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Melon question

posted by: slowpoke_gardener on 08.10.2012 at 10:32 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I have tried growing watermelons and cantaloupe once before and it was a big flop. I tried again this year and got some cantaloupes that I was happy with, but the melons not so well. They started out very well but have grown everywhere. I think the weeds and grass has grown up in them and shading them. I just planted one hill in an area of about 40 sq. ft.. I placed 16' cattle panels on 3 sides of them. They have grown out into the yard, into the pasture and up the 3 cattle panels.

I would like to try melons again next year but would like a compact kind. I think some of you said something about growing them on a trellis. I would like to know what kind you would suggest. The kind I planted are crimson sweet, I think they are too large for a trellis. The fruit seems to have quit growing and I am afraid it is because of all the weeds and grass.

On a side note the last planting of cantaloupe seems to have stalled also, but they are in the garden in a clean weed free area. Thanks for all input.



clipped on: 08.10.2012 at 11:53 pm    last updated on: 08.10.2012 at 11:53 pm

Time To Plan Your 'Fall' Plantings

posted by: okiedawn on 06.03.2011 at 09:05 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I know that right now the fall garden seems far away, and yet, in just a few weeks it will be time to put plants into the ground for the fall garden.

If your garden is full, lush and producing well right now, you may not think you need new plants for fall, and maybe you don't or won't. However, often you will find that fresh plants that have not had to struggle with the heat, wind, pests, etc. will produce better than the older plants which have had to endure harsh weather conditions and the onslaught of our usual summer pests and diseases.

I've linked the OSU Fall Garden Guide below for anyone who wants to look at it. Remember that the fall dates are the opposite of the spring dates, so those of you in the more northern parts of the state need to go with the earlier date in a given range of dates while those of us in southern parts of the state can go with the later dates since our first average autumn freeze falls later.

If you have questions about fall gardening, feel free to post them here. We have a lot of folks who garden deeply into fall and even into winter, so someone should be able to answer your questions.

If you're wanting to plant fresh eggplant, pepper or tomato plants for fall, you need to start the seed ASAP as those need to go into the ground in the first half of July.


Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Document: Fall Gardening


clipped on: 08.23.2011 at 11:32 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2011 at 11:32 pm

Favorite Veggie Varieties for Oklahoma

posted by: okiedawn on 11.07.2010 at 10:13 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

After I posted the list of OSU-recommended vegetable varieties, Charlie wanted a more personalized list of the 'others'.

So, for Charlie, here's some of my favorites based on performance, flavor and, sometimes, sentimental reasons like 'my Dad always liked this one'.

I hope you other gardeners who are reading this will list your favorites as well.


Lima: Willowleaf White, Speckled Butterpea, Christmas, Fordhook 242

Bush Snap: Contender, Provider, Top Crop, Romano, Royalty Purple Pod, Tanya's Pink Pod, Borlotto de Vigevano,

Pole Snap: Musica, McCasland, Rattlesnake, Louisiana Purple Pod, Kentucky Wonder, Miracle of Venice, Supermarconi, Garrafal Oro,

BEETS: Cylindra, Chioggia, Burpee's Golden,

For young greens to eat in salads: Bull's Blood

BROCCOLI: Packman is head and shoulders above all the rest. Small Miracle and Munchkin if space is tight.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS (for fall only): Long Island Improved (ala Catskill)

CABBAGE: Early Dutch Flat, Gonzales, Caraflex, Early Jersey Wakefield, Red Acre

CARROTS: Red-cored Chantenay, Little Fingers, Thumbelina, Danvers 126, Amarillo, Cosmic Purple, Short 'n Sweet, Scarlet Nantex

CAULIFLOWER: Early Snowball

COLLARD GREENS: Georgia Southern, Vates

CORN: Early Sunglow, Texas Honey June, Merit, Silver Queen, Shoepeg (aka Country Gentleman), Black Aztec, Kandy Korn (and all Triplesweet types are yummy)

COWPEAS/BLACKEYE PEAS: Pinkeye Purplehull, Knuckle Purplehull, Six Week Purplehull, Mandy (aka Big Red Ripper), Texas Pinkeye, Scarlet Red


