The Norman Transcript


April 25, 2014

April is when nature renews itself

NORMAN — Wind-sheers, hail and strong south winds can damage young transplanted tomato, pepper and other tender plants as well as fruit such as apples, peaches, nectarines, etc. A large, plastic pot with the bottom cut out placed upside down will shield them from the drying wind, allowing the plant to adjust gradually to garden conditions.

Do not put your tomatoes and peppers in the ground until the soil has warmed to 70 degrees. You will not gain anything except perhaps to stunt them if the weather and soil are too cool; they may never recover totally, producing less fruit.

Take young plants out first in a protected area with dappled shade if possible, and remember to check container plants often for water, since it takes only one instance of neglect to lose the plant. I know firsthand because I forgot one of my large, potted Cherokee Purple tomatoes and it could not be revived.

April showers do bring flowers both for the months of April and May. Have you noticed those tiny bluets that cover the lawn before the Bermuda grass takes over? Those tiny bluets lay a sky-blue cover millimeters thick, reflecting the pure blue sky of a spring day.

Summertime tomatoes are what I look forward to, beginning in mid-May with Porter salad tomatoes, then a few weeks later to those delicious Cherokee Purple slicing tomatoes to complement any meal.

It’s too late to plant salad greens in the garden, unless you have a space that gets only early morning and evening sun, unless you have a method to block the strong south winds and shade for midday heat. Salad materials do better planted in late September, October or November in our state; sunlight is decreasing as days become shorter and cooler.

Have you noticed how beautiful the redbud trees are this year, especially the darker pink-purple ones? These trees and shrubs are standouts in any garden, roadside or other location where you need a highlight. Redbuds are native to this continent, especially in Oklahoma and Arkansas and parts bordering these states.

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