Oklahoma has a really long growing season, but the weather isn’t great for every crop. If you plan well, there are a wide variety of vegetables to grow in Oklahoma.
Gardening in Oklahoma
There are a few things to remember about Oklahoma gardening. 1. It’s HOT. So anything that is sensitive to heat will die out in summer. 2. LOTS of water. With the heat, you need to water often.
For all of your gardening needs, check out gardener’s supply company here.
Oklahoma gardening zone
Oklahoma vegetable garden planting guide
For planting times for everything you can think of, check out this Oklahoma vegetable garden planting guide. It will work for any areas of Oklahoma since each crop has a range of planting times.
Vegetables to grow in full sun
Our favorite vegetables to plant in full sun in our Little Sprouts preschool garden that never tire of our long summer days include growing okra for sure. It’s a heat lover. Growing squash, cucumbers, and melons works great in the full sun in Oklahoma as well.
Garlic is grown from fall to summer and does wonderfully in Oklahoma. Find out how to grow garlic here.
Check out my favorite brand of seeds here.
Vegetables to grow in shade
You probably won’t find a vegetable that grows in total shade, but part shade or 4-6 hours of direct sun per day does have a few. It’s actually better in Oklahoma to have a bit of shade, especially in the afternoon, for all vegetables because of the intense heat in the evenings.
Summer veggies that will grow in Oklahoma in the shade are chard, some varieties of kale, and some other greens.
Of course, there are other veggies that can grow here, but these are the best vegetables to grow in Oklahoma in our experience over the last 9 growing seasons at Little Sprouts.
Growing tomatoes in Oklahoma
Tomatoes and peppers grow well in full sun, but during an Oklahoma summer, they stop producing when temperatures go over 90 degrees. Don’t worry, when it cools back down, they will start right back up again.
They can be finicky crops, so if you’re a beginner, start with something more reliable like squash or okra and work your way to tomatoes.
Oklahoma native plants
The Jerusalem artichoke is the only “vegetable” that I know that is native to Oklahoma. It is an edible tuber similar to a potato with bright yellow flowers like a sunflower.
Other edibles native to Oklahoma include the dandelion which is a perennial weed, but totally edible. All parts of the dandelion are full of nutrients.
The violet can be eaten raw or steamed. The cattail is an Oklahoma native whose roots you can eat. They can be pickled, steamed, or eaten raw. If you eat the base of the stem, you can boil it or roast it. I always thought people ate the tops, sounds fluffy…
Lamb’s quarters are a weed that grow all over Oklahoma. If you eat the small ones, they are great raw or cooked. The mature ones aren’t really good once you coo them long enough to make them tender.
Prickly pear cactus is an Oklahoma native. You eat the spiky, flat, green pads that are covered in spines. They are a little slimy, but good in spicy soup.
Oklahoma also has native cress. Watercress is good in salads and you can eat the seeds. Spring cress has spicy roots similar to horseradish, and rock cress can be eaten as a green vegetable.
Purslane is an Oklahoma native. It’s great raw in salad or in pesto. Henbit is as well. Another green that is similar to henbit is purple dead nettle. I get them mixed up all the time. Both can be salad or cooked greens.
Amaranth grows wild in Oklahoma and has edible seeds.
There are many wild allium varieties in Oklahoma such as garlic, leeks, ramps, and onions. There are also look-alike plants so make sure you’re getting the oniony-smelling plants.
There are many native fruits in Oklahoma such as sand plums, currants, permissions, blackberries, mulberries, ground cherries and pawpaw.
Black walnut, hickory, and pecans grow native here as well.
Elderberries aren’t originally native, but they grow like native plants here, so don’t count them out.
For more information about Oklahoma natives, check this out.
I know you’re inspired to grow your own food, if you are a beginner, check this out. I can’t wait to hear all about what you’re growing. I hope this inspires you to choose the best vegetables to grow in Oklahoma that are hardy, drought-tolerant, and easy. Happy growing!