Spring Gardening Tips for New Tulsa Gardeners

Planting a garden in Tulsa this spring? Many Oklahomans love to plant a garden and see their delicious veggies spring up right before their eyes. Some may plant right in the ground, while others may use a raised garden bed. Either way, you’ll have fun in your garden and relax while working with nature. Here are a few tips to help your Tulsa garden thrive this year.

Plan and start small. If you are a new gardening fan, many gardeners recommend that you start small in how much you plant. In your excitement, you may see a ton of colorful things to buy at the nursery or garden store, but it’s good to be modest in your first planting endeavor. You may want to use common warm weather varieties of plants that are known to grow well in Oklahoma like green beans, okra, squash, radish, and melons.gardening

Plan out your garden, possibly even on paper, to decide where plants will get the best sunlight, when you will need to plant each type of seed or plant, if you’ll plant in the ground or in a raised bed, and how big the plants and garden will get when you’re finished. Allow plenty of room to work in the garden and for the plants to extend out as they grow.

Before you plant, it’s good to have all the gardening tools you will need including cages or stakes for climbing plants, string to tie the plants to the cages, tillers, pruners, and other equipment.

Prepare and nourish the soil. You’ll need to remove any weeds, rocks, and grass in the garden and may want to test the pH of the soil to know exactly what nutrients it’s lacking. A few weeks before you plant, you may want to add some compost to the soul to make sure it has enough nutrients to support the plants. Then you can turn the soil when you add the compost and just before you plant to make sure it’s aerated. gardening tulsa

Follow directions. There will often be much helpful information on the seed packets or plants about when to plant the seeds, how far apart to space them, and when they should be harvested. The Old Farmer’s Almanac will also have helpful information on when the best time to plant each vegetable. On the Almanac website, you can search for your particular city or state and see the exact planting directions, planting dates, directions for planting by the moon, and estimated frost free date. Along with being tax day, many gardeners will say April 15th is around the frost-free date for much of Oklahoma.

Trim shrubs and trees. Along with planning your garden design and boundaries, you may need to prune any overgrown bushes and trees that may block needed sunlight to your garden. This will also help your overall landscape to have a more polished look for summer.

These are just a few Oklahoma gardening tips for this season. Talk with the Tulsa landscaping and gardening experts at Oklahoma Landscape for more details on how they can help you have a successful garden this year.

Tulsa Landscaping Company Building ‘Living Classroom’ for Jenks Schools

jenks schools projectA unique project is currently in progress for Jenks Public Schools. A “living classroom” including Chimney Swift towers, butterfly gardens, rain barrels, and other landscaping features is being built near the Freshman Academy in Jenks, Okla. This interactive outdoor living space will serve as a fascinating way for students to learn about nature.

The school and 9th grade biology/ornithology teacher Todd Humphrey approached Tulsa landscaping company Oklahoma Landscape in Spring 2013 with the idea for a living classroom. Our licensed landscape architect Paul Strickland then got to work creating 3D concept models of how the finished classroom would look.

“We are excited to see this continue to grow each week,” Oklahoma Landscape President Aaron Wiltshire said. “Ultimately, this will be an incredible and unique space.”

As a Tulsa-area landscaping company, we can see the sweeping benefits a project like this could have. In thinking about the project, we felt this was a very unique school concept that could spread across the Tulsa area into other school systems, allowing kids the opportunity to learn more about landscaping, plants, caring for gardens, etc.butterfly garden tulsa landscaping

We’re also excited that many of the Jenks families we’ve done landscaping for have children who attend Jenks Schools, so they’ll get to enjoy this natural space.  And the site for the project is actually just a mile or so from the Oklahoma Landscape office, so it really feels like it’s in our own “backyard.”

When the “Flycatcher Trail” classroom is completed, students will be able to plant vegetables, perennials, feed birds, and study insects. Students will also be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the gardens, trails, and water feature.

