Seasons play a big role in the vegetable production.
Seasons are the main factor in what grows and when, this used to be common knowledge. Big box stores have changed this paradigm, now you can get almost anything, at any time. In Oklahoma seasons are a little …crazy, to say the least. We can start a day below freezing, and end a day in the 80’s, or visa versa. Although that happens plants still have temperature ranges that provides optimal growth. These are known as seasons, and vegetables, fruits, flowers, even trees, shrubs, and grasses have seasons. Let’s take a look at the seasons cool, and warm, and what really grows.
Cool Season (Hace frio)
We have the craziest, most varied cool season, especially this last year. According to TLC Garden Centers,and OSU (go pokes!), the cool season is when temperatures are in the low 70’s or less, this year, about mid February to late April, then again in September to December, or January. During this time you can plant things that can withstand cold to cooler temperatures, we call these hardy plants. Most of the cool season plants are pretty hardy to frost , and germinate at a lower temperature. Take this into account next time you are at market.
What should I expect at market?
Expect to see things like: Asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chards, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, peas, potatoes, radish rhubarb spinach, strawberries, and turnips. These plants take anywhere from 60 – 120 days to be ready to harvest. If you’re getting any other plants, they may not be local. Hoop houses and greenhouses can help accelerate growth, but even they have their limitations, and usually may only get you two to four weeks (10 – 30 days) ahead of the game.
Some like it hot! (Muy Caliente)
Now, the warm season planting time is mainly from April to June when the temperatures range between the 70’s and 90’s. The plants in Oklahoma have to be fairly drought tolerant. The harvest time for all the warm or summer season plants is from Mid June to Mid November. Which is a really really long time for production. That also means you could get tons of vegetables and fruits. Harvest time for the warm season plants the range between 40 days after planting to 125 days. In Oklahoma you would not expect to have a freeze in the summertime this being said in crazy Oklahoma there is a chance that we could experience a late, or early freeze, and you may lose your plant, or a plant may be stunted due to an early frost. One legend is to wait till you see a scissor tail flycatcher, that means frost time is over.
What you should expect at market
During the warmth of the summer, you should expect things like beans, blackberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, okra, pumpkin, squash, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon. These are going into the ground anywhere from March to May, and take anywhere from 40 to 125 days to produce, so expect to see some of these in late summer. This is funny because this is when lettuce is more desirable, to make a refreshing cool salad, but its too hot for it, unless, you grow hydroponically. Hoop houses and Greenhouses are limited here too. In a hoop house all we can do is open more sides, and shade it, during this time the best thing it does is protect from wind, and direct harsh sunlight, and some pathogens. In a greenhouse the temperature can be dropped with a cooling system similar to a car radiator, but even then it’s only a few degrees.
I hope you enjoyed this article, I want to give a big thanks to one of my horticulture students, Nicole G., who assisted me in dropping this knowledge on you. Later, and see you at market.