Stillwater Milling Manager Alan Schroeder.
February 2020: Although Oklahoma may still be in the midst of the winter months, spring is right around the corner, and the spring planting season begins in just a few weeks.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a first-timer, it never hurts to get advice from agriculture professionals who know when the ideal time to plant seeds is – professionals like Alan Schroeder.
“February is generally the earliest (garden) planting month for the spring season,” said Alan Schroeder, manager, Stillwater Milling. “You can start putting the root crops in the ground – onions and potatoes, sweet peas, and some of the lettuces and spinach – those crops tend to tolerate the cold weather better.
“Getting a garden site prepared is something you can do in the colder weather, however – things like tilling or doing a soil test, by which, you take a sample of the soil in which you’re going to be planting to the OSU Extension office to be analyzed. Once the soil’s been analyzed, they’ll contact you to let you know the results, the soil’s salinity and PH, and recommend what would be best to treat the soil to help balance out the soil needs to make it optimum for planting and gardening.”
Generally, gypsum (or calcium sulfate) or lime are used to help leach salt from the soil, as the calcium in these products replaces the sodium salt from the soil exchange sites and helps bring the salt into solutions.
“Adding any organic material to the soil before you plan on planting in it is always ideal, as well – it helps the soil to be more ‘mellow,’ as the organic material feeds the bacteria in the ground, and that makes the soil better,” he added.
Although 2019 was a “particularly wet” year due to the historic rainfall, Schroeder said recent months have been more typical of the seasonal patterns and allowed the ground time to dry, hopefully “enough to not delay the normal planting season.”
As a carrier of lawn and garden supplies and other areas of agriculture, Stillwater Milling carries “just about anything you’d need” for whatever you plan to plant, Schroeder said.
“We have some lawn seeds, Fescue and Bermuda, which are primarily what makeup people’s lawns in Oklahoma,” he said. “Fescue can be planted early in the spring – sometime in the February or March period, but Bermuda likes hotter weather, so it’s best not to plant it until May.
“Of course, we carry lawn fertilizers, pre-emergents for the lawns, weed killers, and some organic products as there’s a trend more toward organics and organic gardening, which is gardening without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides,” he said. “As far as the equipment used and the planting times, very little has changed in the last couple of years, be we have seen an increase in the interest in organics.”
One of the most popular lines of products Stillwater Milling carries, Schroeder said, is FoxFarm.
“FoxFarm products have been among some of our more popular product brands,” he said. “FoxFarm products include soil and soil conditioners, liquid fertilizers, dry fertilizers, supplements, adjusters and inoculants, slow-release fertilizers, soluble fertilizers, pest control and more, with many of their products being organic.”
With four decades of helping customers, Schroeder said he’s heard “just about every question you could imagine,” but he’s always welcome to hear more if it means helping the customer’s garden, lawn or property be as much of a success as it can be.
“I get a lot of questions, mostly from newcomers or people just starting out a garden,” he said. “People want to know how much space to allow for certain plants, what kind of pest control works best, etc. If we don’t have the answer to their questions, we usually recommend they connect with the Rogers County OSU Extension.”
Stillwater Milling is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Stillwater Milling is located at 721 W. 6th Street in Claremore.
For gardening or lawn product information or more information about planting for the spring season, contact Alan Schroeder at 918-341-0933.
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