Slicing: Lemon, Fanfare, Sweet Success, Saladbush

Pickling: Boston Pickling, National Pickling, Arkansas Little Leaf H-19, Homemade Pickles

EGGPLANT: Fairy Tale, Hansel, Gretel, Rosa Bianca, Ping Tung Long, Listada de Gandia, Long Green

KALE: Vates, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Red Russian

KOHLRABI: Early Purple Vienna, Early White Vienna

LETTUCE: Bloomsdale Longstanding, Red Sails, Red Salad Bowl, Little Gem, Paris Island Cos, Buttercrunch

MELONS: Jumbo Hale's Best, Pike, Green Machine (aka Ice Cream), Rocky Ford (aka Eden's Gem), Collective Farm Woman, Charentais, Canoe Creek Colossal, Jenny Lind, Schoon's Hardshell, Piel de Sapo (aka Toadskin)

MUSTARD GREENS: Southern Giant Curled, Tendergreen

OKRA: Clemson Spineless 80, Cowhorn 22, Hill Country Red, Stewart's Zeebest, Green Velvet

ONION: Texas Supersweet 1015Y, Candy, Contessa, Superstar, Southern Belle Red, Yellow Granex

PEAS: Little Marvel, Wando, Sugar Snap, Super Sugar Snap, Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Pea


Jalapenos: TAM Mild, Grande', Mucho Nacho, Biker Billy, Ixtapa

Habanero: standard Orange Habanero, Fatali (yellow), White Habanero, Brown Habanero, Peach Habanero, Mustard Habanero

Sweet Bells: Blushing Beauty, Roumanian Rainbow, Yolo Wonder, Super Heavyweight

Others: Anaheim NuMex Joe E. Parker, Alma Paprika, Serrano, Sweet Banana, Jimmy Nardello's Italian Frying Pepper

POTATOES: Yukon Gold, Cobbler, All-Blue, All-Red, Adirondack Red, Adirondack Blue, Norland Red, Kennebec, Russian Banana, Austrian Peanut, French Fingerling, Rose Finn Apple, Purple Peruvian

RADISH: French Breakfast, Scarlet Globe, Pink Beauty, White Icicle, White Hailstone, Purple Plum

SPINACH: Bloomsdale Longstanding

SUMMER SQUASH: Early Prolific Yellow Straightneck, Yellow Crookneck, Dixie, Cocozelle, Costata Romanesco, Raven, Magda

SWEET POTATO: Vardaman, Centennial, Jewel, Porto Rico, Beauregard

SWISS CHARD: Five Color Silverbeet, Ruby Red, Lucullus, Neon Lights

TOMATO: (you've seen so many of my long tomato lists by now that I'll keep this simple and list the most reliable producers)

Early: Early Girl, Bush Early Girl, Better Bush, Fourth of July, Sophie's Choice, Glacier, Mountain Princess

Mid: Jaune Flammee', Celebrity, Better Bush, Beefmaster, Big Beef, Little Lucky, Momotaro, Russian Persimmon, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Rutgers, Better Boy, Nebraska Wedding, Lemon Boy, Black Krim

Late: Porter, Porter Improved, Mortgage Lifter, Supersonic, Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler, Ramapo, Moreton, Stump of the World, Bradley Pink, Heidi, San Marzano Redorta

Cherry: SunGold, Black Cherry, Sweet Million, Rose Quartz, Tomatoberry

Grape: Grape, Ildi

Currant: Tess's Land Race Currant, Coyote

TURNIPS: Purple Top White Globe


Space-savers: Blacktail Mountain, Yellow Doll, Sugar Baby, Bush Sugar Baby,

Regular: Moon and Stars, Yellow Belly Black Diamond, Black Diamond, Yellow Flesh Black Diamond, Willhite's Tastigold, Crimson Sweet


Pumpkins: Seminole, Lumina White, Small Sugar Pie, Winter Luxury Pie, Long Island Cheese, Tan Cheese Pumpkin

Winter Squash: Waltham Butternut, Baby Butternut, Early Butternut, Marina di Chioggia, Red Warty Thing (aka Victor), Green-striped Cushaw, Golden Hubbard, Bush Table Queen, Bush Delicata


clipped on: 07.30.2011 at 02:45 am    last updated on: 07.30.2011 at 02:45 am

RE: Tough Perennials (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: susanlynne48 on 03.08.2011 at 09:27 am in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

There have been a couple of threads within the last month or two regarding native plants in Oklahoma and I've posted several that I grow. Many of my plants are natives since I garden to attract butterflies and grow not only their nectar plants, but their larval host plants as well.

