March 2020, Week 2, Spring Has Sprung!

I hope you all agree that Spring is here, more or less, and we can focus less on winter now, even though we need to watch for late freezes and late frosts for a few more weeks.

The March winds are ramping up, and parts of western OK and the OK panhandle had Red Flag Fire Warnings yesterday. I mention this every year when it happens, partly to remind y'all to watch for smoke and fire in your areas, but also to remind everyone that the same strong winds that are a part of Red Flag Fire Warning conditions also can be very hard on small plants, so be sure to protect your plants from the winds on those days. We got paged to a pretty rowdy fire yesterday, but were out of town for Lillie's birthday party so the other departments had to fight it without us. I was sort of glad we were gone, though I could tell Tim was antsy once the fire popped up on our phone apps and he would have preferred rushing home to go to the fire, but he knew I wasn't even going to let him do that. (grin) Grandkids come first over fires, and that reminds me, we ought to buy kites to fly with the grandkids now that March has arrived.

March garden chores are the ones we enjoy, are they not? Planting, pruning, mulching, putting up cages, stakes, trellises, etc. Filling up containers with fresh soil-less mixes, or topping off what already is in the containers before we plant into them. Potting up indoor seedlings. Sowing seeds directly outdoors. Watching seedlings sprout. We are approaching the end of the cool-season planting season, and the beginning of the warm-season planting season. Have fun accordingly.

Has anyone mowed yet? We have not mowed the front yard because it is so full of dandelions, henbit and spring beauties that the bees and butterflies enjoy, but the time is coming when we are going to have to mow just because the wildflowers (yes, some folks would call them weeds, but not I) are getting so tall and the weather is almost warm enough to worry about being able to see snakes.

In light of the coronavirus situation and the fact that we think supply change disruptions might encourage more people to garden, remember to stock up on all the garden supplies you need now before they sell out. This includes seeds and organic fertilizers, both of which completely sold out (even online) and were almost impossible to find in 2008, which is when we had a big explosion in new gardens caused by the economic downturn. I have a three-year supply of seeds on hand now, fresh seeds purchased this year, to ensure that any sort of supply chain disruption or extra buying of seeds by new gardeners doesn't interfere in my gardening plans for this year and beyond. Remember to invest in open-pollinated seeds, so you can save seeds for future years too.

Our plums are about finished blooming and are leafing out now. Our peaches are maybe a week behind the plums. The holly shrubs are about to bloom, so most trees and shrubs here remain about 2-4 weeks ahead of schedule. That made me wonder what the spring leaf-out map looks like, so here it is:

Spring Leaf Index Map

More rain is in the forecast for this week. Of course it is. Here's the 7-day QPF:

7-Day Qualitative Precipitation Forecast

It goes without saying that we still have standing puddles from the last rainfall and don't need more, but I'm sure we'll get more anyway. I wish the rest of you who need rain could have some of mine and Larry's rainfall, because we have had too much this year.

Have a great week everybody, and be sure to let us know what you're doing in your gardens this week.


Comments (98)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    It was hot yesterday---the official high was 82, which is plenty warm for early March but at our house we hit 85. Our forecast high was 81. Today our forecast high is 88, which is ridiculous. After that, though, the rain comes and our temperatures drop back down around typical March temperatures. There were wasps out everywhere yesterday, almost more so than bees and there still were plenty of bees. The wasps spent an inordinate amount of time lurking around the doors and windows as if trying to come indoors. I wonder why. Are they not feeling like the warmth has arrived to stay? Because, honestly, I kind of think it is here to stay, although not in the 80s at least, but certainly with highs in the 60s. I'd think the wasps would be content with that at least.

    The perennial plants in the garden are quite happy and everything is up and growing like mad. I feel like the irises, dutch irises and daylilies all are going to bloom early as they are huge for this time of the year.

    Nancy, I have had such mixed results with rhubarb over the years and have grown it every which way, including as annuals raised from seed in late summer, put in the ground in the fall and overwintered, which gave me plants from which I could harvest lots of stems around May of the following year before the heat sent the plants into dormancy. Is it worth it? No, but it makes Tim happy so I keep trying. This might be the last year for that. I have less and less patience for anything that needs to be coddled and babied just to get it to survive here, much less to be productive.

    I have had LB petunias pop up out of the ground in pretty much every calendar month from March through August some years, so don't be surprised if you see more. They do their own thing and sprout whenever and wherever they are ready.

    Did y'all make it up to 77 yesterday? That's a lovely temperature for March.

    I love evening primrose when I see it in bloom, although I never love it in the garden because it is too invasive. I hate it otherwise because it is so invasive. I cannot get rid of it though as it intermingles with all the other wildflowers in the front wildflower meadow that I do want, and they all pretty much sprout and grow at the same time. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to hit it with a herbicide to get rid of it, and you know that I don't even use herbicides. I hate it that much. We have a million primrose plant march going on between the driveway gate and the mailbox this year and I look at all those tiny plants and hate every one of them. They'll all make seeds that will make more plants I don't want, but my beloved bluebonnets are mixed in with them, so I can't kill them. They cannot be dug up---there's too many of them and they are in horrible red clay that isn't even diggable, as I learned so long ago. I guess that is one good thing they have going for them---they will grow in the most awful clay where many other plants struggle.

    Larry, Do you mean to buy the tomato plants? If so, I'd buy Red Beefsteak for flavor but they certainly are not early at all (Bonnie Plants usually has it and these others), Big Beef or Cherokee Purple, but those aren't necessarily early either. Sometimes Cherokee Purple is early for me if I plant it early and I saw some at Home Depot last week that already were in bloom despite the plants being pretty small. Better Bush is probably the only one I can think of that is almost as early as Early Girl, and it is a full week later than Early Girl, but it still produces fruit with decent flavor before pretty much anything else other than Early Girl, Bush Early Girl and SunGold or SunSugar. When I raise my own seedlings at home and plant them early, I often get pretty early fruit from Vorlon, Gary O Sena and JD's Special C-Tex, but they generally are not earlier than Early Girl even if I plant them first. If a person merely wants tomatoes with half-decent flavor (I don't like the texture as it is more of a hybrid texture than the softer fruit of an heirloom) that is early and very productive, you cannot go wrong with Fourth of July, or Independence Day, which don't produce large fruit but they are larger than cherry types and they are very early. I almost always grow Early Girl for its earliness because the other really early ones, especially the open-pollinated ones, are too lacking in flavor---so poorly flavored that they make Early Girl taste great by comparison.

    Jennifer, Wow, they did overcharge you. I'm glad you caught their error and were able to get it corrected.

    One nice thing about corn plants is that they get large pretty quickly and, if you plant them close enough to one another, they can shade out a lot of the weeds, as long as you don't have Johnson grass. We have Johnson grass. Even if you don't see it and don't think it is there, it is there. As long as you're mowing, it is suppressed, but when you rototill and then plant corn, after a few weeks you're thinking your corn looks awesome---so green and thick and dense, and then you realize you're raising a fine crop of Johnson grass in there with your corn. The bad thing is that half-grown Johnson grass looks just like half-grown corn plants. Once I finally could distinguish between the two, I learned to crawl along the rows of corn plants, using scissors to repeatedly cut down the Johnson grass right at the ground, and then to put cardboard and mulch over it. Oh, it will send out runners and pop up wherever the cardboard ends, so then you end up cutting it off, putting down more cardboard and more mulch.....and Johnson grass is Bermuda grass on steroids so it is a never-ending task. Solarizing the Bermuda grass, and Johnson grass if you have it, for a whole summer or even a whole year underneath plastic, is the best way to clear grass from a future corn planting if you don't want to rototill. I hate tilling. The ground looks so lovely for a day or two, and then every once-buried weed and grass seed starts sprouting and you spend the rest of your summer either weeding or cultivating with a Mantis or something like it. I'm done with that. We've been no-till in most parts of the garden for almost a decade now and we're not going back. The constant tilling with the Mantis to suppress weeds between the rows is not something I've ever done because it is so bad for your soil structure and for the microbial life in the soil, so it negates a lot of the work I've done to build great soil.

    Most people around me do garden this way, with a tractor or tiller out there constantly churning up the soil in between rows of plants but I choose not to use that method. All the old farmer and old rancher guys tried so hard for the first decade we were here to convince me to garden that way, and I kept telling them I was all about soil building and not soil destruction, which made them mad. I didn't care--they had horrible, eroded, over-worked soil that was very low in organic matter and low in microbial life. It compacted easily and then water ran off without soaking in. I didn't want that---that is the precise soil I started out with when we moved here and first broke ground and I worked hard to fix it. I didn't stop by their gardens and tell them they were doing everything wrong, now did I, so if they were going to stop by mine and tell me that, they were just asking for a reply even if it was one they didn't like. I tried to tell them that they were farming mechanically with tractors and I wasn't---I was gardening by hand---and I constantly reminded them that I was a gardener, not a farmer. It was a never-ending battle, but I always had the first harvest of pretty much everything and that made me happy, and it eventually made them shut up because, ultimately, they couldn't argue with success. lol. They could argue with me about whether they thought soil-building was worth all the effort and whether they thought organic gardening was possible (they thought both were hippie-dippie, city slicker, stupid woo-woo that would fail, which is how they felt about compost piles and compost too) but in the end, they couldn't say that what I was doing wasn't working. Fred would tell Tim "she's smart, she's really smart, and those other guys just don't see it", but he never said that to me because, at heart, he was an older farmer/old rancher too. He just was more open to different ways of doing things. SO, if you are going to plow up or till up that ground and plant corn this year, prepare to fight grass and weeds like crazy because they will be there and will have to be dealt with. Sometimes you can suppress them significantly by planting winter squash amongst the corn plants, but it needs to be a C. moschata type like Seminole pumpkin that grows quickly enough to outgrow and shade out the weeds, and when you're harvesting your corn, you'll have to carefully step through and around all the squash vines to make sure you don't step on them and break them.

    Sweet corn does not produce well in our worst summer heat, so you get the best crop when you plant it early enough that it can pollinate and make ears before the temperatures are too high. That's why OSU recommends a very narrow window for corn planting---beginning March 23rd and running through the end of April. I get the best yields and the best ears if I plant in late March and often am able to harvest before meaningful numbers of corn earworms and European corn borers show up if I plant that early. If I wait and plant in mid through late April, I have to fight the corn earworms and European corn borers for every single ear and it is not a pretty fight. That fight completely wears me out. There's not much as yummy as freshly-harvested, organic corn picked at the absolute peak of perfection.

