Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Schools Visits Prove Students Are Polite, Interested

By Steve Cummings

Everyone has enjoyed the cool, dry weather conditions we have had. Nobody needed it more than our farmers who have been working diligently to get as much of the crop out before the next rain. The extended wet weather conditions have hurt our crops tremendously and there was absolutely nothing our farmers could have done about it.  

Mississippi State University, Mississippi Farm Bureau, and the Yalobusha County Farm Service Agency have all been busy collecting data on crop losses.  Hopefully, there will be very little more rain, and what crops are in the field can be harvested quickly.

 These past few days I attended High School Career Days at both Coffeeville and Water Valley High Schools. I have to say that I was most impressed with the students at both places, as they were very polite and genuinely interested.

 On Thursday, Oct. 22, from noon until 1 p.m., there will be a Quick Bites program at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building entitled “Pretty but Cheap Holiday Gifts from the Garden for Tight Budgets”.  Dr. Lelia Kelly will present how to create unique and memorable gifts for nearly nothing, using plants, pods, cones, and other resources from the garden, fields, and woods.

Participants will be shown what plants and other items to use and how to construct an assortment of eye-catching, creative projects.  So bring your lunch and join us for this fun and informative program.

Earlier in the week I was in the truck and the song “Spiders and Snakes” came on the radio.  It was not the Jim Stafford version, but Water Valley’s own Thompson-Ward version. I have heard their version of “Amos Moses” on the radio many times.  Glad this local band is getting some air time.

 Horticulture Tips:

 Fall is officially here and we have a short time to enjoy the marvels of color portrayed in the leaves of the many hardwood tree species such as elm, oak, hickory, ash, sweet gum, etc. we find within our landscapes.  There is a payback however.  What should we do with the leaves once they float to the ground and cover our lawns?   While leaves can become excellent mulch or compost they should not be left intact on your lawn.  Leaves lying on the turf canopy reduce light and air circulation necessary for healthy turf.  With a layer of leaves covering the lawn attack and damage from diseases and insects can easily go unnoticed until the turf is totally destroyed.  A blanket of leaves covering the turf will trap moisture between the soil and the leaves providing an ideal environment for the proliferation of pathogens such as large patch (rhizoctonia) and other diseases most prominent with the moderate temperatures of fall.  Therefore, leaves should be periodically raked from the lawn or at least mulched down into the thatch with a good mulching mower.

 When planting tulip bulbs in a container, plant with the flat side facing the rim of the pot. This will position the larger outer leaves to drape nicely over the container with the bloom stalk toward the center of the pot.

For color and movement in your garden during winter, don’t forget to provide food, shelter and water for the birds and other wildlife. Hulled sunflower seed attracts many types of birds.  

 Compost leaves, twigs, and other plant debris from the garden. This is the gardener’s gold. Don’t stress about the correct procedure, just pile it up and watch it rot. You can speed the process by turning the pile and incorporating green material like grass clippings.

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