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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Biology Student Earns High Marks After Using Weekly Column As Subject For Class Paper

By Steve Cummings

Fortunately, we dodged another bullet as far as the weather goes. Last Friday, on the way to the Junior Livestock Show in Batesville, ice was accumulating on the wires and trees.  By the time I could head home, the temperatures warmed up and I made it home with no problem.  The temperature warm-up took care of any problems the weather might have brought to Yalobusha County.  I do not know about you, but I think we have had enough ice and cold weather.         

Hurry, spring, hurry.

Speaking of the Livestock Show, Casey Byford exhibited the Grand Champion Gelbvieh Bull.  Peyton McMillian and Brooke Fielder had high-ranking entries in Market Hogs.  Patrick McMillian and Hannah Potts both had Beef entries that scored well.  Casey will now participate in the Dixie National Livestock Shows, Junior Roundup, in mid-February.

The potential bad weather also forced the cancellation of the first Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show.  The next horse show will be February 27.

There have been enough people sign up for the Master Gardener classes; the class will be held.  There is still room for anyone that wants to sign up.  Please call our office at 675-2730 for further information.

Every once in a while something happens that you do not expect.  Christine Fielder, former 4-H program associate, told me that her great-niece, Lauren Harrison, daughter of DeWitt and Cathy Harrison, told her I helped her get an A in her biology class at Mississippi College.  

Seems that Lauren used my column to help her write a paper for her class.  In Extension, we are here to serve the people.  That was one I did not expect, but I’m glad I contributed to Lauren’s paper.

Horticulture Tips

Seed potatoes are in at many garden centers. Potatoes should be planted at least four inches deep because new tubers are set above the seed piece.

Sweet corn growers know that the earlier you can get the plant growing, the fewer corn ear worm problems you will have before harvest. Although breeders have made great improvements in germination of shrunken-2 varieties, planting them is still not recommended until soil temperatures are above 60 F or about 15 C.

Folks who grow su or se corns can plant when soil temperatures are slightly lower. If you don’t know which type of sweet corn you have, it is indicated on the label, normally in small letters right after the variety name. Please use a little common sense when planting. A warm spell in February can get the soil to the right temperature, but if you live in an area where frosts are common in April, it is still not a good idea to start warm season plants too early.

Winter Lawn Care Activities

Even though most of us are delighted that our lawns have gone dormant and we are enjoying a reprise from the weekly or more mowing chore there are a few things we can and should be doing now to ensure a more aesthetic and healthy lawn this spring.  Controlling winter weeds with post-emerge herbicides now will be much easier than waiting until they reach maturity and become unsightly.  The recent rains and cold wet soil allows much easier detection and marking of poor drainage areas that will require repair once we get drier days.  All deciduous leaves should have fallen from trees by now and any remaining leaf litter should be removed from the lawn.  Now is a great time to take a soil sample to determine soil pH and nutrient deficiencies. When needed lime can improve the soil acidity and make other nutrients more available.

It generally takes months for lime to react and dramatically change the soil pH so if a soil pH analysis indicates lime is needed it can be applied at any time.

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