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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Cummings 28 Years Of Service In One County Is Not Typical Of Many Careers

By Steve Cummings

Sometimes when you’re having fun and enjoying the job you are in, the milestones just pass on by.  That was the case with me last week.  It did not even register with me until May 20, 2008, that the day before I had been in Yalobusha County 28 years.  

In some ways, it seems it was not long ago.  However, when I think of all the things that have gone on and the people that I have gotten to know, it seems like a really long time.          

Not many people that work with the Mississippi State Extension Service can say they have stayed in the same place that long, and very few people could say they started out in Yalobusha County.  The 28 years in this county have been great!

Hated to hear Justin McGuirk is moving to Atlanta.  Most of you probably do not know Justin, but he worked tirelessly in restarting the Water Valley Farmers Market.  I never thought Justin would succeed with this, but he persisted and the Water Valley Farmers Market is up and going very successfully.  The Farmers Market is up and going each Saturday morning near the new band stand.  Thanks, Justin, for getting this going in our county again.

This Saturday, May 31, there will be a judged horse show starting at 3 p.m.  A timed event horse show will follow no sooner than 7:30 p.m.  As usual, the show is free and open to the public.

Horticulture Tips:

Foolproof Perennials

Tired of planting flowers every spring? Try these foolproof perennials that once established will give you years of flowers and enjoyment—some will probably outlive you and provide pleasure for your heirs. For shady areas of the garden try Lenten rose, one of my absolute favorites. Few perennials can boost beautiful flowers in the shade that lasts for months! These plants prefer an alkaline soil so adding a little lime to acid soils is needed for these plants to grow their best. Hostas love the shade and come in so many foliage colors and sizes.  The cream or white variegated cultivars lighten up those shady nooks and crannies of the garden.  There are bright yellow-foliaged varieties as well—lovely lavender or white blooms in summer are a bonus! Southern Shield fern will spread happily throughout a shady part of the garden and will grow 3 feet tall.      For sunny areas, try Autumn Joy sedum, butterfly weed, Goldstrum coneflower, purple coneflower, catmint, or any of several 100 daylily cultivars. These plants will thrive with minimal care once established and some will provide plant divisions to share with your neighbors and gardening friends.

There is an old idiom about being penny wise and pound foolish.  The price of gasoline has many people limiting their errands. This past weekend I talked with some homeowners who were replacing their box woods with azaleas and rhododendrons. I told them they needed to check the pH of the soil since box woods do best at 6.2 to 7 and azaleas do best at 5.5. I told them to get the soil sample analyzed by the extensions service for $6.

When they found out the office was two towns away, they balked at spending the gasoline for that maybe forty mile round trip. Seems their Escalade doesn’t get very good gas mileage. Plants in a soil with the wrong pH do not thrive, and it is most important for perennials that they start at the right level since it is difficult to change soil acidity levels with plants in place.

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