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Rosalind Creasy will present her work in edible landscaping, one of my favorite topics for sure. Posted in: Books, Chickens, Earth Day, Education, Flowers, Food Fest, Gardening, Grow Your Own Food, Oklahoma, Seeds, Soil, Spring, Structure, Vegetables, Yum . Pink muhly grass always reminds me of my friend, Faire, who turned me onto this pink confection. In an effort to provide fresh market producers with the most up-to-date information on management, production and marketing techniques, Oklahoma State University is teaming up with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, to host the 2010 Oklahoma Market Gardening School. Lynn Brandenberger, OSU Cooperative Extension horticulture food crops specialist, said the school is geared toward those who are established in the business as well as those who are interested in exploring a new enterprise.
Produce that is grown, picked and sold in the same area has many benefits, including freshness, food safety due to a localized food production system and lower costs due to lack of transportation expenses. Each week’s session will focus on a different area related to fruit and vegetable production, such as getting organized, soils and fertilizer management, crop establishment and irrigation, guidelines for producing vegetable crops, season extension, pest management, food safety and marketing and fruit and nut production guidelines.
To register by mail, send the registration form from the OSU’s department of horticulture and landscape architecture website (Click here for that website) along with the payment to Oklahoma Market Gardening Course, attn: Stephanie Larimer, 358 Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-6027 or call her at 405-744-5404. I like hay because it's abundant in my area and because it is a nice, warm, rich environment with enough nitrogen to supply growing plants for a whole season. Ammonium nitrate is high in nitrogen and acts as a catalyst, encouraging and nourishing the various microbes that break down the hay or straw so your plants have a wonderful environment in which to grow. Working the plants in so that they will fit into the curves of the hose, make your way from one end of the bale garden to the other. I took some advice from the experts and planted only one tomato plant per bale and two pepper plants per bale. If you start your bale garden early in the spring, you should have plenty of tomatoes, peppers and such by midsummer. I added some fish emulsion to the base of each plant about halfway through the growing season, and I've have had to handpick some hornworms on two different occasions, but I haven't had to poison or use any fungicide or pesticides all year. The result -- tomatoes that taste like the ones in my grandmother's garden when I was a little girl. If you are an organic gardener, you can use your choice of organic material, then go straight to planting after you water your bales well for several days. I hope you have great success and many succulent tomatoes to share with your neighbor, who is probably wondering what in the world you are doing as he weeds his garden.
While considered a weed by most gardeners, I remember one pokeweed on the roadside that was so covered by feeding birds it was nearly bent to the ground. Ask any gardener what their definition is of a garden and you will get a different answer each time.
When asked about wildlife, many people think of two creatures – birds and butterflies.
All creatures basically need the same things – food, water, shelter and appropriate habitat to rear young.
When asked about food sources for wildlife, I always respond that native wildlife should consume native food.
It takes a certain amount of undisturbed area with a balanced ecosystem to sustain a healthy diversity of wildlife. Unless you live near a reliable source of moderately clean water, it would be very polite to provide your wild friends with a source of clean water for both drinking and bathing. While my dream home is a mountain hideaway of logs and stone, the ideal abode for many creatures looks more like my hair in the morning – a disheveled mess of overgrown foliage.
Other homes for wildlife include thick evergreen plants, tall canopy trees, snags (standing dead trees) and fallen logs. While an environment may be able to sustain adult creatures, to maintain a healthy population there must be protected places to rear young.
All creatures in a healthy ecosystem co-exist together as a community delicately balanced to maintain diversity. As a result, we are overrun with deer, rabbits, squirrels and many other creatures that would normally end up as prey. Another favorite of hummingbirds, crossvine flowers appear in abundance in mid-April and then sporadically through the rest of the season, providing a source of nectar for several months.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of State-by-State Gardening, its parent company or affiliates. The big red van makes weekly rounds of apartment complexes and mobile home parks in McAuliffe’s feeder pattern, delivering fresh books and cold popsicles to every child who shows up.