    We already have quite a huge population of moths everywhere so I feel like the cutworms, earworms and fruitworms are going to be bad and early this year. That is typical when we have an early arrival of warm weather. I might rejoice about the early warmup, but we need to remember that it means the pests are awake and active early too. We are seeing scary numbers of gopher mounds this year, and I blame that as much on the heavy rainfall as the early warmup. I was shocked how early those mounds started popping up wherever our neighbors have sandy soil--back pretty early in February. For better or worse, we are strongly lacking in sandy soil and gophers, but they'll venture over from next door or across the road when they get hungry so I still have to deal with them sporadically even though they don't live here---they just visit to eat plants and then they run back home unless the cats find them first.

    This early heat is giving me the heebie jeebies about summer temperatures.


  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Hi y’all. I am a long-timer lurker on this forum—I‘m a native Californian transplanted to the Tulsa area five years ago, and this forum has helped me learn so much about how to garden here (wow, what a change). I have never had much to contribute, but had to pop up after reading the posts in this thread. We have been prepped for the pandemic situation for a few weeks, but I never thought about the gardening or (gulp!) canning supplies. I was able to squeak out some extras from the dwindling stock on the shelves, so thank you for posting about this today!

    Cheers! Hoping this all blows over soon.


  • Related Discussions

    OLLD 4/2


    Comments (32)
    Here is a link to our turkeys, they are a nightmare in the garden, especially if you have a lot of mulch and once they have decided they want your garden for a nest there is no stopping them. Their nests are the absolute McMansions of nests can be 10 feet across, but their patience and perseverence in building them is just amazing. http://www.wildlifeqld.com.au/Brush_Turkeys.html Lisa - Dracula is BH's mother - Mother-in-Law from hell, just doesn't quite cut it. Only holidayed with her under sufference. Unfortunately once we said where we were going she decided the whole family should go, she doesn't understand what "no" means, so everyone was corralled into going. There isn't much you can do in those circumstances, short of cancelling your own holiday. She meddled, interfered, told lies, manipulated and set everyone up against each other so by the end of it, when no one was talking to anyone, I wish we had cancelled. Even the kids were fighting with each other. A few months later, when she was trying to organise her big family Christmas she insisted on having every year (no one else's family mattered but her's) she couldn't understand why no one showed up.
    ...See More

    What do I do with this GAUDY Rococo Bedroom Set? Help


    Comments (10002)
    I just recently found out about our Dear Spencer. I am so sad. She had great design sense and knew her style!. I got her. I am so very sorry that I never got to see her of which she invited us several times. We couldn't wait to help her here on houzz and I got excited to see where her creativity would take her next! I am so happy that I wore leopard pants in honour of her, when many of us met in Nashville where she had tried to join us. I had talked to her several times and felt she was a good friend. She is missed! My love to her family!
    ...See More

    POLL: What's your favorite season?


    Comments (87)
    Yep...fall is the absolute best IMHO. The crisp, cool snap of the air; just cool enough for a light sweater or jacket. The smell of the bonfire and people having cookouts (love those s'mores!).....the explosion of colors when the leaves finally become the colors they were intended to be (they are only green due to the chlorophyll in them).....the crunch of the leaves under your feet after they've fallen from the trees....the rousing of the band playing at the local football game. All of these things make for a very special season. And yes, I must admit that I do hate to see the summer end....those lazy days when you can just slip on a pair of sandals and head outside without having to bundle up first, yet there's just something about fall that truly makes me come alive! It's funny how we all have our favorite season. Do you ever wonder why? I mean....why do some of us prefer the coolness of fall and others love the heat of the summer? Hmmm.....interesting!
    ...See More

    Crape Myrtle stops growing after spring. No flowers


    Comments (3)
    That is your problem I think..too much nitrogen...nitrogen fertilizer makes too much leaf growth only. Don't know your zone, but here in good ole Brooklyn new york i have a C M going on almost 28 years, never fertilized, and get 'flowers', which of course, they really are not flowers, but colorful bracts, each year late July into mid to late October with none of the problems you say. It even gives us gorgeous Fall color from there on in. Also, sounds like your drowning yours with that sprinkler system. Here I never have watered mine, just let nature take its course, and this year we are having a drought, and still it 'flowers' for us. I hope this may help. Good luck.
    ...See More
  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Hi Marleigh--I got here just five years ago, also, transplanted from Minneapolis. Yep, what a change! I also lurked for a a few months. Everything worthwhile I learned about gardening in OK, I learned here. We're about 40 miles from Tulsa.

    I do need to see about finding some lids for canning.

    Dawn--it reached 77.5 degrees yesterday. Ha!

    Garry decided to tackle this project yesterday. Mind you, the door on the left had never been opened. It wouldn't open. Meanwhile, because of the crack building job the top frame around the doors was sagging, and the door on the right was becoming increasingly hard to shut, over the past few years. The job, as all such jobs, was much harder than he thought it would be. It took him most of the day getting the top long 1x6 under the frame off. It was nailed down with nails every couple inches, and a few of the nails were totally buried. He ended up using a chisel and a crowbar. Then today he decided the other door needed to come off. This is a sight I may never see again, both doors "open." I wonder if he remembers we were going to go fishing today. Oops.

  • jlhart76

    Hey, Marleigh! Welcome! I'm a former Tulsan, lived there for 15 years until 5 years ago. Currently in OKC, so I'm having to re-learn gardening. You wouldn't think it, but just 100 miles difference & the gardening here is so different from Tulsa.

    Everything that I've been moving in & out for the last week got permanently relocated to the garage. That way I can move them outside a lot easier. And now I have more space under the grow lights inside, so I cannstart a few more things. I did a quickninventory and it looks like I still need dill, parsley, and cilantro. And my roommate has indicated she wants to try a few more things too, in addition to the gourds, pumpkin and watermelon. We better hurry and buy more property, we're gonna need it with all her plans. She's wanting to turn into Old Macdonald, with goats, rabbits, pigs, chickens....who knows what else she'll decide we need.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I'm growing gourds, too, Jen! First time. Two sizes of luffa, snake gourds, bowls, dippers and __, and a mixture of bumpy funny looking ones (cucurbita pepo, I see). I thought the kids would have fun growing them.

    Oh--and all of you who ordered elderberry plants from Lori, you're in for a treat. Such healthy little shrubs!

  • hazelinok

    I'm a sproutin', HU.

    My horseradish is in 2 giant pots. It does fine.

    The ground looks level, but it's not exactly. In the second picture (facing the yellow house), I'm standing at the low area. It stays a little wetter than the other side (closer to the yellow house). The water pools more on our neighbors' property (the ones behind us). I'll pay attention to how wet it stays after this next week of rain. It would be the better place for a garden, just because the other side has my garden on it (although it's hard to tell in the pics) and I'll probably add more fruit bushes and elderberry trees, etc. at some point AND there needs to be a driving area too. At some point we want to make a driveway off the street that will go up to the shop (you can see the shop door in the first pic). I do have 3 raised beds in the lower portion, but it's on the other side of the property that you can't see in the pictures. They do pretty well. The only time they really flooded was the first year we used them--2015. Enough said, right?

    Welcome, Marleigh. I lurked for a couple of months before posting too!

    My life has been a rigmarole since around 10 last night. Mostly because I didn't pay close attention to emails and other things. Wow. Too much to talk about here, but good grief. I need to pay better attention. Because of not paying attention (to one of the things), I had to stop at the grocery store this morning to pick up some snack foods. Thought...I'll grab a package of TP. We still have a dozen rolls at the house, but one more package wouldn't hurt. Gone. Thought....I'm out of the small personal bottles of hand sanitizer. Gone. Out of rubbing alcohol. And the other regular things we've all mentioned. Friends say Sams in Moore is a madhouse. I did buy some extra witch hazel. It can make a nice disinfectant with essential oils. I had a large ziplock of products I didn't want, including some of the B and B Works scented hand sanitizers that I got as gifts. Guess I'll grab those out of the bag. Glad I didn't toss/donate the bag yet.

    Jen, I'm excited for you! Chickens and goats and pigs! And rabbits!

    It was almost humid yesterday, Dawn. Probably the same today, but I haven't been out since this morning.

    Had more to say, but need to finish work so I can get home (after a stop for ginger root. Why do I keep forgetting the ginger root?!)

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Hi, Marleigh, I am a transplant from about 1/2 mile east of here ( I am near Ft. Smith). I have lived here for over 76 years and aint got things figured out yet, about the time I think I've got it, the weather changes. It dose not get boring, you just keep guessing. There is no limit, you can guess 365 days a year.

    Dawn, thanks for your input. I am just trying to get seed I can save from year to year and share with those who may need seeds. I stopped by the Greenwood AR. Farmers Co-op a while ago and bought more tomato seeds. I think that I already have more seeds than I need, but not really the ones I want. I think I must have the " Wounded Child syndrome" as John Bradshaw might call it. I use to read some of his books, and think he had some pretty good Ideas. I will paraphrase and say " don't tell me I cant, I will wade through hell just to prove you wrong". I felt like my seed and plant supply was being monkeyed with and I dont like that. By fall I will have more seeds than I can use the rest of my life. I was hoping to get some good ideas from this forum.

    Nancy, I thought I could hear someone muttering some familiar wards under their breath, now I know where they were coming from. I really miss being able to tackle jobs like that, but my ole worn out body just wont allow it any more. Nancy, you have tomato plants knee high, and I have not started mine. I may never get my ground ready. The rest of my blackberries came today and I am going to just plant them in the garden. I also have some lettuce and arugula to plant, the kids talked me into the arugula, the KIDS may have to be the ones who eat it. I have all my plants outside now, I had better go and check to make sure they have not blown away.

  • luvncannin

    Jen I have all those herbs. I could send you some.

    I am so thrilled my mobile garden is doing so well. My oregano is back and doing great. It’s so good to see everyone here and hear about what you are doing. It encourages me so very much

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Please help with Ashe County pimento pepper, I have never grown these before,leaves look very wrinkled. Is this normal?

  • HU-422368488

    Welll let's do a university study on the pros and cons of tilling or no-tilling the garden.

    Yeah lets go into that shall we. Yep. Of course we will.

    Here's my google list:


    Here's a few selections:






    Here's one specific to clay soil


    Here are some links at a more scientific level:



    " I hate tilling "

    I till because time and long distance constraints give me no choice. I could never keep the weeds from choking out the crop if I didn't, especially at the scale that I do it. For me the weeds sprout whether I till or not. I've tried mulching with cardboard and newspaper but hasn't worked very well for me . The weeds grow right through it or over it and it makes a nasty mess to clean off in the fall .My mom was always one to make a garden with a hoe. That's it, just a hoe. But in those days the garden was smaller and she was right with it every day. When the garden was moved to a larger area that became impractical. So tillers were then used and I've used them since. I had a lot of success with bountiful harvests as evidenced in my canning "when the weather cooperates". What screws me the most is the weather.Like this 6"bullseye of rain that's about to hover over me out there in the next week. It's starting to look like last spring already.Don't even get a chance to plant.

