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Growin’ Green

Private Applicator’s Training January 15

By Brent Gray

There will be private applicator’s training on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 9 a.m.  Training is at the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose Building.  
The training will last approximately two hours and there is a $10 charge.  Remember, to buy restricted chemicals you must have this license. If you need additional information on this, please contact me at our office at (662) 675-2730.
Horticulture Tips
Hardy perennials like astilbe, hosta, rudbeckia, foxglove and others can be planted now. Perennials roots such as daylily, peony, and others can be dug, separated and transplanted during the dormant season. Perennial and annual flowerbeds could probably use a top-dressing of compost or other organic matter now.  Gently work this into the soil working around the crowns of your perennials.
When transplanting perennials be sure and space them with plenty of room to spread next growing season. These plants will grow rapidly and fill in quickly next spring—so, allow room.  Applying mulch after the ground cools is a good way to prevent winter weeds and makes the garden look tidy.  Be sure not to cover the crowns of your dormant perennials or get the mulch too close to the trunks of your trees and shrubs.
Soil Analysis Now For A Healthier Lawn This Spring
Much colder weather has arrived and most warm season turf species lawns have received a good frost or more and have gone dormant for the winter. We too, just like the turf, will be ready to lie dormant from our lawn maintenance activities for a couple of months once the leaves have been raked and a final mowing has been done. But wait!  One final chore that can lead to a much healthier lawn this coming spring is taking a soil sample analysis to determine soil nutrient levels and more importantly the soil pH level.
Soil pH can greatly affect the availability of nutrients to the turf even though they may be frequently applied to the soil as fertilizer. If the analysis results indicate the soil pH is too low for nutrient availability and healthy turf growth then now is the time to start correcting this problem.  Liming sources (calcitic lime and dolomitic lime) take months to alter the pH so putting lime out now will give you a head start for next spring.
The winter rains during these idle months will help get the lime reacting in the soil. Liming products should be applied at no more than fifty pounds per 1,000 square feet at any single application.  Therefore, if the pH is very low it may take a couple of tons of lime per acre (90 lbs./1,000 sq. ft.) to actually get the soil within the range you need for good turf growth which means you may have to apply lime more than once during the course of the year.
 For those who have not taken a soil sample from their lawn in the past few years it would be prudent to take one now. Your local extension service office can assist with getting the sample to the soils diagnostic lab and the minimal fee will actually save you money by applying the correct nutrients that will result in a much healthier lawn. Sampling the flower and vegetable gardens is also a good idea since those crops are more sensitive to wrong pH levels than lawn grasses.

We finally have a little natural water on our vegetable garden. Keep watch for fungi to take advantage of the moist conditions
Mid-December is normally the time to think about family get togethers and gift giving and not about gardening, but the two don’t have to be separated. Red lettuce and curly kale from the garden make good garnishes for holiday meals. Raw red mustard leaves make a rich background for canape serving. An attractive cone can be made of toothpicks, a long carrot and broccoli, cherry or grape tomatoes, and cauliflower pieces which makes an edible Christmas tree. Large leafed greens can be cut into strips and used to simulate ribbons transforming a flat pan of congealed salad into a present.
Now is the time to start pestering your garden supply center about seed potatoes. Suppliers will not ship if temperatures are below freezing, so take advantage of warmer than normal temperatures and  see if the wholesalers will send an early shipment now since the best time to plant is late January or early February.
Most leaves have fallen by now. Tilling them into the garden is good for your lawn and good for your garden. Just wait until the soil is fairly dry before tilling.
Horticulture Tips
Lelia Kelly, Wayne Wells, David Nagel

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