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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Time Is Left To Register For Master Gardener

By Steve Cummings

The warmer weather has certainly been nice, but then anything after the hard freeze would be nice.  Hopefully, there will not be any terribly cold weather the rest of the winter.  Animals, pets and livestock do not need any more cold weather.

The Master Gardener class has made and will begin on February 23, scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose Building.  You can sign up at any time, but in order for your handouts and notebooks to be here by the 23rd we ask that you sign up by the 15th of February.  

There is an $85 fee, which includes your notebooks, handouts, refreshments and one year membership to the Mississippi Master Gardener’s Association.  Call our office at 675-2730 for a class schedule or additional information.

January 30 is the first Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show Association speed horse show.  The show will start at 4 p.m. with training barrels, with the rest of the show starting at 5 p.m.  Contact our office for Coffeeville Saddle Club member information.  As in the past, there is no general admission and everyone is encouraged to come watch the horses run.

Horticulture Tips:

With all the rainy weather we have been experienced, it is a good opportunity for you to observe how water moves across your property.  You can also tell how water doesn’t move across your yard or garden!  Low areas where water stands for several days can pose problems for plants that are not adapted to wet areas.  After a heavy rain, get your galoshes on and take pictures of the areas of your yard that have drainage problems.  Take the pictures from several angles, so when the soil dries you won’t have to remember and you can take steps to remedy the problems.  Grade changes or installing drainage tiles or pipes are just a couple of ways to ensure that your property drains well.  Make sure that debris is removed from storm drain grates and around the ends of culverts, so water can flow freely.

If water tends to pool in a particular area after every rain, it might just be easier to create a bed area using plants suited to wet conditions.  Louisiana iris, elephant ears, cannas, amsonia, hibiscus and Joe-pye-weed are a few perennials that are well adapted to these conditions. Willow, Physocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Viburnum opulus (Cranberrybush viburnum), elderberry and Clethra alnifolia (summersweet) are a few woody plants that can be used.  Creating a rain garden is another way to capture surface water and utilize it to grow a variety of plants suited to wet conditions.  Take advantage of the rainy weather now to assess your landscape for drainage problems so actions can be taken when the weather gets dry and warm—this time next year when the rains come again you will be glad you did!

Soil temperatures at two inches on January 25 ranged from about 55 degrees F near the Gulf to about 45  degrees in the far north delta. Quite a change from the frozen soil of the first week of the year. While there is still some debate about the proper time to apply preemerge weed control for crabgrass, most agree that the millions of seeds in the soil will start to germinate when soil temperatures approach 60 degrees.         

Vegetable gardeners using one of the trifluralin products for weed control should be aware of local soil temperatures. The best way is to stick a thermometer in the ground at the depth you are going to plant.  A good way to get a general idea is to consult the SCAN program at; a federal network of weather stations with several locations in Mississippi.

Just click on the dot closest to you and look at the C1TMP column. This gives you the soil temperature at two inches in centigrade. Get your nearest relative in high school to remind you how to convert.         

One easy thing to remember is that 10 degrees C is 50 degrees F and 21 C is 70 F. That range includes the important numbers for soil temperatures relating to plant growth. Very few things grow well below 10 degrees C and almost everything grows well above 21 C degrees.

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