Some that I have incorporated into my garden, that are larval host plants include:

Asclepias species (incarnata, speciosa, viridis, purpurescens, tuberosa altho it is not generally a host but a nectar plant, that I grew from seed - host for Monarch and Queen butterflies

Cynanchum laeve - Sand Vine - larval host for Monarch

Hibiscus coccineus - Texas Star Hibiscus - host for Grey Hairstreak

Boehmeria cylindrica - False Nettle (no stinging hairs) - larval host for Red Admiral and Question Mark butterflies

Passiflora incarnata - Passion Flower - vine - host for Gulf Fritillary and Variegated Fritillary butterflies

Senna hebecarpa - Wild Senna - host for the Cloudless Sulphur and Sleepy Orange butterflies

Zizia aptera - Golden Alexander - host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Aristolochia serpentaria, A. tomentosa, A. macrophylla - Pipevines - all hosts for the Pipevine Swallowtails

Plantago lanceolata and P. major - Plantain - larval host for Buckeye butterflies

Ptelea trifoliata - Hop Tree - small tree; host to Giant Swallowtail

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii - Flame Acanthus - host to Texan Crescent Butterfly

Verbesina encelioides - Golden Crownbeard - larval host to Bordered Patch butterfly

Lindera benzoin - Spicebush - larval host to Spicebush Swallowtail

Salix nigra - Black Willow (growing in large pot) - host to Red Spotted Purple and Viceroy Butterflies

Baptisia australis var. minor - Wild Blue Indigo - gorgeous flowers - host to Wild Indigo Duskywing butterflies

Prunus serotina - Black Cherry - tree; host to Tiger Swallowtail

Hsckberry tree - host to Hackberry and Tawny Emperor, and American Snout butterflies

Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree - host to Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails

Amorpha fruticosa - Lead Plant - larval host to Dogface Sulphur and Silver Spotted Skipper butterflies

These are just the ones that I grow, but some butterflies have extensive lists of larval host plants other than the ones I have.

I do grow some non-natives for butterflies, too, like fennel and Rue for Black Swallowtails. Giant Swallowtails also use Rue as a host. Zinnia and Cosmos for nectar.

Other natives I use as nectar sources include Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis - very easy from seed); Maximillian Sunflower, Liatris spicata, Verbesina alternifolia, Eupatorium purpurea (Joe Pye Weed), Coniclinum coelistinum (Blue Mistflower), Monarda didyma, Ribes odoratum (currant), Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink, a gorgeous red flower plant that hummers love), Lobelia cardinalis, Vernonia fasiculata (Ironweed), Pycnanthemum muticum (Mountain Mint), Rhus odoratum (Fragrant Sumac), Lonicera flava and L. sempervivens 'Blanche Sandman' (also larval host for Snowberry Clearwing sphinx or hummingbird moths), Datura wrightii, Ariseama triphyllum (Jack in the Pulpit), Salvia coccinea, and Salvia greggii.



clipped on: 07.30.2011 at 02:43 am    last updated on: 07.30.2011 at 02:43 am

Beans for Oklahoma

posted by: macmex on 10.27.2008 at 01:14 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Hey folks, I thought Id start a thread on beans for Oklahoma (& surrounding areas). Id like to tell you my criteria for a great bean. There are many opinions out there. This is just mine. There are a couple of things I look for in a great bean. Some comments here are in response to Ilenes in the "Another Frosty Night for Gardeners in NW OK" thread.

