Garden Catalog Season

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
For the passionate gardener, some of the most exciting gifts don’t come on Christmas; they begin arriving in the mail right after the first of the New Year. Garden catalogs filled with promises of spring and new growth are marvelous substitutes for the warmth of summer sunshine. If you enjoy these catalogs, remember that like many other businesses that must compete with the juggernaut that is on-line shopping, mail-order companies are having a difficult time. The costs of time and money that go into producing a quality catalog are staggering. If you are a regular recipient of gardening catalogs, please consider supporting their operation.

In addition to being welcome eye candy, many catalogs are also a wealth of gardening information. Take the time to read what the growers are saying about their product. They will oftentimes also provide some general information, perhaps sharing a story or two from their own gardening experience. However, do keep in mind that if something sounds too good to me true, it probably is.

Give careful attention to shipping sizes, how plants are packed, where they are grown and when they are shipped. The last thing a Payne County resident needs is to have a nice lush Florida grown plant arrive bare root the first week of March when we could easily have several inches of snow on the ground. Mid-April is generally considered our
safe to plant date.

It is also helpful to know that our USDA winter hardiness zone is 7. This means plants rated for zone 7 or lower (smaller numbers) should survive our winters. If you’re an adventurous gardener, you may also have success with some zone 8 plants if you take extra care to protect them from winter exposure.

Speaking of winter survival, last week’s deep to near zero degrees should have some benefits come next summer. It is also difficult to say with certainty but hopefully, the cold killed some of the insect pests that have given us so much trouble the last two years.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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