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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

In Threat Of Snow, Tornadoes, County Dodges Bullet

By Steve Cummings

Last week our whole office was surprised by the emergency surgery on our 4-H Program Assistant, Christine Fielder.  We are very pleased to report that Christine is doing well, despite some pain, and should be back at the office when we return from the Christmas break on January 5, 2009.  She appreciates all of the cards and prayers received.

Yalobusha County dodged just about every weather related bullet it could have last week.  It is not often that the threat of tornadoes and snow occur in the same week, but it did last week.  The county still had some erosion and road damage thanks to the excessive amount of rain.  Some parts of the county received up to nine inches of rain in three days.  But, overall, things could have been worse.

We’ll be off for Christmas and New Year’s starting December 23 and will return January 5th, 2009.  April and Pamela will spend their time with little ones.  I may hunt and go to a few ballgames, and yes, Christine will be recuperating.  Our entire staff wishes each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Horticulture Tips:

Winter is excellent for applying lime to your lawn

    Most lawns of warm season turf species in much of the state have received a good frost or more and have gone dormant for the winter.  Once the leaves have been raked  and a final mowing has been done we just like the turf are probably ready to take a couple months off from our lawn maintenance activities.  But wait!  If you have taken a soil samples recently and found that the soil pH is too low for healthy turf growth now is the time to start correcting this problem.  Liming sources (calcitic lime and dolomitic lime) take months to alter the pH so putting lime out now will give you a head start for next spring.  

    The winter rains during these idle months will help get the lime reacting in the soil.  No more than fifty pounds of a liming material per 1,000 square feet should be applied at any single application.  Therefore, if the pH is very low it may take a couple of tons of lime per acre to actually get the soil within the range you need for good turf growth which means you may have to apply lime several times over the course of the year.  For those who have not taken a soil sample  in the past couple of years it would be prudent to take one now.

 Poke Holes in Gift Wrapping

Yes, that is exactly what I said.  It is perfectly ok as long as the gift wrap is around a potted plant. Not ok and definitely naughty, otherwise. Poking a few holes in the decorative foil or wrapping of gift plants such as poinsettias, Norfolk Island pines, kalanchoe, or Christmas cactus will keep the soil draining freely and help prevent overwatering.  

Overwatering, as we all know, is the number one killer of houseplants.  Better yet, take that wrapping completely off and put the pot inside a lined basket or cachepot that has a layer of stones (washed gravel from the driveway) in the bottom to raise the pot above any standing water.

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