1) Dependability. I want a bean which will dependably produce under a wide range of conditions. For that reason both the Dragon's Tongue and our own family heirloom, yellow podded pole bean (Barksdale) don't make the cut. In my experience, though tasty, Dragon's Tongue is very prone weevil damage. Barksdale often won't set pods when it's hot.

2) Tender pods, even when old: Most modern beans become tough when the pods begin to mature. Most dry beans do this. Some dry beans' pods are simply tough from the get go. But there are some varieties out there which produce pods which are tender right down to when they start to yellow and dry. Many of those varieties also have strings. It seems almost to be indication that one has a tender pod variety, if it has strings. Anyway, my favorites have strings and stay tender for a LONG TIME. My absolute favorite green beans are these old timers when they have filled out shell beans on the inside. I string and snap them and cook them up. Its like getting snaps and shell beans at the same time. Plus, with our busy life style, it's sometime difficult to process our beans soon after picking. These tender hull varieties last a long longer "on the shelf," before processing, than the tough hulled varieties.

3) Prodigious seed production: again, here is where Barksdale falls down. It is a struggle with this bean to produce much seed, and that which it does produce is often small and not very filled out. The best beans I know produce lots of nice, well developed seed. This is nice, not only because we like to eat the seeds, but we also like the ease of maintaining seed stocks, in order to share with others.

In the "Another Frosty Night for Gardeners in NW OK" thread I mentioned the three champions from this years garden (for me): Tennessee Cutshort, a mix of white greasy pole beans from NC which came to me with the label of "Long Cut Olde Timey Greasy Bean," and "Cherokee Striped Cornhill Bean." All three of these are pole varieties, which I prefer. But this is personal preference. A lot has to do with ones style of food preservation. I do have to say that I enjoy standing while I pick!

Here are a couple other varieties which Ive tried, which all seemed outstanding:

Tennessee Cutshort
Tennessee Cutshort (pictured above): an heirloom we received from my wifes great Aunt Clara and her Uncle Doy, back in 1985 (Salem, IL). They, in turn received their seed from a woman named Olive Stroup, who got her seed from her sister, who brought it home with her after a visit to TN around 1950. She told Olive that the variety was grown all over the South. Jerreths great aunt & uncle grew this bean exclusively until sometime in the 90s when their health no longer permitted. I get first snaps from this bean in 50 days and dry seed in about 87 days, though, this year I planted my first row on May 11 made my first picking in 56 days. I planted the last row on August 8 and not only managed to pick a good deal of beans from it, but even found some dry seed this last Saturday! I can actually plant this bean in the spring and replant, for a fall crop, using seed produce in the same summer. Pods are about 5" long and fill out to be pretty fat. They have heavy strings and stay tender almost to where one would rather save the seed for planting.

Cherokee Striped Cornhill Bean: I only just received this seed this year, from a Seed Savers Exchange member in OH. This is a true Cherokee heirloom, which is why I requested the seed. The seed looks identical to Genuine Cornfield Pole Bean, which is also a fine bean. Seed is beige with brown swirl patterns. Pods can reach up to 9" and have strings. The pods stay tender "to the end," like all my favorites; though they do have a bit stronger bean taste at this point. I only grew two hills of this bean, and that on corn. But I was super impressed with how productive it is. I intend to do a whole cattle panel of this one next year.

Long Cut Olde Timey Greasy Bean: I purchased this seed from a fellow on E-bay, back in 2006. He, in turn, purchased his seed from some old timers in NC, who raised and sold string beans in a farmers market. They were senior citizens who couldnt keep it up any longer. This is a mixture of white Greasy beans. All are vigorous climbers and prolific seed producers. They all have heavy strings. The Greasy bean has a little less substantial pod. It dries down faster than others. But it sure produces well. The seed is small, more round than long, and white.

