March 2020, Week 4

As we start our fourth week of March, the rainfall is backing off a bit despite rainfall overnight, and the temperatures are warming up, so it seems like a good time to get busy planting warm-season crops now assuming you look at your own 7-10 day forecast and are comfortable with whatever overnight lows are shown there. My forecast looks fine and I wouldn't hesitate now to plant, assuming I don't find water puddled below the soil surface when I stick a trowel into the raised beds. I'm hoping this week's warmer temperatures and sunshine help the soil dry out, but must be realistic too---we have been abnormally wet for three months so I'm still going to have to deal with very wet soil for a while. A river of moisture flows underneath my garden from the higher ground next door during prolonged wet weather, so I cannot plant anything at grade level for quite some time yet, not until some of that underground river flows away.

Down here in southern OK, it is time to begin planting sweet corn now. We have to plant early to beat the heat down here so we can get good tip fill on the ears before the summer heat sets in. Once I plant corn (hopefully by the end of this week), then planting bush beans and yellow summer squash will fall into place afterwards. I hope to plant some of my tomato plants into containers today or tomorrow. My only hope of getting a good harvest of yellow summer squash organically is to plant early to beat the squash bugs. Later on, once the squash pests show up, I'll replace the yellow squash with the Korean summer squash varieties that are C. moschata.

The window to complete late plantings of cool season crops is rapidly slamming shut. Technically it is too late to plant them now, but I think late plantings of most cool-season crops could work as long as you get them into the ground or into containers this week. I probably wouldn't plant brassicas this late down here in southern OK, but I've gotten away with planting them very late some years as long as I got them planted by April 1st. Green peas, whether English or edible podded, still might produce a crop if planted this week, but much depends on how early the heat arrives. I'm skipping most cool-season crops this year due to the persistent rainfall and waterlogged soil that have made planting impossible thus far, but hope to at least plant some onions (small onions are better than no onions), lettuce and kale this week. Of course, if it keeps raining heavily like it has been, it won't matter what I plant---the constant moisture and heavily waterlogged soil will make getting a good crop difficult.

It probably is mowing time if you haven't mowed your beautiful collection of lawn grass and winter weeds yet. Well, it is time to mow whenever it is dry enough to mow.

Remember to finish up any pruning chores soon. Prune spring-blooming shrubs and vines as soon as they have completed blooming.

Hummingbirds are showing up in southern OK now, so it is time for us to put up our feeders. I'm going to do that today. They are a little early, but we have had a lot of intermittent warm weather mixed in with cooler weather and trees bloomed early and leafed out early, so the early arrival of hummingbirds is not totally unexpected. One thing I haven't seen yet is the purple martins, and that is odd. They usually are back by now.

I saw aphids on plant transplants at a garden center last weekend, so keep your eyes open for them in your garden. The weather definitely is warm enough for them now.

Watch out for fire ants if you have them in your area. Ours down here are really ticked off by the constant moisture and have climbed up into large containers, raised beds and places they simply don't belong...like inside our tornado shelter and even up onto the porches. I do have some organic fire ant killer to feed those lucky little devils. You know, it is not a good thing when you flee to your hidey hole during a Tornado Warning and find yourself sharing space with a scorpion (quickly killed), spiders (non-venomous, so we ignored them), fire ants and pill bugs. The fire ants are trying to build a nest in the door frame...in the spot where the door slams shut when you close it, so I'll spray that area with orange oil today. The pill bugs were on the interior walls of the tornado shelter. I don't know why. Maybe the ground is too wet for them, but I'm going to vacuum them up with the Shop-Vac today. I would like to have less critter company in the tornado shelter the next time we use it.

That's all from here. What's up with y'all this week? Remember, in the gloom and doom of this viral pandemic, gardening can be very therapeutic. And, as well, with food supply chain interruptions likely to be an ongoing issue for a while, it can only be helpful to grow as much of your own produce as possible.

Oh, and one more thing....don't wait to late to get any more seeds you need. Some seed companies have been overwhelmed with new seed orders the last few weeks and aren't accepting any more online orders as they struggle to regroup and to cope with the COVID-19 issues. If you need something now in terms of seeds, picking up what you find locally might be your best bet. If you remember how hard it was to find seeds in a timely manner in 2008 and 2009 when the economic recession caused a lot of new gardeners to start their first gardens, then you'll understand why it is important to get the seeds you need now. Supply and demand is a real thing and it affects gardeners and our access to resources---not just seeds but tools and other supplies as well.

Have a great week everyone.


Comments (112)

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Well, won't be going to a doctor any time soon. Hopefully I'll be fine by the time I could see a doctor. I'm hoping just a bit of arthritis in the hip joint, yes Dawn. I will quit whining now. :) My lay expert Amy was advising me on treatments. She ought to know--bless her!

    For me, Dawn, eating out is more about food that I don't prepare here--like Lopez's great fajitas, subs, or the "Chinese" buffet. It doesn't take me as long, most of the time, to prepare dinner as it does to drive into town and back. Besides, I feel like I have to change clothes from my less-than-pristine garden clothes. If I had a hubby that was going to work and back, I'm sure we'd have far more takeouts!

    Still alive is good, right, Kim? I'm happy you'll have a chance to get away from the job for a few days. It must be so stressful!

    I'm excited-- I moved EVERYTHING off the grow cart and realized there's a good chance it won't have to come back in! Hallelujah! I'm just starting the hardening off for peppers and tomatoes, but by placing them strategically on the deck, they'll get an hour of sun today, 2 tomorrow, and so on. I just need to move the trays a little each day The shade hits next to the house first, and full sun to 4-5 pm 12 feet away on the edge of the deck.

    I am going to go tackle the garage (gardening supplies, cardboard boxes that need to be broken down.) The shop is neat as can be. The garage is MY responsibility and I failed miserably the past few months.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    I was out for about an hour today, mainly in the shade. Unloaded a few bags from the back of the car, up potted a couple things, opened some jugs to get things hardened off, and rearranged some of the totes, to get things ready to harden off separated from things that aren’t. Also moved most of them to the shade for the next few days. Once it cools down a bit I’ll clean the Black Kow out of the hatch. ( yes, really )

    I‘m slowly coming to terms with the likelihood that SF will not happen this year. But, if it means we are all still here to have it next year, it’s worth it.

    Porters are definitely behind the other tomatoes. The current strongest? Amelia and Patio. Fourth of July might catch up.

    Started a big flat of gazania seeds too.

    Tomorrow is putting some some things in the ground, more potting up, and prepping beds and bags. And cleaning up the Black Kow.

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  • jlhart76

    Someone posted a video on facebook of this doctor showing how to properly sanitize your groceries when you bring them home. Great, one more thing to worry about.

    Day four of working from home. I'm glad we have the option, because without it I'd either be burning through my annual leave or forced to go to the office. One nice perk is I can run outside & check my seedlings during break & lunchtime.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    All my plants are outside also. I have been mixing potting soil and compost to pot up my Roselle plants in. I have 11 of them in different size pots so daughter and granddaughters can pick the size they want. They all will have to go into larger pots or in the ground at some time, but my granddaughter in Stillwater will have to have small pots, and maybe smaller plants to be able to haul her plants home. She lives in an apartment and does not have a lot of room.

    Nancy, I have had some very understanding doctors through the years, and can get about anything I need in the form of medication. I don't like taking medication, but there are times when it is a lifesaver. As I have gotten older it seems as though I need more medication. I am in hot water with my doctor now because I am not drinking enough water. I use to get cortisone shots. Most of them went in the hurting joint, it really helped, but not for long. They would last longer if I went home and laid around and give the joint time to heal, but it is hard for me to stay in the house and do nothing. I dont take the shots anymore because there is no need in me wasting the medication if I am not smart enough to follow instructions. I come in and rest every few minutes, that is when I get on this computer and read this forum.

