New to Oklahoma Gardening & Introduction.

wbonesteel(7)August 15, 2011

I'm new to Oklahoma gardening. We moved to Duncan in March of this year and bought an old fixer-upper. (These old bones don't get along with South Dakota winters, anymore.)

We began planning the front garden almost as soon as we unloaded the moving truck. In April, we planted stakes in the front garden and began digging. Now, after re-grading the whole thing - by hand - a 70' by 60' area, and putting in a walkway (partition garden), we're ready to add amendments and mulch and start planting.

Gardening background: I grew up in the country and we always had a garden when I was a kid. That was in south central Illinois. Years later, I also maintained and installed formal landscapes in the Phoenix metro area (long story). Even later, I spent fifteen years in building and grounds, first as a laboroer, later as a manager. I've maintained some pretty nice landscapes along the way.

I've always kept some type of personal garden throughout my adult life, no matter where I lived. The last two gardens we had were comprised mostly of irises and daylilies. So, I have a little bit of experience in gardening. However, it seems as if the more I learn, the less I know. There's always something new to learn, especially in a new climate. Knowledge is weird that way. If you're paying attention, you soon realize that the more you learn, the more you realize how truly ignorant you've always been. Gardening being a case in point.

So, if you know of anyone in the Duncan area who knows edible landscaping, and can help a poor old fart with some adivice and knowledge about local resources and conditions, I'd be truly grateful.

Other than that, I'll mostly be lurking...and reading...and learning.

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Wbonesteel, hello, and welcome to the forum.

I hope you post often because it sounds like you have a lot of knowledge you can shear with us.

I don't live in your area so I cant help you with some of the resources you may need, but I am sure someone on here does.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Hello and welcome to the OK forum. I completely agree with your statement that you more you learn about gardening, the less you know. When I was much younger and a much less experienced gardener, I just planted stuff and it grew and I didn't worry and fret over it much. Now I worry about how well the soil drains (or doesn't), its' pH, whether it has enough iron in it to prevent chlorosis, the soil temperatures, the common diseases that affect any given plant, pests, etc. etc. etc. In a lot of ways, gardening was easier/less worrisome when I didn't know what I was doing.

I hope you'll find the winter weather here much more pleasant than what you had in South Dakota---and in future years the summer weather should be kinder than it was this year too.

Since you're in Duncan, that's Stephens County, right? That puts me a couple of counties south/southeast of you. Jefferson County sits just south of Stephens County, and I'm in Love County which is directly east of Jefferson County. Your county would be slightly warmer/drier than mine in the warm season and slightly cooler/drier in the cool season. Your county averages about 35-36" of rain per year, and mine averages about 38-39" a year. We both have prairie type soils, and we're both in areas where cotton was once a major farm crop. I've never lived in Stephens County, but understand the soil there is considered fairly rich, though somewhat dry, farm land.

What kind of soil are you starting with? Clay? Sand? Sandy loam? Rocky clay? I'll preface all my remarks about edible gardening by saying I have almost entirely dense red clay, except for a narrow band of silty sand, but that clay is incredibly fertile and high in minerals and once you add lots of organic amendments to improve its ability to drain well, stuff will grow in it like mad. I suspect you already know that though.

In our part of the state, soil and water both tend to be highly alkaline and while you can amend the soil and bring down its pH, you're sort of stuck with the water's natural pH. My water tests at about 8.2 when it comes out of the faucet, so I don't even attempt to grow plants like azaleas and blueberries that prefer acidic soil and milder temperatures. Even in a raised bed full of an acidic growing medium, the high pH of the water would work against plants that need acidity in our part of the state.

