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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Harvest Time Shows Decent Yields, Mixed Quality

Parts of Yalobusha County received some much-needed rain while others did not.  While this rainfall was nowhere near enough, every little bit helps.  My house did not receive a drop.  The weather forecast this week calls for afternoon showers, so hopefully I will get some.

Harvest is underway in Yalobusha County and yield reports have been good.  Grades have not been as good due to the hot, dry conditions this summer.  Also, delivery times to the grain elevators have been longer than usual due to the increased amount of grain grown in north Mississippi this year.  Cotton is popping open fast this year due to the heat, and cotton picking will begin in a few weeks.

The State of Mississippi Championship Horse Show will be held September 6th – 8th at the Fordice Equine Center in Jackson.  Coffeeville Saddle Club qualified several entries for this show.  If you like horse shows and are in the Jackson area, you may want to attend this show.  As with the local association show, there will be no charge.  Results will be posted in the next couple of articles.

Horticulture Tips:  

Building Levees

Don’t forget to take care of those trees and shrubs you planted this past winter or spring.  As you have no doubt found out, watering these plants is particularly critical during times of drought like we have been experiencing most of the summer.     

These newly transplanted trees and shrubs will show signs of water stress before other more established plants of the same type because of their lack of an adequately developed root system. Water new plants thoroughly each week if there is no significant rainfall.

Providing a weekly soaking is preferable over frequent light sprinklings because soaking the soil deeply encourages roots to develop at that depth and this, in turn, makes the plant better able to withstand drought. If your situation is like mine in north Mississippi it is pure aggravation to stand there with a hose and watch the water just run off the hard, dry ground.   So, how do you make sure your plants are getting adequate water and not spend all your time standing in the garden holding the business end of the hose?  If you didn’t construct a “water well” around the base of the tree of shrub when you planted it, now is a good time to do that.  

To make sure the water gets where it is most needed, construct a ring or “water well” around the base of the plant to hold the water until it soaks in.      

This ring, which should be constructed of soil or a thick layer of mulch that will retain a reservoir of water around the plant, will serve the same purpose as a saucer under a potted plant—and it will keep you out of the hot sun and in a better humor as well!  

Depending on the size of the plant, the ring should be a diameter that will hold enough water to soak the base of the plant. As the water percolates down into the soil you may need to fill up your reservoir a couple of times to make sure the plant is watered deeply. If you used soil to build the ring of levee around the plant covering the entire area with mulch will, of course, help with moisture retention. Do not, however, pile mulch around the trunks of the trees or shrubs.  Be sure to remove the ring when winter rains begin.


Recent Heat

Delays Garden Plans

The recent heat has delayed fall garden plans. If you went ahead and planted cabbage, broccoli, or greens in August, be sure to keep them moist, but don’t add any nitrogen fertilizer until the nights cool off below seventy-two degrees. The young plants are just surviving and excess nutrition now could add stress.

If it got so hot you just left your tomatoes to rot on the plant, you may find several seedling tomato growing in the garden now. If you grew an heirloom, the new plants will be just like the old ones and you can use them for a fall crop. If you grew hybrid tomatoes, the new plants may look like the old ones, but they may look like one of the disease resistant parents that produce flavorless, never ripening, or tiny fruit. You can grow them out as an experiment, but don’t count on them for something to eat.

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