    I will go back out side now and pot up a few more plants. My Poblano peppers will be next, then I will start harvesting sweet potato slips. I am going to plant a lot more than I had planed because of Covid-19. I may not need everything I plant, but I am sure I can find someone that will need it.

    I am going to start some more Roselle, those plants really impress me. Some of the roselle that I am potting up today will go to one of my doctors who lives a couple of miles from me.

    I plowed 3 furrows in the north garden, which I will mix in compost and build a raised row to plant on. I dont like putting the tractor in the garden because it packs the soil too much, but I am afraid it is the only way I can plant on time this year.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Yay, I got the garage clean this afternoon. I kept walking in all evening and just looking at how nice it looks. I think what was causing me to procrastinate was spiders. Used to be a lot of spiders in there. There really weren't now. . . .but I put gloves on and then felt safe and secure so full steam ahead. I messaged the only local nursery we have in Wagoner and asked them if they could use a bunch of plastic pots. They said, "SURE," and thanked me. SO tickled about that.

    What the heck am I going to do with 60-70 tomatoes and peppers if we're not having SF! SHEESH. I'll have to think this through.

    I'm in love with the peppers this year. They are a handsome bunch! Tulsa peeps, let's try to figure something out. And basil! I have more basil than anyone has a right to have. Frostweed's my new favorite just because it's so easy to grow. Dawn, Larry--it's a good un. Larry, it'd probably be a lot easier to grow than partridge peas. Check it out. A very attractive plant, to boot! Gets tall--4-5 feet.


    I did plant quite a few Tithonia indoors and will have bunches for the school. I am so excited about all the stuff I'll have for Lincoln!! Two elderberries 2 oak leaf hydrangeas. Lots and lots and lots of natives, but not that many milkweeds. . . probably only about 6, and 4-5 for me. Lots of aromatic asters, petunias, coleus, cosmos, cleome, bee balm/Bergamot, I'll take them some of your catmint, Dawn--by the way, I ADORE catmint!. Also, every single tall bellflower seed I sowed sprouted! Tons for me and tons for school. Cleomes for the school. I have an embarrassment of riches in great plants this year!

    I am keeping both the American Beautyberry shrubs, per debarron's great advice. I will keep both of them and take cuttings for the school. Thanks again, debarron. AND I took cuttings from my own 2 elderberries, and hope to grow those little twigs. They're lookin' good.

    I am thinking of and praying for all of you who have to be showing up at your jobs and are thereby putting yourselves at risk. Garry and I are so very undeservedly lucky.

    Oh, getting really sleeeeeeepyyyyyyy. :). Blessings.

  • johnnycoleman


    i will be growing Jute this year for the first time. Any thoughts? Here is a video about it.


  • hazelinok

    Thanks, Dawn. HU worked really hard on it and even tilled it again this morning and raked out Bermuda, although there surprisingly wasn't much Bermuda.

    Moni. Glad you're back! I did only clip the feathers on one wing and it has worked very well so far. :)

    Rebecca, are you feeling better? I've never grown Porters, so I can't help there. So...you had a Black Kow incident?

    I'm really sad about Spring Fling. It's the one social event I actually look forward to.

    Kim, is the Shindig the one that Jessica, Root and Refuge and friends host?

    I'm glad you're clearing off your light shelf, Nancy! It won't be long until those plants are in your gardens! I also have 60+ tomatoes. Many of them are dwarf varieties though. I've promised several to friends around here.

    Johnny, thanks for sharing your video. Does your group still work with St. Francis of the Woods?

    After my errands, I came home and looked over everything. The crepe myrtles are waking up...and the chaste tree. The fig is not. And the blackberries that I planted just a couple of weeks ago are still just sticks in the ground. The columnar apple trees and elders are leafing. The hydrangea is too! The hibiscus isn't at all. And there's two of them. :(

    I was surprised by a cheerful yellow daffodil yesterday. Then I remembered placing it there a few months ago. At my friend's mom's funeral there was a basket of daffodil bulbs and everyone was encouraged to take one and plant it in her memory. She loved her flowers. Of course I took a pic of it and sent it to my friend. It made her so happy. She said she's a had a few people send her pics. <3

    I'll probably eat my first asparagus of the year this weekend! It seems so early for asparagus.

    Ethan's trip was officially cancelled. He will be reimbursed all of the money except around $250, which seems wrong to me. He was told not to come to work, but his boss called him today and said they were working on getting even the part-time student employees paid. All of his classes are online now...even his private music lesson is done through facetime. We're all saying to each other, "I have a Zoom meeting at so-and-so time so please be quiet or leave the house." LOL

  • johnnycoleman


    Yes, we will work with St Francis again but not until this crisis is over. I am almost 70 and have a weak heart so I'm staying away from crowds. I plan to work alone all season.

  • jlhart76

    One nice perk of work from home is I got an extra hour in my day. I normally spend from 7 to 8 getting dressed and driving to work. This week I've spent it in the garden. If only we could do periodic work from home, I'd go in once or twice a week & stay home the rest.

    This morning I got onions planted. Late I'm sure, but I usually just eat them as scallions anyway, so I don't care if they don't make bulbs. My sister in law is on a seed starting kick so every day she's digging through my stash & planting something. At this rate we're going to need a lot bigger yard!

    Nancy, I don't know what I'm going to do with all my tomatoes, either. If we don't have SF, I'm going to have gobs left over.

    Time for my "commute" to the kitchen table.

  • johnnycoleman


    We pressure canned some tomatoes last year. They sure were good mid Winter.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Johnny, I know you know this, but just a reminder---you will not be working alone. The Good Lord will be with you every step of the way as you continue to do good works for your community. Stay safe, friend.

    Moni, I was so glad you made it back to the USA and OK safely. One day you must tell us about your journey. I hope you're getting caught up on your rest.

    Rebecca, Yes, Porter seedlings often look sort of weak and wimpy as young plants, but they are really strong and hardy and very heat-resistant once established. If you have the original Porter variety that produces pinkish ovate (egg-shaped) fruit, it is a variety that will produce all summer long even after every other variety fades in the heat.

    Cup and saucer vine is a heat-loving annual but is easy to grow here. I believe it is native to Mexico and some parts of South America, so tolerates Oklahoma weather pretty well.

    I'm glad your symptoms remain minor and I'm cheering you on to better health from down here.

    Kim, Just think of how much you'll be able to get done on your staycation! That will be nice, and you always can go to that event next year if life has settled down and returned to normal.

    Jen, Oops. I have not been sanitizing any groceries we've brought home, but we haven't bought a lot because we already were well-supplied. I guess if we go to the store any more, we'll need to do that. We're kind of at the stage where we don't necessarily want to go out any more than we must, but boredom could set in and change that. I know people who are sanitizing their mail too, and we haven't been doing that although maybe we should. (sigh) It is so much to think about each and e every single day.

    Larry, Be sure and give those roselles lots of room. I have space them at 4' apart and 5' apart and they grew into a solid hedge either way. It is just a lot easier to harvest the roselles in the autumn if they aren't quite as crowded.

    Nancy, Plant all the edible plants you can wherever you can in case the pandemic worsens in food-growing areas and fresh produce gets expensive or scarce this summer. You'll have plenty of peppers and tomatoes, and always can barter them with other gardeners for other produce or just give them to folks who need them. If ever there has been a year to go overboard with planting, this might be it.

