My Garden Vow (along with some tips and newly gleaned knowledge)

I recently attended a garden workshop, held at the  Tulsa Garden Center and hosted by a local horticultural guru.  I was excited to attend the paid event for a couple of reasons:  I needed a jump start on my garden motivation AND we got a bit of swag.

I should have been anticipating the wealth of knowledge that I walked out with.  Here’s a bit of what I gleaned from the two hour event.

First of all, I attended solo (The Hubs was out of town) and as we assembled in the standing room only auditorium, I looked around the crowd.  My seat mate put it best:  “I don’t think there is anyone here under forty.”  Indeed, she was right.  That makes me a bit sad that no “youngsters” were seeking out the same garden knowledge as all these elders.  🙁

Barry Fugatt, Linnaeus Garden director, had two pieces of advice for the crowd:

  1. Don’t over-fertilize.
  2. Be consistent on water.

Basically, he said that was it! 🙂

My garlic patch.

No, there was a lot more as he broke down the lecture into cool season plants and warm season plants.  Cool season planting times are February 15-March 30 and September 1 to October 15, at least in my area.   (Garlic needs to be planted by October 15.  I just learned this little tidbit.)

Good soil, he directed is good compost and to make good compost you must use a layer of urea (nitrogen), chopped compost, good soil.  Repeat layers and cover.  In three weeks, you’ll have the good stuff.  He also recommend Back to Nature as an “OK” commercial alternative and said that mushroom compost is good for tomatoes.

Tomatoes that I started from seeds. Black Cherry

Speaking of tomatoes, they need consistent watering (always my downfall), well-oxygenated soil (comprised of one part compost, two parts sandy loam and a little ozmycote).    (If you’re in the Tulsa area, he praised Southwood’s for their soil and Fugatt uses it to back fill his raised beds.)  He also mulches with alfalfa straw for the nitrogen.

I was affirmed that leaf lettuces do better in our climate, especially Black Seeded Simpson and Improved Simpson.  Spinach is perfect for the fall and should be planted by mid-September.  Great greens for a delicious and colorful garden (or flowerbed) included turnips, Georgia collards, curly leaf kale, and Red Integra Cabbage.  (Use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to curb leave damage in all Brassica).   To continue the theme of an edible landscape,  Fugatt suggested Bright Lights and Rainbow chard, red okra, red sails lettuce and Mizuna Japanese Mustard.

Tender chard that has been growing in the green house this winter.

Besides this edible landscape, he recommended the following veggies:

  • Tomatoes:  Chef’s Choice (red), Chef’s Choice Black, Fourth of July (cherry), Juliet, and Midnight Snack.
  • Heirloom tomatoes:  Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and Big Beef.
  • Peppers:  Giant Marconi (to stuff) and Habanero Roulette (lower heat)
  • Squash:  Butterschotch
  • Legumes:  Derby bush bean and peanuts (He was adamant to plant peanuts just for the fun factor.)
  • Aspargus:  Rutgers, Jersey Giant, and Jersey Supreme
  • Okra:  Candle Fire
  • Sweet Potatoes:  Garnett (can be planted in 25 gallon pots)
  • Watermelon:  Ali Baba

Other tips for insect control (beyond Bt for cabbages) include Ultra-Fine Horticultural Oil and Safer Soap.  (These can be used in organic state certified gardens as well.)  The insecticidal soap controls aphids and red spider mites.  Horticultural oil controls white flies and aphids.

Peppers (mostly jalapenos) read for the garden.

Fugatt is also a connoisseur of good food and gave many tips on eating fresh veggies.  Kohlrabi is best raw with salt.  Grill roma tomatoes for the best flavor.  If your cucumber is bitter, double peel it.  If you hate okra, you’ve never grilled it.

All the seeds I ordered after the class.

I know this is a hodgepodge list, but I wanted to share (and selfishly put my notes in a form that I can access when needed).

More information about a lot of the vegetables mentioned here can be found at the All American Selections website.

I’m ready to dig in the dirt!

Grapes are busting out!

My garden vow is to keep digging in the dirt, mulching early, and weeding consistently!



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