Down here in southern OK you can grow many kinds of fruits, including all stone fruit like peaches, cherries, plums, apricots and nectarines, pluots, apriums, figs, persimmons, pears (fire blight can be an issue), apples (cedar apple rust is a major issue though, especially if your area is heavily infested with cedar trees) and some berries. Blackberries and dewberries grow especially well in our part of the state. Strawberries grow very well with summer irrigation and a good pest-control plan in place. Blueberries struggle in south-central and south-western OK's alkaline soil and water, and raspberries don't care for our long, hot summers which often do not cool down signficantly until September. Grapes grow well if you're into high-maintenance plants. Quince is one of the edible fruit lots of people used to grow here but that most don't grow any more and quince grows just fine here. Prickly pear is another and I like using the fruit for jelly.

You also can grow several different kinds of nuts in Oklahoma, including pecans, peanuts, walnuts and almonds.

My favorite book on Edible Landscaping is Rosalind Creasy's latest book (as well as all her others from previous years and decades) and I'm going to link it below.

We have a couple of gardeners over in the Lawton area, so hopefully they can offer some suggestions about local resources. I'm too far away from you for any of my resources to be truly 'local'.
I hope you'll post often and not just lurk! With all your experience, I feel you have a great deal of knowledge and experience to share with all of us.

Finally, if you are not familiar with cotton root rot, it can be a problem for any of us who garden in alkaline soil once used to grow cotton, although that doesn't mean it always is a problem, just that it can be. I speak from personal experience, having had a lot of trouble with cotton root rot when I lived in Texas, and then the first few years after moving here. After I amended the soil here for several years, my cotton root rot issues went away. I was worried when it first popped up here because CRR can affect thousands of kinds of plants, but fixing the soil fixed the problem. Otherwise, there wouldn't be much I could grow here.

Gardening in Oklahoma is always chock-full of weather-related issues, but there are issues in every climate. Ours just seem to be more extreme some years. And, don't let your 'average' rainfall trick you into expecting to have about that amount every year. I almost never have an average rainfall year here. We'll either have a hot, dry year with 20 or 22 or 24 inches of rainfall, or we'll have a wet, flooding year with 48 or 50 or 52 inches of rainfall. I'm still waiting to have one of those so-called average rainfall years with 38 or 40" of rainfall. I've lived here 13 years and am not sure we've had an average year yet. I think we almost had an average rainfall year in 2002, or maybe it was 2001. It was so long ago, I guess I don't remember which year it was.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:39AM
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Thanks for the responses, folks! I do appreciate your time and consideration.

From what I've read here, so far, the members have a lot of experience and knowledge. From my own experience, it seems as if every time I change climates, I start out as a newby. Mistakes will be made! :D General rules of thumb still apply, but it's the details that'll screw ya up.

OkieDawn, thanks for the info! That's very helpful. The rainfall issue is kinda disappointing, though. Plus the alkalinity is a lot higher than I'd hoped. The issues with blueberries are kinda disappointing. I'd hoped to grow a couple. I'll still give it a go, but the info you've provided will help me to be more successful in my efforts. (Note to self - Lots and lots of peat moss.)

The heat this summer was a bit of a surprise. A bit warmer than I'd hoped. It can reach a hundred in South Dakota, but a hundred and twelve or fifteen? Yeah, that's a bit much.

Yes, Duncan is in Stephens County. Overall, I've found that people are friendlier, here in Oklahoma, than in South Dakota. I like the idea of everyone waving at one another or saying 'Hi' in passing. It helps to build and maintain trust within a community, I think.

South Dakota is a nice place, actually. Not as cold as some people think. It does get *really* cold - once in awhile - but it's not the frozen tundra. People here seem to think that it's all blizzards, all the time in South Dakota, while people up there think that ALL of Oklahoma is *completely* leveled by toranados every year. That said, the last blizzard I endured in South Dakota was the last one I ever hope to endure. The wind got on my nerves during the last one. Winters here are very mild in comparison. I do - kinda - miss The Black Hills, though. Beautiful scenery.