The goal of Camp T-Square is to cultivate a love and understanding of architecture for the students who attend, said Lindsey Ellerbach, executive director for the Eastern Oklahoma chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
November 1, 2010 by julyn As the Oklahoma weather cools and winter approaches my yard and garden are dominated by the deep crimson of the Japanese maples and the fiery reds of the dwarf Nadinas, who until now have been green.  Yellow and orange leaves of the trees now fall upon the yard as the deep greens and blues of the evergreens begin to become the dominate colors. You would think in all this color and beauty, there would be a break in the Oklahoma garden chores …but NO!  Below are the “Original” Red Dirt Gardener’s tips for the month of November. Finish planting cool season spring flowering annuals  like pansies, kale, flowering cabbage, alyssum and Johnny jump ups. Continue controlling broadleaf weeds in well established warm and cool season lawns with post emergent weed killer.  If you are opposed to chemicals as I am, manually remove the emerging weeds. Due to the numerous pine diseases in Oklahoma I recommend disposing of all pine needles and cones by removing them from your property.
Now is a good time to lay a screening material, anchored by stones over the pool portion of your Oklahoma water feature to keep out the debris.
As Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening chores begin to slow down, I find that November is also a good time to clean up and winterize all my tools. A closed canopy of trees creates an ever-changing light pattern as the sun marches across the sky. Shade changes the environment by affecting the temperature, the amount and quality of light, and the soil moisture. The summertime temperature reduction occurs because the tree canopy absorbs much of the red and far-red energy – the hot portion of the spectrum.
High shade from widely spaced trees creates the shaded environment the dwarf mondo grass needs to flourish along this landscape path. Plant-care tags refer to plants as doing best when given either full sun, part shade, or shade, but how can you delineate between these gradations in your own garden? I know there are places with moist shade, but I can’t think of a gardener friend who actually has any.
The wildflowers of the woodlands have adapted a strategy to deal with this summertime competition – they go dormant. Shade limits the choice of plants we can grow and the deeper the shade or the drier the garden, the more our choices are limited. Shade gardens can still have a sequence of color throughout the summer, just like the sunnier borders.

Endless Summer hydrangea is a breakthrough in the world of hydrangeas because it blooms on new growth, making the job of pruning and maintenance much easier. As a group, the Japanese maples make some of the best understory trees for the shade garden. Azalea, boxwood and holly make up the quintessential understory shrubs for the shade garden, and rightly so.
Shade permits the use of bold sweeps of hostas to create beautiful color and textural contrasts in the garden.
And toad lilies, epimediums, polygonatums, disporums, Lenten and Christmas roses, etc., etc. Each year, the Myriad Botanical Gardens holds an Oklahoma Gardening School in the center of downtown Oklahoma City. This is ironic since Oklahoma City recently decided to veto chickens in urban backyards–a decision that makes me sad. Although I’m not speaking at the Garden School this year, I will be there signing books. The Gardening School is a great resource for Oklahoma gardeners and starts off our garden season with a bang. Garden School is a wonderful event and the new venue at the Devon Auditorium is spectacular!
I find that the solid purple variety is more cold hardy than the one with the purple calyces and white flowers.
In addition, there are a growing number of public schools around the state that want to purchase fresh produce from local producers for their lunch programs,” Brandenberger said. Some people like to stack one on top of another, in which case you will need more fabric and nylon twine.
For the length, pull the fabric up to the top of the bale and add 2 feet of extra fabric at each end. I chose to configure my garden in a rectangular shape, so that I could easily reach across it from side to side. Feeling very carefully, so as not to cut your soaker hose, make slits in the fabric in the shape of an X. I also planted basil, a strawberry plant and a 'Marguerite' sweet potato vine just for looks. Using the rebar at the corners will work for those nearest them, but you may have to add more rebar to the outside edges if your plants start to intertwine or topple. The fabric kept the sun off the surface of the bales so not one weed sprouted, although I did see some mushrooms at one point, and the soaker hose kept the leaves nice and dry so there were none of the usual waterborne fungal diseases. The decomposing bales are actually fertilizing as they rot, and when the year is finished, just use the whole thing as fodder for your compost bin. A garden consultant, she and husband Danny own Gillespie Gardens, a private garden retreat available for weddings and other family functions.