    I know y'all are disappointed about the Spring Fling, but there's always next year, assuming this historic pandemic has faded away by then. Remember that the 1918 pandemic lasted a couple of years and came in three separate waves. We just have to hope for the best and assume we will be able to have a SF in 2021. This year it just isn't safe and would, of course, violate the ten-person gatherings rule for sure. So far, we seem fairly well-insulated from having COVID-19 running rampant in OK as it is in some other states, but it is too early to know if that will continue or if the number of cases will grow exponentially.

    Jennifer, At least Ethan is getting back most of his money. Often, with travel deposits, if you cancel you lose it all, especially if booked through a tour group or a travel agency. That is one reason that so many people (in my opinion, stupid people) keep going on all these cruises and getting get nothing in return for the thousands of dollars they paid for their cruises. I know people who have tried to cancel their cruises that are still 3 or 4 months away and they are being told there is no refund at all.

    Yesterday it was so hot that I mostly stayed inside but today I'm going to work in the garden.

    A feral or stray cat (I don't know where they all are coming from) gave birth to 5 kittens yesterday in our dog yard. Yes. In the dog yard. I found them because Ace was standing guard over them and wouldn't come in when called. Usually he tries to kill anything that gets into the dog yard (rabbits, birds, whatever) and he is not a huge fan of cats so I really am surprised he didn't hurt them. Whatever would possess a cat to give birth to kittens in a dog yard? We put them in a box and moved them to the garage for their own sake, and then mama cat hid them somewhere in the garage so we wouldn't know where they are. After we moved them, Uncle Ace was frantically searching the yard for "his" kittens and was disappointed that he couldn't find any.

    Tim found two Japanese beetles on the back porch last night. I told him that we almost never have those down here and it is too early, but he insisted they were JBs (and they did look like it to me when I looked out the laundry room window at them). They had them in PA where he grew up so he is very familiar with them. It is such an odd year. I thought maybe he was seeing June bugs, but nope, they were big old beetles. I'll look for them today to see if I can confirm the ID.

    This is the fourth or fifth consecutive year that the asparagus has been fairly early. Our winters just aren't cold like they used to be---the cold weather seems spotty and must not last long enough to keep the asparagus from breaking dormancy early.

    There are two cases of COVID-19 in the Texas county across the river from us---Cooke County, where Gainesville is the county seat. Both of them are health care workers---one in a nursing home and one in a medical clinic. So, now it is north of us, east of us and south of us. I feel like it is likely to hit our county any time, but since it hasn't yet, we might order a pizza tonight and go into town and pick it up. These small local businesses who have had to shut down their dining rooms need all the business we can give them. It isn't easy to survive in a really small town anyway, so everyone here is really concerned that we'll lose them if this goes on for too long.

    Some of the officers in Tim's department had to deal with a person a couple of days ago who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was supposed to be self-quarantining at home. Instead, he or she decided to come to work at whoever their employer is at the airport. They got caught because in whatever town they live in, the fire department is visiting quarantined persons and checking on them to make sure they are staying home and, of course, that person was not home when the FD came knocking. (I am relieved to know someone is checking to make sure they are self-quarantining.) So, the police went and located the person but didn't have on the proper PPE and didn't want to get near that person, so held them from a distance while the FD sent EMS with an ambulance and medics wearing the appropriate PPE and they took the person away. Tim didn't know what they did with that person, where they took him or her, or anything....he was just glad they got them off the property. How can anyone be so irresponsible that they would go out in public knowing they are carrying the virus? You know, any time any of us venture out in public, we could be out with a person like that. I try not to think about that.

    Our friend who is hospitalized with pneumonia was improving yesterday, which is really great news.

    Plants. I need plants. I want plants. I am going to go buy some plants this weekend. We'll go really early, get what we want and come right back home. As much as I want plants, I don't think it is worth being around too many people and risking exposure to a contagious person. Previously, I would have chosen to go to Gainesville, and maybe I still will. It hardly matters I guess---we have cases in Ardmore, where Lowe's has a lovely selection of plants, and we have cases in Gainesville, where Home Depot has a lovely selection of plants. (So does Atwood's.) So, the risk likely is about the same in either city. I always thought I'd know "when" the risk seemed high enough to stay home, and I think we are getting close to that now....but maybe this weekend could be pretty safe since the number of cases in either city remains extremely low.

    Y'all know rain is coming next week? Our local TV meteorologist says it might be quite a bit, but I looked at the 7-Day QPF and it didn't scare me too badly. Here it is:

    7-Day QPF

    Have a good day everyone, and if you are supposed to be working from home, remember to do some of that work before you slip out to the yard and garden and do the work you really want to do! (grin)


  • slowpoke_gardener

    Johnny, Nancy, I am sorry, I posted a reply last night before going to bed, but must have forgotten to press submit.

    Johnny, I have no thoughts at all on jute. i have never thought of it being something to eat. Your video has me wanting to buy some seeds. When I have heard the word JUTE I think of BURLAP, which itches me like crazy. I have to order some seeds just to see if it taste as itchy as it feels.

    Nancy, I also want to order some frostweed seed. I think that I have seen some weeds like this on the place in the past. But back then, if it were not something that a cow would want it was just a weed. I feel different now and want to support all critters. Of course cows will be the main focus . The 8.2 acres the wildlife garden is on is not fenced so we cant keep cows on it. My daughter owns that now and she has told me to do anything I wanted to with if, so I have been dumping a lot of work and a good hunk of change into it. This year I have planted 24 blackberry plants, 5 elderberries, plus I have planted a lot of clover and other things in the past. I hope to have it looking like a pretty building site, but I will have a critter kingdom for at least several years.

    I started making places in the food gardens yesterday to plant on, I pulled my middle buster through the garden, running it as deep an I could. I will now till in compost and make "hills" every few feet so I can have my plants higher above grade. I did that year before last in the wildlife garden and it worked fine. I will leave places between the hills to serve as ponds to hold water when, or if it rains. I can also use the garden hose to fill the ponds if needed. I fixed 3 rows like that, that will give me enough area to do my early planting.. The south garden is higher and could be planted now if I could only get it ready.

    I harvested 41 sweet potato slips yesterday, which should be planted now, but it is much too early, so I potted them up, Which I dont like t do because you often get deformed potatoes if they stay in the pot too long. I also potter up 11 Roselle, they are beautiful plants. I have 4 or 5 more coming on, and I plan on planting more. Some, I want to plant next to the highway in the wild life garden. I will also plant a lot of zinnias there. The partridge peas will be planted farther back, between the zinnias and my Seminole mound over the log pile, which is in front of the blackberries and elderberries. The frostweed, if I can find any seed will be planted north of the thicket that I have left on the property. That area stays too wet and shady for a lot of plants to do well. My clover does very well there. The critters like to come out of the thicket there and eat.

    I need to clean of my light shelf also, but I want to start a few more plants and I like to start them in a somewhat controlled environment.

  • hazelinok

    That amount of rain doesn't look too terrible for us. I know so many you need zero rain for awhile.

    Dawn, I am very happy that Ethan will be refunded most of his money. $250 is a lot for a kid his age, but I am happy in general with it. His trip was through Study Abroad or something like that. It's just a small thing, but so disappointing that the trip (and everyone else's trips) are cancelled. He's at that age that is perfect for travel and I encourage my kids to do so before they're tied down with "real" adult life.

    Working from home can be good, Jen, if you can avoid distractions. That is my biggest issue and I only have a teen kid at home. However I have bratty animals who think I'm their servant and/or want my attention constantly. We're trying to get Diana to live peacefully with the other cats. During the mornings I've left her door open and there's a lot of hissing and growling, but overall I think it's getting better.