The dirt in our property here in Duncan is mostly hard clay, kinda brown. Next to no topsoil at all, when I started. By 'hard,' I think you could have cut it out and used it for bricks. One corner of the front garden does have a lot of sand in it. I have no idea where it came from, but the digging was a lot easier there. It won't need the same types of amendments.

So far, I've added sand to some of my beds and have started to add composted manure in my tree beds. In a couple of my tree beds, I've also mixed in some semi-composted hardwood mulch. That's composted in for almost two months, now. I also turned the sod over in the entire garden and mixed it into the dirt and allowed it to compost 'in situ,' as it were. That's worked pretty well, except for having to keep the occasional sprout of grass from coming up. All of my beds have been turned over three times, so far, and I now have a good basic soil to improve with amendments. It isn't *quite* good loam, yet. The beds area much darker shade of brown, now, with some parts turning black, then gray, when they dry a bit.

At the moment, my planting diagram includes saskatoon, a couple of bush cherries, josta berries, currants - black and white, elderberries, blueberries and huckleberries. Five trees - Apple, peach, persimmon, cherry, and paw-paw, all depending on availability and bugetary concerns. We also have a long bed, between our property and the neighbors, three feet wide and a hundred and ten feet long where I plan in put some honeyberries, goji beries, goumi berries and a few rosa rugoas, for the vitamin c in the rose hips.

I was hoping to fill out my hedges in the rest of the front garden with blackberries and raspberries, including a few tayberries and loganberries. I also have four raised beds cut out and turned over, for about five hundred square feet of veggies. Yes, it'll be very dense, but I've been planning and preparing this since the middle of March. If I've learned one thing over the years, a good garden is all about the prep work. Next month, I'll order my bare root trees and begin planting.

I've just begun to work out a planting diagram for the long bed by the driveway, on the other side of the front garden. That'll include figs and a few more exoitics. That'll be my bed for experiments, really. Kiwi, grapes, chocolate vines and that sort of thing. I aso hope to squeeze in few rhubarb, asparagus and mebbe some horseradish in there.

Dawn, your response was very helpful.

Thank you!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 2:24PM
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Welcome to the forum!

Have you done a soil test? Dawn mentioned that their soil in southern OK is alkaline, but up here in McClain County the natural red clay loam is actually slightly acidic. I think the disturbed soil around our house is closer to neutral than the natural prairie soil because they probably added some fill dirt from somewhere else. The home tests I've done here range from about 5.5 to 7, and I can grow blueberries.

I know what you mean about bricks. Our soil softens up decently if we get a lot of rain, but in the summer it's like solid rock. Adding compost seems to help a lot.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 2:36PM
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Hello, Miarje. Thanks for the welcome!

We haven't tested my soil, yet. From past experience with similar clay soils, I've found that adding a lot of compost, a bit of humus and some cheap topsoil, does wonders. In time, the pH tends to balance out a bit. Of course, we'll cover our beds with mulch before we're finished, too.

At the moment, most of the beds are very fluffy and are holding moisture much better than I'd hoped. At the moment, if you stepped into one of thos beds in the front garden, you'll sink three inches or more, and the soil will spring back a bit, now. The soil in the rest of the garden, which I hope to plant with edible groundcovers, in time, now has a spring to it when compressed. Before, it was like walking on concrete. Very hard and compacted and wouldn't retain moisture. In fact, when we moved in, I backed the truck up to the front door and when we finished, you could barely tell that a truck had ever been in the front yard. If we tried that now, we'd have to have a tow truck pull it out.

I'm glad to hear about your blueberries, too. That's encouraging.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 3:26PM
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I think Oklahoma soil is like Oklahoma weather, totally unpredictable. I think you may have trouble with rhubard, so try to find the coolest place you can for it. I planted some in Spring and it made it until a couple of weeks ago, but you really have to pamper it. I think Dawn plants it like an annual plant and doesn't try to carry it over.

I am linking an Arkansas source that has several things that you mentioned and the prices are good.

