BRRR . . . COME ON SPRING!
FEBRUARY 2023 / VOLUME 191
FEBRUARY HORTICULTURAL
AND GARDEN TIPS

A variety of topics (Trees & Shrubs, Fruit & Nuts, Flowers, Turf, Vegetables, and more) are highlighted this month. So, learn about what you should be doing in the month of FEBRUARY by clicking on GARDEN TIPS.
TULSA MASTER GARDENERS
2023 SPRING PLANT SALE
The highly anticipated Tulsa Master Gardener Annual Spring Plant Sale is back again. The online shopping cart is now open, but will close at midnight on Sunday, March 12th. Drive-through plant pick-up is from 7am to 7pm on Thursday, April 13th at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds Exchange Center. All you need to do is navigate yourself to the fairgrounds, stay in your car and get in line. Master Gardeners will greet you and direct you to where you can pick up your plants. You don’t even need to get out of your car. Just pop your trunk and we will place your order in your car for you. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

As for the plants, like last year there are 256 varieties to choose from again this year, and there are some new varieties that you will want to check out. You will find not only quality flats of annuals but also individual pots of annuals, perennials, herbs, milkweed, ornamental grasses, tomatoes and other assorted vegetables. To help you search for exactly what you want, plants can be selected by category (sun, shade, natives, pollinators, fruits & vegetables, grasses, etc.) - a total of 18 different categories. Like last year, this year's event features many native varieties, not to mention some plants that cannot be found anywhere else in Tulsa. However, for some items (such as milkweeds) supplies may be limited. To show our appreciation for early shoppers, plant orders will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. So, be sure to order as soon as you can.

Your Tulsa Master Gardeners are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and, as such, receive no city, state, or federal funding. Public and private donations, contributions, and the Spring Plant Sale helps fund the many horticultural outreach programs in our area. Last year, thanks to you, we hit an all-time high plant sales record and we feel like similar results may occur again this year. We are so proud of and thankful for our patrons!

Before you shop, check out the our BRAND NEW short video describing the plant sale by clicking on MG PLANT SALE.

To start your shopping experience, click on 2023 PLANT SALE.
Happy shopping!

And to learn more about your Tulsa Master Gardeners, the organization, and the community outreach programs in which we participate, click on TULSA MASTER GARDENERS.
FROM GREEN COUNTRY MASTER COMPOSTERS
 It’s February and Love is in the air . . .
Love for our small invertebrate superheroes, red wigglers (or tiger worms) and earthworms. These worms are two of the most common beneficial worms found in garden soil. They don't: carry diseases; bite or sting; and they are essential members of earth's natural waste management system. They are also the most commonly used worms for a composting method called vermicomposting.

Though the name for this method of composting seems strange, the first part of the term comes from the Latin word for worm – Vermis. Thus, vermicomposting is basically composting with worms.
Vermicomposting is different from microbial or normal composting because fungi and microorganisms are not the primary decomposers. The worms digest the organic matter and excrete castings (worm poop) that enhances soil fertility physically, chemically and biologically. 

For example:
  • Physically, vermicompost-treated soil has better aeration, porosity, bulk density and water retention.
  • Chemically, vermicompost has beneficial properties such as a neutral pH, increased organic matter content and essential plant nutrients, including iron.
  • Biologically, worm castings are made up of live biological organisms, including fungi, actinomycetes, beneficial bacteria and pseudomonads.

Some worry that worm castings might emit a foul odor, but it simply is not the case. If you take a handful of worm castings and take a deep breath, you'll actually experience a pleasant earthy smell.

Worm castings can be used:
  • As a soil amendment: Mix ½ - 1" of vermicompost into 6" of soil
  • As a mulch: Spread ½ to 1 inch of vermicompost under leaves of plants where rain will drip from the leaves
  • When planting seeds: Place ½ - 1" of vermicompost in the bottom of the hole dug for the seeds. Place seeds on top of vermicompost
  • In potting mix: Use approx. 1/4 to 1/3 vermicompost by volume
  • In compost tea: 4 - 6 cups of finished worm castings per 5 gallons of water.
 
Vermicompost is a stable product, but it does not go through a heating process. Therefore, the 90/120 rule should be followed when using vermicompost for vegetable production. There is, however, no restriction for applying vermicompost to ornamental and other non-edible plants.
 
