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From The Ground Up

Catch Of The Day Event Coming May 5

By Pamela Redwine

The second annual Catch of the Day Freshwater Fish Cooking Challenge and Tasting Buffet at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery in Enid is only two weeks away. The date is Thursday, May 5.   

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet you can purchase them and pick them up at the Extension office. The tickets are $6 in advance and that gets you a catfish dinner, great entertainment, door prizes, a tour of the hatchery and a chance to sample some excellent fish entrees prepared by locals.

There will be a Forestry Short course coming up the first three Tuesday nights in May (May 3, 10, and 17) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  The topic is Forestry for Profit and Recreation. If you are interested in finding out more about this short course or registering for the class you can contact the Extension office at 675-2730.  The deadline to register  and pay fee for the class is Thursday, April 21.  

If you have ever wanted to learn about scrapbooking we will be offering a hands on course on Thursday, April 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Sonja Chrestman, with Creative Memories Scrap-booking, will be here to show us how to get started; how to organize  pictures, how to pick out the right book for the right project and show items that are a must have if you are going to start scrapbooking. There will also be a variety of completed books for you to look at to get ideas from. The class is free and is open to the public.


While mowing is a weekly or more frequent task for maintaining quality lawns occasionally more aggressive mechanical cultivation is necessary to rejuvenate the turf and remove excessive thatch. Thatch is an accumulation of leaf and stem parts both living and dead that builds up a layer of grass residue just above the soil line that can become a haven for insects and disease as well as interfere with effective rooting, water and nutrient uptake. A small amount of thatch is common and is actually beneficial in cushioning the turf canopy, conserving soil moisture and reducing soil compaction but when thatch becomes greater than 1-inch in depth it should then be removed. Special vertical mowers called “dethatchers” or “verticutters” are de-signed to vertically slice through the thatch and dense turf to lift the debris to the turf surface for removal. Homeowner friendly vertical mowers can be rented from equipment rental stores or larger nursery centers.

Since dethatching does remove living as well as dead plant parts it should only be performed when the turf is actively growing so it can recover as quickly as possible. A late spring through mid -summer timing followed with fertilization and watering would be a good choice. Heavily fertilized Bermuda grass and zoysia grass lawns are most prone to excessive thatch buildup but St. Augustine grass and centipede lawns can also develop thatch problems after several years.

There are already reports of horn worms on tomato plants. These green caterpillars blend in so well with the foliage they are difficult to see when they are small. They are generally found when entire leaflets disappear leaving stubs to move in the breeze. They can be managed with several insecticides, but the best way to get them out of the garden is to hand pick them and put them in a jar or other container with small holes for air and give the container to a fisherman. The small worms make good bait for brim and crappie and the large ones can be used for bass and catfish.

With garden centers and nurseries full of plants right now and the weather, hopefully, settling down a bit after the recent storms it is time to get out and purchase some new plants for your yard and garden. With that in mind, here are some plant shopping tips to assist with your selections.

Smart Shopping For Annuals

 Annuals are purchased for fast growing, long lasting flowers or foliage. It is important to select healthy plants that have bushy growth that fills the pot. Foliage should be an even green color without obvious disease spots or insect damage. Even though it is tempting to purchase a plant in flower, in many cases, this should be avoided. A plant in flower, in some cases, has been fed a high nitrogen fertilizer to spur rapid growth and development—this can result in a plant that is a heavy feeder. When these plants are transplanted into the garden and their high-maintenance diet is not maintained they can quickly lose vigor. Look for plants that are just beginning to flower or are in bud. Sometimes plants are flowering because they have been in the pot too long and are too mature and leggy. These should be avoided, or if purchased, should be cut back to encourage densely branched new growth. Examples of these are verbena, marigold, salvia, and celosia. Continue pinching these plants to get that bushy plant with many flowering stems. Annuals like petunia and impatiens rarely have to be pinched to get bushy growth.

Smart Shopping For Perennials

Perennials are purchased for their longevity in the garden and their season of attractiveness, whether that is foliage color or blooms. Since these plants will be residing in your garden for years to come, selection of well-rooted plants with a good rosette of healthy foliage is important. Most perennials will not be flowering in the pot so you should be familiar with the mature height, width, bloom color and other characteristics of the plant before you make your selection. Sometimes, this is all on the label, but it is a good idea to talk to the nurseryman or garden center help if you have questions about the performance or hardiness of these plants. You may ask their permission to pop the plant out of the pot to examine the roots, or ask them to do it for you. The roots should be a light tan or off white color and be plentiful, but not circling the root ball in a tight mat—this indicates the plant has been held to long in the pot and is pot bound. If you purchase a pot bound plant, before you plant, cut away the circling roots and tease the root ball apart to encourage growth of the new roots outward.

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for April 11, 2011 Wayne Wells, David Nagel, Lelia Kelly

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