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Oklahoma Gardening

Transcript for February 15, 2020

Oklahoma Gardening


(relaxing acoustic music)

>>> [Narrator]

Today on Oklahoma Gardening,

host Casey Hentges scoops up added value

from last seasons straw bale beds.

We create homemade seed starting kits.

Casey plants potatoes from seed.

And we travel to OSU's Cimarron Valley research station

in Perkins, Oklahoma

to check in on the Bermuda grass eradication study.

And highlight some of the mechanical control measures

that are being tested.

(upbeat guitar music)

(spade crunches into soil)


>>> You might remember,

last season we planted a straw bale garden.

You can see how our straw bales have deteriorated,

over the past year.

And a lot of you might think that this is sort of a novelty.

Like, look at how you can grow tomatoes in a straw bale.

And that it's just kind of a unique thing

but really it does have a practical application

for people who might live in a temporary home

or they're renting or something like that

and they don't wanna invest in a raised bed.

This is a great low cost, easy way to make a raised bed.

If you have poor soil

and you're looking for better drainage

a ten dollar bale of hay

will allow you to grow for a season.

But you might get two season crops out of it.

We had tomatoes and then we came along later in the fall

and planted some collards

that we've been feeding our chickens here.

(chickens clucking)

At this point though it's time to go ahead

and remove these out of the garden

and prepare for this coming spring.

Now these bales are not just a waste at this point.

A lot of times you've built a raised bed

because you've got poor soil.

So we're gonna use these to give back to our garden

as we go into the next season.

Now at this point we're gonna remove any irrigation lines

that we might have had attached in here.

And we're gonna go ahead and take these

and load it into our wheelbarrow.

(straw and dirt clunk into wheelbarrow)

While you might not be able to grow

in your straw bale garden any more,

it still has value to add to your compost pile.

And this will add to your garden in the future seasons.

Now of course, you look at this,

a lot of it is broken down really nicely actually.

We didn't put that much potting soil in it

but you can see that potting soil

and the nitrogen fertilizer that we initially used

really help to break this down

and start that decomposition.

It'll continue to decompose in our compost pile.

Keeping in mind that there are fair amounts of straw

that are still intact here.

And straw has a high carbon to nitrogen ratio.

So you're gonna need to add manure

or other nitrogen sources,

to really continue the decomposition of this.

As we remove this from the garden,

a lot of the twine naturally fell away

and we're gonna pull that out.

We don't wanna add any twine or bailing wire

to our compost pile.

'Cause that of course won't break down.

And it'll just be trash we have to deal with later.

So after, we remove that,

we just add the straw and the decomposed potting soil

into our compost pile.

Another use for your straw bales at the end of the season

is to use your straw,

especially the ends that haven't decomposed,

in and amongst your other garden spaces.

A lotta times we like to have a surface to walk on

that is not gonna cause mud

and that sort of stuff.

But at the same time

we'll kinda add to the soil as we go along

and break down.

And you can use the straw to place amongst your garden rows

in areas that you're gonna walk.

And finally, another use for your straw bales.

Again, there's a lot that's usually not decomposed

and so this makes for a nice mulch

to add around your cold season crops

that you might already have started in your garden.

We've got a bed of onions here

that we're gonna add this straw too.

Now when we talk about incorporating your straw

in and amongst plants.

We always wanna make sure

that we're not introducing any disease or insects.

So we didn't have any disease problems on our tomatoes

and in our straw bale garden last year.

So it shouldn't be a problem.

But just for precautionary measures,

we actually are putting it around

a plant that is in a different family.

So we had tomatoes planted in those last year

and now we're put it around our onions, so again,

you're gonna have less potential for spreading diseases

from one plant family to another.

A lot of people use raised beds because their original soil

is just too poor for drainage or for nutrition,

or for whatever reason.

Or they might wanna elevate it a little bit

for easier access.

