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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

4-H Competition Starts Thursday

By Steve Cummings

Looking for something to do this weekend?  The Northwest District 4-H Horse Show is this week in Batesville at the Lee Garner Arena.  Thursday night at 6:30 pm starts the show with the livestock events, and we have four girls in the goat tying event.      Friday morning is the halter and showmanship classes, followed by all of the western events.  Saturday morning will be the gaited and English events followed by the speed events.      

Yalobusha County 4-H is well represented with 96 entries.  Look for our kids to do really well and if you want to support our young people, please come to the show.  For further information, call our office at 675-2730.

This year has been an unusual year as far as the row crops go in Yalobusha County.  The first thing is that we have had more rainfall than the last few years.  With the extra moisture all plants have benefited.  We have been wishing for the rain the last few years and now our crops look good and our producers are cutting plenty of hay.  

Secondly, this is the least amount of cotton that has been grown in Yalobusha County in years, perhaps ever.  This goes right along with the amount of cotton grown in Mississippi.      

Finally, with the loss of corn to the flooding in the mid-west, the value of our corn crop will definitely be up.  Hopefully, everything will go well the remainder of this crop year.

Horticulture Tip

Look for six common causes of tomato wilt in the South

Over the past few weeks, there have been several calls and tomato plants brought into our office regarding tomato wilt.  Tomatoes are in almost everyone’s garden and would easily be voted the number one vegetable. However, as much as we love to grow tomatoes we must admit that it’s not always easy to do, in fact, sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking.

One of the heartbreaks of growing tomatoes occurs when our plants wilt. Wilt occurs suddenly or gradually when leaves, shoots or stems droop or collapse. In our part of the world there are six common causes of tomato wilt.

The first two causes of tomato wilt are the most obvious, yet they are very important to mention. They are, the lack of, or excess of water. We all understand why leaves droop or plants die from lack of water. However, tomato plants that stand in water for very long wilt. If soils stay saturated plants will die. This is why we recommend planting in well-drained soil or in raised beds.

A third and prominent cause is a disease known as bacterial wilt. Many gardeners describe plants with this disease as looking like they had hot water poured on them. They are fine one day and the next are permanently wilted. Bacteria actually clog the plumbing system of the plant resulting in a virtually drought.

Bacterial wilt can be diagnosed with a simple test. First, remove the plant from the soil. Rinse the roots and lower stem. Once rinsed, cut a section from the lowest part of the stem, just above the roots, about four inches long. Have a jar of water ready so that the stem section can be suspended in the water, bottom end down. Then, watch the bottom end of the stem for a wispy, cloudy, milky ooze. This is bacterial streaming. The bacterial ooze is almost transparent, but can be seen releasing from the base of the stem.

There isn’t much that can be done for bacterial wilt except to remove and destroy affected plants. Future plantings should be made in a different location. Tomatoes may be grown in containers, but if roots grow from the bottom of the container into infected soil they may contract the disease. Do not reuse stakes or ties.

If your plants wilted, try to determine the reason so that it can be avoided next time. There may yet be a simple solution to keep your love for tomatoes intact. Happy gardening!

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