Stillwater News Press

Garden

February 15, 2014

Seed to Table 02-16-14

It’s the season for cool crops

Each species of plant has its optimum temperature range for growth  — both too hot or too cold can be detrimental. Vegetable crops conveniently divide into cool and warm season types based on those temperature preferences. In our part of the world, the time to plant cool season crops is now — the OSU Fact Sheet F-6004 recommends planting them between mid-February and mid-March.

Some cool season crops that thrive in Oklahoma gardens include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower should be set out as plants. There should be plenty available at local outlets.

The ideal bedding plant is actively growing; it has a well-developed root system and is in good health. Avoid large — overly mature — plants, as they are more significantly set back by the transplanting process, and will generally not gain the time you expected. Cabbages develop large leaf whorls that can be 2 to 3 feet across and should be planted at least one to 1 1/2 feet apart.

Onion starts come in two forms: dry bulbs and green-topped plants — either will work. Plant them 1-2 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart in the row.

For garlic, I use bulbs purchased from local supermarkets. Break the bulbs into their individual cloves and plant them as you would onion bulbs.

Potatoes are set out as whole or cut-up tubers. Most locally available seed potatoes will need to be cut into 4-6 pieces, making sure there is at least one eye associated with each. Potatoes should be planted 3-5 inches deep, and 12 inches apart, in well worked soil. If possible, work in some additional organic matter to help keep the soil loose, this is beneficial to all root crops.

Richard A. “Dick” Ortez earned a doctorate degree from Creighton University. He writes the Seed to Table column at his farm near Glencoe.

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