Welcome to the forum and I hope you will visit often. I don't have much advice for you because I live in the NE corner of the state and have a very different climate most years. This year all of Oklahoma was burning hot and mostly dry, so it has been a very hard gardening year.

Tracy will probably have some good advice for you. She is in Arizona now but lived in Lawton at one time. I'm sure she will have some good tips to share. Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Simons

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Your experience in Arizona should serve you well. And since you are new to these parts there are a few things you should know.

While most folks on this forum are nice, don't generalize.
In a town like Duncan people wave hello because they assume they are related to you. Look in the phone book, there are only about 8 different last names. Notice how everything will be sold by a "Duncan Dozen" Childern grow up there learning to count 1 to 12 on thier fingers and toes.

As Dawn said a variety of nuts grow here but most hold public office so you will only see them every few years.

When folks talk about "long horns" they are not talikng about cattle but Texans which are a type of vermin.

Re "edible landscape " since you live in the self declared " Crepe Myrtle Capitol of Oklahoma " you will need to learn to make Crepe Myrtle pies,jellies, wine and soap ( really just Crepe Myrtle wine with extra lard.) Crepe Myrtle Crepes. ( pancakes with Crepe Myrtle jelly, cool whip , melted velveta , cream gravy, sour cream bacon bits and M&Ms.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 4:08PM
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I thought I heard someone bragging about their crepe myrtles.

Remember, too, I grew up in south central Illinois. I think there were mostly five different names in the local phone book... The other dozen or so were abberations or 'outsiders.' All the better reason to wave at everyone. Keeps the family squabbles from getting out of hand.

I also did the SoCal thing when I was in the service. The 'local nuts' are relatively sane in comparison. ...and if you've ever lived in Arizona, the politics there are...shall we say... different from the mean.

My experience with Texans throughout the years has led me to believe most of the myths and legends about them. They can be a talkative bunch.

As for the rhubarb, the driveway bed is pretty shady. I plan to cut those trees out in a few years, though. I might try a couple rhubarb in the bed on the north side of the house, too. If that desn't work, I'll squeeze a couple into the long bed.

I should have most of the beds composted next month. The rest will be composted early next spring. Mulch will be added catch as catch can.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 4:22PM
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A pic of the front garden and current progres, therein.

I didn't buy a camera until May (then, I hadda learn how to use it), so I don't have a 'before' pic...but imagine a grade that drained from everywhere in the yard to the foundation of the house...and resembled a wrinkled bedspread on a lumpy mattress...with little to no grass in the yard.

Total dirt and gravel that was moved and rearranged was over 30 yards...and the total holes that were filled and and leveled and graded was about 8 yards. Four yards of sand are now in the walkway, to be filled by another layer of landscape cloth and four yards of pea gravel. I hope to have the pea gravel installed by next spring. Essentially, I rearranged all of the dirt in the front yard and put all of the holes in the same place. All of those holes nd low spots are now in the walkway of the new garden.

I've done it all on a very limited budget ...and by only using hand tools - basically, with a shovel, a bucket and a piece of string. 'll be adding compost and mulh throughout the fall. If I can still find any during the 'off season,' I'll keep adding compost throughout the winter and into next spring.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Wanted to say welcome! Glad to have you on board!

Seriously? Crepe Myrtles are edible? I really do learn something every day. Do you have recipes?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Thanks, Seedmama. I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:10AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Wbonesteel, I love what you're doing with the yard. I think it will be so much more productive and so much more interesting than a boring, flat green lawn.

We have an odd pocket of silty sand that cuts across our property in a north-south running band. It is about 80 feet long and ranges from 15 to 40' in width. As far as I can tell, it is the only sand on our almost-15 acres, except for the sandy creek beds. However, the ranch across the road from us has tons of sand....and it washes down into our creek with every hard rain. Some of the 'old-timers' here tell me we once had sandy loam on our property until the Dust Bowl years took it away, so I guess that explains where our sandy soil went, and I suppose what remains is really clay subsoil. The oldest old-timer I met after moving here came here with his family in a covered wagon in 1903, before statehood, and he taught me a lot about our land, its flora and its fauna before he passed away a few years ago.

