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Growin’ Green

Forestry Meeting Set For November 1

By Brent Gray

Here’s a reminder that there will be a Yalobusha County Forestry Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 1. Rick Hamrick, Small Game Biolo-gist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Dr. Jason Gordon, MSU Extension Service will be the presenters.
Presentations will be “Small Game” and “Tree Farm Certification.” A meal will be served. Please call in advance, 662-675-2730, by Wednesday, Oct. 31, to reserve your meal. Hope to see you there.
The Master Gardeners will meet on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m.
There will be a Cattle-men’s Meeting on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Lance Newman will present the program, “Cattle Handling Facilities.”
The Deep South Champ-ionship Rodeo is coming to Yalobusha on Nov. 10.  

Horticulture Tips
The time has arrived for those who have a desire or need for their Southern lawn to be green throughout the winter? Overseeding should be done when soil temperatures reach around 70 de-grees which as a general rule occur around the middle of October for much of Mississippi.
Good reasons for winter overseeding lawns in Missis-sippi are rather limited. The first is the need to provide some type of ground cover for a new home site where it is too late in the fall to establish a permanent lawn. Another may be that you have had your permanent lawn damaged in some way that it will be vulnerable to additional winter injury if not overseeded.  Perhaps for special events such as early outdoor spring weddings, parties, etc. that  require a lush green setting.  And lastly, you simply must have a green lawn all year. Al-though this is a somewhat questionable good reason as overseeding strong healthy permanent lawns with cool season grasses will delay spring transition and can possibly thin the permanent turf. Therefore, consideration should be given to a strategy of removing the ryegrass once spring transition of the permanent lawn be-gins as the overseeded ryegrass then becomes a competitive weed.  The newer sulfonyl-urea class of herbicides has made this a much easier task.
The turf species of preference for winter overseeding warm season turf species lawns should be perennial ryegrass.  Perennial ryegrasses are much finer textured than annual ryegrass cultivars, generally have much better color throughout the winter, not as prone to clumpiness, and do not produce as many unsightly seed stalks in the spring.  Seeding rate for home lawns with perennial ryegrass should be 8-10 pounds per thousand square feet.  If you opt for the less expensive but also much less desirable annual ryegrass increase this by another two pounds.
Shorter days and cooler nights are slowing the rate of growth of peppers and tomatoes, but most plants are still flowering and producing fruit. Keep the plants going with a slight addition of fertilizer and you may be harvesting until Thanksgiving if you protect them from frosts.
October has been an ideal weather month for greens and cole crops with little cloud cover and mild temperatures. The insects have also been enjoying the weather, however. Seedling greens and cabbage are susceptible to aphids.
Look for the piercing insects on the underside of new leaves and treat with an appropriate insecticide. Insecticidal soap is effective, but be careful not to make the spray solution too concentrated. 
The next big event for vegetable growers is the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference to be held in Jackson on November 28 and 29 at the Hilton Hotel on county line road in Jackson. This convention is primarily aimed at people who grow and sell vegetables and fruit, but the knowledge is applicable to serious hobby gardeners as well. One of the highlights of the convention is a vegetable grafting workshop. Tomatoes and melons are grafted onto disease resistant root stocks and then transplanted to the field. This methodology has been commonly used for woody fruit and flower producing perennials for decades, but is now being used for annual crops. This should be of interest to tomato growers who have had bacterial wilt problems. More information can be found on you tube at .
 Susan Worthy had a demonstration of common insecticides used on broccoli at the recent North Mississippi Research and Extension Center field day. One of the noticeable differences was the effect of a mixture of dishwashing soap and cooking oil. Packman broccoli plant receiving this treatment had discolored and distorted leaves compared to the untreated and other insecticides.
Garden centers are packed with fall/winter annuals right now. Iceland poppies, pansies, violas (Johnny-jump-ups), pinks (dianthus), snapdragons, and ornamental kale and cabbage are ready to be planted to add that splash of color throughout the winter and into the spring. When setting out these annuals, combine them in beds with spring bulbs (which you should be planting this fall as well). This will add to the show next spring and be an example to your less inspired neighbors, who upon seeing your magnificent floral display next spring, will be convinced you are a very brilliant and noteworthy gardener.  When combining these fall/winter annuals with spring bulbs, you can incorporate into the soil the bulb booster fertilizer (9-9-6). It is slow release and will feed annual plants as well as the roots of bulbs all winter. 
If you want to try your hand at forcing some of the spring bulbs into bloom early, request a copy of Forcing Cold-Hardy Bulbs Indoors, Publication 2730, from your county Extension office or download or view a copy at the Mississippi State University Extension Service website
As the seeds of annuals are maturing, collect a few in envelopes and label them. These make nice gifts and you might need them if the seeds that drop in your garden don’t germinate next spring. In addition, you may want to collect seeds of one particular color. Examples include zinnias, spider flower, flowering tobacco, cosmos, and sunflowers. Be aware that some plants, in particular hybrids, do not come true to type from seed—but that shouldn’t deter your seed collecting. Who knows, your seed may result in a plant with a beautiful flower color of other characteristic that you will like better!

David Nagel

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