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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Water Valley Will Predicts Six More Weeks Of Winter

By Steve Cummings

I checked with Mike Williamson first thing on Groundhog Day and he said “Water Valley Will” ran out and ran right back in. That’s not what I wanted to hear.  I do not want six more weeks of bad weather. I do believe we have had enough winter.

Farm Bureau trips this year must be tied in with snow. It snowed in Jackson during the Farm Bureau State Convention held the first weekend of last December. It snowed last week during the Farm Bureau Legislative Tour I went on in Washington, D.C. I’ll remember the first time I ever saw the White House was in the driving snow.

Kevin Kimzey and I were among the Mississippi delegation that went to Washington, D.C., to visit with our senators and congressmen. We got to visit with Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Roger Wicker as well as Rep. Travis Childers.  Senator Wicker and I went to school and church together during our days in Pontotoc. This was a very educational opportunity for me.

Applications are being taken for the Yalobusha County Office Associate position between Feb. 5 and Feb. 19.  All applicants must apply online. Go to the Mississippi State University webpage. If you have trouble finding it, call our office at 675-2730 and we’ll talk you through it.

There is still time to sign up for the Master Gardener Training. Please sign up by February 16th in order to get your handout materials. Classes start Feb. 23 and run through Apr. 1, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Building.  There is an $85 charge which covers handouts, refreshments and dues to the State Master Gardeners Association.  Please contact our office at 675-2730.

I gave erroneous information in last week’s column. I said the next horse show would be Feb. 27.  Wrong.  The first horse show will be Feb. 13 at 2:30 p.m. with training barrels and the actual show starting at 4:00 p.m.  Admission is free.

The Yalobusha Homemakers will be hosting Dr. Joe Walker as he presents a program on heart care on Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. in the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose Building.  This program is free and open to the public.

Horticulture Tips

First time vegetable gardeners should follow three main rules:  start small, grow what you like, and don’t panic.  Often new gardeners remember their grandparents’ garden that fed whole families and feel they have to do the same thing.  Instead of plowing up the back yard and getting discouraged before you eat your first radish, plant just a few of the things you want the most.  Six properly grown tomato plants can produce 100 pounds.  Each squash or okra plant will produce one or more fruit for harvest each day.  If something starts to go wrong in the garden, contact your local Extension Service office to identify the problem and get a solution.  A good source of information at the Extension service office for new gardeners is the Garden Tabloid, which has a chart to tell you how much you can expect to harvest as well as everything else you need to know about vegetable gardening.

Onion and garlic plants should be showing signs of regrowth by now.  If you don’t see green leaves rising from among the brown ones, it is probably time to buy some more plants or sets and start over.

Days are getting longer and you may have time after getting home from work to get out in the garden in the evening.  Watch for insects, particularly moths, at dusk.  The recent cold should have decreased the numbers of insects, but strong southerly winds can bring them right back.  Look particularly for the light colored cabbage looper moths flying around cabbage, collards, broccoli or other members of the cabbage family.  When you see moths, it won’t be long before the eggs they lay hatch into caterpillars, and caterpillars eat your crop.

Pre-Emerge Herbicides

The Super Bowl, Valentine Day, and timing for applying pre-emerge herbicides to your lawn all occur in the month of February.  Pre-emerge herbicides must be applied prior to weed seed germination.  The Super Bowl should be a reminder to get your pre-emerge herbicide purchased and Valentine Day generally provides the perfect timing date and is an easy day to remember for applying it.

TIMING, RATE, UNIFORM COVERAGE, and ACTIVATION are the keys to effective pre-emergence herbicide weed control.  Seeds of weeds such as crabgrass will germinate when soil temperatures reach around 58 degrees and even though it may feel awful cold now it doesn’t take but a few sunny warmer days to raise the soil temperature to this level.  A couple weeks early are much better than a day late missing those early germinating weeds.

The herbicide label will provide a list of the weed species the active ingredient will control and at what rate.  If there are several weed species that you are targeting, use a rate that controls the most difficult weed while staying within recommended rates labeled for your specific turf species.

Pre-emergence herbicides create a thin weed control barrier on the soil surface. This will require approximately one-half inch of rainfall or irrigation shortly after application to move the herbicide down through the leaf canopy to form the thin herbicide barrier at the soil surface.  With any pesticide you should always READ THE LABEL carefully and completely before applying.

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