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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Forestry Meeting Will Be Last For Area Forester

By Steve Cummings

Now that I have 28 years of service with the MSU- Extension Service, a lot of the people that I have worked with through the years are retiring.  Two of the Extension employees I have worked closely with through the years have retired, and two others are retiring at the end of June.  Our district boss and former Soybean Specialist, Dr. Alan Blaine, and State Ag Leader and former Cotton Specialist, Dr. Will McCarty, have already retired.  MSU-ES Family and Consumer Science State Leader, Dr. Beverly Howell, and Area Forestry Specialist, Tim Traugott, are retiring at the end of June.  I have worked closely with these people through the years and many of you have gotten to know them.

Tim Traugott, Area Forester, has worked closely with our county forest landowners since he lives in Grenada.  Tim has agreed to attend one final forest program on June 17 at 6:30 pm at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  Tim may still come back occasionally, but you may want to take advantage of this opportunity and come hear Tim in his MSU-ES Area Forestry Specialist job one last time.  

The June 17 forestry meeting will be entitled Pine Plantation Thinning Cost Share Program.  This is a special program conducted by Dr. Andy Londo, MSU-ES Forestry Department Head of North Mississippi.  This is an excellent program for all forest landowners.  Please call our office by June 12 to make reservations.

This weekend is one of the few times there is not a horse show at the Multipurpose Building this summer.  However, Saturday, June 14, you can see horses all day.  The Mississippi Youth Championship Horse Show starts at 10:30 a.m. followed by a judged Tri-Lakes Horse Show at 3 p.m. and a speed event horse show at 8 p.m.

Horticulture Tips

Side dressing time has come for many gardeners. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and many other garden vegetables require large amounts of nitrogen at the beginning of their flowering and/or fruiting period. Side dressing times are indicated by the plant’s stage of growth. Knee high corn, running vine plants, and the first fruit set of tomatoes and peppers are times to side dress.  

Those of us who use slow release nitrogen in the form of manure or chemically modified slow release fertilizers don’t have to do anything, but those of us who use blended fertilizers probably need to supplement the nitrogen we applied before planting. Nitrate nitrogen is not held by the soil exchange complex and leaches whenever it rains.     

Applying the nitrogen in two or three trips lessens the chance that the nitrogen will go away before the plant can use it. Nitrogen should be added at about a half pound of N per 100 feet of row.  This means about a cup of urea, a pint of ammonium nitrate, three cups of ammonium sulfate, or a quart of calcium nitrate should be sprinkled beside the row of the various vegetables. Do not pour the fertilizer onto the leaves of the plants since it can damage the green leaves.

Temperatures are finally warming to normal and water use is also increasing. Remember tomatoes with three fruit clusters need two inches of water a week. Most other vegetables require at least one inch per week from either rain or irrigation.

Squash vine borers are making themselves known. Squash plants collapse because the larvae have eaten the xylem inside the stem and water and nutrients can’t reach the leaves. Once the borer is inside the stem, there is nothing that can be done, so a preventative application of insecticide around the crown of the plant is the only way to prevent infestation.

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