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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Ag Banquet Recognizes Best Of Yalobusha County

by Steve Cummings

If it’s not after 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 6th, you still have time to attend the Annual Yalobusha County Agriculture Recognition Banquet.  

The banquet begins at 6:30 pm at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  Former pro-football player with the Buffalo Bills, Kent Hull, will be the speaker.  Hull is presently a cattleman in Carroll County.

Entertainment will be provided by the up-and-coming group, Thompson Ward.  In addition, four agriculture awards for the county will be given.  A grilled chicken dinner will be served.  Tickets are $10 and are available at the Yalobusha County Extension Office and the Yalobusha County Farm Bureau.  You can call the Extension office at 675-2730 if you want your tickets to be held at the door.

Also on March 6th, we will have a Quick Bites program entitled Tree Care.  This timely program will provide an overview on tree selection, planting, fertilizing, mulching, and pruning.  This program will be from 12:00 – 1:00 pm at the Extension office.  Please bring a sack lunch and join us for this valuable program.

On March 10th at 6:30 pm, a Private Applicators Training will be held at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  If you need to take this training, there is a $10 charge, and your private applicators license will be good for five years.  Please call our office at 675-2730 if you plan to attend.   

Horticulture Tips:

Control Spring Weeds

To get the jump on all those warm season weeds that will be germinating soon in your landscape beds you can apply pre-emergent herbicides now.  Follow label directions carefully and do not apply around any landscape plants that are not listed on the label.

Remember that pre-emergent herbicides will kill emerging flower seed as well as weed seed, so if you rely on volunteer seedlings to replenish your flower beds do not apply these herbicide granules to those beds. Preen is one of several name brand pre-emergent herbicides that is safe when applied correctly around many landscape plants.

Organic Matter     

When those first mild days lure you outdoors to work in your garden, begin by renewing the soil.  If you can get your hands on some organic matter (peat moss, composted leaves, old sawdust, etc.), add a 4 inch layer to all your beds and work it into the soil.  

Keep an eye out for sources of organic matter; a source might be closer than you think. My mama, a retired school teacher, noticed a tree trimming crew with a chipper was working on clearing limbs from around our rural power lines.

As the truck went by her house the men all shouted and waved at mama—they were all her former students. Needless to say, mama got truckloads of these woods chips dumped at her house.  Some of these chips she spread lightly on her beds as mulch or used as walkway material along her garden paths.  

The bulk of this material remained in these huge piles several years after which it had composted enough (with the aid of numerous grandchildren playing on the piles) to be incorporated into all her raised beds, container plants and other ground beds.

Because organic matter continually breaks down, thereby improving drainage and fertility, landscape beds could benefit by an annual application.

Now is a good time to spend with friends and neighbors who grow vegetables. It is still too wet in most areas to be out working, but the days are mild enough to sit in a lawn chair and share experiences.

Mississippi has three major climate zones, but the influence of lakes, reservoirs, hills, and rivers create many microclimates that make each location unique for growing plants.  

Your neighbor may have found out just where to locate artichokes so they get the sunniest, driest, most protected from cold winds location and will produce something edible. A friend may have figured out how to protect fig trees during freezes just by placing them next to a rock wall. This knowledge wouldn’t do any good to growers in the loess hills, but people who live where there are rocks could add another fruit to their table. Remember to always try any new practice on a small scale before dedicating a lot of time and energy to it.

Good news for gardeners who like to use organic practices. The Ferry Morse company is distributing racks of certified organic vegetable seed in garden sized envelopes to retailers this Spring. Seed that are certified organic come from plants raised by organic means. There are both open pollinated and hybrid varieties of tomatoes, beans, corn, lettuce and many other vegetables that used to be available only through mail order.  People growing larger acreage will probably want to continue using their normal source since these packets are in small quantities.

The National Weather Service keeps waffling on whether we will have El Nino, La Nina or a child free year. The current long term predictions are for a warmer and drier than normal Spring with a normal Summer. Make sure you have a source of water for your vegetable garden. Plants don’t care how the water is put into the soil, so any system you use is adequate. Be sure to notify your water association if you live in the country and have a large garden since the plants need an acre inch a week. This is 27,000 gallons per acre per week, so you will be applying, and paying for, over 100,000 gallons for a month where it doesn’t rain. Most rural mangers will appreciate a fore warning.

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