I assure you that the 112-115 degree temperatures aren't typical. I hope you find that reassuring. We have a 'bad' summer here in southern OK with excess heat and drought about once every three years, and in most of those years we think it is extremely hot if it hits 107 or 108 a couple of times. This year has been an extreme weather year in so many ways.

At our house we usually get hit by hail once every 2 or 3 years. This year we had it 7 or 8 times. I hope that means we'll be hail-free for the next 15 years, although that seems unlikely.

After this year with its extreme heat, next summer we'll probably feel "cool" when the temps are only 103-105.

It is almost 4 a.m. as I'm typing this and it is 88 degrees on my front porch. I'm not happy about that because it means our cool morning air likely won't feel cool for long.

Some of the edibles you're trying, like goumi, haven't grown well in southwestern OK, although I only know one person who has tried them there. They seem to have a problem with the heat, as did gooseberries when she tried them there. I have had some luck with an ornamental currant, but haven't tried any of the edible ones.

I grow rhubarb as an annual from seed sown in the fall. My rhubarb, even when planted so it gets morning sun/afternoon shade, just withers away and dies by late July or early August. It just doesn't tolerate our heat. I think in all the years we've lived here, I've been able to get the rhubarb through the summer only one time. The following spring we had our largest rhubarb crop ever, but when July rolled around, the then-two-year-old plants died. My garden would do a lot better in July and August if the weather would cooperate just the tiniest bit.

Paula, You know, if we can make jelly from the hulls of purple hull pink eye peas, then maybe something useful could be made from crape myrtles......but I'm not going to serve as a guinea pig to find out!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:57AM
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cjlambert(6b Tulsa)

Welcome to the forum! I'm interested in edible landscaping, too, and am intrigued by your mention of edible groundcovers. What do you have in mind?

Again - welcome!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:25AM
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Thank you, Dawn.

The additional 'back story' you've provided is very useful and interesting. I appreciate that.

Being new to this climate, the garden is really an experiment, to me. I'm sure I'll be making changes to the plantings as time goes on. I have my preferences, but if those preferences are unrealistic, I'll adapt, adjust and overcome.

The info about the rhubarb is helpful, too.

If the front yard had been a little flatter, I'd have gone with a flat, green lawn with a tree and a few bushes as focal points. It wasn't, so I decided if I was gonna move that much dirt and gravel, that I was going to make it different and interesting...and have it do something in addition to looking good.

In time, when the plants are mature, while more or less maintaining their natural shapes, they'll also act as a sound barrier for the street *and* block the late afternoon and evening sun. The front of the house faces directly west and there's nothing for shade, at the moment. The garden will also act as a privacy screen between the street and the house as well as between our property and the neighbor's. The property on the other side is empty and is owned by the county.

On top of all of that, I hope to provide between one third and one half of our groceries with this garden. Once everything is up and running, I hope to have come sort of crop to harvest in spring, summer and fall. It won't reach full production for five to ten years, although the raised beds and most of the bushes will be productive long before then.

Carol, keeping in mind that this is all a bit of an experiment, and that I haven't fully researched the plants, I'm considering several plants when I only need four or mebbe five. Prostrate rosemary, golden creeping oregano, corsican mint, mebbe ligon beries, sweet woodruff, wintergreen, mebbe some bunchberries, and for added texture, here and there, some nodding onions. The plan is to use four edible groundcovers to replace the grass in each 'room' in the garden. I don't expect to have much success with any of them until the trees and bushes are more mature, say, in three or four years or so.

Additionally, the persimmon tree in the center will be pruned to maintain it's natural shape and allowed to gain it's natural height, while the other fruit trees will be pruned in a vase shape. In about three years, the raised beds will be surrounded by cedar, built to about 18 inches tall. They'll also be plumb and levl, while the rest of the garden 'tilts' towards the center. So, there's an additional sculptural element to the design of the primary structure.