Now that you know about the benefits of composting using worms, you might want to try vermicomposting yourself. If so, please click on VERMICOMPOSTING to access additional resources for assistance in setting up and using your own vermicompost bin.
WEATHERING YOUR GARDEN
Our newest column for the monthly MG e-Newsletter will be focused on weather-related topics, courtesy of Frank Mitchell who spent 30 years as a television meteorologist including KTUL in Tulsa. He is now a member of the 2022 Tulsa Master Gardener Class.
POP: WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH GARDENING?
You see it every day on the weather forecast. POP. No, your dad is not doing the weather, nor is the forecast calling for raining Diet Coke.

In the weather world, POP stands for “Probability of Precipitation”. Those are the 10%-100% numbers you see attached to each day of the forecast period. Now that you know what it stands for, do you know what it means? Is it the percentage of the area that will receive rain or snow? Is it the likelihood of rain or snow on a particular day? If you answered yes to both, you are 50% right!

POP describes 3 things: 1) the chance of measurable precipitation, 2) at a particular spot, 3) over a certain period of time.

To count as a POP, more than 0.01” of precipitation must fall. Otherwise, it’s called a “trace”. Regarding the period of time, the weather service divides the day into two 12-hour increments: 6am-6pm (day) and 6pm-6am (night).

To truly understand this type of forecast, it’s important to know the type of precipitation, what area and time. For instance, an 80% POP for Tulsa tomorrow refers to an 80% chance of rain in the Tulsa area during the day. At the same time, there could be a 20% chance for rain in the Muskogee area during the day. And don’t forget if there is a 20% chance for rain, there is also an 80% chance it won’t rain. Confused yet?

Then consider this, sometimes the chance for precipitation is referred to as “slight”, “scattered”, “hit-and-miss”, “likely” or even “a good chance”! Refer to the chart above to understand what some of these terms generally mean.
Finally, what does POP have to do with your garden? If there’s more than a 50% chance of rain in your area, let Mother Nature do the watering for you. Unless your confidence in the forecast is only 20%!
NEW YEAR'S GARDENING
RESOLUTIONS FOR 2023
It’s that time of the year again when we look forward to establishing new year resolutions. Research shows that hundreds of thousands of people put exercising and healthy eating at the top of their list. What better way to meet both goals than by gardening? You can achieve both goals while learning new things, going green, and just having a great time outdoors!

Click on NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS for some inspiring ideas and ways to achieve your gardening resolutions and to get you started on your best gardening year ever.
WINTER SEED SOWING IN
JUG GREENHOUSES
Do you have limited space to germinate and grow seeds indoors? Perhaps indoor or greenhouse seed starting costs are not in the budget. Maybe this year, you would like to raise a large number of the same plant but lack racks, heat mats, and/or lighting. In contrast to these limitations, winter seed sowing offers an easy, budget-friendly method for successfully sowing a large amount of seeds outdoors.

Click on WINTER SEED SOWING for a step-by-step instructional guide on this subject, along with some additional resources.

CRABGRASS IS COMING TO A YARD
NEAR YOU . . . AND MAYBE YOURS!
Crabgrass seems to be one of those mandatory spring weeds that we all dread. One day it's not there and the next day it s. But, as many of us know, there are proven chemicals that we can apply in order to mitigate, maybe even eliminate, the germination and spread of this quite pesky weed.

But, the right product is important as well as the weather conditions (wind, moisture), soil temperature and, most important, the timing of application. If you have questions about any of this, click on CRABGRASS to get the real scoop about pre-emergents.
WANT TO LOWER YOUR WATER BILL? CONSIDER MICRO IRRIGATION
According to some experts, Oklahomans spend 30-40% of their home water supply on their landscape. While that figure seems quite high, consider also that 50% of that outdoor water is wasted through improper or inefficient irrigation practices.

Water is a limited, vital resource. By conserving such, we create a positive impact on the environment, overall plant health, as well as on our monthly water bill. One of the best ways to conserve is to use drip irrigation, aka micro-irrigation which can have an efficiency rate that can exceed 90%. To learn more about how you can participate in this marked improvement, click on MICRO IRRIGATION for information on the basics as well as access to many additional resources on the subject.
COOL SEASON VEGETABLE GARDENING
Cool season vegetables are the first ones to be planted in the garden each year. They can be planted anytime from several weeks to a couple of months before the last frost date, typically around April 15th for Tulsa. Be aware that specific climate and weather may influence actual planting dates.