For most of us, it’s a place of beauty, a place of serenity, somewhere to let out our frustrations, get some exercise or all of the above.
Native plants provide the best diversity of healthy food sources at the proper time of year.
To stay in balance, there must be creatures that occupy all levels of the food chain, including (and especially) predators. In turn, these creatures over-browse most of the available food sources, harming the plant communities. Those with red berries are often accused of being poisonous, which is actually only true for those with white berries. I always cool my bulbs for 30 to 45 days prior to planting in December. (do not store bulbs in plastic bags or plastic containers as they might become diseased by the moisture). Though we do not need to water as often, vegetation still needs water so water at least once a month if the soil is dry. As soon as all the leaves have fallen and have been raked up, remove the screening material and store until next year. This includes draining the fuel from my power equipment.  As well as cleaning and sharpening my tools. Given the opportunity, we nestle our homes under the spreading boughs of forest giants and are forced from the outset to develop a garden that will never know the full intensity of the sun.
That shaded gardens are cooler than those with more sunlight is hardly surprising, but what kinds of differences exist? The light that finally filters through the leaves and reaches the ground is altered by the experience. Southern gardeners have a simple method of making this distinction – they can let their lawn tell them. The most obvious is the filtered light situation where patterns of shade and sun move across the garden throughout the day as the sun makes its arc across the sky.
Trees use a tremendous amount of water and, even if you irrigate frequently and have the deep pockets to pay exorbitant summertime water bills, it’s difficult to give a large tree and a small herbaceous plant growing beneath it all of the water they both want. About 80 percent of all garden plants do best when given at least six hour of sunlight, leaving the remaining 20 percent for the shade garden. Provided the first hard freeze doesn’t occur too early, almost all Japanese maples have good fall color even when grown in fairly heavy shade. These evergreens, along with a few others such as osmanthus, camellias and mahonia, form the wintertime skeleton of the garden by designating spaces and presenting an eye-level perspective for the viewer. An assortment of old and new selections scattered about your beds provides bold, colorful contrast to whatever surrounds it. It’s easy for a hosta to look good in June, but the challenge comes in August with the summer heat. This group of native woodland plants has lurked in the borderland of popularity for years, but when breeders such as Dan Heims began lavishing attention on the group and selecting for foliage characteristics, their popularity exploded.
The main reason for using straw, from all the research I did, is there might be a lot of weeds in hay.
For the width, measure the fabric from side to side and then double that measurement, adding 2 feet to the length when it reaches the top. Bring the fabric up on each end, lay it over the bales and do the same with the sides, just as if you are wrapping a gift.
Reach into the center of the X, pushing fabric back, and part the hay with a garden trowel or a kitchen spatula. Be sure to plant the lower growing plants like strawberry on the outer edges so that the taller ones won't shade them. I wove my twine back and forth between the rebar stakes on the ends and then threaded the plants through the crossed twine as they grew. The term wildlife should also apply to those that we may not always appreciate – rabbits, deer, bees, snakes, squirrels and bats, to name a few.

However, what they envision as prime real estate often differs from an orderly, maintained garden. Therefore, I select native plants known for their wildlife value, some of which are way outside the comfort zone of many gardeners. Due to our human activities, we have stripped off the top of the food chain in many ecosystems. Once food becomes scarce, these creatures begin to suffer from starvation and its associated diseases.
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Or, if our subdivision was a cotton field or cow pasture in a previous life, we grow our own shade – never quite believing that those small switches we plant will one day become sylvan giants and rob sunlight like a thief in the night. In my garden, I used a pair of recording thermometers and found that my sunny front lawn was, when averaged over a 24-hour period, twelve degrees hotter than my shaded back yard. More of the red and far-red rays are absorbed than the rays at the blue end of the spectrum; hence the quality of the light is modified.
Surprisingly, one of the moistest locations in the woodland garden is right next to a large tree trunk. The challenge of developing a shade garden is selecting an array of understory trees, shrubs, ground covers and herbaceous plants that create an interesting, functional and beautiful display throughout the four seasons.
