International Workshop Series-Gardening in Oklahoma
Home Gardening, in simple terms, can be called as the process of growing plants and taking care of them in your own home for various purposes. It is considered a gratifying hobby, as it reaps benefits both in the form of mental relaxation and provides you with homegrown organic fruits and vegetables.
Having your little garden at home is bliss. Every gardener dream of having their own small gardening space where they can grow their favorite vegetables and greens. The joy of gardening in our little garden is immensely satisfying.
Let us hear, what it means to have a home garden from a very lovely gardener from Oklahoma. So watch our workshop based on “GARDENING IN OKLAHOMA” with our speaker Ms. Erica Wilson. A mother to a lovely girl, who has always dreamt of having her own garden space. She shares her journey of getting a house with gardening space and how her gardening started. You can see more of her garden on her Instagram page called “monjardinaucoin” which means My Garden on the Corner and also check out amazing videos on her youtube channel Mon Jardin Au Coin.
Gardening Tips and trends in Oklahoma with Erica
Hello, everyone. Welcome, everyone to another international workshop from TheAffordableOrganicStore. Today, we have with us, Miss Erica Wilson. “Welcome to our workshop and we are so pleased to have you with us today.”, said Zehra.
Erica is from Oklahoma and she is a passionate gardener. She is a mother of a lovely girl. She always dreamt of having a little garden at home. She finally got a beautiful home with gardening space. And this is how her gardening journey started. Today, she will be telling her about her journey of gardening and how does she manage gardening. If you want to connect with her personally, you can check out her Instagram page called ‘Monjardinaucoin. The meaning of this word is ‘Garden on the corner’. So, over to you Erica. Please tell us everything that you want to share with us.
Get ready to know the gardening trends in Oklahoma
“My name is Erica. I live in Oklahoma which is in the United States of America. We’re right in the middle of the state. If you look at grow zones, we are at grow zone 7a. Sometimes, they are considered as grow zone 7b. We kind of get cold in here in the winter and we also have really hot summers. In my adult life, I lived in apartments with my daughter and we always wanted to have a garden and a big yard. Also, I had the idea of growing my own food and preserving a lot of it, making pickles, and doing things like that. In May 2019, I moved into this house. My current house has a good-sized backyard. There is a lot of room to grow many things. So, I am very happy about my new house. I chose to start my channel to show the good times and the bad times while gardening. This is because sometimes people struggle with keeping the plants alive. Sometimes, I fail in keeping the plants alive. But, I’m pretty proud because I have had some successes recently in gardening. ”
- “It is a part and parcel in Gardening. You cannot be successful every time and cannot tell what gardening is exactly. ”, added Zehra
“You have to count all the victories instead of failures. It has also kept my spirits up with all the things that have happened to me in this world. It is always good to go out in the garden. A grow zone 7a means that we have all four seasons. The winter hits pretty hard and we have hotter summers over here. There is a lot of humidity that takes out a lot of trouble growing cucumbers, pumpkins. Some of my friends live in India from Kerala. Looking into the grow zone of India, the grow zone in India is 6a.”
- “Are you speaking of Kerala in India?”, asked Zehra
Yes, the region that I am speaking of in India is most probably Kerala.
- “Kerala is a coastal area in India. The temperature is humid and it is mostly hot in Kerala. We have great vegetation in Kerala. ”, added Zehra
“Some of the plants that I want to show everyone is the ones that we grow typically in our state. We grow tomatoes, cucumbers, Jalapenos, peppers, herbs like rosemary, basil. I like to try out new things. So, I have olives. I’m in love with my olives. The plant that I have of olives is smaller as compared to the other ones. The other ones are tucked in the garage right now. Olives thrive in arid temperatures. They love a warm atmosphere. I got two olives on my plant this summer. I was pretty happy seeing my olives. I have several citrus plants. This plant is a Mexican lime tree and I just got this tree this summer. I am pretty excited to have this tree. Last year, my mother gifted me a Kumquat tree for my birthday. I have got some basil and some dill too. I got to know that you can grow saffron over my place. So, I purchased a few saffron bulbs online. I planted the bulbs and it took them three weeks to sprout up and they had beautiful flowers when they sprouted. I have dried some of the saffron flowers and they smell fantastic! I imported the saffron bulbs from Netherland. You get three to four stamen strands per plant. So, I received all this saffron from six to seven plants. They looked big initially, but, when I dried them up using parchment paper for a couple of days, they got a lot smaller. ”
Let’s have a look at the plants of Erica
- “Do the saffron grow perfectly indoors?”