Ruth Bible: An Appalachian heirloom with "Kentucky Wonder brown" colored seed. This heirloom dates back to at least 1832 and maintained for generations by the Boys family. Introduced to the Seed Savers Exchange by Jeff McCormick of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Some descriptions say that this bean has 3.5" pods. But others say 5-6" pods, which is what I experienced. Ruth Bible has vigorous 10 vines and white flowers. It produces pods a little later than our own Tennessee Cutshort, but apparently stands up to heat a little better. It seems to flower and set pods a little longer into the hottest part of the summer. I only grew this on in 2007 and it seemed to me that the pods might have toughened up a bit more than the Tennessee Cutshort. But with only one season to compare I cannot really say. I was however, extremely impressed with this bean. It is a true multipurpose bean (snap, shell or dry).

Childers Cutshort: This is a "look alike" to our own Tennessee Cutshort. I suspect that they are the same bean, having traveled through different families. I received this bean through Gardenweb member Gene Hosey, who I met in the Heirlooms forum. Gene got his seed from his mother in the fall of 2006, after she and his dad had raised the bean since around 1975. They received their seed from Eddie Childers of Merrimac, KY (Taylor County) around 1975. Like Tennessee Cutshort, Childers Cutshort has more round than long, tan/brown colored seed. Pods are up to 5" long and fat with strings.

Ive heard great things about Jimenez, and intend to try it. But I hear it is prone to crossing and is difficult for seed production. Rattlesnake seems to bring rave reviews by many. But I think it has pods which toughen with age. Rattlesnakes claim to fame appears to be its extreme heat tolerance and productivity. Kentucky Wonder is a great bean. Its only disadvantage to me is that the pods get tough with age. There is no end to the variety available out there.

I hope this stimulates some discussion on varieties and preferences for beans in this region.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another Frosty Night for Gardeners in NW OK


clipped on: 07.28.2011 at 01:26 am    last updated on: 07.28.2011 at 01:52 am

RE: Beans for Oklahoma (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: okiedawn on 10.27.2008 at 04:19 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum


What a great topic to discuss! I don't think beans get as much attention as some other veggies, like tomatoes and peppers, and yet they are such a garden staple.

We always grow more beans for green beans than for dry beans but we've grown all kinds over the years. Some years we grow more pole types, and other years more bush just depends on what we're craving when we are selecting our seeds for the spring planting season. I like trying new ones, sometimes as many as 8 or 10 new types in one year, so my 'favorites' change from year to year. So, I am more of a 'dabbler' or 'experimenter' with beans and often try new ones year after year after year.

Our favorites these last few years are any of the flat-podded Roma-type beans, and some of the best ones we've tried in recent years were purchased from Seeds From Italy, which is the U.S. importer/distributor for Franchi Sementi.

Some of our all-time favorite beans include Cherokee Trail of Tears, Christmas Lima, Hidatsu Shield and Hidatsa Red, Willow Leaf Lima, McCasland, Old Homestead, Jacob's Cattle, Royalty Purple Podded Pole Bean, Greasy Grits, etc. I also grow some of the newer hybrid bush green beans because of their high productivity, including Provider, Contender and Top Crop.

Several years ago I began trying some of the beans offered by Native Seed/SEARCH and have been fascinated with the many types, some of which have been grown for centuries, by the native peoples of North America. These are very tough, very hardy and for the most part very drought-tolerant. Quite often the tribal name is part of the bean's name, or their is a regional component to the name. A lot of these are really great for dryland farming or at least they are great on minimal rainfall in drought years.

And, I truly love growing some of the beans as ornamentals, particularly some of the runner beans (Scarlet, Painted Lady, Sunset, White), and some of the different hyacinth beans (dolichos lablab) including the purple-flowered and white-flowered ones. Although they shouldn't do this in our climate, the hyacinth beans often reseed for me.

Since you and I tend to mention a lot of beans not commonly offered in grocery stores (hee hee), I thought I'd mention my favorite sources for heirloom (and also newer hybrid) beans. If I miss any sources that you think I should have mentioned, I hope you'll add them.

Native Seed/Search ( This is a regional seedbank located in the southwestern US which houses approximately 2000 accessions of traditional crops grown by native persons in North America (including Mexico), and often handed down from family to family within a given tribe. About half of the seeds they have are from the traditional Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. They do not offer all 2,000 seeds, but rotate growouts/offerings to keep all their lines viable and available. They offer an amazing selection of beans, but other crops as well including amaranth, melons, tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, okra, amaranth and black-eyed peas.