Most of the upright growing selections will reach 20 to 25 feet tall and effectively fill in the background spaces between the trees, creating lacy walls to break up the expanse.
The large, dark green leaves provide a wonderfully bold contrast to most other plants in the garden.
Many of the parents of the hybrids used in his breeding program are native to the eastern woodland, so not surprisingly, his hybrids have done well throughout the southern U.S. The fun of gardening though is not reading about the plants, but actually trying some new ones and seeing how they perform in your garden.
I took all of these pictures of the Myriad Botanical Gardens last June when I wrote an article for Oklahoma Gardener magazine about three Oklahoma botanical gardens. Garden School is turning into a family event for us, with my husband and daughter (the target audience of your fabulous new book) all attending this year. Either way is fine, but if you plan to stack them one on top of another, you will need to reinforce them more.
In other words, if your total length is 7 feet, you will cut the fabric to a total length of 11 feet on single stack bales.
Twine the soaker hose around in curves, snaking it back and forth from side to side from one end of the bale garden to the other.
The fabric will hold some moisture, but being aboveground and encased in black, it will also hold heat and lose moisture, so water is still an essential. Without them, the ecosystem and the garden within are out of balance, which can lead to problems.
Such atypical garden plants include sweetgum (Liquidambar), sumac (Rhus), pokeberry or pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), Smilax and even poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). Building a brush pile or a mass of logs or stones will attract a great number of creatures, many of which will return the favor by consuming garden pests.
We are not medical professionals and cannot recommend the ingestion or topical application of any herbal remedy, poultice, tea, etc. Using an instrument that measures total radiant energy, I find my shade garden has about one-fifth (an 80 percent light reduction) as much light energy as found in full sun. Not only do shade plants have to grow with less total light energy, they have to be able to use light that has been depleted of part of its essence. If the canopy of the trees has closed, then the flicker of sun or shade may last minutes before changing.
Tree branches collect a lot of moisture with every small shower, and as the bark becomes saturated, gravity pulls it towards the base of the plant.
But, if you haven’t noticed, there has been a revolution occurring in the hydrangea world of late and the old standbys are now joined by a host of others.
You want to have your bales in place centered on the fabric, because once they are wet, they are extremely heavy and you won't want to move them.
Using rebar or some sort of heavy staking material, reinforce each corner and the center if you have double stacked your bales.
Despite the obvious problems with poison ivy, it’s an important food source for over 60 species of birds, as well as deer. While some of these plants may produce berries or nectar that are consumed by wildlife, the nutritional value of these food sources is questionable. It makes our outdoor living spaces habitable during the muggy months and permits the summer-long enjoyment of our gardens. By comparison, most nurserymen use 35 to 50 percent saran shade cloth when they produce their shade plants.
Full shade locations are those where no grass will grow and only denizens of deep shade such as ferns, periwinkle and springtime ephemerals flourish. My favorite kind of shade though is a location exposed to the sun during all or part of the morning and then shaded the rest of the day. Few of the pesky feeder roots persist right adjacent to the tree trunk, making these areas ideal for most of the delicate spring ephemerals. Plants battered too severely in the summer heat disappear early, depriving the garden of their beauty during the fall – the best time of the year in many shade gardens. Oklahoma City has had an underground chicken raising movement for years, and I guess, they’ll just stay underground awhile longer. Now, gently push the straw back together, bringing the edges of the fabric back into place around the stem. Native plants more acceptable to conventional gardeners include hawthorn (Crataegus), Viburnum, dogwood (Cornus), beautyberry (Callicarpa), crossvine (Bignonia) and buckeye (Aesculus), to name but a few of many. Also, non-native invasive plants often crowd out other plants to form a monoculture habitat that actually reduces the overall availability of food.
But fortunately there is a middle ground – those part-shade locations where cool-season grasses such as fescue or perennial ryegrass and warm-season species such as St.
Plants benefit from the full power of the sun during the cooler morning hours and then are protected from the full blast later during the day. Selections with white and yellow variegated foliage are also available to brighten up dark corners.
It is this part-shade location where most Southern gardeners do their thing, and it is in this kind of location where most shade plants flourish.

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