What Should We Plant Right Now?
Spring in Central Oklahoma is fleeting. It is here and gone in a hot minute. Therefore we caution everyone from planting cool season crops as we approach the end of March, even though conditions may be favorable at the moment. Cool season crops will tolerate daytime temps into the 80s, but their quality will go down as the temperatures rise. And, the bugs will really have a hey dey with these plants that struggle in less-than optimal temps for their genetics. On the planting guide below for cool season crops, notice that there is a second planting window in late August, early September. This is THE BETTER TIME to plant cool season crops. In our school gardens we plant cool season crops in the fall and grow/harvest all winter long. Carrots and the rest taste much better when grown in cold temps.
How the Central Oklahoma Climate Determines Seasonal Crop Choices
Late summer planting (late July - mid September) for cool season crops works well because the temperatures get more and more favorable as cool season crops mature. With protection, those crops will survive the Winter and keep producing in the cool temps of early Spring. Or you can plant cool season crops in late Winter/early Spring and enjoy them until the heat arrives. Warm season crops can be planted just as the average low temperatures increase (mid April) to above freezing. Click here for Seasonality of Crops for Central Oklahoma Gardens for more details on the hardiness of warm and cool season crops.
Seeds vs. Plants
Some crops do better if planted by seed. Other crops benefit from being planted as a seedling. Use the info here to know how best to plant your warm season crops. Use the seasonal guides above or click on the image below to open our warm season infographic which contains more info.
How Far Apart do I Space the Rows and the Plants?
Below are estimates of how many plants, on average, will fit in 40 square feet if that is the only crop planted.
Melons 2 groups or "hills" of 2 plants each
Tomatoes 5 plants in one row, spaced 2 feet apart
Corn 20 plants each 1 foot apart in two rows 18 inches apart
Cucumbers 10 plants each 2 feet apart in 2 rows 3 feet apart
Basil 30 plants each 8 inches apart in 2 rows 18 inches apart
Bush Beans 60 plants each 4 inches apart in two rows 18 inches apart
Pole Beans 40 plants each 3 inches apart along a trellis
Summer squash 4 plants in one row, spaced 2 feet apart
Winter squash 2-4 plants in one row, spaced 2 - 4 feet apart
Okra 12 plants each 18 inches apart in 2 rows 3 feet apart
Peppers 10 plants each 2 feet apart in 2 rows 3 feet apart
Eggplant 12 plants each 18 inches apart in 2 rows 2 feet apart
How Much Should I Plant?
This exerpt from the Oklahoma State University Extension Garden Planning Guide has a helpful column for calculating how much to plant of each crop. Look for the number of Feet of Row Per Person to estimate how many feet to plant for each person you want to feed.
Want more details?
Check out this very detailed list of approximate dates for planting in Central Oklahoma. Pay attention to the timing of each season listed. If you want to have a quick Spring lettuce crop, here is a good resource on heat tolerant lettuce options. Research heat tolerant varieties for other cool season crops you want to plant in the soon-to-be-hot Oklahoma Spring.
2020 Gardening Class Series - A Partnership with The Lynn Institute
July 30, 2020: Watch Fall Gardening. Reference these: Fall Gardening Class Outline and Resources Links and Fall Gardening Class Slides