    " I didn't stop by their gardens and tell them they were doing everything wrong"

    I don't come to anybody's garden and tell them they are wrong. Nor will I ever.That would be like telling somebody that they go to the wrong church

    " Solarizing the Bermuda grass, and Johnson grass if you have it, for a whole summer or even a whole year underneath plastic, is the best way to clear grass from a future corn planting if you don't want to rototill. "

    That's fine. But what if you don't have a year.

    " He just was more open to different ways of doing things "

    So am I.

    "SO, if you are going to plow up or till up that ground and plant corn this year, prepare to fight grass and weeds like crazy because they will be there and will have to be dealt with. "

    I think they will have to be dealt with anyway. No matter what.

    " I didn't care"

    Well I do.


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Hi Kim! I'm glad your mobile garden's doing well. Wishing you the best! We'll see you at the SF, won't we??

    I SO appreciated the watermelon tip, Dawn! I hope we get a bazillion of them at the school. Those and the melons--four different kinds. I'm so happy that most every thing has germinated. Loved seeing those cute little ground cherry plants pop up.

    AND, how strange that the LB petunias are so far behind the regular petunias. But had 3 more sprout today. I love the constant learning in gardening. Now I have my fingers crossed for the stratified seeds I planted yesterday--more than any of the other stuff, I'm nervous about all those. Those seeds were expensive!

    HJ, your property looks HUGE? How big is it? I'm so envious of so much full sun. I'd be happy with a 20x30 foot full sun place in our back years. Nope. Thankful for the area behind the shop that DOES get at least 6 hours, and the bed beside the carport, which also does. Then, On the northernmost part of our property, it IS 8 or more hrs full sun--that's the rock area. And THAT's where I'm going to put the hugelkulture bed. I need to get started on that. So excited!

    I groaned hearing about the evening primrose, Dawn. I am going to have to try and get as much out as possible while it's still early. I didn't plant it myself; rather, it came in a wildflower mix. I do love sweet corn so much, but decided two years ago it's not a smart thing to grow in the small space we have. Nor would it be at the school.

    My walk-around today was fun--and informative. I had to Picture This some of the stuff--I have Robin's plantain (aka rattlesnake hawkweed--I much prefer THAT name) popping up in the large triangular mostly shady bed toward in the back. What is strange is that it looks almost like my Husker Red penstemons. The penstemons' leaves are more pointed is about the only difference. Had Picture This not picked up on it, I probably would have thought they were all penstemons. What is strange to me is that I've grown that perennial penstemon for about 15 years--here and in MN. I've never seen it propogate (I assume by seed?). I was flabbergasted to see it in four different spots out there. I see that as a good thing! Also the rattlesnake hawkweed. That had an interesting story. It's native. But probably only to the eastern US, as in Washington it is considered an invasive pest. I've never seen it here before. Looks kinda pretty.

    I see that tataricus aster's back, and the Valerian's up in at least one spot. I'll have to check the veggie raised beds and see if it's up there, too.

    I didn't think your Ashe County looked TOO wrinkled, Larry. LOL I just planted mine toDAY, so can't recall how wrinkly the leaves are. HJ, Amy, are yours up? And I just planted two more tomato varieties--Cherokee Green and Giant Belgium, and two different kinds of coleus.

    And Garry's still not done with the door. The outside's done and the screens hung back up, but he still has to put the framing back up inside. And I'm still not done with ANYTHING.

  • hazelinok

    Nancy, my Ashe County isn't as far along as Larry's. But, I think they look good, Larry. I'll see if I can find picture from last year to compare.

    Nancy, our property is supposed to be 1.12 acres but it seems bigger than that to me. Maybe it's the way it's laid out?? Our house is small--maybe 1600 sq ft. after enlarging the living and utility. The house, coop, 100' x 20' chicken yard, 1200 sq ft. shop and back garden are all on one half. The other half (in the pictures) is mostly empty. It's actually a separate lot. The only thing on it is my east garden, which is 30'ish x 30'ish (I think. I always forget.) We put the east garden to the east of a couple of trees so the garden gets shade in the late afternoon/evening.

    There's many ways to garden. Just find the one that works for you and do it. That's what I say. Tilling would be difficult for me and I don't want to depend on Tom for that because he doesn't love gardening. He probably would do it....but I like to have more control. So, I don't till. I like my method. I just would like to get the darn thing fenced and looking cute. My father-in-law tilled. He had a very productive garden, but added manure and stuff every year.

    So it starts. Warm days make me stay outside too long and I don't feel like cooking dinner. The rain will probably keep me in for a week, though. Hopefully not.

    We went to TS and WM and stocked up on pet food in case things get even crazier and they start shutting down stores.

    Okay. I had a weird thing happen today. I went into staff meeting at 9:30. Came out around 11 and went back to my office to grab a couple of things before heading over to help at kindergarten for a couple of hours. When I came back to my office, there was a picture of a very creepy clown--sort of a vintage looking creepy clown--with a sticky note that said, "I've got my eye on you". So...the thing is the woman who sits at the front desk during our staff meetings said no one came into the office while we were in our meeting. Then I thought perhaps one of the guys was joking me and slipped back into my office while we were all heading into the conference room. So, after he left today I went to his office and looked at a note he left on his desk. Different handwriting. I have no idea how that picture got on my desk. Super creepy. There is a back door that always stays locked and only the people who were in the meeting have a key other than the grounds guy, who I assumed it was at first because he is a prankster, but he didn't do it and was very offended that I thought it was him because he isn't a "stalker.". I didn't think it was stalkerish. I just thought someone was joking...and still do, but cannot figure it out.

    Alright...here it is 10 again.

  • HU-422368488

    That's why WE (or me) are watching out for you.

    jennifer I fell for you . I admit it (my shame and my guilt). I can easily see how a stalker would.

    If you have any problems let me know.


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I'm sure we're all watching out for each other, and we are a very discerning bunch of folks. We get to know each other and I've come to trust my dear friends on OKGW. We ALL watch out for each other, but by and large this is a super friendly and trustworthy group of folks.

    No worries, HU, we're all here to protect each other.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Jennifer, I have made the statement before, " I am a jerk", I think I would talk to the principal and express my concern. It is his or her job to provide a safe work environment, and pranks that could cast fear in a person or a group of people should not happen, especially in a school. I think that with all the terrible things that have gone on at schools, and other places the past few years the principal would be happy to look into it, it could be the first sign of something bad, or just a harmless joke. From my point of view, take the scary jokes somewhere else. I think that I would even take it a step farther if I did not get satisfaction from the principal, and ask for a police report be made..

    I have never worked in a school, but I have supervised people in a factory, and been on the safety committee, and jokes can be dangerous.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    Hi Marleigh! Native Tulsan here, so I started out gardening here. Don’t worry, it’s no easier for us than it is for you.

    I‘m in a wait and grow stage right now. Have a lot of work to do indoors, so maybe a rainy Saturday is ok.

    The entire back back of my car is full of toilet paper for friends and family who can’t find it. Nobody is hoarding, they just need it for daily life.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Marleigh, Hello and welcome to the forum. I think you'll love it here. We mix a lot of chit chat in with gardening talk, as you've already discovered, and really become like a family here. You're going to love it. We're all in this together---both the gardening and facing a novel coronavirus that none of us ever have had to deal with before. I feel confident we'll continue gardening, chit chatting, encouraging one another, helping one another, etc., and will come through it all together. It is so much better to go through this together than alone.

    Nancy, After seeing photos of store shelves in OK yesterday, it might be challenging to find canning jar lids because apparently panic buying arrived here in OK this week. I bought some over the weekend at Atwood's, which always has a nice canning section. Or, if you need them in bulk, from a small bulk order to a very large bulk order, you can order online from Lehman's, an Amish provider. This is how I buy the flat jar portions of the lids---from Lehman's in the large bulk quantity, which is around 345 of them if you buy regular mouth and I think about 280 if you're getting the wide mouth. I have found 345 will last me a year or more, and I like knowing I always have some in the canning cabinet ready to use, because there's nothing worse than needing them and not being able to find them during the hectic canning season. I use regular mouth jars and lids for almost everything. If you want to buy the round rings, the quantity is smaller since you remove them from your jars prior to storage and can reuse the bands over and over in the same year with many batches. For about $20 you can buy 60 bands at Lehman's. Y'all, please be sure to get your canning supplies soon. Because this virus is likely to be around for months, I think a lot more people will be canning just like what happened in the economic recession of 2008, and it was impossible to find canning supplies in brick-and-mortar stores that year.

    If you are stocking up on canning supplies this spring in anticipation preserving some of your harvest, remember to get vinegar if you'll be pickling, pickling spices (individually in spice section or in mixes on the canning aisle), canning salt, sugar if you intend to make jams or jellies (or apple juice if you're using low-sugar pectin), pickling lime if you want crisp pickles, Fruit Fresh or equivalent (the one from Mrs. Wages is called Fresh Fruit Preserver I believe), citric acid (needed in some tomato products to maintain proper acidity), and labels for your canning jars. If you like to you Pomona's pectin, you usually have to order that online. I never see it in stores here. Keep in mind that some jam and jelly recipes use liquid pectin and some use dry, so you may need both depending on what you intend to make. There's also a special no-cook pectin for some freezer jam and freezer jelly recipes. Right now, or at least prior to this week, I was seeing most everything a canner would need on the store shelves although Atwood's definitely had a better selection that Wal-Mart in my area. I have no ideal if that still is true. Remember that countertop food dehydrators are available too if you want to preserve some of your produce by dehydrating it. I especially like to dehydrate peppers and grind them down to a fine powder, and I like to dehydrate cherry tomatoes to eat in the winter time.

    Nancy, Every time we tackle a home repair or home remodeling project, it seems like it always takes longer to do it than we estimated and also costs more. lol. If we weren't eternally optimistic, I guess we'd be afraid to tackle our own projects. They always work out in the end though.

    Jennifer, I cannot imagine what the stores are like up there now. We've been slowly prepping for so long that no one could tell we were prepping---we just kept picking up a bit extra each week. That's not how it is happening now though. Folks who weren't paying enough attention and preparing for a pandemic just went totally bonkers and bought everything in the stores, even if it didn't make much sense. I saw video of one woman with six huge packages of toilet paper in her cart. Six! And she fought like the devil to get the sixth one. Was 5 not enough? I hope people are buying food and supplies as well and not overly focused on something like t.p. I also saw video last night from some store in Georgia where people were brawling over something (might have been t.p. might have been bottled water, I don't remember) and one guy got stabbed....right there in the store. Whoever had shot the video even had video of the stabbing victim being wheeled out of the store on an ambulance stretcher. It was ridiculous to think people will act that way. I hope panic over supplies needed during an unavoidable public health issue doesn't cause people to lose their humanity, but it may already be happening. Sadly, I feel like things will get worse before they get better, and I think this crisis may last for months.