    Y'all have been talking about ants. For us, it's that flying bug that looks like a giant mosquito, but isn't. I thought they were called mayflies, but they're not. They won't stay out of our house. And there's a ruckus because the cats feel it's their job to hunt them. Speaking of hunting, Finbar left us a medium sized rat last night.

    Another small thing, but means something to me. Stella isn't acting right. She's distancing herself from the other hens and isn't interested in eating. She is one of my originals, so is very, very special to me. Special enough that I hired an artist to paint a canvas of those 4 hens. With those four, I know/knew their distinct personalities so well...because I watched them all the time. I wish MyPetChicken sold buff minorcas, which is what she is. She is five...and I know that is a good age for a hen, but some hens live twice as long. I have her daughter. Eve hatched from her egg last summer.

    Dawn, I want plants too! I held off on the Bonnie plants when we went to Lowes because I'm planning to visit Prairie Wind next Saturday. Hopefully will pick up my elderberries then too! Also, HU brought a lot of veggie plants. I was able to plant the lettuce he brought as well as the remaining seedlings that I started. The salad garden looks great. It was so hot yesterday that I put a shade cloth over it.

    Hopefully we will get to mow tonight. I have to work at some point, but am waiting on everyone's availability. I have to be around people for this, but just two...and we will keep our distance. We have to make a video. ugh.

    Hope everyone is able to get some fresh air today (on your own property of course)!

  • hazelinok

    For everyone working at home and learning Zoom!

    A few of you around my age might remember this. LOL

    It's been stuck in my head for a few days.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Johnny, I've grown jute (also known as Egyptian spinach, and various spellings of molokhia. It thumbs it's nose at heat and drought. Grasshoppers MIGHT eat it, but I've never seen bugs on it. It is a relative of okra I think and has that slimy texture when boiled. It can be used to thicken soup. It is highly nutritious. It can be dried to make a tea. I will have to watch your video to see that recipe. I wish I liked it better cooked in the traditional recipe. I can't get past the texture.

    My plan is to go plant things today.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    I remember Zoom! Blast from the past.

    Dawn its it’s nice to know that my Porter seedlings look normal. I was worried. They are supposed to be the egg shaped ones, and the seeds are from Seeds n Such, so they should be true. Would you plant the cup and saucer vine now? It’s huge in its jug.

    I am going to have to run to the garden center this weekend. Don’t think I can get around it, and I want to support them right now. I have a mask that my mom’s friend made me. I need a couple of big pots, cat grass and spinach seeds, some planting fertilizer. Also some stakes so I can mark off the location of the daffodil bulbs I need to divide this fall.

    I agree with you Dawn, we need to grow a lot of food this year. I’m planting extra Porter, Heidi, and cherry tomatoes this year, to withstand the heat. Thinking I’ll grab a couple Creole from TMD too, as they always tough out the heat for me too.

  • johnnycoleman


    i prefer to grow food that likes to grow here. I want to find a canning recipe for Jute.

    Maybe I will use the Jute leaves in soup that I pressure can.

    We'll see.

    Thanks, Johnny

  • Lynn Dollar

    HU .......... my Dad on my Grandad's farm just after he got home from WW II.

  • HU-422368488

    Looks familar .

    Thanks Lynn Dollar

  • HU-422368488

    Hey Jennifer. johnnycoleman got a good layout for the garden space.


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    • HU
  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Johnny, if you don't mind boiled okra, aka gumbo, then you probably won't mind Jute. I want to say that Bon grew it years back and she might have eaten it raw. The lady in the video was picking young plants, which may be the secret. They will grow 5' tall before they seed. They make skinny okra looking pods and I always wondered if if you could eat them or the seeds. Might have to try this year.

    Here's some recipes. I have not tried them.


    I was potting up tomatoes when the thunderstorm came through. .17" in like 10 loud minutes. But now everything is wet and my momentum is broken.

    Dawn, that is cool about Ace. He recognized the kittens were helpless and needed protecting. Think Honey would protect chicks if we got some? Probably not.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Just the way to begin Gardening 2020 for you, Dawn! Japanese beetles and another crop of kittens. Wow! I so enjoyed your encouragement about growing stuff to eat! Yes! Especially at the school! And it will be wonderful to have extra plants for people. I'm just NOW beginning to clear out the beds--what a mess! This is my very first day of spring clean-up. And it was glorious. Overcast all day, temp mid to high 70s. Perfect weather for all the little plants and seedlings on the deck--and out in the yard and beds. My heart just overflowed with joy, being out in the middle of all these plants coming awake--and some delightful new ones, some not so delightful new ones. I LOVE the effect that "leaving everything all winter" seemed to have. "The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth. One is nearer God's heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth."

    And since I'm a novice compared to many of you seasoned gardeners, I am REALLY enjoying the PictureThis phone app for helping me ID plants I don't now. And it makes me wonder how many important native grasses, forms, shrubs and trees I've torn out. I'm not believing everything it IDs, but will keep an eye on those I'm uncertain about and check them as they grow.

    I got a great laugh a while ago. I know I've mentioned how Doug Tallamy's book, Bringing Nature Home, and how it impacted me. I was reading reviews on the book and came across this: "This is the kind of book that makes me want to jump up in the middle of the night and go plant a hackberry tree." I laughed so hard--and thought, "Well, I don't know what a hackberry tree even looks like, but me too!" Can you imagine how hard I laughed when my Picture this ID's two small saplings, about 2 1/2' tall--HACKBERRY TREES!

    I still cannot believe the penstemon digitalis has spread like it has. I had no idea it spread by rhizomes. I guess that could be a good thing or a bad thing. But it's fine with me if it takes over that bed. Such a pretty plant. I didn't get much clearing done today, but I sure did enjoy exploring and being out there.

    Finally, we're going to the school tomorrow to plant stuff. And then we'll go to our Walmart "pick-up" appt. No fresh or frozen beef, pork or chicken. There are frozen "meals" with those ingredients, but I'm not interested in those. Took me an hour to finish the order list, just finding substitutes for things I wanted, as well as trying to use a little ingenuity.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Amy, It was odd behavior for Ace because he really dislikes cats and he thoroughly hates and kills things like bunnies or possums that manage to squeeze under the fence and get into the dog yard. He is part blue heeler and high energy, and our cats give the dog yard a wide berth when walking through the yard---they probably don't walk within 6 or 8' of the fenced dog yard because the dogs are just going to run up and down the fence line barking incessantly. If Ace is indoors with a cat in the same room with him, he behaves and doesn't bark and doesn't bother the cat, but that doesn't mean he is fond of them, just that he knows the rules and he tolerates sharing space with the cats in the house. His yard, though? I never know what he'll do, so I feared I'd run out there and find a bunch of dead kittens. I was so relieved to be wrong about that. He misses the tiny kittens and searches the yard for them endlessly, so maybe they made him feel paternal.

    Ace is a chicken killer---if a chicken stupidly flies into the dog yard (we put up a 10' high fence to keep them out of there) when we aren't home, we arrive home to a dead chicken. So, I was hugely proud that he seemed to be protecting the kittens and not hurting them. I'd never trust him with a chicken of any age or any size. Do you think Honey could be trusted? It is hard to gauge. When Jet was very young, he 'retrieved' chickens, killing them in the process. I think it was just a natural instinct to retrieve since he was part lab. We were able to teach him not to hurt them as he matured, but it took serious training to overcome his natural instinct. Once he was older and trained, he could walk around with free-ranging chickens and not even look at them---it was like they weren't even there. Some dogs will learn to peacefully coexist with chickens, but others seem unable to accept that the chickens are not prey. I cannot imagine Ace ever would be able to peacefully coexist with chickens like Jet did, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Honey? I guess you'd have to try and see. Some big dogs just think (unfortunately) that chickens are living dog toys. You know, I was just thinking---none of our dogs ever bothered the turkeys. Not a single time. I wonder if the size of the turkeys played a role in that? If so, all you need are the world's largest chickens (freakishly large) and maybe Honey could coexist peacefully with them.