Well, we used straw bales because one of the benefits to it

is the fact that you don't have to bring in

a large volume of soil.

If you were to build a raised bed, you would then

need to fill that raised bed with some sort of soil.

So for $10, you have a pre-made raised bed.

You just lay the straw bale down

and then you're gonna want to treat it in order to get it

ready and prepped for planting.

Now, here you can see the results

after a season of growing in our straw bale.

We've actually removed three wheel barrows

of material, already, for various uses in the garden.

And each one of those uses that we mentioned

all will help to continue to build the soil

in your backyard.

Now it might look like we have a little bit

of a mess here, but stay tuned, and we're gonna show you

how you can even turn this mess into another raised bed

without buying more straw bales.

(heartland country music)


As we get ready for Spring, a lot of times

we think we might wanna buy one of those seed starting kits,

but we've got some helpful ideas of using materials

that you might find around the house

and this is kind of a fun way to get kids involved

in getting those seeds, also.

So the first thing that we're gonna look at recycling.

Again, the household item is just plain, old

toilet paper rolls that we probably have a few of 'em.

So what you're gonna do is

these are perfectly sized for one seedling.

So you'll just take some scissors

and you'll cut about an inch up and you'll make strips

about a half an inch around your paper towel roll.

Now, after you've done that, you see

we've got the bottom kind of fringed,

and we're just gonna fold these in on themselves, here.

And that's gonna make our bottom of our container.

It doesn't have to be pretty or anything like that.

You might push it down a little bit just to make that crease

a little bit better.

So once we've got that established,

we're just gonna then fill it with some pre-wet

seedling mix.

Now, seedling mix is a finer textured potting soil.

It's a lot looser than your typical potting soil.

And this allows those seedlings to easily emerge

out of the soil, there.

We don't wanna fill it all the way,

that way, we can still water it and not have to worry

about our soil, our potting soil or our seeds

from running off the top.

After that, we're gonna then plant it.

And we've got some cucumber seeds here, we're gonna plant.

The nice thing with this is that you can just write

right on there what it is that you're planting,

and you don't have to worry about using a label,

or something like that.

So we'll go ahead and put about one, just one seed

per toilet paper roll.

Put it in there like that, cover it, and then

we'll need to water it, of course.

Now, sometimes they can be a little awkward to stand up.

They might kinda wobble a little bit, but one trick

to do that is to use some twine or a rubber band

and tie them up that way.

You can see here, we've just placed them in a dish.

So we'll add little water and the paper towel roll

will absorb the moisture as it's needed into the soil.

Now, another trick you could use

is just plain, old newspaper.

So, you're gonna get a long sheet of the newspaper

and fold it length-wise, in half.

Then we also need just a regular can of soup,

or any vegetable can will work.

You're gonna line up on end of that can

and you can see there's a little bit of a hang-over, there,

which is what you want.

Then we're gonna roll our can up.

Just that simple.

We don't even need any tape or anything like that.

We're gonna fold that part that was hanging over.

Again, this is gonna create our bottom.

Kinda smash that down a little bit

to really get a good crease on it.

Let our can fall out.

You might have to pull it a little bit.

Now, you can see the edges

wanting to pull off a little bit,

but what we're gonna do is then,

actually fold it inward on the top.

And again this helps kind of keep that fold

a little bit tighter there.

You're just trying to create something

that holds the potting soil, it doesn't have to be perfect.

And again it's a fun little craft project for kids to do.

So, once we've got that, we'll once again

fill it with some potting soil.

It helps to have your potting soil pre wet

so that you know that it's nice and moist already going in.

And on these, they're a little bit bigger

so you can plant one to two seeds, if you want.

We've got two little seedlings we're gonna put in there,

just push those down.

And again, you can put those in a tray

or something to water them.

You can see, we've got several of them here

that have sprouted quite nicely

and you'll wanna make sure to put a label on that.