    I feel sorry for parents everywhere whose schools abruptly closed this week since that adds more of a day care burden to their already busy lives. I cannot imagine trying to find all-day day care if you weren't needing it at all before, or only had after-school care.

    I had to grin when you said you bought extra witch hazel because so did I....six bottles of it. I also bought some of the 91% alcohol and aloe vera gel so we can mix up our own hand sanitizer if we need to. I think we have enough regular hand sanitizer, but I was trying to cover all the bases. I also think it could be fun to mix up our own and scent it with a favorite essential oil. I'd choose lavender essential oil for that.

    You keep forgetting ginger root for the same reason I did. (I have it now.) It is not overly common in our produce sections so usually is tucked away here or there where you barely notice it. I think if they had it out in a more obvious place, we'd see it and our brains would say "I need that". I bought raw ginger root at Wal-mart, and sliced, candied, dried ginger root in a bag on the dehydrated fruit row at Costco. Y'all know how much I always have loved Costco and one of the reasons is that you can find something there, like that ginger root, that you don't see anyplace else.

    Tim and I must be getting desperate for that first ripe tomato, which still is so far away. We actually discussed buying a grocery store tomato this past weekend and making BLTs. We even joked that if we were going to die of coronavirus, we wanted to have one last BLT first. Then, we talked ourselves out of buying what passes for a tomato in the grocery stores because we knew it would be disappointing. I guess we'll have to make sure we survive the virus so we can eat BLTs this spring and summer.

    HU, I don't stop by anyone's gardens and tell them how to do it either, but the old farmer and old rancher crowd here sure did do that with me. It was just that we had totally different approaches and mine was so new to them that they instantly rejected it. They thought that building raised beds was ridiculous, mulching not necessary, and that I made more work for myself by not buying a tractor and plowing the property to death. They reminded me of a grandfather who was stuck in the past trying to get a grandchild or child to see the error of their ways. They annoyed me, but most of them were really great people---they just thought women belonged in the kitchen, should be seen and not heard, and should leave the gardening to men. In other words they were not pro equal rights and weren't used to having a woman ignore their advice. It seems comical now when I think of it, but they flat out drove me crazy back then, and seemed offended I wouldn't douse our garden with chemicals they way they did. (sigh) I just had to stick to the style of gardening that I knew worked for me, largely because I'd been gardening for most of 4 decades by the time we moved here so was confident in my techniques, since I started gardening with my dad as soon as I was old enough to toddle along behind him in the yard and garden. I never once suggested they change their ways to suit me, but they sure tried to get me to change my ways to suit them. It only made me stronger and more confident about my chosen path too, and I kept reminding them that it was "my garden, my rules" and "your garden, your rules" and they didn't like that either. Only one of them drove me to distraction to the point that I didn't even really want to stop and chit chat with him when he stopped by, but I always was polite and stopped what I was doing to listen to him tell me what I was doing wrong. However, when he went into a nursing home, I was pretty relieved that I'd never have to deal with him again---I admit that. Later on, I just grinned when my husband told me he was thrown out of our local nursing home and his family had to move him to one in another town after he threatened to beat his roommate with his cane. I kinda wish I'd been a fly on the wall and witnessed that. We were friends though, our family and his, and I even went to his funeral when he passed away. He was very old school and also thought flowers and herbs were a waste of space. He called all my flowers and herbs weeds and told me repeatedly my family couldn't live on those. I reminded him that both served a good purpose, herbs were edible, and some of the flowers I grew were edible too and also attracted pollinators....but he didn't want to hear that. It was important to remember that he spent his entire life gardening hard every year, as well as farming and ranching, in order to put food on the table and he did so during some very lean years when it was hard to raise enough to keep your family fed, so he was 'all business' when it came to gardening, whereas I garden for a variety of reasons. I adored his wife, but her health was failing even when we moved here and we didn't see her much as she was mostly bedridden by then. Now, all those old guys are gone, and we've become the older folks....and that still feels weird to me. Oh, and all those guys had sandy soil and I had clay, so we had some different fundamental soil issues too, but they didn't want to think about clay soil having different issues from their sandy soil. I was losing my dad, or at least his mind, to Alzheimer's Disease at that point, so with all the old farmer/rancher crowd, at least I could discuss gardening as I once discussed it with him. I did have to remind myself sometimes that each of those old coots was somebody's dad and to treat them respectfully

    Fred and I became very close, but he was the one who took the time to understand what I was doing, and why I was doing it, and he respected the choices I made. He even took up container gardening after he saw how well my tomatoes did in molasses feed tubs, and that made it easier for him to grow tomatoes during the last 10-15 years of his life when his body was failing him. He also backed off a lot on the use of pesticides in his last decade or so, though not necessarily because of me. He blamed pesticide for the deaths of a bunch of his fellow farmers who seemed to be passing away en masse when he was in his early 80s. He'd complain to me and say "we only sprayed what we did because those ag guys told us we had to, and now we're all dying". He really was quite disturbed by it. We lost him back in September at the age of 97 and I miss him every day. It doesn't seem like Spring without him here nagging me to hurry up and get my planting done. He was in a warmer microclimate on higher ground and could plant 2 weeks earlier than I could most years. There's not many gardeners left in our neighborhood now. I can think of six gardening families still in this general area, where there used to be 1-2 dozen, and I believe I'm the only one still canning. I'm also the only one who is no-till, but it is what works for me.

    Larry, Your peppers look fine to me. Some varieties just have those crinkly leaves.

    Jennifer, That is just creepy. Please be careful and watch out for yourself. I once was stalked by someone I did not know, and it was a terrifying situation. I've had lifelong PTSD because of it. Being stalked is one reason I never post photos that might reveal my location or allow someone who was/is looking for me to find me. You never get over being stalked by a person no matter their motives (which we never know and never understand anyhow.) When I was in my 30s, not long before we moved up here, a woman I had worked with the in the 1980s and early 1990s was killed by her stalker, and she'd done everything right---had protective orders against him, called the police when he violated them, and even had a court-ordered machine in her house that would beep and alert her when he was within a certain distance. Despite working within the judicial system to protect herself and her child, in the end, he killed her, and one thing that really bothers me is that her machine was sounding the alert and she knew he was coming to get her. She must have been terrified as she desperately hoped the police would get there in time. (I would have had a gun and I would have used it, but she did not have one as far as I know. ) You just never know what is going in the twisted mind of some individuals and you cannot be too careful.

    Rebecca, How thoughtful of you to make sure family and friends will have what they need. I've never understood the hoarding of toilet paper, and I remember some past years where hoarding was set off just by a comedian joking about a toilet paper shortage on TV. We always have a good supply of TP at our house though because we are so far out and there are no stores that are convenient. I learned our very first year here that I'd better always be well-stocked with everything we needed because a quick trip to pick up anything from a store was likely to take at least an hour. Poor Tim bore the brunt of the misery in those early years because I'd call and ask him to pick up whatever it was on the way home so I wouldn't lose a significant portion of the day to running to town for this or that. I learned pretty quickly to stock up well on what we needed so I didn't have to ask him to make his already long commute even longer. Sometimes it couldn't be helped---like running out of a specific pickling spice while pickling, but most of the time I felt like it was my fault for not buying enough of whatever to have on hand in the first place.

    I'm dreading the next week. It is supposed to rain every day. Every. single. day. Ugh. Our local TV met said last night to expect 2-4" of rain between today and Monday, and then to expect another 2-4" between Tuesday and Thursday. I am SO not ready to have 4-8" more rain. I seriously need to forget redoing the landscape this year (and I'm close to shelving that project for months or another year) and maybe just start a catfish hatchery here in all our new "ponds". On the other hand, we have a bumper crop of frogs already, so if the supply chain breaks down and finding meal is an issue, we can eat frog legs. They say they taste like chicken, though I've never tried them. Tim and Chris both like them. The TV guy even joked about what all the rain would do to our roadways and warned us to watch for a bunch of new potholes.

    Yesterday was too hot---87 degrees and it would have been hotter but clouds moved in shortly after noon and kept the temperature from escalating too much more. I had the AC on and didn't feel like it was cooling well, so we have the AC guy coming next week to check it out and see if something needs repair. It seems like it is always something. We had a little wildfire in our fire district yesterday and it was burning pretty well, so we need more rain to green up everything faster, but I still don't want more rain.

    I killed a stinkbug a couple of days ago. Since when do stinkbugs show up before the tomato plants even have fruit for them to destroy? This is going to be an odd year.

    Finally for your daily dose of virus news: one person in the Texas town directly across the river from us had symptoms, was tested, and is awaiting his or her test results. This person happens to work on the Oklahoma side of the river at the WinStar Casino complex. I'm not thrilled to have a case that close, and am hoping for that person's sake that the test results are negative. I want to point out this is a very responsible person who immediately went to their child's school upon leaving the doctor's office, notified the school of the situation, and pulled the child out of the school on the spot out of an abundance of caution and a desire to not unwittingly spread the virus to anyone else. I appreciate that this individual was so responsible and wish him or her well. My son, who was at work in Dallas, actually sent me the message about this case. Then, last night when I was the last person in the house still awake, I saw breaking news that Dallas had five new cases, and one of them had not traveled or had contact with anyone known to be ill, meaning Dallas now has community spread, or human-to-human transmission. Dallas promptly declared a state of emergency. So, for those of you with relatives in the DFW metro, we now have cases in Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Dallas County (Dallas) and Collin County (Frisco). Kim, if you see this, I heard there's several being tested in Denton County, but that did not come from any official source. I hope if it is true that they all test negative. Having so many cases around his place of employment is making Tim nervous. He told me that if he gets it, he just hopes he makes it home first (first? before what?) so I can take care of him instead of him going into a hospital too early. I don't even want to think about that, but am as prepared as can be if it happens. He also has the major headache at work of how to keep it out of his jail. I don't envy him that. They use contract cleaning crews who have really stepped up their efforts the last couple of months and are doing lots of extract cleaning and disinfecting, but there is so much international travel that of course people feel uneasy.

    After Tim cancelled his Las Vegas trip to a police conference he would have been attending next week, he still was looking forward (carelessly, I thought) to the Texas Police Chiefs Association annual convention down on the Texas coast in April. I told him I thought it would be cancelled too, and I still believe that. One of the big outbreaks in Texas is in the Houston metro area, which is pretty close to where the convention is held. I just think right now is the wrong time to travel anyplace. I'm staying home. If that virus wants to find me, it is going to have to come here.


  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Thanks for the welcome, all!

    The Walmart in Glenpool still has canning supplies, though they are mostly out of jars. They still have salt, sugar and vinegar as of yesterday. They’re out of sterile seed mix, too. My husband works in retail and all the big stores in South Tulsa are wiped out of paper goods, basic sanitation, and a lot of medicines. They’re still being resupplied, but they’re starting to put even lower purchase limits on those items. So thankful I restocked my soap making supplies in the fall!

