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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

When The Jolly Fat Man Has Come And Gone, Don’t Forget To Recycle Your Christmas Tree

By Steve Cummings

We have had enough cold, bad, dreary weather for the winter.  Fortunately, Yalobusha County has had no ice, but we have had plenty of rain.  Spring cannot come fast enough for me.

Christine Fielder, our 4-H Program Assistant, is finally at home recuperating after her surgery.  Hopefully she will be able to return to work when our office opens back up in January.  Christine appreciates everyone’s calls, prayers, and concerns.

The Yalobusha County Extension office will close at 5 pm on Friday, Dec. 19th, and reopen on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

Merry Christmas from the Yalobusha County Extension staff: Christine, April, Pamela, and Steve.

Horticulture Tips:

Now is the time to stay out of the garden. Most of Mississippi was deluged with more than eight inches of rain the last couple of weeks, and  rivers and creeks have overflowed. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who live on well drained soil on a hill, the water has nowhere to go and is keeping the soil saturated. Walking on saturated soil destroys the soil structure and causes the clay to disperse. When the soil dries, the dispersed clay causes the soil to seal and form clods. Wait until the water doesn’t ooze around your shoes before you go back. It may be a week or more if the forecasts are right.

One reason you may need to be in the vegetable garden is to harvest greens, cabbage, broccoli, onions or other biennials that have bolted. The temperature swings that accompany the fronts that cause the rain make these plants act as if winter is over and spring has come. Once you see the flower stalk forming, it is time to harvest the plant since it will devote all of its energy into flowers and none into the part we eat. If it looks like all of the mustard has bolted, just harvest enough for several meal and go plant some more. All of the greens can be grown all winter.

Tis the Season – Recycle Christmas Trees as Fish Attractors in Farm Ponds

Christmas trees help create a holiday atmosphere, but the usual fate of the Christmas tree is not a happy ending.  Most families remove the ornaments and place the tree at the curb, only for it to end up in the city landfill.

This year, reuse that tree!  Placing the tree in your farm pond can provide an excellent place for fish to gather, and, as a result, an excellent place for fishing.  Small fish will use the trees as protective cover, feeding on the small invertebrates and other food they find there, and larger fish will seek out the smaller fish hiding there.

Here are some suggestions to follow:  First, be sure to remove all decorations from the tree; do not use flocked trees.  As little as one tree or groups of two to four trees can be placed in one spot.  In order to keep the trees from floating, attach weights such as tied-on cement blocks.  Place the trees in water that is deep enough to cover the tree, especially in times of low water levels, usually between 4 and 10 feet of water.  Placing one or two of these structures will be sufficient for each acre of water.  Carefully choose the location for the attractor, measuring ease of access, depth of water, and other pond features.  Be sure to mark their location so you know where to fish!

As always, practice boat safety when on the water, especially when handling heavy items such as weighted Christmas trees.  Wear your life jacket and it is always a good idea to have a friend or two with you to help.

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