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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Erratic Weather Has Kept Farmers Out Of Fields

By Steve Cummings

Weather conditions have been very erratic this spring.  April was warmer than usual, and May has been anything but normal.  Reports have indicated that close to a foot of rain has occurred in some areas, and while I am writing this article, we are cooler than normal.  This has not been good for the vegetables, flowers, and other crops that have been planted.  

Yalobusha County farmers got off to a good start in April, but excessive rains have kept our farmers out of the fields for most of the month of May.  Hopefully, weather conditions will smooth out and our farmers can get their crops in the fields.

This week, the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteer State Council is being held on the MSU campus. Yalobusha County is being represented by Better Baker Thomas, Patsy Stewart, and Dorris Hunt.  The Yalobusha County Homemaker Council’s record-book won the district award and is up for the best in the state.  Also, several items from the county were entered in the Cultural Art Contest.  These ladies always represent us well.

 Artist Pat Rodrigue, will conduct an art class on drawing for youth, ages 8 – 18, on Thursday, May 28, from 8:30 a.m. until noon at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  There is no charge and all materials will be provided.

The next horse shows at the Multipurpose Building will be Friday nights of May 22 and June 5.  These are timed event shows. Training barrels will start at 6:30 p.m., with the actual show starting at 8:00 p.m.  As usual, these shows are free and open to the public.

Horticulture Tips:

 The recent cold snap brought temperatures low enough to inhibit the pollination of tomatoes and peppers. Unevenly pollinated fruit will be misshapen and will not ripen properly. This is not of real concern in peppers, but the fruit of tomatoes will essentially be unusable. Keep an eye on the new tomato fruit for the next couple of weeks and remove the knobby, puckered ones while they are small to keep the sugar flowing into useable fruit.

 All the rain has kept proper control measures for corn earworm from being applied. The little critters are inside the husk eating and eating and eating. Control measures still need to be applied to keep anymore caterpillars from getting in, but there is nothing you can do to kill them once they are inside the husk. The good news is the ear will grow and mature rapidly enough that there will still be something for you to eat. Just keep a sharp knife handy when you harvest and husk the corn to cut away the damaged portion.

Water has probably leached some of the nitrogen and potassium fertilizer from the rot zone of the soil. Observe the lower leaves for pale green areas between the veins and apply additional nutrients if the plants don’t grow well in the sunshine.

Multiplying onions are a popular addition to many Mississippi gardens. Multiply-ing onions are the same species as bulb onions. The differences at the sub-species level is one bulb for bulb onions versus several bulbs for multiplying onions and the fact that multiplying onions do not produce viable seed very often. Multiplying onions are grown by planting small bulbs, similar to planting bulb onions from sets. A common mistake is not allowing the multiplying onion to fully mature before lifting the plant and separating the bulbs for planting.


Be careful when mowing or using a string trimmer around trees, especially young ones.  You could accidentally scrape the bark, opening a wound where insects and diseases can attack.  If you gouge the trunk all the way around, the tree is girdled and will die.  You can protect young trees from injury several ways. One is to maintain a mulched area around the base of the tree so you won’t have to trim around the trunk.  You could use tree wrap, or place a section of corrugated drain pipe around the base of the tree. Just cut a slit down one side, and slip it around the trunk.  In the years to come as the trunk becomes too large for the pipe it can easily be removed.

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