    In the garden, I put a beautiful Lakemont grapevine in the ground this week, along with four rhubarb crowns. I planted out my baby artichokes yesterday, and one of my parsley plants. I also thinned my tomato seedlings and put the cuttings in water to root. My Kieffer pear and Red Haven peach trees have flowered, and the apple buds are getting bigger each day. The apricot and plum seem to have survived the year, but aren’t showing much life yet. Waiting for the asparagus patch to show some signs of life, too!

    I was lazy in the fall and didn’t tidy up my blackberries, so I’ve been doing a little bit each day: trimming back long branches, digging some of the tip-layered babies for friends, and moving some to start a second patch for us.

    If it isn’t dumping rain on me today I’m going to try and do some more work on the blackberries and weed my front bed, which is looking a little like a jungle.

  • hazelinok

    Wow. Had to get the winter coat back out this morning. And the heater kicked on. What a change from yesterday.

    Thank you, everyone, for your concern. I still think it's a joke (not a stalker), but can't find the source of the joke. That is driving me nuts!

    My workplace leases out some rooms. (Larry, I don't actually work for a school--it's complicated.) One of them is a dayschool that opens 3 days a week. I'm old friends with one of the directors and one of the teachers. I thought that perhaps one of them somehow got a key and came in through the backdoor to put the clown and note on my desk. (These leasers don't have access to the office supposedly.) However, I pulled out some old background check forms and operating agreement forms and their handwriting does not match. BUT I still think it's a joke, not a stalker.

    In the spirit of being more careful with my personal information (which I've come to realize I've become lax about.), I'll just say that my kindergarten job is also in this building, because they also lease space like the dayschool. I sort of oversee all of that as part of my "real" job. Although those businesses are separate from my main work. If all that makes sense.

    Dawn, stalking is a scary thing. I've had a couple of experiences with it. One online and one in the late 80's before the internet. I post too much information here about my life and location and will start being more careful in general. NOT that anyone lurking in this forum is a stalker....but you know what I mean. Thing is. I'm the most boring person ever and totally not worth stalking. LOL. But, I still think the clown thing is a joke...not meant to be scary. I've showed the clown to my boss and all support staff, to they all know.

    Not looking forward to a rainy week. Maybe a day or two, but the entire week!?

    Marleigh, what type of blackberries do you have? The ones I planted last week look like sticks in the ground. Is that how they're supposed to look when first planted?

    I did clean out the herb beds last night. So, what do y'all do about herbs when they become bushy, out of control, and somewhat ugly? Do you prune them? I'm talking specifically about lavender and thyme. I don't want to kill especially the lavender. That thyme has been there since 2015 and the lavender since 2016. The cilantro has taken over. It is everywhere. Soon it will die and the lemon balm will be even worse. Anyone considering lemon balm, just know that it cannot be contained in the garden. Maybe consider planting it in a pot. It is a delightful herb...smells so good, but it's just ridiculous.

    I'm going to get going. With the kindergarten being closed today, I only have my one job and would like to get my work done and out early.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Lehman's bulk lids are out of stock, but made in US so should be more coming. I wish they had a smaller portion any way. I got ball lids on Amazon the day you mentioned canning supplies Dawn. I think they will be sufficient for my needs. Lehman's had ball lids, too. Probably similar in price to Atwoods or Amazon. I was in Atwoods a few days ago and they had jars. I wasn't looking for canning supplies then. I have Citric acid, does it go bad?

    So, I'm going to go expose myself to Olive Garden with friends. Later.

  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    I have Arapaho, Chester and Triple Crown, all of which are in their third year this year. When I planted mine they were just small sticks, but they had little leaf buds developing. All of mine are starting to leaf out, but the leaves are still very small. Are yours in a cooler/more exposed location? Mine face south and are sheltered on one side, so they warm up pretty quickly this time of year.

    Good luck finding your culprit. I’m kind of paranoid about privacy, but that’s partially because I’ve had experiences with people who were overly interested or inappropriate in real life. It probably is a harmless prank, but you can’t be too careful. I also find clowns intensely creepy. Yikes. ;)

  • Rebecca (7a)

    HJ, if you aren’t laughing, it’s not a joke.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    I planted 25 small onions yesterday, 10 blackberries and 18 lettuce aand arugula today. I also started clearclearing around walking onions and Brussels sprouts this morning, but too cold and windy. There is really no reason to clean around the walking onions, because they can't be killed.

    Madge just got back from the beauty shop. she drives through 3 small towns to get to the beauty shop she likes. On the way back she stopped in Mansfield AR to buy milk, paper towels, and toilet paper. She said that there was a guy there that drove down from Ft. Smith to get toilet paper. I find that hard to believe, but if my wife told me to get toilet paper, I would drive farther than that if I had to. I have plenty of seed, maybe I should plant some organic toilet paper.

  • jlhart76

    Thanks, Kim, but I have the seeds. I just haven't planted them yet.

    Our roommate has some medical issues and, to put it delicately, has no choice but to use a lot of toilet paper. So we have to stockpile just in case. So since we're low on a few things, we're planning to run to the store after I get off work & do our regular weekly shopping. That way I won't have to deal with insane crowds tomorrow or Sunday.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    That was GOOD, Rebecca! Words to live by. And I'll weigh in. "I've got my eye on you" with a creepy clown is definitely creepy in itself and definitely not funny.

    Good looking plants, Larry! I LOVE the Egyptian onions Amy brought me 2 years ago. They look so burly and healthy right now. (Two years ago? Wow.) That reminds me. I told Larry that the school has a billion seed packets. Well they don't, maybe only a few thousand. They're mostly from Burpee, Livingston, Park, you know, off the racks. But we have WAY WAY WAY too many. Most are from 2019, some from 2018. So we need to get rid of them. If the rest of you could use some, let me know. Suzanne has shared them with other schools, and given them out willy nilly to others. I probably won't get to the school until tomorrow or maybe even Monday. They have EVERYthing, and about 1/4 of the stuff is even sorted. :)

    I'm a little bit envious of all those blackberries! Do they do okay in less than full sun? For sure the school has to have blackberries, right? (And they DO have full sun.) I made the mistake of reading FB OK Gardening yesterday and Lori D made me search my soul to ask myself why I didn't have oakleaf hydrangeas. Well, I did, and realized I had to buy three immediately. (They're native! lol) Found them at Almost Eden. They'll be coming to me in the not-distant future. Now I have a dilemma. Do I really have to give TWO of them to the school? Maybe they just get one and I get two.

    Look what else came today. My emergency backup natives from Missouri Wildflowers. These are in case I can't get the stratified ones or the mystery ones to grow. Can never have enough plans, right? Plan A, B, and these little ones are Plan C. Twenty of the full sun ones for the school; 10 of the shade to part-shade for me. What a holy MESS they were to unpack. They were packed very well, just very messy--tons of damp shredded paper on top of them.

    85.9 degrees yesterday, 49 degrees today. It was chilly out there unpacking those plants.

    I just clean up the herbs as best I can, HJ--specifically the thyme, oregano, sage. I tore the catnip down to the ground last year and now it's up and in two additional spaces. The lemon balm. . . sigh. I need to go through that big bed with a wrecking crew for the lemon balm, evening primrose, and even the bee balm, in places.

    Marleigh, you have so many fruit trees and bushes! That's awesome. Did you plant them all, or were some there when you moved there?

    We have Garry's two pear and two apple trees. They look healthy, but haven't produced yet. This is their third year. He got two tiny apples last year, then it froze.

    Raining there, Dawn? HU? Everyone else? Kinda rainy here, but not at all significant, just enough, along with the chilliness to keep us indoors.

    Okay, I have work to do. I have to go read up laptops and decide whether to get a Mac or Dell.

  • HU-422368488

    Light rain here.Suppose to get heavier through the night.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Had a lovely lunch with my friends. Yes, I washed my hands as soon as I got home. ;) everyone is railing against being isolated and spouses frowned upon the outing, but we did it anyway. Someone mentioned a FB meme, a bag of leaves labeled toilet paper $10 . I just started a lot of Swiss chard. I've got it covered. And Jen, look at bidets that attach to the toilet tank. I'm afraid water would be cold this time of year. (Hmmm, could you get a dog bowl heater to warm up the toilet tank water???).

    Canning supplies...has any one used the reusable lids? Rubber rings and a plastic flat?

    None of my peppers in the sad, spilled pepper tray have sprouted. I soaked some more of all my pimento pepper seeds last night to make sure I would have them.

    Welcome Marleigh. This is definitely the place to learn about OK gardening.

    Have a nice weekend everyone.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Where is everyone, are our computers on lockdown also?

    I took some small sweet potatoes and placed them in a flat and set the under the lights

    ( for heat ) , I have never done anything like this and no idea what will Happen, they do have damp potting soil around them and under a heat mat, the mat is not on at this time. I also mixed up some liquid fertilizer to start feeding my plants.

    This damp cold weather makes me feel 10 years older.

  • luvncannin

    working in grocery store during this very strange time is not fun. I will say that Natural Grocers is awesome to us. So many added benefits for us during this time.

    it is sad to me these last minute hoarders grabbing everything and leaving very little for others. And so many scared panic rude people.

    y’all stay safe

  • hazelinok

    Larry, I had a crazy day and that's where I've been.

    I had hoped to get out of the office early, but instead got out of the office later than normal. Then, had to run to the bank. Came home and did the regular animal chores after noticing several things. The turtle was on the floor. She has a tank. What in the flippin' world? How did she get on the floor?! My large tray of tomatoes were askew on their shelf. The smaller tray was dumped on the floor. (I didn't leave them outdoors today because of the rain.) I saved them, I think.

    Then, the worst is Kane has injuries on his neck even though he was in his crate! What happened at my house today??? Cameras in our future.

    It is Friday the 13th, but...I have no words.

    Tom was at a neighbors so I cleaned up the kitchen and took a 20 minute nap and then we decided to eat at Blu. THEN, went to WM to get a different shower head---one that is removable so it's easier to bathe the dogs. (Two young boys were restocking hand sanitizer so I grabbed one before they put it on the empty shelves.) I came home, trimmed Kane's fur/hair and bathed him after Tom put the new shower head on. I gave Kane a doggie pain pill and will make up a salve tomorrow for his injuries.

    Everyone is exceptionally needy tonight and I'm tired.

    And there's more...but I won't go into it.

    Marleigh, I planted an Arapaho and Navaho. They are mostly out in the open.

    Nancy, get a Mac. If I had the money and needed a new laptop, that's what I would get!

    Kim, I got a nice email from NG today. Ethan was able to find zinc at NG yesterday.

    I just want a weather day like yesterday and want to garden and garden and garden.

