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Oklahoma growing zones range from 6a to 8a. Your growing zones makes a big difference in how you grow, so you need to know where you are on the USDA zoning map. Gardening in Oklahoma has blessings and challenges.
In 1960 the USDA put out a hardiness zone map to tell growers what would grow where. It’s based on temperatures and average frost dates using data from multiple years. These frost dates aren’t hard and fast, but they can really help you know about when something like this might occur.
We are in Zone 7a. We have had a hard freeze as late as may the 10th since we’ve been growing food at little sprouts. So, you never know what you’re going to get. I would suggest waiting on tomatoes and peppers as long as you can stand because they are the two that really get a good zap in a freeze or frost. They are finicky and don’t like cool nights anyway.
Some plants that can take a cold snap, even down to maybe 26 degrees or so include peas, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, rhubarb, and spinach. Everything else pretty much needs more warmth and should wait.
Oklahoma vegetable gardening
Here are some planting times for seeds or seedlings. If you want to grow your own seedlings, you’ll need to take these dates and roll back 8-12 weeks and plant indoors. For more detailed planting times, go to the month by month garden planting guide linked at the end of the post.
Overall, for our state, you can put in your spring crops from about February 15 to about march 15. Those include the plants listed above.
You can put your summer crops in about April 1-May 1 or even June 1. Those crops include corn, green beans, okra, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc.
You can put your fall crops in around August 15-September 15, waiting until the latter for spinach and carrots because they don’t like to germinate in hot soil. They are the same crops as spring, or you can check the month by month guide linked at the end.
There are some crops that are easier to grow and are more nutrient and calorie dense that will save you the most money on your food budget as money gets tighter and tighter. Check out the essential crops to grow for a survival garden here.
What growing zones are in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma has a bit of 6a, is mostly 6b, 7a and 7b and has a bit of 8a. Tulsa and Oklahoma City are both 7a. Click here to see the map.
Zone 6b includes places like Guymon, Beaver, Woodward, Bartlesville, and Miami. Zone 7a includes Enid, Stillwater, Tulsa, Claremore, Tahlequah, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Shawnee, and Chickasha. Zone 7b include Altus, Lawton, McAlester, Ada, Poteau, Admore and Durant.
When should I start my garden in Oklahoma?
You’ll have to choose what kind of plants you want to plant before deciding that. Are you all tomatoes and peppers? I’d wait until June 1st or May 15th at the earliest. Are you wanting peas and carrots? I would start in February for the best chance. Is okra your favorite thing to eat? May 15th is fine for that. Do you want beans, corn and squash, I’d go for April 15th? It’s all a personal choice. And you never know so if it might be a little too late, go ahead and try it.
My daughter got a new farm this winter and garlic is supposed to go in the ground from September to October here. I saw someone on Facebook planting garlic on December 5, so I brought some over to her house and we planted it around Christmas. We’ll see how it turns out, but her plants are growing big and strong now. They aren’t as big as mine that I planted in October, but only a few inches behind.
There are different climate happenings every year and every day. There are ranges that things will work. So, if you are a little early or a little late, give it a try and just be willing to succeed or fail. You never know when you’ll get a bumper crop just a little outside of the perfect times.
Gardening in Oklahoma
I will give you a word of caution about our summer heat. If it’s too hot, it’s too hot. A few things will germinate in hot soil, probably beans, corn, okra, and squash. But many won’t. So, don’t wait on into the last part of June or July to start. You could get some harvest, but that’s about the worst time we have for growing.
In Oklahoma, you’ll see production slow down and even stop on most things later in the summer. When September comes and cooler temps come back, they will start growing again. But in the dead of summer, it’s so hot that the pollen in the flowers gets sticky and it’s hard for pollinators to spread it, so we don’t get a lot of actual vegetables and fruits producing.
If they have already set, they will grow, but if they haven’t, there is a waiting period. Okra likes it hot, and there is pretty much no amount of heat that slows it down, although one year I did see it happen.
Another caution is a freeze will come eventually and you may not be ready. Maybe you’ll be grateful cause you’re pooped from trying to find ways to use everything. But just remember, that gardening comes back around again and all the joys and wonder will repeat themselves.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma Vegetable Planting Guide
Tulsa and Oklahoma City happen to be in the same planting zone. I’m in that zone too, so these recommendations above are spot on for those areas. It’s worked for the past 8 gardening seasons and is working great this year too.
Check out the month by month guide for more details. But you can count on being able to plant any time from January to October around here.
What grows well in Oklahoma
There are some plants that fare really well in our long hot summers. Okra is number one. You can also do really well with green beans, corn, squash, kale, sweet potatoes, radishes, cabbage, spinach, chard, lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, garlic, peas, herbs, asparagus, and turnips.
Things that grow pretty well here include carrots if you can get them started, tomatoes and peppers from plants, and white potatoes. Sometimes we get a long enough cool season for broccoli and cauliflower. Rhubarb can do okay here.
It’s still worth trying all of these. You never know what you’ll learn. The best thing about the garden is that it’s a wonderful teacher. It keeps on giving in so many ways.
Don’t forget the month by month garden planting guide. It even has a free printable version so you can print it and use it for planning out your garden map.
I can’t wait to hear what you’re growing!