Seed Savers Exchange ( In this country, this is the organization most responsible for the preservation of thousands of heirloom varieties of seeds. It is a non-profit organization and you can join and become a member, or you can purchase from their catalog/website. Only a relatively small percentage of the thousands of seedsaver varieties are available on the website or in the catalog. If you join and become a member, you can purchase seed directly from other members (like George and Jerreth) and this gives you access to thousands and thousands of seed accessions. Among the bean seeds in the public catalog are Cherokee Trail of Tears, Hidatsa Red, Jacob's Cattle, Speckled Cranberry, Lazy Housewife, Christmas Lima.....I could go on forever. For the really rare ones, though, you need to purchase a membership and it is well-worth every penny.

When I first started growing heirlooms, it was SSE that introduced me to many of the fascinating varieties.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( is the first commercial firm from whom I purchased heirloom seeds a long time ago, probably one year before I found Seed Savers Exchange. Southern Exposure is located in Virgina but their seeds grow well in most parts of the US, including here. They have a very good selection of heirloom beans, including Ruth Bible, Potomac, Turkey Craw, McCaslan, Blue Cocoa, Lousisiana Purple Pole, Willow Leaf Lima, Black Valentine, and many others.

Sandhill Preservation Center ( This is a small operation run by the Drowns Family and they offer an amazing selection, not just of heirloom vegetable seed, but also heirloom sweet potatoes and heirloom poultry. Some of the beans they offer include Greasy Grits, Carolina Red Lima, Frosty Lima, Honeycutt Pioneer Cutshort, Brown-speckled Greasy, and Red Speckled Fall Bean. Glenn Drowns, by the way, has been involved with Seed Savers Exchange for many years, and is the breeder of my all-time favorite watermelon, Blacktail Mountain.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed ( This is a relatively young company and it has grown very, very rapidly. I think I've been buying seeds from them for probably 6 or 7 years now. They offer a wide variety of heirloom seed, not just from the US, but from around the world. They also offer heirloom seeds from the Missouri Ozarks. Some of their beans include Old Homestead, McCaslan 42, Jacob's Cattle, Cherokee Trail of Tears, Missouri Wonder, Red Rice bean, several types of Hyacinth Beans, Broad Windsor Fava, Aquadulce Spanish Fave and Sadie's Horse Bean.

Seeds From Italy ( This is the U.S. importer and distributor for seeds from Franchi Sementi. I've only ordered from them for the last 3 or 4 years, but have enjoyed trying their varieties, including Borlotto of Vigevano, Smeraldo Roma, Linqua di Fuoco (Tongue of Fire), and they offer several fava beans not easily found here, including Super Marconi, Supersimonia, and Early Purple Fava.

Victory Seed ( This is an outstanding firm that offers a terrific variety of heirlooms, including Riggin's Stick, Promise Half-Runner Bean, King of the Garden Lima, Appaloosa, Bolita, Raquel, European Soldier (you can see the little soldier on the bean!), and Rio Zappo.

Seeds of Change ( Although smaller and perhaps less well known than many of the other seed companies mentioned, they offer an amazing variety of heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Some of their beans include Aztec half-runer, Jack and the Beanstalk Pole Bean, Hutterite Dry Bean, Indian Woman Yellow Dry Bean, Cascade Giant Pole Bean, Guatemalan Fava, Edamame Sayasusume, and Mitla Black Tepary Bean.

Finally, if anyone is in an experimental-type mood and wants to grow a lot of types of beans without spending a fortune on bean seed, here's one way to do it. Go to a grocery store that carries organic food. I usually go to either the Whole Foods or Central Market stores in the D-FW metroplex. Go to the bean row and you'll find an amazing variety. Sometimes you can find a 'bean soup mix' that will have at least a couple of dozen different kinds of beans in the mix. Go ahead and plant a few rows of them. It is an adventure all summer long, seeing what grows from the bean mix, and seeing what you get!



seed resources/best beans
clipped on: 07.28.2011 at 01:26 am    last updated on: 07.28.2011 at 01:34 am