  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Nancy—the Kieffer pear came with our house, though it has taken me a few years of pruning to get it into shape. It is a beautiful old tree, though. The rest I’ve been slowly adding each year—found a great deal on a huge (6’!) Red Haven our first year, then some apples and another peach, asparagus, blackberries, hardy kiwis, and the rest of the fruit trees over the past few years. I’ve lost a lot along the way, but I’m holding my own with the remainder for now.

    I have four elderberries from a friend to put in when this rain abates, and two cherry seedlings coming from another friend. Oh, and Jerusalem artichokes in the mail! I’ve been trying to trade for all my seeds and plants this year so my garden budget can go to improving the soil in my veggie garden. Hopefully I can parlay some irises or my spare tomato starts into horseradish or perennial onions or a black currant. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I got my Mac, HJ. I went into deep mourning when my last one died. (It served me faithfully for 8 years with nary a glitch.) I'm so excited about it!

    What KIND of weird day happened at your house!!! ??? Prayers.

    My plants are loving life on the grow cart! What a wonderful variety of various flowers/herbs/veggies. They are all so very happy, apparently. And so much less work this year. From now on, I will grow them in nothing except planting flats. The best thing about the flats is that you just pour the potting mix or seedling mix onto them and then spread the mix out with your hands. Takes like a minute. No little round cups or next up styrofoam cups.

    I just shortened my planting time.

    And I've had a blessed day, as have most have been since Garry and I got married and I moved down here.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Madge and I have both been grounded. My daughter called today and said to just let her and my granddaughter get whatever we need and they would bring it to us. I just ask Madge if she would be happy eating greens, of course she said she would. I expect this virus to blow over before long, but it might not. I have a lot of seed that I could plant, and we are stocked pretty good on food. I have a few greens planted now, and of course we know the stores are not going away, but they may not be stocked very well. We have not been stocking up toilet paper and paper towels, we have just been buying like normal. Madge says hoarding is causing a lot of the problems. I did buy 5 gal. of gas for the mower ans 10 gal of diesel today. Most of our meds are prescription and we cant stock up on those.

    I have never faced anything like this. I remember my parents talk about the depression and the 2nd world war, and how hard some things were to find and having to have a coupon to buy some things.

  • luvncannin

    Larry it’sa great time to stay home. I told my daughter to stay home I will get what she needs. It’s bad out there. I worked 10 hours yesterday and will again today. We are running a third to double normal sales.

    in the gardening world I left two flats of seedlings outside and spent the night at my daughters. Rained and probably ruined my little seedlings. so sad. i have many pounds of sprouting seeds I am going to start doing. It’ss quick way to get healthy greens into my diet.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Kim, I was joking with Madge yesterday and ask her if this being grounded would cause a divorce, she said, no, probably a murder. I love the way we can joke with each other, but I am hiding my guns anyway. I cut up with almost everyone, it's a wonder I have lived over 76 years.

    I think your plants will be okay if you can get them drained quickly enough. I planted a few of mine without being hardened off, I am expecting most to survive, if, they can survive being in a crocked row. I have to get my rear tine tiller running, my little Mantis is just beating me up. My soil has a lot of weeds, and the tiller pulls and jumps. I dont walk very well and the tiller tries to pull me off balance, and the bouncing hurts my joints.

    I have wanted to try sprouting, but I dont know anything about it.

    I bet working in a grocery store is a madhouse with this virus causing such panic.

    Well its late and maybe I should go back to bed. When I am hurting, and tossing and turning I normally get up so I wont wake Madge. lying in one spot seems to make me hurt worse and I dont like taking pain pills, so it is easier for me to just get up. Madge will be up soon and I can sleep for 2 or 3 hours alone in the bed and not worry about making her tired. We both do not want separate beds.

  • luvncannin

    It was a mad house. We ran more than double for a Friday store and produce as well.

    I like to joke a lot too and I think it keeps us being grouchy. lol

    I did drain my seedlings as soon as I got home but they were so muddy I didn’t bring them in the house. They would hate it in there. No windows yet. I need to study how to put in windows.

    I think I am to borrow the neighbors old swingset frame and cover in plastic for makeshift covering for all these seedlings I have in my car. Going To west TX next week so I need extra room

  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Larry—my parents are on prescription meds, too, and the insurance companies have started to loosen the restrictions on how many months you can have because of the concerns over supplies. Your doctor(s) should be able to help you get some extra months of pills called in. No harm in being ready!

    (Edited to add:) PS—If you take your sweet potatoes and cut them in half, you’ll have better luck getting plants. Cut them in half, then place them, cut sides down, in a shallow dish of water so the bottom edge stays wet. Put them in an indirectly sunny spot and they will make little green shoots. When those are 3” or taller, cut them off, leaving 1” of stem attached to the sweet potato to avoid potential disease contamination. Stick your slips (the shoots) in a fresh cup of water on a windowsill and wait for roots. Once you have roots, pot them up and let them go!


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Marleigh, I haven't been in a store for six days now, so the last time I was in one, it looked pretty normal, other than the few items that have been hard to find during the last few weeks of flu season anyway---hand sanitizer, cold and flu medication, etc. My son stopped by a Wal-Mart on his way home from work (he is a firefighter who works 24-hr shifts, so it must have been around 8 a.m.) yesterday and he said the store shelves were practically stripped bare. The Dallas area has had a rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases this week, so by Thursday, plain old panic and shopping panic was setting in. I don't know if he even needed anything or just wanted to see how the store looked. He did go to the tropical bird store and stock up heavily on bird food but that might have been largely because the virus outbreak in the Dallas area is escalating rapidly and he just wants to avoid being out shopping there for the next few weeks. He said traffic and rain in Texas were crazy, he saw 7 or 8 wrecks on his way home from Dallas, and was happy to be back in OK by the afternoon hours.

    Jennifer, We've been too hot, so I was sort of happy to see the cool weather come back for a few days. All too soon it will be hot to stay.

    I prune back perennial herbs like rosemary and lavender pretty hard in Spring once the danger of frost is past. You can tie your trimmings/prunings into little bundles and hang them to dry inside the house. They smell so yummy and make the house smell like the garden.

    When I find anything askew in the house, and in particular dumped seedling flats, it always is a cat, or more than 1 cat. The dogs sit and look at me innocently like "well, it wasn't me". lol

    Larry, I'd go ahead and plant that toilet paper seed if you think you can get a good crop in all this rain.

    They said on the news last night that the manufacturers and distributors have plenty of made-in-the-USA toilet paper and that the shortages are from panic shopping and not because there is an actual shortage. Some of the brands that are made in China won't be on shelves for a while though. It is shocking to me that we import toilet paper all the way from China though. The problem with panic shopping is that once people get in that frame of mind, it is hard to get them to calm down and go back to buying only normal amounts.

    Nancy, It has been raining, on and off, for more than 24 hours but mostly just a constant light drizzly rain, so we probably don't have much more than an inch in the rain gauge. The heavier rain went east of us all day and I was thrilled to see that. I hope that pattern continues today. As far as I'm concerned, the less rain that falls here, the better. Our weather folks keep talking about how much rain we're going to get over the next week and I just keep hoping someone else will get all those large amounts of rain and that we won't. So far that is kind of working for me.

    Amy, I'm not surprised that Lehman's is running out of stuff, I guess, because the food preserving community probably is prepping now for a long year in case the coronavirus makes constant rounds instead of pretty much vanishing in the heat the way that some viral illnesses do.

    I don't think citric acid goes bad. It probably has an expiration date on it, but I've never paid attention to that so I'm not sure.

    I haven't used those reusable lids like Tattler because, historically, I've given away so many jars of salsa, pickles, jams and jellies that I didn't want to have to worry about which products were canned with which lids, so I've just stuck with the regular lids. I intend to can less and give away less so I could use them now, I guess, but since I buy in bulk from Lehman's, I currently have a gazillion lids---certainly enough for this summer.

    Amy, It sounds like y'all had a lovely lunch today. Because we now are seeing more and more close coronaviruses in our regional area, we probably will start going out less, which may be hard. That's a part of me that just thinks we might as well go out and do what we want to do because Tim is out there dealing with the public in Dallas 5 days a week anyway, so if he is going to be exposed, it is going to happen anyway. There's at least one airline pilot with the virus, but I think there will be more. I guess I'll feel differently in the person in Gainesville awaiting their test results gets a positive test result--that might make me think it would be smarter to at least stay on the Oklahoma side of the border anyway.

    Amy, Maybe those pepper seeds need some heat. Mine are slower to sprout when it is cooler, but quick to sprout with some warmth.

    Kim, I was thinking of you yesterday as I heard the tales of panic shopping in the metroplex and hoping it wasn't too bad at your store. If everyone would calm down and not over-react, I think the stores would have plenty for everyone. We'll see if folks calm down after they get over the initial shock of understanding that (a) the coronavirus is here now---not in some far-off distant place, and (b) the President declared a National Emergency. I'm guessing the Emergency Declaration made a lot of folks freak out. I think the problem here in our country is that everyone has gotten very complacent, very used to being able to walk into a store and buy whatever they want pretty much 24/7, so when there is a temporary shortage of something, everyone vastly over-reacts. Also, I know a lot of us gardeners still cook and we often cook from scratch, but I know lots of other people for whom cooking seems to be a lost art--panic may set in as they realize they might not be able to safely go out to eat or pick up fast food daily. If the stores are running out of stockpiled food supplies, then sooner or later the fast food places will start running short too, and then the non-cookers will panic. Americans are not very good at that whole thing of staying home and hunkering down. We're pretty lucky here in our region because the government hasn't tried to lock down or quarantine entire neighborhoods, towns or regions (maybe in Washington state that should be happening). I cannot imagine how people here would react if told to stay home for 2 weeks or 2 months or whatever, but I'm thinking it wouldn't go very well. I feel prepared to do that if the government things such a move is necessary to stop the spread of the virus, but I don't know that I'd like the feeling of staying confined. So, it would be a mental challenge to stay calm and cool and to not feel like I wanted to rebel and go out somewhere just to prove that I could. I also don't think a lockdown would affect the rest of my family much---Tim, Chris and Jana all are essential personnel who'd still have to report to work no matter what. I guess if school cancels for a significant time frame, I'd have the girls here with me, and I'd be okay with that. : ) I hope you enjoy your trip to west Texas and get to spend some time with your little man.

    Larry, I remember people talking about using ration books, but it is hard for my mind to grasp. Everyone who could find a place to grow a Victory Garden did so, and I think that was great for people---to see they still could grow some of their own food. We've been incredibly lucky here in this nation since World War II and only rarely have faced shortages of anything, so I think we are very spoiled. I do remember the oil crisis of the 1970s, but even then I don't think it was impossible to find gas---it is just that the price was escalating rapidly, lines were long from panic buying to top off gas tanks constantly, and gas was very expensive at the time. I remember lots of people over-reacting somewhat and running out and buying tiny cars that didn't guzzle gas as much as the larger vehicles so popular then.

