Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Order MSU Cheese For Holiday Giving

If you plan to order MSU cheese this year, you need to get those orders placed.  After November 1st, there will be no guaranteed orders.  If you have already ordered cheese directly through MSU and would like for us to pick it up, please call our office at 675-2730 and let us know.

There will be a forestry program at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building on Monday, October 22nd at 6:30 pm.  The Yalobusha County Forest Landowners Association will sponsor this program.  The topic will be “kudzu control”.  If you are interested, please call our office at 675-2730 to make reservations to attend.

Mississippi State University sponsors a community development program called First Impressions.  The First Impressions Program is where a group of civic-minded people are assigned another town of comparable size to tour and provide their “first impression”.  A group from the town of Lexington toured Coffeeville and some of the Coffeeville residents visited Mantachie.  Then, recently, a group of Water Valley residents toured Lexington and some of the Mantachie residents visited Water Valley.  

After the Coffeeville report was compiled, a town meeting was held to discuss the observations and opinions in the report.  Some of you may have read about it in the Coffeeville Courier.  Now, the Water Valley First Impressions report is complete, and a town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 30th, 6:30 pm, at the Water Valley courthouse.  The Water Valley Main Street Association is sponsoring this program.  The head of the association, Jessie Gurner, has planned a big program that is open to the public.  I encourage all Water Valley residents to attend this meeting to hear what outside residents think of Water Valley.

Finally, fall has arrived, and I’m already cold.  The weather has been enjoyable.  Harvest is going good and fast.  There has still been little significant rainfall, so pastures, fall gardens, and lawns are still suffering.  It may be chilly, but everyone seems to be enjoying the nice fall weather.

Horticulture Tips:

Propagation the Easy Way—Layering

Rather than rooting cuttings, you can propagate shrubs and some woody-type perennials by layering.  This is a really simple technique of rooting a stem while it is still attached to the parent plant.  Choose a new shoot that’s long enough to touch the ground and that’s on the side of the plant that receives the most sun. Use a sharp knife to wound the stem on one side, cutting a slit at an angle halfway through the stem or scraping a narrow band of bark from around the stem.  

Bend the injured stem so that it touches a depression in the soil with the tip of the stem protruding from the soil.  Cover the injured part of the stem with soil, and anchor it in place with a forked stick, brick, or rock.  Let it remain in place all winter.  Then in spring, cut the rooted stem free from the parent plant. Presto!  You have a clone of your favorite plant to set out directly in a new bed or to pot for transplant later in the spring.  

Be sure and pay particular attention to watering and caring for your new plant through the first growing season.  Good candidates for layering are azalea, rosemary, sage, rose, fig, lavender, abelia, forsythia, and weigela.  Try this technique on a whole bunch of your favorite plants this fall.  What have you got to lose, but just a few minutes of your time?

Next spring you may be surprised at the results and your gardening friends will be thankful and impressed when you share the little clones with them.  If they ask you how you did it, you can tell them you just sat in the house all winter while the plant did the work.

Best Lawn Equipment Deals Are When Leaves Begin to Fall

Has your old lawn mower seen its better days?  Have you longed for a mower you could ride instead of push?  Are you tired of hand clipping along the drive or around trees and shrubs?  Lawn equipment dealers are very much like automobile dealers this time of year.  It is easier to pass the savings on to customer than to hold this year’s models over when new models will appear before next year’s lawn season.  As the major chain stores begin stocking their shelves with Christmas items most of their lawn equipment and supplies have to be removed and stored.  Therefore, they offer great discounts to customers to purchase this equipment now.  Riding lawn mowers are often reduced as much as $500 or more, and many other pieces of equipment and supplies are marked with 30-40% discounts.  If your old equipment is worn out and you will have to buy new for next spring anyway, it might be a bargain even if you had to buy on credit and pay some interest charges.

Unlike automobiles there most likely will not be a trade-in value if you bought a 2007 model or 2008 year model lawn mower, weed eater, etc.  So as long as the item you have an interest in meets the requirements of your needs then why not take advantage of saving some money. And if you have resistance convincing a spouse of purchasing lawn equipment this time of year you might mention that the money saved will be dedicated to buying a gift for them.

The gold of sweet gum leaves may not quite be here yet, but the fall yellows of golden rod, wild sunflowers, and sneezeweed are decorating the waste areas and roadsides in Mississippi. Contrary to popular belief, neither golden rod nor sneezeweed pollen are the cause of most allergic reactions. Roadside mowers are out, so take a few moments to enjoy these wild flowers before they get removed.         

Gardeners lucky enough to have planted indeterminate tomatoes this fall should side dress the plants with a little additional fertilizer to take advantage of the higher than normal temperatures we are enjoying. This may be another year to have tomatoes from the garden for the Thanksgiving table.

Gardeners who planted their cool season crops expecting normal temperatures should be certain the plants are not stressed by a lack of water.  Higher temperatures cause more than usual water use as the plants try to keep themselves cool.

People interested in turning their hobby into a little extra cash should check out selling at local farmers’ markets. Several new ones were started in 2007 and you might be surprised at how close one is to your residence. A well-managed one-quarter acre garden could grow as much as $2000 worth of produce in a year.  If you are interested in selling in the Water Valley farmer’s market next year, please go ahead and contact the Water Valley Main Street Association now.

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