Hi Moms of Tulsa! Thank you for having me today. I am so honored that Jenny asked me to post some gardening tips for beginners here today!
My name is Lesley. I share pictures of my day-to-day on instagram @lesleyzellers and do some random blogging at recipeforcrazy.com. My husband and I have been growing things for over 10 years and we both come from a history of serious growers. You might say we are a bit obsessed with gardening.
But all that said, we are not gardening experts. We do not have our Master Gardener certifications. We didn’t go to school for agriculture. We just have a passion for growing food in our backyard and hope you might try it out too!
WHAT TO PLANT
If you’ve never grown anything but want to start, my best advice is to start small. Pick one plant you really enjoy eating and start with it. What is your favorite vegetable or do you like to cook with herbs? Do you like to eat a lot of salads, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, okra?
Choose one or two and start with it. You can always add more as the season progresses and you get more comfortable.
SEED VS. PLANT
For a beginner, you should consider buying the plant as opposed to starting from seed. Oklahoma can be a little tricky with our unpredictable weather and late season freezes so to give yourself every advantage, buy the plant. That said, some things like lettuces and root vegetables don’t transplant well so you have to start from seed by planting directly in the soil.
WHEN TO PLANT
For seeds and plants, you’ll need to know when is best to plant them. Some people go by growing zones and to be honest, I have no idea what zone we are in. I had to look it up. Tulsa is 7a, by the way. You can read more about zones here. I wouldn’t worry too much about the zone as I would finding out what grows best in your area because someone that lives in Minnesota will have a different gardening season that we do in Oklahoma. So be careful to check your area before following something you see on pinterest or instagram.
- talk to experienced gardeners in your area: neighbors or staff at local nurseries, like Stringer, are great resources
- look online: my go-to planting guide specific to Oklahoma and developed by the Oklahoma State Ag Sciences department, the Oklahoma Gardening Guide (link to PDF download) it’s a pretty complete list of vegetables and dates to plant, days to harvest, what to plant – seed vs. plant, etc. That document will tell you just about everything you need to know about planting in OK!
WHERE TO PLANT
Now that you know what you want to plant and when, where are you going to plant it? I’d recommend getting a big bucket, like a 15 gallon plastic bucket, as opposed to digging a spot in your yard or building a raised bed. You can sometimes find buckets at local nurseries for free or cheap.
Here are a few reasons I like buckets for beginners:
- they take up very little space
- you don’t have to worry about fighting weeds all season
- it’s a minimal investment and less labor-intensive
- you can plant something today!
A tip on buckets or container gardening, find the place you are going to keep it and dig about a 2 inch hole, the size of the bottom of the container, and put it on top then mound the dirt around the outside. This will help retain water so your plants don’t dry out.
You’ll also need to know where the best place in your yard is for your plant. Some plants require partial sun but most vegetables need full sun to really grow. Spend a day paying attention to how the sun moves in your yard and plant accordingly.
PLANT THAT THING
The last thing you need to have to start your garden is some soil to grow the plant in. Not all soils are created equally! We use Black Gold all purpose soil. My husband buys it a Grumpy’s garden on Cherry St. but you can find it online.
Fill your bucket with soil, water it, dig a hole, gently remove your plant from whatever it came in, put it in the hole, cover it with soil, lightly tamp it down, water again and bam! You have a garden. With a little sun, water and tlc, your plant will grown and you’ll be ready to harvest in no time.
For those interested, I shared a little more behind how we plan our garden with some of my favorite books and resources on my blog a while back. Check it out if that’s your thing.
I hope you learned something you may not have known about gardening
today and feel a little inspired to try your hand at growing your own
food in your backyard!
Happy growing and thanks for having me!