Gardening in Oklahoma, Zone 7
Growing your own food is satisfying! You can get the freshest, healthiest food possible grown your own way with your own input on how it’s grown. Talk about knowing your farmer! In Oklahoma, we have a unique climate. Different climates and regions have different growing conditions and unique guidelines for what can be grown and when it can be grown.
One of the best things about growing a garden in Oklahoma is the long growing season and plentiful sunshine. We can grow a large variety of plants from March to October or November each year. We have plenty of days filled to the brim with sunshine that makes plants grow like mad. In the spring and fall in my part of the state, we usually have regular rains so I don’t even have to water my garden at all.
Gardening in Oklahoma, Zone 7
The hardest part about gardening in Oklahoma is it is HOT! We have cold winters and hot summers. Our season is long, but not for every crop. If you want to grow a spring or fall garden in Oklahoma, you have to fight the seasons. We basically have winter and summer, but not much spring or fall to speak of. Spring and fall crops can be things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, lettuce and spinach and other cold hardy vegetables.
For spring planting, you need to start your seeds indoors in January. For fall planting, in July. For your summer plants, you can start your seeds inside in February. You can’t grow your seedlings in the ground outside at this time because in January, February, and March, you will be having some single digit temps that will kill them. In July, August, and September, it maybe be over 100 degrees some days or all of them. Cold weather crops like to be cool, not hot. So how do you extend the seasons?
For spring planting you could make use of row covers or cold frames to extend the season. They trap the heat from the sun and hold it near the soil to keep it warmer. For fall planting, you can grow your seedlings to a fairly good size indoors under a light and then as soon as it begins to cool down in September and October, plant them outside and hope we don’t get an early freeze to kill them before they produce. Your row covers and cold frames can come in handy then too.
Another Oklahoma challenge is the intense heat in the summer. Anything you plant for summer growing needs to be very heat tolerant. Many plants will bolt because of the heat which means they send up seed heads and become bitter instead of staying tender and tasty for you to enjoy eating. One way you can combat the intense heat is with shade cloth. Shade cloth is a thin fabric you can cover your plants with to shade some of the summer sun and heat from your garden plants.
If all this extreme weather was not enough to keep your garden from thriving, you have to consider one more Oklahoma problem, drought. Most summers we have long intervals without rain, some include very severe drought. You have to make sure water is plentiful and available.
Don’t be discouraged if you want to garden in Oklahoma. There is still plenty of good gardening to be had. My little Sprouts and I grew over 800 pounds of fruits and vegetables last summer, it can be done. And it’s super fun to get your hands in the dirt and make something delicious grow.
It’s totally worth the effort and this super fun hobby is good for your health in multiple ways including great exercise, exposure to fresh air and sunshine, and a house full of tasty and very healthy food. Plus gardening is good for your mental health. Studies are showing more and more that exposure to the dirt, sun, and rain help combat depression and anxiety. Don’t give up even though your gardening can be challenging, anything that’s worth doing takes a little work. Get started and plan your garden today!
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For more excellent information to get your garden going strong, check out this great new e-book The Gardening Notebook by my friend Angi Schneider. You NEED to read this book! It’s full of great information that can help your garden be a great success! Click on the picture below to see a preview of it. Check out her website Schneiderpeeps as well. They have so much information to share. Click here to go there now.
If you are in a different hardiness zone, click here to check out articles about your zone.
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