“This project can help students in many ways. It can teach them how to do things outside. We all know how electronics can dominate the time of our youth. This project helps kids to get their hands dirty, into the soil, so to speak. It helps them take pride in caring and nurturing plants and gardens,” Aaron Wiltshire said. “There’s a lot of pride that comes from nurturing living things and benefiting from the beauty that is created.”

tulsa landscapingAs a landscaping company, we know the benefits that come from working with nature and the creativity that can be awakened in the process, and we hope this project will continue to foster that sense of creativity in our children…and it could even inspire a future Tulsa landscape designer.

“Some of our youth will become aspiring designers, architects, etc., and there are little opportunities we can make available to help put something in front of them that may guide them one way or the other,” Aaron Wiltshire added.

What are some of the features this distinctive classroom will have?

Entry structure with rain barrels and a pergola pass-through.

Water feature with streams and a stone bridge.

Compost bins

Butterfly garden

Upright Chimney Swift towers

Native landscape plants and trees

Fully automatic sprinkler system

Cedar split rail fencing

Extensive decomposed granite trails

While Oklahoma Landscape is spearheading the project, there are many others who have donated time, labor, and materials to make this happen. We felt like we could pull off this huge undertaking because of our reliable team of professionals and with the valuable help of our trusted sub-contractors and suppliers.

“Tulsa and the surrounding towns have made Oklahoma Landscape what it is today, and this project is a great opportunity for us to give back to the community we all share!” Aaron Wiltshire noted.

The Flycatcher Trail, located in a lot east of the 9th grade center, is estimated to be completed in March or early April. Stay tuned for more information on how the work is progressing and the various features of the living classroom…

 

 

 

 

Lawn Care Tips to Get Your Tulsa Landscape Ready for Winter

fall lawn care tips tulsaWith the autumn season in full swing in Tulsa, there’s no better time to watch leaves change colors, enjoy a hayride with family and friends, and indulge in a cup of hot apple cider. But, did you know it’s also the perfect time to prepare your Tulsa landscape for winter?

Fall is an important time of year to give your lawn proper care, so it can survive the harsh winter months ahead. So before you put your tools in hibernation, consider these five lawn and garden projects to help your lawn flourish come springtime:

1. Leaf removal – During the fall, leaves cover your lawn in what seems like the blink of an eye. A leaf blower is an easy tool to use and can help you move all your debris to one place for quick cleanup. Keep in mind, it’s best to either blow all leaves toward the center of your yard to create one big pile, or start at the edge of your lawn and blow leaves in the same direction.

2. Restore soil – Add beneficial nutrients, soil bacteria and microorganisms to next year’s garden by recycling pulled annuals, leaves, grass clippings, and leftover fruits and vegetables into an organic compost. Your homemade compost will help you get a jumpstart on your spring lawn and garden efforts, and increase soil richness for plants and flowers.

3. Prune – Since trees and shrubs lose leaves in the fall, it is easier to spot and prune diseased or dying branches. To prevent disease, prune branches that grow back toward the center of the tree, or cross and rub against each other. However, do not remove unreasonably large branches since exposed stubs can cause health problems for trees and shrubs.

4. Lawn mulch – Give your lawn the strength it needs to survive the winter with nutrient-heavy mulch. An easy way to do this is by using a mulching lawn mower or a chipper shredder to mulch leaves and spread a thin layer over your lawn. The nutrients and organic matter absorbed into the ground will contribute to your lawn’s overall strength and growth in the spring. Plus, mulching is great for preventing weeds, stopping erosion and compaction.

5. Weed control – Just like other plants, weeds prepare for winter by storing food in their roots. To remove stubborn weeds, pull or dig weeds out of the ground or use a homemade weed-control solution, such as five parts white vinegar, two parts water and one part dish soap, and then-reseed the spots to prevent regrowth. Oklahoma Landscape also offers an effective weed control treatment to keep your Tulsa lawn weed-free all year, as well as lawn fertilization and overseeding programs to keep it healthy and looking great.

Fall will be over before you know it, so get your yard ready for the cold days ahead. Call the Tulsa landscapers at Oklahoma Landscape for more help in keeping your Tulsa landscape looking its best. You’ll be glad you did when spring is in full bloom.

