We have been blessed with a mild summer this year across Oklahoma, especially compared to the very hot and dry summers of the past three years. We have rarely knocked on the 100-degree door and have actually gone into triple digits less than a handful of days in most parts of the state.
As a result of the milder temperatures and several nice rain showers through June and July, much of our vegetation is a beautiful green. It has been a long time since we have enjoyed such lush green trees, shrubs and grass across Oklahoma in the outdoor oven that is August on the Plains. We never know what weather the seasons will produce for us until it is happening or by reviewing it after we have enjoyed or survived it.
Even in a moderate year like this, we still have stretches that get hot and or dry where your landscape and gardens will need to be watered. You can further reduce your water needs by mulching your flower beds, vegetable gardens and container gardens with bark or natural hulls to cool the soil and reduce evaporation losses. You may want to consider installing drip irrigation to further reduce your water use.
Schools and college classes are back in session, which makes it easier to believe that fall is just around the corner. Gardeners learn to think ahead to get the most out of their gardening experience. Hopefully you are still harvesting and picking nutritious veggies off your spring garden, but now is the time to do the final planting on your fall garden.
You can still plant seeds of tender vegetables such as bush beans, Lima beans, cucumbers and summer squash, but these should get planted within the next week to get a good harvest before the killing freezes later this year. There are many semi-hardy vegetables available as plants, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, collards, leaf lettuce, leek, parsnip and onions, that should be planted right away for harvest this fall and even for a period of time after the first mild freezes.
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