By Tracey Payton

OSU Horticulture Extension Educator, Cleveland County

Do you have the winter doldrums? Are you tired of catching up on household chores you put off last summer? Below are some tips to shake those winter blues.

Make visits to your local garden center. They know by now of what they will have in stock. Plus, you may have time to get personal service that isn't available during the busy months.

Seek out new garden centers and explore other options. Different businesses will offer varying plant material. It's always nice to support local growers and farm markets, and you may find better quality or more variety in plant selections.

It's also a good time to begin deciding what to start from seed. Leaf through those seed catalogs and make a garden plan, but be sure to read the fine print. Order early for the best selection. Choose hardy, disease-resistant, drought-tolerant varieties. Sometimes, you can sow directly into the soil, but you may opt to start seed indoors. Germination information and days to harvest will be located on the back of seed packets. Try new things, but troubleshoot or eliminate what didn't work previous years.

Need more room? Begin designing a new planting bed. Vegetable gardens tend to be angular for ease of sowing and harvest, but remember to use flowing, curved lines for ornamental beds. A garden hose can make a nice outline, and then simply mark the edge with spray paint, and cut, dig, or spray to kill off any sod or weeds. Hold off working beds, if the ground is soggy. If you work soggy soil you will do more harm than good. Add compost and composted manure for vegetables, traditional mulch for shrubs and flowers.

Do not plant the same crop family in the same location year after year. Crop rotation is the best bet to avoid insect and disease buildup with vegetables and annual plants. Take soil samples now to give plenty of time to make adjustments before planting.

Access fact sheets online at: osufacts.okstate.edu and enter the keyword in the search box. For more information visit your local Extension office, or call the Cleveland County OSU Extension Office at 405-321-4774 or come by our office at 601 E. Robinson St. in Norman.

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