I bought them all in to show everyone. I tried one batch indoors and the other using a flower bed. On the other side, my daughter has planted leeks. She really likes to have leek and potato soup. So, she planted a bunch of leeks.
- “The bulb that you have shown right now is of a saffron plant? ”
Yes. This is actually a saffron plant. I had it in a bag because I had to give it to one of my friends. But, it is doing its work. You usually put the bulb in the soil and then it grows up.
- “Do you harvest saffron only once a year?”
Yes, you harvest them and they start blooming up two to three weeks after this period. The flowers of the saffron stay for two to three days maximum.
- “Is it easy to grow saffron in Oklahoma?”
Yes. It is easy for me at least. I literally just planted the bulbs and they grew up. I did not fertilize them at all. I am anxious to see next year if they multiply as normal Tulip bulbs or Crocuses do. In this way, I will be able to obtain a lot of Saffrons.
- “How can we grow saffron apart from buds?”
I don’t think there is another way of growing saffron. The bulb is the only way for the propagation of Saffron. I don’t recall any seeds for saffron.
More plants that I started with were from seedlings of kales and brussels sprouts. I planted all the seeds in a container where I can easily water them. This also prevents them from getting Gnat infestations and fungus gnats. It is more efficient to water them from below because you can just water them and then leave them as it is.
- “Where can we get the saffron bulbs so that we can grow saffron at home?”
I got these bulbs in the United States online from a place known as Renee’s garden seeds. The shipment came from the Netherlands. They can even be purchased from any company in the Netherlands that sells saffron bulbs. I ordered bout 25 bulbs and they shipped to me.
I have also got two Meyer Lemon trees last year. My daughter has one and I have one. I was able to harvest one Meyer lemon and I sliced them up and put them up in a dehydrator with some sugar. This enabled us to have candied lemon slices. Along with it, I also planted the Kumquat tree. This year, I also added a lemon tree, like a clementine-type orange tree.
One thing that I would to mention is that before you plant the plant outdoors, it is important to help the plant acquire the external surrounding at least once in a while. This will enable them to have an atmosphere and area to adapt to. This should be done because the plants are in a controlled area inside the house and if they are taken outdoors, the environment is drastic outside which can harm the plants. So, it is essential for the plants to adapt to the external environment.
- “So, you put them out for some time?”
Yes, correct. I keep them out when I have to go out. I’ll work outside and leave the plants outside for getting used to the wind and the cool air. For example, I grew my tomatoes this early spring in a tray. Afterward, I potted them to have a bigger space for the tomatoes to adapt. I would take my tomatoes out in the yard when I had to work in the yard for an hour or so.
- “They get used to the temperature and the environment out there and they grow better when you plant them in the soil. If the sun gets really harsh, then the plants also adapt to such conditions like they won’t get sunburned immediately.”, added Zehra.
- “The tray that you demonstrated is a typical seedling tray?”
This is a tray that I got from a company named Burpee. The ones that we use are usually black and have thinner plastic.
- “How do come to know about the time or frequency for watering the plants?”
keep a watch on them. By looking at the plants, I come to know whether they need water or not and should be kept inside or outdoors. Tomatoes just get bigger and bigger with time. So, you just come to know whether they should be planted outside or not. Some people just cut the tomato tree branches when they grow tall just to save some space and area.
- “Can you tell us something about your page and the name of it?”
When we moved to Oklahoma, our house was in a corner lot. So I named my house ” monjardinaucoin” which means my house in a corner. So, when I started doing gardening, I named it Mongardano which means my garden in the corner. It is a French word.
- “Can you tell us about the other plants that are seen around you?”
I have a seedling of this plant named Purple Petra Basil. I had started these seeds at the time of February. I had these seeds under the grow light. I was testing them in a small pot, the trio. The plant did well in the summer. So, I have loads of basil. My daughter and I chop them up and put them in olive oil or ice cube trays. We freeze them. We use them for the purpose of sauteing vegetables or for salad dressings.
- “It is lovely to have all the herbs in one place”, exclaimed Zehra.
The plant in the back is a dill plant. I like to use it whenever I do pickling or yogurt preparation.