    Nancy, No matter what anybody says about hackberry trees, I'd never plant one on purpose. I hate, hate, hate them. If you have two, they'll reseed and soon you'll have a thousand and they'll pop up in every garden bed and every spot of nice soil and you'll spend the rest of your time yanking them out, digging them out and cutting them down. The amount of work getting rid of them is monumental. In Fort Worth we had neighbors who let them grow into/over/through our shared fence and the trees literally gobbled up the fence and grew right over it/through it. Picture a chain link fence embedded inside multiple tree trunks. Since the trees were on the neighbors' side of the fence, we really couldn't do anything about it except cut off the limbs that hung over the fence and dropped seeds into our garden, pool, etc. We did everything we could to keep them from taking over our city back yard. New trees sprouted in every square inch of soil every year. They are just too aggressive for me. If we had endless amounts of time and nothing else to do, I'd drag Tim and a chainsaw around and cut down every hackberry and sugarberry on our 14+ acres. Their favorite place to grow is on the edge of the woods beside our garden and they are doing their best to stage a coup and take over the northern garden fence line. We have a gazillion native plants of all kinds on our property that are much less aggressive and which feed the wildlife, so we could lose every hackberry and sugarberry tree we have and we wouldn't miss them. We even leave the greenbrier and poison ivy alone in the woods and let them climb and roam and ramble all over everything because the berries these plants produce feed wildlife, so I have great tolerance for even unlovable native plants, but not those hackberry trees.

    Maybe in a couple more weeks your Wal-mart will have a better food selection, Ours has improved a lot just in the last 7-10 days. I think they've been struggling to restock shelves after that huge initial round of panic buying that swept the stores clean. Smaller grocery stores (Tom Thumb and some local mom-and-pop type stores) in Gainesville never took the same hit that Wal-mart did, so if I want something, I go to Tom Thumb---they always have everything. One thing I'm watching for is price increases---I want to see if prices climb because of a perceived increase in demand or a perceived decrease in supply. I noticed that some gas stations here (Valero is one) in the Texoma region are selling single rolls of toilet paper for $1 each, with a limit of 10. When I compare what 10 rolls of that would cost there compared to walking into Aldi's or Wal-Mart and picking up a 12-pack of tp, it seems like price-gouging is occurring, There is no shortage of toilet paper here to justify that price of $1 per roll, so it has to be panic buying that still is causing people to overbuy. In the FB group I belong to where people post what stores have what products on any given day, I can see that numerous stores in Texoma are getting in supplies of TP literally every day, so it has to be continued panic buying and hoarding that makes a store think it can sell the stuff for $1 per roll. Of course, that store will get away with it as long as people are willing, stupidly, to pay that price. So far, on the few times I've ventured into Walmart in recent weeks, the prices of everything seems normal. In fact, the produce prices have been great. I think that fresh produce would be the only reason I'd venture into a store now---we have everything else in the pantry, fridge or freezers, but fresh produce has such a limited storage period that you have to keep buying it weekly.

    Rebecca, If I had cup and saucer vine ready to go into the ground, I'd go ahead and plant it. It is a zone 9 plant though, so will not tolerate any freezing type temperatures. If your forecast feels safe enough to plant tomato plants, it probably is safe enough to plant cup and saucer vine.

    Jennifer, Oh dear, it sounds like Stella's health may be declining. We have had chickens live at least 7 or 8 years upon occasion, but for most, 5 or 6 is a really advanced age and it all just hinges on how healthy they manage to stay. That probably is a function of their genetics. I've noticed roosters, in particular, tend to get really stiff-legged as they reach an advanced age, likely due to arthritis, because eventually they all look like Foghorn Leghorn when running. Our Copper Maran rooster is nearing the end of his natural life---he is 5 or 6 and looks less healthy this year than last year. His legs have gotten stiff and his feathers just aren't as thick and gorgeous as they once were. He still acts normal, though, and does such a good job of watching over his little flock. I used to get really upset when I saw a chicken's health declining as they aged, but just had to learn to accept that such a thing is natural and normal, and they just don't live forever.

    Are your large flying insects craneflies? We have those all over the place right now. There's a good photo of a cranefly in the article I'm linking, but yours may or may not look exactly like this one. There are thousands of species of craneflies so you'll see some variation in appearance. We have huge numbers of them here this year, but that is typical in spring after a wet winter. We have considerably fewer during drought.

    Cranefly Population in Tucson in 2020

    Larry, Is the rain missing you this week? It mostly has missed us so far, which has allowed the big puddles from last week's 5" of rain to start drying up. If we could stay dry for just a few more days, I'd be so happy. Unfortunately, our rainiest season here at our house usually is April, May and June so things could get a lot worse before they get better. Still, notwithstanding last week's horrible rainfall, I feel a shift in the rainfall pattern compared to January and February and the rain is starting to stay west of us or to go east of us more like it does in a drought year. I hate it when rain misses us in a drought year, but if it were to start missing us now, I'd keep my mouth shut and rejoice, being willing to irrigate in summer as needed just because I'd be so relieved to not be flooded like we have been all winter long.

    Ants, especially fire ants, remain a huge problem and I just have to work around them and their mounds. They are not going to retreat underground until the soil dries out significantly or until we get so hot that the heat drives them underground. I'm experimenting this week with pouring sugar on a couple of fire ant mounds to see what happens. My reasoning is this: (1) Sugar will enhance biological activity in the soil because it feeds soil microorganisms. (2) Fire ants always are more of a problem in soil that is lower in biological activity, which is why they love our clay yard so much. (3) If I can increase biological activity in the soil, then maybe I can chase away the fire ants....not kill them, just make our yard less hospitable to them so that the grandkids can play outdoors without stepping in fire ants. In the past, I would have used dry molasses, but I don't have dry molasses right now and haven't seen it in the feed stores lately. I do have sugar, so when I was mixing up sugar water for the hummingbirds a few days ago, I mixed up extra sugar water and dumped it on a couple of fire ant mounds near the house. It is too soon to tell what effect it is having, if any.

    The hummingbirds are too adorable. I always am filled with such joy when they return. This is the second or third year that they've returned extra early and it is nice to have them back. Hummingbirds do not understand social distancing. If I go outdoors in a red shirt or red hat, they swarm me and fly in circles around me trying to figure out what sort of red flower I am. They get so close that they all but land on me. In the garden, though, they seem equally fond of pink, purple and blue flowers.

    I don't have to grocery shop today. Don't have to run errands, per se, either. The only thing I have to do today is shop for plants, buy plants, bring home plants and plant plants. I know everyone here understands that feeling. I'll happily stay home and self-isolate six days a week if it means I can shop for plants on the 7th day. I do consider the amount of risk a person is taking every time they go out into public nowadays, but for me, is the risk any worse than having a spouse who works at an international airport around the public all day long and then comes home? If I am going to contract COVID-19, it likely will be because Tim brings it home from work inadvertently, not because I went plant shopping. He and I just have to accept that is our reality and know that his profession makes us more likely than not to contract the virus. If he were retired, we'd probably do a better job of staying home and going nowhere because we'd have better control over the risk. For those of us with bad spring allergies, it is going to be easy to dismiss any possible symptoms early on as being just the annual allergy thing. I guess if it progresses to the intense pain and can't breathing stage, then we'll know it isn't just bad allergies.