The newspaper might not hold the print too well

if you write it on the side,

so you might include a label to put on those.

Now the last thing that you can use,

is just a plain old paper egg crate.

So, a lot of times eggs come in these,

the paper works better than the styrofoam

cause it'll break down and actually help soak up

that water as you place it in water.

So we're just gonna fill each one of these cells

with some potting soil again,

and this is the seedling potting soil

so it's a finer texture,

and it's also pre-moistened for us.

So we're gonna fill each one of those cells,

give it a little tap to shake that down in there.

Now, you'll notice, these are a little bit smaller

than some of the other pots that we've made.

So really again, we're only gonna put one seed

in each one of these cells

and they might not be able to grow

quite as long in these before you wanna pop them up

into another container or transplant them outside.

So now, let's imagine they've germinated

then they're growing, and we've got some over here actually

that you can see have started growing,

but what we're gonna do is go ahead and cut these apart

when we're ready to plant them.

So we'll just go through here

and cut each little egg portion apart

and you'll be able to just then plant

that straight into the garden

with your little seedling germinated.

Now, the nice thing about all of these paper based products

is the fact that paper is biodegradable

so you'll be able to just plant this container,

the newspaper pots, the toilet paper roll

straight into the garden itself

and you won't have to worry about

taking the transplant out of it.

The one thing you wanna be aware of,

is you always wanna make sure

that you're planting the seedlings

at the height that it was growing.

So, for instance, on our newspaper here,

when we go to plant these in the garden

we wanna plant them at the height that they're growing here,

which means, some of this newspaper

might be exposed above the garden

and we're gonna want to remove that a little bit,

because that can actually cause a wicking reaction

around the roots and dry them out quickly

as the wind evaporates the moisture out of the newspaper.

So, we'll just tear that down a little bit,

plant it like this and they'll be good to go.

Now, another thing that you might have

that will work also for germinating seedlings

are these take-home containers, that you can get

from fast food places and stuff like that.

You can either put potting soil directly into this

and sow your seedling that way

or you could put a pot in these

and then put their moisture down here

and allow it to soak up, either way will work on these.

If you plant the seedlings directly in here,

you of course wanna make sure

that you poke holes in the bottom of it

so that it allows for drainage.

And then you're gonna wanna put something underneath that

to catch that moisture as it drains out.

The other thing is, we've got to water

all of these seedlings.

So what's the fun way to make your own little waterer

that's a delicate waterer for these little seedlings

and that's just as simple as getting

a little drinking plastic bottle,

and you wanna make sure you've retained the lid

and we're gonna punch holes depending on how much

of a flow you want into each of the lids.

So once we've got our holes punched

and we've filled up our bottle with water,

I'm just gonna twist that lid back on there,

and look at that, we've got a simple seed waterer

at no cost at all.

So this is a fun and easy way to start some seedlings

around your house for just the cost of a packet of seeds

and the few household items.

You too can start plenty of seeds this season.

(energetic bluegrass music)


If you've ever grown potatoes,

you've probably have gone to your nursery

in early spring, almost late winter actually,

and bought you some seed potatoes.

That's traditionally how we grow potatoes,

is from small little potatoes, like this,

that have the eyes that begin to sprout.

And we typically just plant these straight into

the ground around mid-March.

So, I always say St. Patrick's day

when you're starting to think about Irish

and that sort of stuff,

that's the time to plant your potatoes.

Now if you have something larger

you typically will cut those up a little bit

and allow them to cure.

Now this is how we usually think of growing potatoes,

is from something like this that's called a seed potato.

But today, we're gonna do something a little different

and that is because we have an AAS Winner

that's called a Clancy potato hybrid.

And this, we actually got true seeds from a potato plant.

And so you can see these seeds,

they are pelletized,

so they're a little bit easier to handle.

But these are true potato seeds.

Now, just like any other plant, potatoes do produce seeds.