I also hope to be able to plant some herbs in the tree beds, after I have the trees established. iow, almost every square foot of space will be in production, slightly overgrown and relatively dense, thus, the 'English Garden' part of my working title for the garden.

Some of the design elements, even at this point, take further thought and consideration. If you look closely, you'll see a solar cross in the design, or perhaps it is a Celic cross, depending on your pov. You'll also see a simple square labyrinth, if you look for it. A simple mandela is also visible, if you know what to look for. In the center, you'll see a 'squared' circle.

The walkway, with sand and gravel, will also act as a dry well, collecting and storing runoff from rain. The walkways all drain towards the center of the garden. The corners of the garden are now about five to six inches higher than the center of the garden. iow, as you 'dance the labryinth,' you'll be changing elevation as you're walking through the garden.

At each end of the garden, on either side of the walkways, there's a small rectangular area. I hope to have cafe tables, benches, perhaps even a large checkerboard installed, with large checkers to play a quiet game of checkers. I'm thinking about putting an adirondack chair in at least one of those spots. There is more to the design, but I'm sure you get the drift of my musings.

So, there you have it.

Thank you all for your time and consideration!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Welcome to Oklahoma and Duncan. This is the home of experimental gardening. You can't count on anything doing well for a long period of time. Mostly I try things and they do ok until it gets too hot or cold or windy or wet or dry or icey. And eventually every one of those things happen. At least that's how I comfort myself when the yard looks terrible because something is not doing well.

Your plans sound beautiful. I know you will do well since you obviously know about structure and researching plants. I wish I could say that for myself. I'm more the "that's a pretty plant, I think I'll but it" type of gardener.

We live kinda in Duncan, but more out in the country in a small addition. I have or have had some of the things you've mentioned. I can tell you about my experiences but keep in mind that I'm not much of a gardener. It's more something to do that keeps me outside.

Peaches, apricots and apples: I'd suggest that you talk to someone at the county extension office. I don't know how many diseases and insects there are that need to be fought. We get late freezes so lots of years we lose the crops. As for tree cherries, I've never known anyone around here to keep one going for any time at all. I don't think they like the heat.

Nanking bush cherries seem to do well here. Also, persimmons and asparagus. We have some rabbiteye blueberries that don't exactly thrive, but we get a few pounds from each bush with some left over for the birds. Someone told me to plant them in afternoon shade, which works, but ours get a little too much shade now which cuts down on the growth, seems like.

We have a jujube tree that doesn't even seem to notice the heat, but that may take more space than you're willing to give up for one crop since you did'nt mention it. We have or maybe had a goumi that was doing great until this summer. The heat has really damaged it. I hope it isn't dead.

Of the other things you mentioned, prostrate rosemary will freeze here during a normal winter. Upright rosemary does better. Once in a while, it will be frozen to the ground, but rarely. This year we got down to zero and it died back to the point where dry oak leaves were around it, about 6 or 8 inches high. I cut the dead part off and now it looks great. 'Arp' is the hardiest variety. I tried sweet woodruff once and lost most of it. There's only a few inches of it left under a viburnum.

I've got other edibles that we're trying, but none of them are far enough along to say how well they will do.

I wish you luck with the garden. I know it going to do well. But don't get upset if things happen. That's Oklahoma for you. Things happen.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Hello wbonesteel,

I'm another transplant to OK, having gardened for years in other states. Both NorCal and SoCal (huge difference there), WA, OR, CO. Like you, I've also done landscape design, and maintenance of large properties. And every time I've moved, it's a case of learning soils, climate, and suitable plant materials all over again. I absolutely agree that, the older you get and the more you know, the more you realize that you don't know. Kind of makes me wonder just how many new tricks this old broad can learn.