  • johnnycoleman


    I'm one of the very few people I know who likes boiled okra. Oh, and fried, pickled and even as a toothpaste flavor, if it existed.

  • hazelinok

    Dawn, I don't have the bad allergies like some people suffer with, but after working in the wind and mowing, I get a scratchy throat. "Rona's got me!" is my first thought.

    Have y'all heard that the virus doesn't like heat? They (whoever "they" are) said to sip hot beverages to "kill" it. So...just in case it works, I've been drinking hot tea after being out around other people.

    I have some friends who are very sick (the guy I told y'all about a week or so ago and his wife). He's in the hospital now and tasted negative again for flu. His wife is sick too, but they wouldn't admit her because she wasn't as sick. She had to wait in the car to get word on her husband's condition. I haven't heard any updates since yesterday.

    Dawn, did you ever find your kittens?

    Amy, I wouldn't trust any of my animals around baby chicks. Not even hens. The one I would trust the most is Jean Luc Picard, the rooster. He was protective of the chicks when they were big enough to come to the main coop. There wasn't as much of the mean girl behavior. I've become a fan of having a good rooster. I know they're not all good, but I'm fortunate, I guess. He even lets Benjamin Sisko (the banty cockerel) crow and doesn't beat him up over it.

    Harvested the first batch of asparagus.

    The columnars have flowers developing. I'm thrilled! They only had leaves the past two years. I just might get some apples. Note to self: get some fungicide today.

    … and really everything looks pretty good out there. Just needs a bit of a clean up still, but it's getting better.

    Does anyone have a favorite seedless watermelon? Ethan LOVES watermelon and it would be cool to plant a few seeds in that giant new garden.

    We are going to pick up a few items at the grocery store this morning and then finish the mowing...really just weedeating.

    And that is it.

    Dawn, enjoy your plant shopping. Nancy, enjoy your time in the school garden. HU, enjoy Okmulgee. Everyone else, have a good day.

  • jlhart76

    I checked the forecast, and everything looked clear for overnight. So I left everything outside instead of putting them in the garage. Then my husband woke me up in the middle of the night asking if anything will get damaged in the storm that popped up. Trust me, it is not fun running around in a downpour at 5 am trying to pull a bunch of seedlings to safety. It doesn't look like anything is damaged though, so I may have lucked out.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Dawn, so far very little rain, maybe a sprinkle every now and then, almost no sunshine, my plants are loving it. I did let some plants get too dry. I set them out and got busy doing too many thing and forgot about them, that was the day I had every thing stuck, and what wasn't stuck had a flat tire.

    I am going to start another group of seeds today, I got a bunch of seeds in the mail yesterday. I have some Jute and catnip still on the way. I was told that my "grandcats" want catnip.

    Johnny, I like boiled okra also, and every other way I have eaten it. I ordered jute seeds on ebay, that is the only way I know how to order.

    Nancy, some of these seeds I had to google to know what they were, but they will be growing soon, thank you for thinking of me.

    My right hand is itching like crazy, I guess I am allergic to some potting soil. I still have a lot of beds to build, so I may be itching all over before they are done. I am not building good beds, just making mini spots over in the wildlife garden by using a tractor. I expect I will have to get battery powered fence charger and string wire around the area, but I know of no way to keep the squirrels, coon, and crows out.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I was just chuckling about forwarding seeds to you, Larry. Amy did that to me, only I didn't NEED any extra. We met for lunch several weeks ago, and she had a big envelope full of ones she didn't want. She likes a lot of greens and brassica, judging from her seeds. She and Eileen have sort of lured me over to the greens side, but not brassica. I was envisioning all of us doing that--something like drawing names and forwarding a bunch of seeds to the person one draws.

    Okay, Dawn. Noted about hackberry trees. Here, the pesky one has been elm. This elm seedlings take hold quickly and are so difficult to get out. However, they have to be better than all the Bradford Pears and Chinese privets crowding into our little forest area. Lori Darling couldn't help but comment when she stopped by a couple weeks ago and the Bradford pears were in all their glory. As it is, I will try to dig up my two little hackberries and move them to the back 40 where all the oaks are. I was reading that they are host to at least six butterfly species! Here, the pesky one has been elm. This elm seedlings take hold quickly and are so difficult to get out. I am loving getting out to see what is growing on our property, now that I have the heof the ID app. There are two charming ferns in back of the raised veggie beds by 50 or so feet, and I have the darnedest time finding them. I'm going to have to take a stake or little flag out with me so I can mark where they are. Garry was the one who found the colony of mayapples. I'm sure there are lots more interesting things growing out there.

    I guess I will go sort out the plants that are going to live at the school, and get our garden tools ready.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    I like okra every way except boiled, I even like it raw. I will eat gumbo, like once a year, but it's not my favorite.

    I am very unhappy with my seed starting mix. I've used Jiffy for years. But every year I have more problems with mold. I potted up tomatoes yesterday and found that fuzzy white stuff inside the cups in the soil. Anyone have an alternative?

    And the peppers won't sprout.

    I haven't been out in like 2 weeks. I want to plant shop, too. Really. Bad. Really. But I have so much to do today. Maybe I'll wait till Monday. Probably fewer people out then. I don't like driving, but I might have to arrange a picnic where Nancy and I could shout at each other from separate tables. Are there picnic grounds at your lake Nancy? I don't mind staying home until I HAVE to. I suppose every one is getting cabin fever.

    Better hit submit before I loose this. Going to be a pretty day. Enjoy.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    I have to pick up a prescription in the drive thru this afternoon, and I’m sure I’ll hit Stringers on my way home. I need it. I’ll wear my mask and social distance. But I need plants.

    Nothing below freezing on the 10 day forecast, and Travis Meyer doesn’t see any trend away from that out further. He’s stopping short of calling it good. My pecan trees are heavily budded out, so they seem to think it’s safe. A couple nights in the 40s, though.

    What do you feel about the weather, Dawn?

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Amy, it is not pretty here, we are getting a good rain whether we need it or not.

    Nancy, I am trying to win Madge over to greens also.

    I am still potting up plants, i had to drag them back under the roof while we went to Walmart for grocery pick-up. I really like the pick up. We can drive down and park and be loaded before I can get in and out of the store, now if they would only do come home and unload and put away. Then I would want them to cook and do dishes, and maybe clean house.

  • johnnycoleman

    Thanks Larry.


  • slowpoke_gardener

    Rebecca, cant you have someone get plants for you. We have people who ask us to just call them if we need anything. Of course it is hard to ask, and I know you just like getting out. My granddaughter got me 7 tomato plants because I was afraid I would not have anything ready to come off early, but the way my plants are growing I think my fear was uncalled for.

    I just cant get over how fast I got sweet potato slips this year, a little heat works wonders.

  • hazelinok

    Jen! I'm so sorry that happened to you! I'm glad you saved everything.

    Is it not windy in y'all's areas? It's crazy windy here. Enough to make me NOT want to be outside.

    I'm showing no freezes/frosts on my 9 day. I have the Christmas lights ready for the columnar tree if things change! haha.

    Maybe we'll be lucky this year and have a great gardening year. To make up for corona.

    The friends mentioned above are both home. They wouldn't test either for C because they're not health care workers, on dialysis, or living in a nursing home. What?! Why has he been sick for 2 weeks with fever if it's not the flu?

