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Cummings And Goings In Agriculture

Horses? Flowers? Take Your Pick This Weekend At Multipurpose Building

By Steve Cummings

Last Friday our staff attended a retirement party for our district boss, Dr. Alan Blaine.  Some of you might remember Dr. Blaine as Mississippi’s Extension Soybean Specialist.  Whichever position, MSU-ES has lost a great employee and we have lost one of the best bosses we’ve ever had.  

Dr. Ruben Moore will act as interim director until the job is permanently filled.  Also, our MSU Ag Vice-President and acting head of MSU-ES, Dr. Vance Watson, has been appointed interim president of Mississippi State University.  I know he would be a great leader for Mississippi State University.  

Dr. Watson has been very supportive of our office, the Yalobusha County Extension Service.  All you have to do is look at all the items he has donated to our office to realize this.  Hopefully, he will get the permanent job as MSU President.

This Saturday, April 26, you can attend both a flower show and a horse show in one trip.  The North Mississippi Lake Iris Show and a Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show will both be held at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  The Iris show will be available for viewing from 1 – 4 p.m. in the conference room, while the horse show will begin at 3 p.m.  Timed events will not start before 7:30 p.m.  

Both of the shows are free and open to the public.  So, whether you are interested in flowers or horses, I encourage you to attend one or both events.

Horticulture Tips:

Consider Shrubs with Edible Fruit for the Landscape

Nurseries and garden centers are chock full of nice selections of ornamental shrubs right now. How about selecting a shrub for the landscape, not just because it is attractive, but because it has edible fruit as well?  Two for the price of one! Looks good and you can eat it too.  

Figs, pomegranates (Punica granatum ‘Wonderful’) pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana), are a few that come to mind.  But my favorite shrub that has ornamental attributes and has great fruit is the blueberry.

It has attractive rose-tinged new growth and creamy-white or pink colored booms in the spring, delicious deep blue fruit and glossy green foliage in the summer followed by brilliant red foliage in the fall. A plant for all seasons, as it is even attractive in the winter with its deep red or burgundy colored young stems.

Rabbiteye blueberries do great in all parts of Mississippi. They require an acid soil like azaleas and rhododendrons.  Plant them in shrub borders, as hedge plants, as foundation plants or anywhere you can get to them easily for picking the delicious fruits. Purchase at least two different cultivars for cross pollination and fruit set.

Crimson clover is again blooming on the roadsides of Mississippi’s highways. This brilliant red-flowering annual clover does more than just brighten up the travel miles.

Like all clovers it “fixes ” nitrogen by transforming nitrogen from the air that is unavailable for plants to nitrate which is used by plants to make protein. This free fertilizer is utilized by the grasses that grow later in the summer. The roots of the grasses are the major structure preventing the soil from eroding.  The roadsides are not mown until the seeds of crimson clover are mature and can produce next spring’s flush of color.

Be sure to closely examine the vegetable plants in the garden for damage from the last frost.  Plants with leaves that appear brown and mushy should have a fungicide applied to prevent disease organism from gaining an entry into the plant.

Monitor the moisture levels in your garden soils. We have had several weeks of good rains, but are now experiencing bright, sunny days with strong winds.     

Evaporation losses could be as much as an inch of water every four days, so  young plants with shallow root systems may be growing in a dry soil on Friday that was just right on Monday.

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