One of the biggest shockers about gardening in OK came this year when I had the soil tested from a couple of different places on the property. Since stuff seems to grow like crazy here, I thought the soil would be really rich. Wrong.
The red clay garden patch that we had amended is deficient in both nitrogen and K, and the more sandy loose soil from the big flower bed is sadly deficient right across the board. Both are also a higher pH than I had expected. I had planned on using a lot of amendment and mulch in the garden this winter, and now it seems as though it's a must if I'm going to turn it into anything decent. Time to fall back and punt. The flower bed will have to have a topical application because there's a lot of big, established stuff out there that can't be moved. As low as it is in K, I'm surprised that anything's rooted at all.

The design you've laid out is really impressive. Much more industrious than anything I'd have the time or energy for these days, but it should be gorgeous when you're finished with it. Starting with what's essentially a blank canvas and turning it into what you want is exciting, isn't it?

I only joined the forum a few months ago, but it's been fabulous. There are so many people on here who have been gardening in OK for years and years and are a wealth of knowledge for a newcomer. To be able to toss out a specific question and have a real gardener answer it instead of getting a blank look from a clerk at one of the big box stores is invaluable.

So, welcome to the forum and to OK gardening. I think you may be due for a few surprises along the way. The biggest overall surprise for me was the vigor with which everything grows here. There have been a few failures, but usually, if a plant is going to take hold and grow, it does it amazingly well. If the garden's doing that now, what's going to happen when I feed it? Yikes!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Thanks, Loretta! That info is really helpfuul.

I don't tear my hair out when I lose a plant. I moan and mumble about it, of course. Then, I try to figure out what I did wrong and make adjustments, or else I try a new plant that will serve the same purpose.

Once in a great while, I do offer a quiet nod to the 'shiny and pretty' school of thought wrt gardening. I did 'shiny and pretty' landscapes for so many years that I'm kinda tired of them. We do have two front flowerbeds on either side of the walkway, near the street. One of those beds is barely visible in the lower right foregground of the pic I linked to above. The wife wants to put a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree on either side of the walkway and surround them with flowers. We need to get a couple hundred pounds of compost in those beds, first. The dirt in those beds is not very healthy.

The news about the tree cherries and the groundcovers is disappointing. The same wrt to the goumi and goji. I had planned on heavily composting and mulching those areas when I got to that point. Mebbe that'll help those plants to survive? wrt the groundcovers, mebbe I'll just plant a couple dozen of each variety in each 'room' and let them fight it out...

Quince was orginally on my list instead of Paw-paw. Mebbe I'll have to use it instead of cherries? It'll throw off the balance on the overall design a bit, not too badly.

Jujube was something I'd considered, but I wasn't sure that it would grow, here. I might have to re-consider it as a possiblity.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Thanks, Pat!

The pov from another 'transplant' is invaluable. Especially from someone with a similar gardening background as myself.

I've spent some time in the pacfic northwest. Beautiful country. I've also spent a few months in the four corners area of Colorado, but I didn't garden in either location. Completely different climates and conditions between those locations, let alone between either one and here.

The info on the fertilizers is helpful, too. I'd already noticed the lack of nitrogen. The potassium I hadn't really counted on. I was thinking about phophorus, not potassium!

It also sounds as if my plans wrt compost and mulch is right on the money. I *was* going to wait until I had all of my compost in before I tested the soil...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I read through things very quickly and maybe I missed something, but I noticed the grassy areas in your plan and wondered what kind of grass that is. The plan looks gorgeous, but if that is bermuda grass, you will have a problem. It cannot be contained and will run several feet to reach water, both on the surface and underground.