In fact, after they've put up that flower,

they will produce a fruit

that looks very similar to a tomato

and that's because they're in the same family,

the nightshade family or the Solanaceae family.

And you never want to eat the fruit off a potato plant

because it can lead to some serious health problems

cause they have some toxins in 'em.

You can eat tomatoes, obviously,

but not the fruit of a potato plant.

These seeds come from that fruit of the potato plant.

And we're gonna actually plant these today.

Typically we don't do this, we just use seed potatoes,

because they come back as genetic clones of the mother plant

but this is a new hybrid that has blue flowers

and it will produce a red, kind of a rosy,

cream colored potato tuber.

So today we're planting 12 seeds that will produce

potato plants for us.

A lot of times we don't grow potatoes from seed

because sometimes it can take a little bit longer

to grow them from seed versus from a seed potato.

The other thing is, a lot of times

we never see the fruit actually being produced

on a potato plant.

That's because after they flower,

a lot of times those flowers just drop off of the plant.

Usually in cooler climates where you have cool, longer days

is when we will see the fruit actually being produced

by the potato plant,

which is nothing like our Oklahoma summers, obviously.

So, this is kind of a novelty,

but a lot of people will probably still be growing

the old-fashioned way with their seed potatoes.

But if you want to try a true potato seed,

look at the Clancy hybrid.

(upbeat jazz music)


While the garden might seem dormant,

there's actually some stuff that's still happening

out here at our turf and radication research plot

and we wanted to bring you up to date

about what we're doing.

Now you might remember that we started

this with some late summer treatment

and we've got about 30 different treatments

that we're doing here, replicated three times.

So what we're looking at is 90 different plots

with various treatments.

We've divided those treatments up

into chemical and mechanical ways

of eradicating bermuda grass.

So on the North side here,

where you don't see physical barriers down,

those are various chemical treatments we're using.

Some spray treatments include Roundup,

other synthetic grass killers, some natural products,

and some OMRI listed organic sprays.

O-M-R-I stands for the Organic Materials Review Institute,

which provides a list of products

that can be used in certified organic situations.

What I wanted to focus today on

is more of the mechanical treatments that we've got

and you can actually see some of the various treatments.

One of the first products that we used here

is actually a OMRI listed paper product.

You can see it's kind of a thick,

it's a natural cellulose fiber.

It kinda of deteriorates...

Over the last five months we've had it out here,

exposed to the elements and the moisture.

So, at this point we're gonna actually refresh it

and put another new layer down.

But you can see how it has blocked some of

the winter weeds from growing, but it probably would

have been best if we had put a treatment in

where we've actually covered it with mulch.

But this time that was not one of our treatments,

so we just have this exposed to the elements.

Another mechanical treatment we're using to suppress,

or hopefully eradicate the growth of Bermuda grass,

is just plain old cardboard.

You can see we've got two layers of cardboard

applied on this particular plot.

Again, these are just regular cardboard boxes

that you would use for shipping, or mailing, or moving.

And you can see how we've got this laid on this,

and it's kinda suppressed some of the growth,

at least for the winter weeds you can see.

Of course, we won't know about Bermuda grass

until it starts warming up.

One of the problems again, like with the cellulose paper,

is that the cardboard tends to really blow in the wind,

and it's breaking down.

So we've had to weight it down.

Now, we also have another plot here

that is two layers of cardboard,

where we've added four inches of mulch on top of it.

This definitely has helped hold the cardboard in place,

and again you can see as stuff is breaking down,

you can hardly even recognize

the cardboard underneath there.

So this is really actually building the soil on top

of what might be potentially Bermuda grass rhizomes.

It's yet to be determined whether that Bermuda grass

is gonna come back or not underneath all of this.

So, we're also gonna be refreshing the mulch,

in order to maintain four inches.

Here's another treatment we're doing,

and this is with Winter Ryegrass,

which basically is just serving as a winter cover crop.

