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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Deep South Rodeo At Multipurpose Building Saturday

By Steve Cummings

All reports have Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow on this year’s Ground Hogs Day, which means six more weeks of winter and bad weather.  Hopefully, Phil just represents his area and has other representatives in other areas of the United States.  I hope our ground hog representative got up at dawn, came out, and didn’t see his shadow.  I am just wishful thinking, as I have had enough of cold weather.  Spring can’t get here fast enough.

On February 5th during the noon lunch hour we will have a “Quick Bites” program on pruning instructed by Dr. Lelia Kelly at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  This program is free to the public, so I encourage you to bring a sack lunch and come learn the proper ways to prune those various types of landscape plants.

Also, on February 7th at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building, there will be a Deep South Championship Rodeo at 7 pm.  Admission is $ 8 for adults, $ 6 for children, and free admission for children 3 and under.  The Yalobusha County 4-H Horse Club will have the concession stand available.  So, come out and see some bulls and broncs and support our 4-H Horse Club.

Horticulture Tips:

TIMING, RATE, UNIFORM COVERAGE, and ACTIVATION are the keys to effective pre-emergence herbicide weed control.  Valentine Day generally provides perfect timing and is an easy day to remember for applying pre-emergence herbicides. Pre-emerge herbicides must be applied prior to weed seed germination.  Seeds of weeds such as crabgrass will germinate when soil temperatures reach around 58 degrees and even though it may feel awful cold now it doesn’t take but a few sunny warmer days to raise the soil temperature to this level. A couple weeks early are much better than a day late missing those early germinating weeds.

The herbicide label will provide a list of the weed species the active ingredient will control and at what rate.  If there are several weed species that you are targeting use a rate that controls the most difficult weed while staying within recommended rates labeled for your specific turf species.

Pre-emergence herbicides create a thin weed control barrier on the soil surface.  This barrier must provide complete coverage at a uniform rate to prevent any voids that would allow weed escapes. Liquid or granular application equipment should be accurately calibrated prior to making an application to ensure proper rates and coverage.

Finally, once the herbicide is applied it must be activated.  This will require approximately one-half inch of rainfall or irrigation shortly after application to move the herbicide down through the leaf canopy to form the thin herbicide barrier at the soil surface.  With any pesticide you should always READ THE LABEL carefully and completely before applying.

February is the middle of winter, but many of us have the urge to grow things since the days are growing longer and warmer and some things are starting to sprout.  If you just can’t resist that urge to plant, there are some things that can do well when planted now. One somewhat unusual vegetable that will grow well now is broccoli raab. You can find this is most grocery stores, so someone must be eating it. This is a different plant than the normal large headed broccoli in that each small head arises from the leaf axil and you wind up with miniature broccoli heads along the stalk rather than one large head at the top. It is analogous to Brussels sprouts and cabbage. You will have to start your own seeds since transplants are not common.

Transplants that are common include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and collards. In one way you should be sure to leave the label with the plants since they are similar in appearance, but in another way it doesn’t matter since the plants are all treated the same. Be careful when transplanting. Plants you buy from a protected structure at the garden center may need to be hardened off by putting them outside for several days before planting. This allows them to adapt to higher light levels and  lower temperatures while you are still watering them as needed. Make sure the soil you transplant them too is not saturated with water since roots can drown. On the other hand, don’t forget to water the soil before transplanting or immediately after if the soil is dry.

 “New” potato growers should be getting the garden ready. Planting now may allow you to harvest them for several weeks and to boil them along with the green peas you planted last month. Potatoes are only set above the seed piece, so bury them at least four and preferable six inches below the surface.  Raised beds make digging potatoes easier and will keep the new potatoes from rotting if we have a wet Spring.

 Now is the time to prune crape myrtles.

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