More potting up and moving out

Posted on

Dear Carol and Mary Ann,

A few days ago when I started this post for our Dear Friend and Gardener Club, I was potting up and moving out seedlings of most of the flowers I started from seed. In the photo below are Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset,’ a seed strain of beautiful black-eyed Susans that contains double flowers, along with those that have complicated eye zones. I find I have much better luck with many perennials if I start the seed myself. I know it’s easy to be lured in by a pretty face in an overstuffed container at the box store, but try planting seeds instead. When most summer-blooming perennials are doing their thing, it’s too hot and dry to get them started. Plus, my seeds don’t have growth regulators and lots of fertilizer. Prairie plants like rudbeckia don’t need this. I also sowed seed for R. hirta ‘Irish Eyes’, a green-eyed rudbeckia.

Blooms of 'Cherokee Sunset' Rudbeckia hirta courtesy of the National Garden Bureau.

Blooms of ‘Cherokee Sunset’ Rudbeckia hirta courtesy of the National Garden Bureau.

There’s also parsley. Parsley is so slow! I bought two plants of parsley from the local nursery to get the garden started faster. I like flat leaf parsley better than curly, but that’s just personal preference. It’s good to have plenty of parsley and dill for all of the ravenous Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Fennel is really good too. I have the bulb type and the bronze.

Parsley and Rudbeckia hirta seedlings I potted up in the greenhouse. I moved them back inside so Bill could water them all together while I was out of town.

Parsley and Rudbeckia hirta in the greenhouse. I moved them back inside so Bill could water them all together while I was out of town.

We had a freeze on April 19. It got down to 26F in my garden. Some plants, like the Wisteria frutescens, American wisteria, may not bloom this year because they took a direct hit. All of the roses and Japanese maples had already leafed out too and are still burned. I noticed today that my wisteria is finally coming out of shock. Other plants sailed through the freeze with almost no damage even though I didn’t cover anything.

Bill tilled the larger vegetable garden. Although I don’t like to till, it was necessary this year. The ground is still pretty new, and it was very compacted from last year. I worked on my garden plan before I planted. At the north end, I sowed sunflower seeds in shades of red with large yellow sunflowers in front. I love a sunflower border in the garden, don’t you? In front of the sunflowers, I planted my corn. I have two varieties this year, one is ornamental, and the other is sweet corn. Therefore, they must be separated like children who don’t get along. I may plant the ornamental corn at the bottom of the back garden far away from sweet corn if I get to it.

Transplants in the large vegetable garden in early spring.

Transplants in the large vegetable garden in early spring.

I also planted tomatoes, eggplant and hot peppers in the larger vegetable garden. Many of these I sowed indoors in February. The plants look minuscule in such a large space, but they will quickly grow into their larger selves. I put sweet peppers in the potager where they can grow without mixing pollen with the hot peppers. Although the sweet peppers might not taste hot this year, if I saved seeds, all of my peppers next year would be hot. I also sowed pole and bush beans because our weather appeared more stable and even hot in the longterm forecast. Now, tonight is supposed to be 38F which sucks for the warm weather veggies and ornamental coleus I planted outside. Spring in Oklahoma is full of surprises, but I’m not covering my plants. We’re told the mercury will rise to 90F by this weekend, but that’s hard to believe with the wind howling out of the North.

I have several varieties of indeterminate tomatoes so I’m considering doing the post and string method of support. I’ll let you know if I do. For the determinate varieties, I’ll just simple use tomato cages.

Sweet peppers in the potager.

Sweet Italian frying peppers in the potager.

After spending four weeks or more dragging transplants inside and out to harden them off, I always begin to wonder what it’s all for. However, come June, July and August when the garden is full of flowers and tasty food, I’ll be so glad I did all of this work. That’s why I wrote in The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff to start small.

Snowpeas and lettuce in the potager.

Snow peas, garlic and lettuce in the potager.

I didn’t always start seeds indoors. I still buy some plants, especially tomato and pepper hybrids, because they are readily available. I don’t need to start things that I can find locally and organic. Instead, I start all of the weird and unique plants I want to grow. To know which ones are best started indoors, I always look at the seed package.

Black-Seed Simpson and red lettuces, garlic and romaine lettuce in the kitchen garden.

Black-Seed Simpson and red lettuces, garlic and romaine lettuce in the kitchen garden.

The potager is full of lettuce and stir fry greens, along with garlic, onions, shallots and chives. The sage and lemon thyme came back in spite of the brutal winter weather, but my large rosemary succumbed to extreme cold. I bought a few plants of rosemary locally, and they are already growing outside. The chives are blooming at the ends of the kitchen garden/potager, and we’ll have loads of garlic in a couple of months. The snow peas and purple radishes are also growing quickly now.

Four o'clocks still in the greenhouse. I haven't decided where to plant them yet. You can see the greenhouse is overflowing with tropical plants.

Four o’clocks still in the greenhouse. I haven’t decided where to plant them yet. You can see the greenhouse is overflowing with tropical plants.

I’m not planting tomatoes in the raised beds of the potager this year because I have root knot nematodes. This is a bummer, but it’s all a matter of rotation, rotation, rotation of different plants in the beds.

Well, that’s it from Oklahoma this week. I’m wondering what everyone in our virtual garden club is up. If you comment and link to your post, I’ll make sure to come by and visit. I’ll also feature your post on my 20-30 Garden Guide Facebook page and tweet it out. Let me know what everyone is up to. Happy Spring!





I'm a writer, born and raised in Oklahoma, and an obsessive gardener who grows shrubs, perennials and vegetables on my acreage each year. My favorite veggies have to be homegrown hybrid or heirloom tomatoes, Genovese basil and hot and mild peppers. It's an Italian salsa garden at my house.

4 thoughts on “More potting up and moving out

  1. Dee, I posted some of my garden pics yesterday. I don’t have near as much going on as you do, nor am I as organized, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it just the same.

    • Jennie, I’m so glad you posted. It’s not the size of the garden, but the process of doing. Hugs!

  2. Well, our garden season has just barely started here – the cold temperatures seem to be never ending this year. I am just starting to transplant a few seedlings outside and even that required me to work in the rain, no less!

    • Hi Margaret, our season is in the middle of spring, but we’ve had some cold temperatures. Send some of that rain my way, would you? Happy Spring.

Comments are closed.