For cool season vegetables, the soil temperature at the depth where the seeds are planted should be at least 40°F and the ambient air temperature below 70°F. For a listing of cool season veggies plus a list of helpful hints for success plus some additional resource materials, click on COOL SEASON VEGGIES and let's get started.

Here is a related article on winter preparations of garden soils for spring. It is an important aspect of gardening that can ensure a successful and abundant harvest if a few tips are followed. Click on WINTER PREP FOR SPRING to learn more.
CAN WEEDS REALLY BE BENEFICIAL?
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many of us put a lot of time, money and hard work into the lawn surrounding our homes. We seed, we feed, and we weed, applying various chemicals throughout the year to create a uniform, green space that is free of “weeds”.

But, what about those weeds? Do we derive any benefits from them? In addition to us, when you consider our pollinator friends and the soil, the answer may surprise you. So, let’s take a more “Earth Kind” look at three common “weeds” you may see blooming here in Northeast Oklahoma . . . Henbit, Clover, and Common Yellow Purslane by clicking on BENEFITS OF WEEDS.
SOME WINTER STUFF FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE (reruns, again?)
Gonna run this topic one last time. So, if you're a long-time subscriber, you may recall some of the articles and some may come in handy as a reminder of what can be done during this frigid season. For new time subscribers, it will give you a variety of topics to read on one of those cold, wintery days and maybe inspire you to get outside on a milder day.
 
 
And, for all you over-achievers out there, here are some handy winter topics to get you started preparing for upcoming spring.
 
DID YOU KNOW?

Since 1983, the Tulsa Master Gardeners have been serving the public by offering research-based horticultural information to residents of Tulsa and the surrounding area. The Tulsa Master Gardener Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization. As such, it receives no city, state or federal funding for its Tulsa community outreach programs. In fact, the Tulsa's Master Gardener programs are self-funded by its own fundraisers, from member donations, and from public donations.

The main Tulsa Master Gardener fundraiser is its Annual Spring Plant Sale that is held each April. Other fundraisers include the Garden Tour and Garage Sale in June. And, one of the most important income sources that sometimes gets overlooked are the personal and corporate donations. These are so important in helping us to meet our financial obligations and we want you to know they are very much appreciated. 

MG Endowment Fund
 
The Tulsa Master Gardeners have been around for over three decades and we plan to be around for many more decades. Furthermore, we are considered one of the top five Master Gardener county programs in the entire nation. We are because of the size of our Foundation membership, the number, diversity and activity level of our various community outreach programs, and our overall financial strength! 
 
So, we are pleased to announce, in partnership with the Tulsa Community Foundation, the Master Gardener Foundation has established an Endowment Fund to ensure our long-term financial strength. Our plans are to build this fund for many years before making any withdrawals from it. Please consider us as you make your annual gift giving as well as longer-term estate planning decisions. Remember, all donations are fully tax deductible! 
 
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund the long-term success of the Tulsa Master Gardener program, click on  
 
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund the Tulsa Master Gardener program's annual expenses, click on
 
We thank ALL of you for having been such faithful contributors both in the past and in advance for your future consideration and participation! So proud to be a part of the Tulsa area - such a giving community!

2022 YEAR-END GIVING
Kathi Babb
Debra Bezan
Tonia Brown
Phyllis Campbell
Becky Collins
Susan Cravens
David Davis
Elaine Dodson
Susan Driesel
Bill Engelhardt
Judy Feuquay
Estella Franken
Karen Gray
Diane Hambric
Jeanne Hutter
Phyllis Langenderfer
Cindy Lilly
Julienna Lovelace
Randy Madsen
Jennifer McNamara
Mary Pittman
Carolyn Rogers
June Scoggins
Vija Sevier
Harold Springer
Jill Tenzythoff
Rebecca Whisenhunt
Steven Zenthoefer
========================================================Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.
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You can get answers to all of your gardening questions:

TULSA MASTER GARDENERS
4116 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74112
918-746-3701
mg@tulsamastergardeners.org