    I think for anyone maybe 60 or 65 or older, it is smart to stay home now as much as possible and avoid exposure to the coronavirus as it seems to be so much more deadly for older folks. It is hard for me to put myself in that older folks category, but it is where I belong now. I've been trying to be good and stay home and I'm sort of bored with it already. Texas declared a state of disaster yesterday which set off panic buying. I am wondering if that state of disaster is the only option the governor had because something called a state of emergency might not have gotten everyone quite so wound up.

    I had to laugh at the folks on the news---they were talking about the stores being out of bread as if it was some big crisis. I don't think it is a permanent shortage, but folks are freaking out like they do every time snow might fall in Oklahoma. I wonder how many people ever have baked their own bread? It isn't hard to do and is so tasty. Plus, when you have loaves of bread baking in the oven, the whole house smells yummy. Knowing the virus was happening and making its way towards us from other nations, I stocked up on flour and yeast a couple of months ago so I could ignore store shortages and just bake whatever we want. I probably do have a lifetime supply of yeast (if it would last that long) because Costco only sells it in bulk quantities that blow my mind. I think the one I bought (the only size they had) was 2 pounds. I was laughing at myself as I bought it, knowing I didn't need that much, but also not wanting to go to a regular grocery store and buy it in piddly little amounts either. The Costco effect is real---once you get used to buying in bulk, it is hard to be content with small amounts of anything. The upside is that once you're stocked up, you have enough to last a while.

    I still have an old Amish cookbook that my aunt gave me when Tim and I got married in 1983 and it has some great old recipes from back in the day when they had to work around food rationing and create tasty food using limited methods. One of them is for a mock apple pie that doesn't actually have any apples in it, and it is pretty good too. People can be so creative when they need to be. Maybe for the next few months or year or whatever, we all will need to be more creative.

    It is still raining out there. Everything is wet. I'm over it. I know in July I'll likely be wanting rain and whining about it, but we've been so wet for so long that our trees are growing moss and lichens all over them, which is not normal here.


  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Dawn & Nancy—I buy citric acid in bulk for cheesemaking, etc., and I’ve always stored it in the freezer after it’s open. Never had a problem with it keeping that way.

    Dawn—Lord have mercy! The panic is real everywhere. My husband works in retail/grocery, so I have real-time updates of what’s happening in Tulsa every day. There are no supply shortages other than hand sanitizer and face masks and some OTC medicines, but people are hoarding so much that the shelves are empty as soon as the staff can refill them. They’re getting deliveries every day that are twice as full of product as they were a few weeks ago, and everything is selling. They have put lower limits on items, though, so hopefully that will curtail the TP shortages.

    And amen to baking your own bread! I also buy the two-pound bricks of yeast. It’s nice to have unlimited baking potential. ;) I’m revivifying my sourdough starter, which was slightly neglected over the holidays. Amazing how resilient a starter can be!

    There is a book I’ve always wanted to read called “How to Cook a Wolf” by MFK Fisher. She was a well-known food writer and cook, and wrote it about cooking during WWII—basically how to make good meals during rationing. Maybe now is the time to find a copy.

    Sounds like the swallows who nest outside our living room are back. Even with all the uncertainty, it’s nice to hear birds chirping to the sunrise. Have a good day, everyone!


  • slowpoke_gardener

    For trade 2020, quality , slightly used toilet paper. Like new one side, always stored inside. Gently used by a little old lady who only had to go on Sunday. Will trade for old heirloom tomato seed.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Nancy, or whoever ask about my soil test, it came back today, but I don't understand it. I will try to call next week to see what I can do. It looks like I have too much of everything.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Where does it say what those amounts SHOULD be, Larry? LOL Don't they send instructions for interpreting it? https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1478 I never did get mine tested. I figured there were too many different parts to the property I had to corral, and I'm cheap. I know it's more alkaline. But then I have a lot of fake soil, too--all the stuff in the raised beds. And then there is the dirt in the back of the back yard that was trucked in; and and and. . . so on and so forth.

    Marleigh, I've been sitting here trying to figure out how I first became aware of MFK Fisher and her writing. I'm thinking it had to be through reading of Julia Childs or James Beard, but don't specifically remember--maybe not. At any rate, I have The Art of Eating. I do love reading great food writers' works.

    Dawn, I haven't baked bread since the early 80s. I had a control problem. I could not be trusted around toast from homemade breads. So I had to ban it from my kitchen. I'm not a real bread person, but fresh homemade bread, toasted. . . . slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar. . . . or a good jam. I wonder if I could even make bread now. I don't think I'll try.

    One of our go-to's for snacking when I was a child--graham crackers and milk, dipping the graham crackers in.

    Our freezers were getting too full, anyway. I figure we can just eat out of them until they're cleaned out.

    Oh my. . . it's all of a sudden heaven here. It quit raining (nearly 2"), and since the water runs off quickly, I was able to go for a stroll a while ago. Tiny and I were out for probably an hour. He is the BEST garden companion! And very hands on! Every time I leaned over to take a picture, there he was. Until we went into the raised veggie area. I was looking for valerian and he decided to supervise from the top of the fence. What a character!

    Well, I am liking the app, "Picture This." I took pics of many strange plants, as well as many I know (to test its accuracy). Judging by my "testing," it aced the test. This year is a bit different. Would this be because the yard is "maturing"? I noted that this year comfrey has sprouted up in 3 different places, tansy, 2. As I said, the penstemon cropped up in four different places. Dawn, I can't remember when you pronounced something to the effect of, "Spring is busting out all over," but up here, I am pronouncing today as that day.

    I asked one of our friends, whose husband is a doctor (retired), what he had to say regarding precautions with the Covid-19. He said he advised staying home as much as possible, especially for those over 60-65. She said that he "grounded" her, as she has respiratory issues. And he also said that for those over 60-65, it is SO much more dangerous than the flu. I believe we'll just lie low for a while. The school kids will be on spring break, as of yesterday, for a week. I'm glad. Didn't plan to volunteer this coming Monday. I don't know what will happen a week from Monday.

    Garry decided to test out the elk meat we got at Reasor's last month, so made chili! Yay--I didn't have to cook.

    This accidental lettuce cracked me up. And the plant Tiny's stepping on is the other valerian.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Nancy, a pamphlet came with the test, but I did not get a lot from it. There are so many variables. On P, K, and Zn. there is an "Optimum" range shown on the test, but I am way above that. I thought that I should be improving on my soil test, so pulled out some old test from 2011, and 2013. And as it turns out I am improving. I am cheap also, I use as much free stuff an I can get. I use to use a lot of composted oak leaves that came from around an old coal mine. The county agent thought that the leaves may have been high in mineral.

    The soil test here are free or I would not be getting them either.

    From the reading I have been doing, I should be okay, but need to watch what I put on the garden, because all the free stuff I have access to is going to be a little high in minerals. The county agent tells me that I live in a high mineral area.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    I grounded mom. She’s not unhappy about it. Took groceries to her today, and stopped and washed my hands before going over. Neither of us like not hugging.

    I love baking bread, so I don’t panic over not being able to buy it. It is dangerous, yes.

    Anyone ever tested out High Mowing’s guarantee? The only zinnias not up yet are their seeds. The ones I was most looking forward to. And they were this years seeds.

    I was was able to get all the groceries I needed today in 3 stops, but all 3 were planned because I needed stuff unique to each store.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    You're the one who needs grounded, Rebecca!! You quit running around to stores!

  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Nancy—I have a fondness for the great food writers who were working in the mid-to-late twentieth century: James Beard and Julia Child, plus MFK Fisher, Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Barbara Kafka, Patricia Wells…aside from Julia and Beard, they all labored along fairly invisibly, writing great recipes and essays. I have never had a James Beard soufflé fall! :)

  • hazelinok

    32! There's a low of 32 in my 9 day forecast! This just happened today!

    I'm so far behind and y'all wrote interesting stuff. I can tell l 'cause I scanned through it. I'll be back tomorrow. Work was cancelled because of C fears. I guess I'll clean house. A few people are supposed to come over tomorrow night for dinner.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I see a 33 and a 38 for next weekend, HJ. Frown emoji.

    Marleigh, I've collected a few great books about food stories. I LOVE them. I am not familiar with the other ones you mention (probably because they were laboring along fairly invisibly, and I was just a dabbler, compared to you, obviously--lol). I LOVED watching Julia and Jacques cook together. They cracked me up, and I sense the wine flowed generously. I also loved watching Two Fat Ladies. And then, more recently, I decided Bourdain's Parts Unknown was a marvel. I most definitely was not a fan of his early on. He was way too crude for me. But he won me over with Parts Unknown.

    Since you appear to enjoy the aesthetics of food and eating, Marleigh, I am going to guess that you may have seen "Babette's Feast." ?? One of my favorite movies!!

    I actually wanted to order from High Mowing, Rebecca, but couldn't fine enough of what I wanted from him. I'll be willing to bet that they'll honor your complaint. Let me know. And will you please stay home! No more running to three different stores. I worry about you guys over there.

    After hearing what our doctor (now retired) had to say, I know I am not overreacting. (He was only our doctor for six months. Our real doctor had retired, so we had to find a new one. We knew this fine man from our church, kinda, so called his clinic. It was great, but HE retired just a year later. What nerve!) Since then, we've become friends, and I trust what he says. I think the two most dangerous places for GDW and I to be are with the kids at the school and church. Sad. And though GDW may think I'm overreacting, I choose to stay away from church AND the school until I feel comfortable. As it is, there is hardly anything any of us in Oklahoma know for sure, as well as in the rest of the country. There are so few testing kits available. So few for sures. As the news says, it's quite possible many who have experienced very mild symptoms haven't even reported. It's like there is one big question mark.

    I also have been closely "listening" to what you have had to say, Dawn, as well as a couple other friends on FB, whose opinions I trust.

    I am SO ticked off with myself for 1) staring most of the seedlings too early; and 2) that I used mostly potting soil instead of starting mix, which means, basically, planted the seeds with steroids. DANG. Okay, if I live another year, I SWEAR I will have learned my lesson. From now on, I will NOT start tomatoes or peppers before March 1. And won't start any of the rest of the things in anything but seed starter mix.

    I took the advice of the "save the pollinators" and Bringing Back Nature to heart this year. I left the leaves. Well, I took the tsunami wave of leaves out of the yard proper, but left the leaves and everything else in the beds. They are a royal mess, but so wonderful to see that random weeds aren't sprouting up in those beds. So I see major growth clumps among the dead plants and leaves, and have been able to easily identify whether they were things I should be happy about or things that I know I need to get out. What a grand experiment, and I am sold. I'll share some ugly pics with you to illustrate my willful neglect.