    So...if they're not testing people because they don't fall in those three categories, then a lot more people have it than what they're reporting.

    I hope you north Oklahoma friends can find a safe way to meet up. I'll need to meet up with Jen OR drive/mail the seed to you, Jen.

    Have any of you started cardinal climber seeds? Saw those while looking at the seed racks at Walmart. My mom wants red periwinkles, but I can't find any seed or plants. I may have to order some. Anyway, I started cardinal climber seed today. It was so amazing two years ago when it covered the west side of the chicken pen...and then some. The hummingbirds loved it too.

    I coughed in the Walmart nursery area. Mistake. Everyone's head whipped around. I promise it was from the wind. One guy saw me later on the fertilizer/fungicide aisle. I moved my cart over to let him in and he said, "it's okay. I'll look from here."

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Larry, your rain went through here while I was sleeping. It didn't drop much.

    All tomatoes potted up. They were NOT thrilled with the wind today. Most are now protected from wind in tubs and hopefully not getting too much sun.

    Ron got the mower running. Such a pain, but weeds are really tall.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    I don't like being a dumb old man, but I cant help it. I have to post a picture with my tablet, and then come back with my computer and edit it to post any words.

    These are some of my plants I potted up yesterday. I drug the plants back under the roof before we went to get groceries because I thought there might be some hail in the storm we had coming up, but thank God there was nothing but rain.

    I am so proud of the Roselle seed that George and Ron sent me. They are the 11 plants on the left, on the right is 40 Covington sweet potatoes plants I potted up yesterday. The Covingtons keep very well for me, but have been slow to get slips from. This year, thinking that I might not get slips in time, I put the potatoes in damp potting soil and then set them on top of the light shelf, i am guessing that the heat from the 12 tubes below kicked the slips in high gear, because I have slips too early this year.

    Thanks again George a Ron for the Roselle seeds, I will be starting more of these to share, they seen to grow like weeds. I have 5 more ready for the first pot-up.

  • dbarron

    NIce looking nursery there, slowpoke :)

  • luvncannin

    Larry I missed how did you do your sweet potato slips

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Kim, I saved some small potatoes from last year, ( my dog and I love raw sweet potatoes ) I took some that had small bud starting to form and placed them in flat without holes in it and placed them above my lights where it was warm. I had the potting soil pretty damp and they shot up like crazy. The slips are too large and it is too early here to plant them, so I just potter them up. I am planning to load the light shelf up again and go for a second wave of plants.

    dbarron, I have more plants around the corner. Our deck is "L" shaped, and I have more plant on the north side of the house.

    Picture taken Mar. 20th

  • jlhart76

    I got to spend most of the day in the garden. Went outside at 9 or so (not a early morning person), came in for about 20 minutes for lunch, then packed everything up at 4 & came in for good. I got all the tomatoes and peppers potted up, then divided up some basil seedlings. But I'm happy with what I got done for today.

    HJ, I don't really have any plans for leaving the house, so if you want to mail them that's fine. I'll send my address through facebook messenger.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    The nursery was crowded, and they said they’d been that way all week. I got what I needed and got out of there. Everyone was being really respectful of the 6 foot rule.

    Now I need to get that bed filled. Tomorrow, I think. I still tend to get winded very easily, and tired. And that wind is killer.

    My tomatoes are all needing to be potted up. They’ve kind of exploded in the past couple days.

    Dan Threlkeld, the meteorologist on channel 8, planted his tomatoes this weekend.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Kim, I forgot to mention that most of the time I just use the end of a potato that Madge is getting ready to cook, but we had a bunch of sweet potatoes this year and I was not going to eat all the small ones. I have 5 ends in a pot on the deck now, I think I will bring them in and place them on a heat mat. They laid out on the cabinet several days before I remembered them, and dried out a lot, but I still think they will make slips, which I don't need. If you want to try sprouting some Covington potato slips I will go look for a small potato and send it to you. If you have a nice warm place to put it, it may make slips for you. Last year I only had enough slip for one row, so I planted the other row just by burying small potatoes, I don't like doing that, but I did get a good crop.

    A fellow just stopped and wanted to buy some of my compost. There may be a lot of people wanting to grow a garden this year.

  • hazelinok

    Larry, your plants look great! And I post pics using my phone and come back to edit on my laptop OR make a post on my laptop and come back and "edit" with my phone to add a picture. I don't like typing on my phone.

    Sounds good, Jen. I'll mail them. If you don't want them, I don't mean to push them on you either. I just keep "talking" about it so I don't forget. lol

    That's exciting, Rebecca, that your tomatoes are exploding!

    I spent this afternoon potting up tomatoes too. It was too windy to work outside so I set up a table in the shop and worked there. It was actually very nice. I turned on the TV and watched a creepy show about giant ants.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry, I'm glad you weren't getting too much rain this morning, and sorry it found you later in the day. I saw that there was a pretty bad tornado in Jonesboro today, and didn't even realize any part of your state was under a Tornado Watch until I saw a video someone posted of the Jonesboro tornado on the ground. I hope everyone in the Jonesboro area made it through that without death or serious injury.

    That's a nice plant nursery you have going there. It cannot rain forever, and when the rain finally stops and you are able to plant, you'll have a lot of wonderful plants to transplant into the ground.

    Nancy, Oh, elms are a thing here too. Honestly, with about 10 acres of wild, left-to-grow-as-it-sees-fit woodland, anything that seeds prolifically is found in abundance here. About the only thing we do is try to remove the cedar trees every few years, as they sprout like weeds too. I spent quite a few years cleaning up the woodland every winter, but it was a never-ending task, and keeping up with it was a full-time winter job, so nowadays, I just try to keep all the tree seeds out of the garden and let them do their thing in the woodland. This means at the very least that I spend a significant portion of each spring pulling out sprouting oaks, pecans, hackberries, redbuds, elms and mulberries from the garden beds and pathways, and fenceline too. If I were to miss doing this for one single spring, my garden would become a woodland in the blink of an eye.

    The very first year after I removed all the invasive cedar trees, greenbrier and poison ivy from the north banks of our creek, we had a lovely little colony of mayapples spring up. I was excited to see them there. We never would have known they were there if I hadn't taken out all the invasive stuff. By then we had lived here several years and never had seen mayapples, so it was pretty exciting. That has been a general thing that happens here----remove invasive plants (whether native or not) and watch to see what shows up in the newly cleaned-up spaces. You can get some plants you've never seen before.

    Amy, Chris had that trouble with Jiffy organic seed-starting mix this year. I really didn't. Some white mold tried to spring up on the surface one time this year, and I saw it right away as it was just beginning to develop so I just made sure to run the fan in the room pointed at the light shelf to dry out the Jiffy mix more so the mold wouldn't grow. That was all it took for me. I don't really have a good alternative that is readily available in stores, unless you have someone around you that has a nice selection of Pro-Mix.

    Amy, We made a quick run to Home Depot to plant shop. It was pretty early in the day and the store was packed! I did notice that folks in the garden center were doing their best to maintain correct social distancing....everyone wanted to buy plants, and they had tons and tons of them, and everyone wanted to buy safely. That was enough of "getting out" for me to stop feeling like I had cabin fever so badly. I don't have to get out ever, but tell me that I can't get out, and I want to leave our place and go somewhere just because I know I can't or shouldn't.