Later on as we get a little closer toward spring,

we're gonna till this in to make sort of a green manure,

and we're just trying to cover the soil surface

for the winter months right now.

Two other mechanical treatments that we're using

incorporate the use of plastic.

Both of these are 6 mil plastic.

But you can see one is clear and one is black.

Now a lot of times we think about

using plastic for solarization,

but really that's best done in the heat of the summertime,

when you're trying to capture that sun's heat,

and bake the soil surface.

And so a lot of times you'll use clear plastic for that.

But again, here we've got both,

and what're doing is called occultation,

which is actually creating a barrier to remove

the sunlight from the soil surface.

So, you can see here we've got clear plastic,

which in the winter time is still

allowing the sun's light to penetrate through,

so we've got a lot of winter weeds still growing in here,

and we're not really heating up the soil surface

to bake it, to reduce the growth of anything,

because it's wintertime.

It might work better in the summertime

when we use the solarization technique.

Now, if you look under the black plastic,

it definitely has reduced the amount of solar light

getting into those roots.

And again, you can see there are no winter weeds

growing in here underneath the black plastic.

So for winter use, black is actually working

to prevent the sunlight,

better than the clear plastic at this time.

Another treatment that we're incorporating

is winter tillage.

Now, we're in the transitional area for Bermuda grass.

Bermuda grass is a warm season grass,

which means it thrives in the heat and in our summer times,

but in the winter time it goes dormant.

Now while we might not see any upper growth

in the winter months,

it's definitely very much alive below ground

due to those rhizomes that you often find.

If you've ever tried pulling up Bermuda grass,

you might grab ahold of one of those rhizomes,

and they're almost like zippers

where you just keep pulling and pulling

until it finally breaks.

Well a lot of times while we might kill the upper growth,

and think we've kind of eradicated that area

from Bermuda grass, it's those rhizomes

that will come back to haunt you.

So we're really looking at how to eradicate Bermuda grass,

so that you don't have to deal with it in your garden,

if you're trying to create a garden plot.

So by winter tilling, what we're doing

is we're actually breaking up those rhizomes,

and bringing them up to the soil's surface

and exposing them to any potential freezes

that we have in the winter months.

Hopefully again, killing more than just the upper growth,

but also killing those roots that

are so persistent in our garden.

So as you can see, we've got a lot of treatments

that are happening in here,

and while it's a little too early to tell

what's happening and which one is working best

on the Bermuda grass,

cause everything is still kind of dormant,

it's interesting to see what treatments

are affecting the cool season weeds that are growing.

We'll definitely keep you up to date as we go through

the season to find out which treatment works the best.

[Uplifting Banjo Music]


>>> [Narrator] There are lots of great horticultural events

this time of year.

Be sure and consider these activities,

when you're making your plans for the weeks ahead.

[Banjo Continues]


Next week, we'll prune brambles,

feed birds in the landscape,

Casey will have a timely metaphor for plant health,

and there'll be some chores to do

to get the garden ready for spring.

We hope you join us then for more TV you'll grow to love.

To find out more information about show topics,

as well as recipes, videos, articles, fact sheets,

and other resources, including a directory

of local extension offices, be sure and visit

our website,

And we always have great information,

answers to questions, photos,

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Join in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can find this entire show,

and other recent shows,

as well as individual segments on our

Oklahoma Gardening YouTube channel,

and tune in to our OK Gardening Classics YouTube channel

to watch segments from previous hosts.

Oklahoma Gardening is produced by the

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

as part of the Division of Agricultural Sciences

and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University.

The Botanic Garden at OSU is home to our studio gardens,

and we encourage you to come visit

this beautiful Stillwater jewel.

We would like to thank our generous underwriter,

the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.

Additional support is also provided by

Pond Pro Shop, Greenleaf Nursery, and Garden Debut Plants,

The Oklahoma Horticultural Society,

and the Tulsa Garden Club.