    You get the idea. Leave the leaves, leave the dead branches. Leave EVERYTHING until spring of the next year.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    It rained on and off all day, though mostly drizzle and fog and mist, so I couldn't do anything outdoors. There was nothing I wanted to do indoors. So, we went to Gainesville "adventuring", just to see what was going on. There wasn't really anything much that we needed, though I wanted to get some sour cream and some ice cream if the stores had any. I was just thinking that if the coronavirus becomes too common around us, we'd just stay home but that hasn't happened yet, so I wanted to get out for a little while.

    Atwood's had a ton of plants outside, and I wanted to stay out and look at them, but it was raining, and it started raining harder, so I quashed that dream and went inside. I bought more vinegar for pickling and a few minor things, but nothing big. The major revelation was that the sell bacon grease (rendered bacon fat) as an official product! I think it was called Bacon Up, and they had small containers and really large ones. We've saved it from cooking our bacon forever and used it forever in cooking certain things, but I've never seen it sold in stores. It was kind of cool to see it there. Except for Atwood's being completely out of toilet paper and mostly out of paper towels, the store seemed normal. No panic shopping there.

    So then we went right next door to Wal-Mart, which did have several aisles with empty or mostly empty shelves, but once again, it was just the predictable items: beans, rice, pasta (all about 90-95% gone), canned meat and canned fish, soups, (about 90% gone), toilet paper and paper towels (100% gone), and bottled water (95% gone, and most of what was left was just distilled water in gallon jugs). I did buy us some sour cream, ice cream and a few other minor items but, really, most of the store looked fine.

    We didn't even go to the other side of the store, but I saw no hand sanitizer, liquid soap, rubbing alcohol, OTC painkillers and OTC cold/flu medications in anybody's carts, so I am sure those still remain sold out, as they largely have been for several weeks here. That's largely because it has been an awful flu season and those items have been hard to find since early January.

    Wal-Mart had a ton of plants out in the rain, so I didn't get to see them either, but I could tell as we walked by that they had a ton of cool season transplants that were getting pretty old and big, and a ton of freshly arrived smaller warm season transplants like tomatoes, peppers and squash. About the time we were leaving there, my son called and asked me to watch for brown rice because he could use it as part of a homemade bird food formula for his tropical birds if he cannot find more when their current supply is exhausted. Since there wasn't any rice in the two stores we'd just visited, we went to Tom Thumb, which showed the least signs of panic buying. They still had everything, though toilet paper was in fairly limited quantity and paper towels in very limited quantity. They still had all the other foods that were sold out at the Wal-mart up the road, and plenty of people shopping but nobody looked like a panic shopper or a doomsday prepper. I actually am surprised more people weren't stocking up, but maybe all those folks had done so on Friday, since that community had one person awaiting COVID-19 test results. I learned this evening the test was negative. Yay!

    If the weather is nice tomorrow, which is iffy because rain is in the forecast, I'd love to go plant shopping. I just don't want to do it badly enough that I'm willing to shop in the rain. I'm hoping all this rain keeps knocking down the pollen in the air.

    With family still down in the DFW metro, I follow the news from there closely, and panic buying made everything a big mess, especially at all the big box stores. Desperate metro shoppers were venturing into east Texas from the east side of Dallas, and driving as far as 80 miles without finding what they were looking for. Others drove north up to Sherman, and found a lot there, although I don't think Sherman residents were very pleased to have their stores invaded and raided. : )

    Really, adventuring today just reinforced two things: I'm glad we prepared in advance and weren't out frantically searching for a lot of different products. We easily could live without sour cream and Blue Bell Ice Cream if we had to. And, there's lots of plants in the garden centers and the rain is keeping me from seeing them, enjoying them and maybe buying some. Then we came back home to the land of mud and puddles, and I started hating on the rain all over again. Our driveway is a river and more rain is coming.

    Tim picked up and then dropped a flat of tomato seedlings on the floor. I was not amused but resisted the urge to kill him. I always tell y'all that he is a plant killer---when he comes into the garden, plants die, which is why he stays out of the garden at last 99% of the time. Now he has expanded his killing to innocent seedlings growing under lights indoors. I scooped up everything and saved what I could. There is a reason I always start more than we'll need to plant. Despite the broken and dead seedlings, I should have enough to plant since I wasn't planning on having that many this year anyway.

    Marleigh, Your husband has my sympathy. I cannot imagine how frustrating all this panic shopping is for people in his industry right now. I saw lots of reports today of many grocery retailers cutting back their hours, even 24-hour stores closing down at night, to allow employees to clean, disinfect and restock and I think that's a great idea. I hope it makes the situation more manageable for the store employees.

    Here's your book at the website of used book reseller, half price books online:

    How To Cook A Wolf

    Larry, Your nutrients do look high, but your soil pH is great. I hate soil tests. Trying to decipher them makes my eyes cross and my brain explode, so I haven't had one done in years. I figure if something is deficient in my soil, I'll be able to see signs in how the plants do or don't perform, and the plants I grow look fine each year and produce well so I just don't worry about it. Your area is like mine---high in minerals. That is the one good thing about clay soil---we are having to scramble and add various nutrients to the soil.

    Nancy, Are your freezers full of a lot of fish? (grin) That would be my guess. Our freezers are so full after we crammed in the ice cream that we cannot buy another single thing that needs to be in the freezer, but we will eat well without shopping while the coronavirus rolls through the region and makes going out increasingly risky. I did think twice about not going to Gainesville today, but I think this could be our last good weekend to be out rather fearlessly, so wanted to do it. The whole time we were out, I never heard a single cough in any store except in Wal-Mart where one woman was hacking up a lung just outside the lady's room, near the water fountain. Her coughing was so hard and painful it scared me for her. I hope she isn't walking around in public with pneumonia or bronchitis. The cases of coronavirus in the DFW metro are rapidly expanding although I haven't seen reports of any deaths from it yet, as they are similarly expanding in various other major Texas cities, so I think we'll avoid Texas after this weekend and just go north to Ardmore.

    Tiny is such a garden cat! I used to grow valerian for our cats, but it was such a garden thug that I really didn't want it in the garden and eventually dug it out. Sometimes a volunteer valerian plant still pops up in the yard outside the garden. Valerian has a pheromone that affects some cats the same way that catnip does, and our cats seemed pretty fond of it. They'd walk on it, lie on it, roll on it, etc. just as they did with catnip.

    Graham crackers with milk was a favorite childhood snack of mine too, and one I still enjoy occasionally as an adult.

    Rebecca, I am glad you grounded your mom. I'd be doing the same if my mom were still here. I worry about you being around all the sick people that come into the store, so please take good care of yourself too.

    I've never had anything from High Mowing Seeds that didn't sprout, but I've also not grown zinnias as winter-sown seeds or started them this early since they are true heat lovers. So, I don't know if you've got a germination issue due to the seeds or if maybe it still is too cool for them. Zinnia seeds ought to germinate in about 4 to 8 days if the soil temperature is 75-80 degrees, but will be considerably slower in cooler soil temperatures. I don't "think" the seeds would get cold rot if wintersown, though, because mine reseed every year and I get tons of volunteers in the spring. If cold, wet, clay soil doesn't kill them, then being wintersown shouldn't. Maybe your seeds just need some sunshine and warmth.

    Jennifer, I always expect late cold weather, but was thinking this might be the Spring that we don't have that. Now it looks like, from your forecast, there's a cold night lurking out there. I don't want to go look at my forecast because I don't want to see the same thing. I don't have any tomato plants planted out either in the ground or in large containers, but my son does, so I'll tell him he needs to watch his extended forecast.

    While the fruit tree blooms are fading as tiny fruit begin to appear on the trees, the native redbuds are blooming everywhere around us now, and a couple of days ago the first Indian Paintbrush in our wildflower meadow began blooming. While both of these plants will jump the gun and bloom before the end of the freezing weather, they usually don't get too terribly far ahead of the weather either, so seeing the paintbrush blooms made me think that maybe the cold weather is behind us now. Oddly, the redbuds are blooming just about right on time, and not a month early like the fruit trees were. It is interesting that they didn't jump the gun and bloom far too early.

    Look how much I wrote y'all! I practically wrote a book tonight. (grin) There's no one awake but me. The grandkids aren't here, the pets are asleep and Tim is upstairs, presumably asleep although his phone keeps ringing so I think he is half asleep and getting crisis calls from work. Today, at the airport (and at any US airport with inbound international flights where passengers must clear Customs), US citizens and residents rushing home to beat the travel ban found themselves packed into the Customs area like sardines (by the thousands at DFW) as they lined up to fill out questionnaires designed by the Department of Homeland Security and U. S. Customs. Let's just say that frustrated travelers were posting photos and complaints on Twitter and leave it at that. Maybe it wasn't the best choice for them to fly off on trips overseas with the coronavirus pandemic making travel more risky? The airports did not create this situation, and those two government agencies are trying to catch people who might be traveling inbound with coronavirus so they can keep us all a bit more safe. It just seems like an unfortunate situation for the travelers to find themselves caught up in. Maybe they should have stayed home and planted gardens or gone panic shopping or something....

    Kim, I hope you're having a great time in west Texas.


  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.

    Thanks, Dawn! They didn’t have it at Better World Books, which is my usual used book source. The husband is more stressed than usual at work, but retail is nothing compared to firemen, cops or doctors in all this. They’re going to bear the brunt of the frustration and burn out from the pandemic panic.

    We are opting to do social distancing for the next few weeks—my husband has to work, but otherwise we are keeping everyone home to minimize whatever impact we might have on the spread. Oklahoma has so few cases, we’d like to see it stay that way.

    I can’t believe your redbuds are already out! We still have flowering pears in full blossom and the trees are just starting to get a light haze of green. Amazing what a difference a half a day’s distance makes. My husband is also a plant-killer—he has mowed my gooseberry down (twice, but it lives!), killed a baby fig with a weed whacker, and has trod or mowed my squash and watermelon vines more times than I can count. He always feels terrible about it, but it’s just a fact that he can’t tell a pokeweed from a tomato.

    Nancy—Not especially knowledgable, but I learned to cook and bake (and garden) from books, so I’ve read as much as I could get my hands on over the years. I enjoyed Bourdain very much when he wasn’t on his “bad boy” schtick; he introduced us to the writings of Jim Harrison among other things and had real curiosity, which is perhaps what I like about all those writers. They genuinely wanted to understand the things they were doing because they loved them.

    I did a soil test when I first started my garden here, and I turned to Erica and Alice at Grow Abundant to help me decipher it. It costs $20, but they explain the results in plain English and give detailed recommendations on which amendments to use to correct your soil. I found them extremely knowledgeable and helpful:


    After four years, though, it only really comes down to amending the clay and adding nitrogen. It never ends.


Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268