    The kids have been careful to keep themselves and the grandchildren away from us for the most part, wanting to protect us oldsters, so I am sort of having grandkid withdrawal. They did stop by very briefly last week to pick up hoops, row covers and earth staples because they were expecting a freeze, but even as we walked in the garden, we tried to maintain proper social distancing while at least getting to chat with each other for a few minutes. There are many other people going through the same thing right now so I'm not going to whine about it. I know that none of us want to inadvertently spread this virus to anyone else on the chance that we might have it and be asymptomatic, and none of us want to catch it from anyone else either. I wonder how many months it will be before we can start to return to some sort of normalcy.

    Jen, I'm glad the seedlings are okay. You must have had a good rain. We had about 5 minutes of light rain in the early morning hours so it wasn't enough to hurt anything.

    Rebecca, It feels like full-fledged spring here and I have little to no concern about a late freeze. Our weather pattern has done a total turn-around the last couple of weeks. Today is my average last freeze date, so technically I still have a 50% chance of one, but I don't think it will happen. I think that is true for at least 80% of OK. I'd be a little worried next week if I was in northwestern OK....and the panhandle likely has more cold remaining too. I think your area likely will be fine. Obviously anyone from OKC northward probably needs to be watching next weekend's low temps very carefully, but it seems like most people could go ahead and plant now and just cover up on that last cold night or two. It is supposed to be 40 degrees here at our house Friday night/Saturday morning, so I'll keep an eye on that forecast, but what has happened lately is that they will forecast a cold night out 5 to 7 days in advance, and by the time that night actually arrives, the forecast low has risen by several degrees and I don't have to cover up plants. I doubt I'll cover up tomato plants if the forecast is for 40 degrees, but I might cover them up if it is for 38 degrees. So far, our last freezing night here for 2020 was around March 7th, although we have had some nights in the mid-30s since then. Just not lately. Even on the night Chris had a forecast low of 32, they only dropped down to 34. He did have his garden covered up just in case. That was about a week ago. Having said all the above, I never fully relax until after May 3rd because we went through a period more-or-less from about 2007 to 2013 where we had a late freeze or frost on May 3 or 4 every year (which explains why I acquired a ton of frost blanket row cover during that time). Because of that, I never can relax until after we get past May 4th. We haven't had one of those exceptionally late cold nights in quite a few years now, so I don't worry about it as much as I did when it had become a feature of every year.

    Rebecca, See there, if Dan Threlkeld thinks it is okay to plant tomatoes, it must be okay!

    Jennifer, This virus may not like heat, but thrives in it, unlike some other types of viruses that die down in the heat. Many countries that are in the midst of their summer and hot weather have had huge outbreaks of it, so the heat is not having much direct effect on it. As for as drinking hot beverages, that is a fake news thing. Once you have the virus in your body, drinking a hot beverage might make your throat feel better, but it will not kill the virus. If we could kill the virus merely by drinking very hot tea, coffee or whatever, then we wouldn't have 600,000+ cases worldwide and we'd all be drinking hot beverages because the CDC was telling us too, which they are not. I wish it were that easy to get rid of it! Keep in mind that if the virus is present in one's throat, it probably also is present in one's nasal passages and sinus cavities so even if hot beverages worked, they might reduce the viral load but wouldn't eliminate all of it from your body.

    Some people say that taking zinc logenzes at the first sign you have a viral infection, may kill the virus in your throat or reduce its impact but I have not seen any research that validates this either. It is just that with some other viruses, notably rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, zinc works so people probably are assuming it will work with this one. Unfortunately, there are differences between rhinoviruses and coronaviruses, so ultimately we will have to wait for research on zinc's effectiveness with coronavirus. I do think there is research showing that people who are deficient in zinc in their diet/body are more vulnerable to viruses in general, but if you take a multivitamin, you probably already get adequate zinc. I have noticed that you cannot find zinc in any of the stores so people may be buying it to take in the hope it will ward off coronavirus. Our Centrum multivitamins have 100% of the MDR of zinc in them, so I guess we've got that one aspect covered.

    This COVID-19 just hasn't been around long enough for us to have much research available on what does or doesn't work to prevent it or to lighten the viral load. With a novel coronavirus that has become a pandemic, we all are searching for answers to help us ward it off, but research so far seems to only support avoiding infecting persons, washing your hands thoroughly and keeping your hands away from your face. Perhaps in due time, there will be more research that provides more answers.

    You have to be careful what you choose to do. With the 1918 pandemic, there was a wonderful miracle drug available---aspirin. The usage of aspirin was fairly new and there was a lack of understanding about how much was too much, so many people took it in huge dosages (often recommended by medical personnel of that era). Nowadays, for various reasons, many researchers have come to believe over the decades that the overuse of aspirin in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic contributed a great deal to the high death rates. I have read quite a great deal of what has been written about this phenomenon and feel like what they say about it makes sense. It is a terrible shame if, indeed, the over-use of aspirin caused many deaths that otherwise might not have occurred with the Spanish Flu. That's one reason I think we need to approach all possible 'cures' to the coronavirus with a great deal of caution---we don't want to take anything or do anything that would make us worse instead of helping us fight it off. With the internet, there's tons of misinformation out there that likely is not helpful and even could be dangerous.

    I had fun plant shopping, but only bought a handful of edibles---some peppers and some herbs. I wish I had taken more time to look at flowers and buy some, but the store was very crowded and I was uneasy being around too many people, so I didn't.

    Our bluebonnets in the front meadow look astonishing. They've never been this early before in such a large quantity. At first, earlier in the week, it was just a handful of early bluebonnet blooms but now there's dozens. I'm so happy to see them. No one else around us who normally has bluebonnets have any of them blooming yet, not even the folks down in Thackerville who usually have bluebonnets in bloom at least a week before we do. I didn't even see any bluebonnets blooming yet alongside the highway in Texas this morning.

    Another early visitor is a male luna moth hanging out underneath the porch light on the front porch tonight. He apparently hasn't found his female yet, so I think I'll leave the porch light on all night long tonight in the hopes that they will find one another. They are, after all, on limited time. It seems a bit early for the lunas too, but they surely are responding to the early warmup here that has had it feeling more like April or May than March.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    I have been hearing that anything other than Tylenol makes this virus worse. Also, they are treating people in NY and China with intravenous vitamin C, since apparently the C in the body drops when you get it. This is, of course, massive doses, but making sure you get plenty of vitamin C won't hurt and may help.

    It was supposed to be a low of 45 last night. I left tomatoes out. Ron said it was 39 when he got up. Grrr. Tomatoes look ok.

    Ron got excited about "Bluebonnets" blooming in our yard. They are grape hyacinths. They were here when we moved in. I hope he didn't mow the naked lady leaves yesterday. There was some weed getting ready to bloom in the front yard and I was curious what it was, I suppose it got mowed as well.

    Wind yesterday was so bad Ron cooked steak in the fireplace. I'm pretty sure this was not the best idea, but the house didn't smell so I guess we were ok.

    Something is blooming now that gives me an instant headache. Heavy scent that comes on the wind now and then. I thought it was privet, but ours is not blooming at this moment.

    The neighbor's maples are now dropping seeds. I think the elm tree is on the other side of the ditch. I get both.

    I think Ron is throwing the lawn mower....better go. (He was throwing stuff in the back of the truck.

  • johnnycoleman

    We have thousands of beet plants. Lots of beet greens. Not many beets. Do beet greens taste good after canning?

  • HU-422368488

    I don't see why they wouldn't. It would be just like canning Swiss Chard. They're closely related.

    I would get my canners out and go for it if it was me.




    Beet greens is a good healthy green. Right up there with spinach , kale and all the rest of them.


  • johnnycoleman

    Thanks HU. I will pressure can some pints. Maybe I'll try blanching and freezing some too.

  • HU-422368488

    Beet greens can be frozen as well.


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