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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Yalobusha 4-H Saddle Club Members At Top In Regional Competition, Head For State Open

By Steve Cummings

Last weekend I was at the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Show in Little Rock, Ark. Breanna Foust-Scroggins, J. W. Pipkin, and Casey Moss represented Yalobusha County and were among the 42 contestants Mississippi was able to send. These three did very well. J. W. placed second in gaited showmanship, seventh in gaited pleasure, and tenth in gaited halter geldings. Breanna placed tenth in halter mares. Casey made it back into the top 25 in western pleasure.

Over one hundred entries were in her class. Mississippi did great and if a High State was given, we would have easily won. One thing is for sure, horse shows, management, and facilities are by far better in Mississippi than in most states.

Now our 4-Hers and saddle club members turn their attention to qualifying for the State Open Championship Horse Show, which will be held the second weekend in September. Last year, our association, Tri-Lakes Western Horse Association, was the top association at the state show and perhaps Coffeeville Saddle Club was the top club.

The last two association shows will be held the next two Saturdays at the Yalobusha County Multi-purpose Building. The shows begin at 2 p.m., and as always are free to the public.

Horticulture Tips:

The recent cool, rainy spell did a lot to invigorate plants in the vegetable gardens. Unfortunately, weeds were among those plants that got a new lease on life. The trifuralin herbicide you applied in April has most likely disappeared, so crapgrass seeds will use the favorable moisture and temperature to germinate and grow rapidly. You can either reapply herbicide, use mulches, or be vigilant with a hoe to keep unwanted plants out of the garden.

Please destroy your corn stalks after harvest unless you are using them to support a climbing crop. The stalk can serve as a harbor for European stalk borers. The borers also attack tomatoes and peppers, and are attracted this time of year to Southern peas.

Just a reminder that vine corps need bees to produce. If your zucchini, cantaloupe, pumpkin or cucumber plants look good, are flowering well, but are not producing fruit, keep an eye out for bees in the mornings. If the bees aren’t working, the pollen isn’t being moved from the male to the female flowers. You can do the bees work by picking an open male flower, peeling off the petals, and rubing it over the open female flower. You can tell the female flowers by looking below the petals on the stem. There will be a tiny fruit.

Hummingbirds

Provide more nectar for these birds by planting “natural nectar feeders”. These include trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), crossvine (Bignonia carpreolata), morning glory (Impomoea spp.), bee balm (Monarda spp.), canna (Canna x generalis) and four o’clocks (Mirabillis jalapa). For more information on making your garden and landscape more wildlife-friendly read the Extension publication #2402, Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. This publication can be accessed online at http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2402.pdf.

Annuals

Cut back your leggy annuals now so that they will look full in the fall. Although it can be a little hard to do, think of it as tough love. Petunias, salvias, and verbena are examples of some annuals that would benefit from treatment. Try not to cut off all the foliage as plants may not survive this extreme tough love—instead cut back only by one-third and encourage new growth by applying a soluble fertilizer like Peter’s 20-20-20.

Trees and Shrubs

Remember to keep your trees and shrubs that were planted this winter or spring well-watered during times of dry weather. Keeping the plants mulched (do not pile mulch around the trunks) will keep the soil cooler and conserve moisture.

Sunny Days

To minimize your exposure to sun, work in the garden during mornings and evenings, when the sun is at a lower angle and the temperature is cooler. Avoid gardening between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and a hat. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

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