we always miss the samples window! LOL We need to plan our shopping trip to NG better.

    Why are you going to Shawnee? It's only a half hour from my house. Ethan went to the opening of Monk's Market yesterday. I didn't know he was going or I would have had him pick up some honey for me. He said that had honey and fresh eggs.

    Nancy, our property is overwhelming ugly too! And the warmer temps have weeds everywhere. (even though it's so cold right now!) I also have a carpet of cilantro. We've used it quite a bit this winter in recipes. The parsley too.

    I love all the things you're doing, Nancy. I try to be more mindful of most of that as well. Like I mentioned a few days ago, some of the things I want to incorporate into our home will not be okay with my husband. He will always want paper towels. He will always want toilet paper. He will always use trash liners.

    He does take reusable bags to do our shopping. He hates it, but he will do it.

    For my peace of mind, I've just let some things go. I can't stay in that state of being upset because we could be doing better. I can get very stressed about all the things that we should and ought to be doing. Then I can't sleep and have a racing heart...and just in general upset. My heart has started skipping beats, which I will check out with a doctor soon.

    Okay...now that bath.

  • dbarron

    It always cheers me to find new things growing, so yesterday I went on an exploration and found:

    1) The Lent Lily (first daffodil to bloom in my neighborhoods) just emerging from the ground.

    2) Winter aconite stems about half way to bloom. Depending on temperatures I'd say within a week or two to golden buttercups. Amazing that by end of March, they'll be dormant again for another year.

    3) Cyclamen coum flowers showing color. Two weeks or three.

    4) Hellebore oriental hybrids showing color on buds. Month or so.

    Spring is coming, and hopefully winter doesn't come back in full blast and ruin it. Delay is ok, but blasting buds is not.

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