You probably know all of this, but thought it might be worth mentioning since you are new to this area.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Wbonesteel, welcome aboard! Your yard looks wonderful!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:42PM
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When you say "Let's go to the City." and you mean Duncan!!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:53PM
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You might still want to try the 'Arp' variety of rosemary, depending on how short you want your groundcover. It's not exactly prostrate. I call it floppy. Without pruning, it gets to maybe 18" to 24". You could probably prune and shape it occasionally to keep it shorter. And is Saskatoon named amelanchier? If so, I have three types of amelanchier that are doing well. Two get half sun, half dappled shade and one gets dappled shade.

PunkinHead, Shoot no. We go to Marlow for our excitement.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:51PM
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Carol, thanks for mentioning the grass situation. I didn't specify the growth situation in my post, butt I must say that I have never seen grass grow the way it does here! The first time I tried digging it, I could easily understand how a sod house could be built from blocks of it. The Bermuda problem (along with the ragweed) is an ongoing battle on our property, and I'm nearly positive that the grass is winning the war.

As far as the soil analysis, the recommendation is that I apply 4# of 0-0-60 and 4# of 46-0-0 in my 1800 sq ft flower bed to bring it up to something closer to normal, and then do an additional nitrogen application midseason. It's an indication of just how poor it really is. I was amazed by the report. Who'd have thunk it?! As they say, live and learn.

Yes, gardening in CO can be challenging, to say the least. Their soils and climate are as screwy as ours. Conditions are even more difficult than here.
This has been a really wretched year for OK. One of the things that took me a long time to get used to was all the green here in the summer. You guys will think it's crazy, but I actually took summer photos of it and sent to my friends and family in the west, where green fields later than the 1st of June are pretty hard to find. It only happens if it's cultivated and under massive irrigation.

Let me know if you have any luck with the sweet woodruff. I think I'd like to get some started also. I've had good luck with it the past. Other really tough (although inedible) groundcovers for me have been wooly thyme or creeping thyme and mini gypsophila. Once again the main problem in maintaining any groundcover here is the vigor of the grasses that want to over-run anything and everything. I finally put in some tiny sedum brevifolium that I brought back from CA. It seems to be surviving, although it's spreading slower than I had thought it would. It will usually grow in anything . . or nothing.
I also had some purple violets hitch-hike a ride from CA and they have now spread all over the place. I have enough room that it's not a problem, and they do help to fill in some empty spaces. I don't mind using them to shade the ground under larger perennial shrubs. If they get to be too much, which they will, then I'll need to start yanking them out.

BTW, I'm right in the middle of the state, between OKC and Shawnee.
Just wait until you see what Chandra has done with his town garden and the edible stuff he has planted there. It's amazing. He still has the photo link up on the 'Summer Garden Update, July 19' post that's back on page 7 of this forum. He's using a more vertical style than you have planned, but I think you'd enjoy seeing it.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Let's see here...

Soonergrandmom: Yes, that's bermuda. If I were growing a lawn, that's the grass I'd want in this climate. That, or a standard tif grass. Yes, it's going to challnge me in my garden until I get rid of it. I have ways of making it go away, and I won't have to use herbicides. I have time and I have patience. Please note that my beds are free of the stuff. ...and with a little work, they will remain so. I'm not afraid of a little work, even if I can't go at it as hard as when I was younger. A sheet of black plastic and some bricks, if nuthin' else. Let it sit for a week or so, add some compost and yer ready to plant and mulch. Added insurance, use some paper mulch and two or three inches of cedar mmulch on top of that.

George: Thanks for the welcome! I do appreciate it.

PunkinHead: Duncan is city enough for me, these days. Almost too much excitement, really. I'd like to be further of the beaten path, but the wife likes to go and see doctors. If she keeps it up, one of these days, I'm gonna have to get jealous.

Loretta: Yes, saskatoons are variety of amelanchier. I'm glad to hear that they can be grown down here.

Pat, I remember mmy first trip back to southern Illinois after spending a few years in Arizona. Once you get used to it, al of that green is pretty garish, isn't it? Almost hurt your eyes to look at it!

I'll take a look for that post on Chandra's garden.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:17PM
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