The plant next to it is known as Pesto Perpetuo and it is unique because it is variegated and not grown from seeds. Another unique thing about this plant is that it is sterile and won’t ever have seeds coming on top of the leaves. The only way to increase its productivity is by propagation.
I also have spearmint that I took from my front yard. I have some dry peppers too.
- “How do you protect your plants in extreme winters?”
I mostly keep my trees in the garage where there are lights, grow lights that keep the plants warm. They can be kept outside as well. But, I don’t want to put my plants at risk. The citrus plants won’t like the winters. So, they are always to be kept inside. Last year, I had one of my lemon trees in the south-facing window where it used to get ample light and it grew well over there.
- “Can you tell us about the plants that grow very well in winters?”
- “What is the thing in that glass jar behind you?”
These are Okras. I usually plant them from seeds and it is going to be my second year to grow them. You just have to plant them and they start growing. They grow in big stalks that are about 10 feet tall. It is typical in Oklahoma to batter them and then fry them up.
- “We also love Okras in India. It is very good and a delicacy in India”, added Zehra
“I also have some Zucchinis, squashes.”
- “What are the common flowers that are grown in your area?”
A lot of people grow sunflowers. We also have wildflowers over here.
- “Do you grow flowers too?”
- “What lessons have you learned in your gardening journey so far?”
Not to get disappointed if something doesn’t work out. I have a big harvest and if something doesn’t work out, then I try to not get disappointed. If you want to grow something, just be patient for getting the results or the fruits.
- “How do you treat the infected plants?”
The worms that got on my Radishes, we have got the solution to it called the BT. I spray it on the radishes. I try to stay as organic as possible. Sometimes, I use insecticidal soaps.
- “Do you make use of any homemade solutions for the pesticides?”
A lot of people over here use the dish soap in a little bit of water and they will put alcohol in water. This can be used for cleaning the soil. For the winters, I am planning to use the water jacks, cut their top, and plant in them. Teabags can also be used. Just chop the top of the teabag and plant your seed in the teabag.
- “How long can we use loofah as a body scrub?”
You can use it for quite a while until it gets soggy and cannot be used further. Stat tuned to find out!! (laughs while speaking).
- “Can we clean the loofahs after using them?”
Yes, you can clean them and reuse them.
- “Do you grow all the plants from seeds or do you propagate them?”
Most of the plants were grown from seeds. But, I also purchased some from the local nursery.
- “Can you show us how were you going to harvest basil seeds?”
As you can see, this is from a cinnamon basil plant. I rescued these plants before the frost came and then dried them. If you harvest the seeds before they are dried, they won’t germinate properly and won’t grow well. So, I generally strip the seeds and then you will have a pile of blossoms. Squeeze the blossom and the seed will pop out of it. The seed looks like a little rat dropping. Usually, there are three to four seeds that come out from a blossom. I’ll just put all the seeds in a container and let them be there.
- “What other seeds do you harvest?”
I harvested some Stevia this year. I even harvested some basil and okra. Here is one of the okra that I have dried. You can hear the seeds in there. My friend gave me a pumpkin on a stick and a little seedling for it. I dried the pumpkin and I had a lot of seeds from that pumpkin.
- “Is it easy to grow basil from seeds?”
It is easy for me to grow basil from seeds. Whenever you sow them, put three to four seeds and just barely cover the top.
- “Can you give us some tips for growing plants?”
Keep an eye on your plants. Don’t let them dry out. Give your plants airflow.
- “Can you teach us the method for propagation of plants?”
You can do it with almost every plant. You can use the help of your friend. you can even trim the plant or take a cutting if you see something outside. You can take that part and put it in the ground and then water it, taking good care of it.
This is the same for basil as well. For basil, we can take scissors and take a cutting from the top of the plant with its stalk. You just trim it off and then take off the bottom leaves for the plant to be planted in the soil.
- “This is a type of soil propagation”, added Zehra.
- “Which method do you prefer the best for growing the plants?”
I suggest the use of pots. Because the use of pots helps us to transfer the pot from one place to another during frost. It is very easy to water the plants also.
“How many olives do you get on your plant? What are the varieties of the olives available?”
The seeds that I have for olives are green and purple. My olive plant is two years old right now. The lives, initially, were very tiny. But, now they are getting bigger and bigger. I can use these olives in Pickles, cucumbers, or dressings.