 (Courtesy of Brandpoint)

Organic Gardening in Tulsa – Tips for this Sustainable Landscape Design

Organic has become very popular today. As more Tulsa residents turn to eating organic foods, many have seen the benefits of starting their own organic food garden. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, vegetable and fruit gardens had a 76.4 percent popularity ranking for outdoor design elements. Everybody’s going green and an organic garden in Tulsa is one way to include sustainable landscape design into your outdoor space.

organic gardens tulsaNot only is growing veggies healthier for your family, especially organic vegetables which are not grown using chemicals, but doing so can also save your family quite a bit at the grocery store. So where do you start with planning an organic garden? Below are a few tips to help jumpstart you on your path to organic gardening and healthy living.

Planning your garden – what you want in it and where – will be your first step. It’s good to put your ideas on paper so you can clearly see any problems that could come up.  Will you grow just vegetables or vegetables and herbs? Will you plant in containers or in the soil? The University of Maryland Extension recommends placing taller crops on the north and west sides of the garden so that they will not block the sunlight from shorter plants. They also encourage grouping plants by the season they grow in and how long they take to mature, and allow space between rows for watering and maintaining your garden.

In thinking about where to plant your garden, the University of Maryland noted, choose a level spot of ground that gets at least six hours of full sunlight a day with no trees, shrubs, or tall objects around. The root systems of nearby trees and shrubs can disrupt your vegetable garden. It’s also good to place your garden within a short distance of your water supply.

Preparing your soil is your next step to a ‘fruitful’ garden. Soil needs to have plenty of nutrients and oxygen to grow strong, healthy plants. You can determine the quality of your soil by getting it tested, either with a home testing kit or through your local agricultural extension office. To make sure your soil has enough nutrients, you’ll want to add compost, with different types of organic matter such as grass and leaf clippings (without herbicides) as well as manure, to the soil.green tomatoes tulsa

The next step is choosing your crops and planting.  Of course, it’s a good idea to choose veggies that you like and those that are expensive to buy in the store. Crops that are easier to grow such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and zucchini, greens, and pole beans will not only make gardening easier for you but also more enjoyable when you see the fruitage of your labors. Native plants and crops that will thrive and be more drought and disease resistant are also a good idea for a garden.

“If you’re buying seedlings, look for plants raised without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A great place to look is at your local farmer’s market, which may also have native plants and varieties well suited to your area,” The Daily Green reported. “It’s better to buy stocky seedlings with few, if any blooms yet, and with roots that don’t look overcrowded.”

With smaller seeds, it may be slightly difficult to determine how far apart to space the seeds, and you may have to thin out seeds later. Your local garden store, agriculture extension, or the seed packet itself should have information about the correct spacing for a particular seed. In any case, whether using large, small seeds, or transplants, “pushing the envelope too far [with spacing] will cause a decline in yield and plant problems,” the University of Maryland noted.

Finally, watering and taking care of your organic garden are essential for great crops. It’s best to water crops in the morning to avoid disease problems and evaporation. In general, crops do well with one inch of water per week, although some crops may have different watering requirements based on such factors as type and growing stage. The local basil herb gardens tulsaclimate will also determine whether more water is needed. Watering at the base of plant is best to help the root system grow deeper. A drip irrigation system is a good way to deliver water to the base of the plant. Applying mulch to the garden will help keep out weeds while helping to conserve moisture in the soil.

Organic gardening is not only fun and a relaxing hobby, but can help your family to eat healthier while you get in touch with nature and ‘find yourself outside.’ Oklahoma Landscape can help you design the right organic garden for your landscape and your lifestyle.

Sources: Organic Gardening – How to Start an Organic Garden – The Daily Green

http://extension.umd.edu/growit/food-gardening-101

Composting – A Basic Guide – via Eartheasy

Composting – A Basic Guide – via Eartheasy

Have you ever wondered how to make a compost pile as an addition to your Tulsa lawn care program? Or even what a compost is? This article via www.Eartheasy.com gives you a good basic guide to beginner’s composting. It discusses the benefits of composting, what to compost, how to compost, and different composting methods. Have you had issues with your compost in the past? This article discusses various problems that could happen and easy solutions.

Composting can reduce household waste while being an effective and sustainable method of adding nutrients to your Tulsa lawn.