By Brent Gray
The Yalobusha County Forestry Association will host a meeting on Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose building. The topic of discussion will be “Marketing Timber.” Please call the Extension Office in advance at 662-675-2730 by Wednesday, May 15, to reserve your seat if you have plans to attend. Hope to see you then.
The Yalobusha County Cattlemen Association will meet on Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose building. The presenter for the program will be Dr. Brandi Bourg Karisch, Animal & Dairy Science, Assistant Extension/Research Professor; the topic of discussion will be “Alternative feed Sources.” Mississippi Land Bank will be the sponsor. Please call the Extension Office @ 662-675-2730 by May 20th to reserve your seating.
Do not be tempted to cut or otherwise mess with the foliage of your spring-flowering bulbs. If you do this habitually, you will eventually weaken the bulb and flowering will be reduced. Remember your high school botany. The foliage manufactures the food that is stored in the bulb to support the bloom for next spring. Letting the foliage die naturally will ensure that all sugars (food) were translocated to the bulb. If the sight of sickly, yellowing foliage bothers you, plant annuals among the bulbs to help camouflage the unattractive bulb foliage.
Ground Covers and Lawns
Fertilize your Bermuda and zoysia lawns this month. Refer to the Mississippi State University Extension Service publication “Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn” for recommended rates. Pick up your free copy at your county Extension office.
For those of us who are of an age that our get-a-long doesn’t get-a-long quite like it used to, gardening in containers can be a very convenient and a good thing. Container gardening is accessible, portable, flexible and whimsical. I can’t think of one plant that we couldn’t grow in a container. Yes, we can even grow trees. We just can’t grow really big trees.
Planting combination or “theme” gardens in containers can be fun, especially for children. Each spring at the farmer’s co-op where I used to work, we would plant a pizza garden, tea garden, and other gardens in whiskey barrel containers. All the plant material would be labeled and was a big hit with the small fry clientele. Pizza garden plant choices could be tomato, chives, basil, and oregano. Tea garden choices could be lemon verbena, catnip, mint, German chamomile, and lemon balm.
I can remember a time in the not too distant past when gardeners’ choices of perennials were fairly limited, but now we have so many choices of good perennials for the South, it’s hard to decide. With perennials we don’t get the long bloom season of the annuals, but we do get plant longevity. That reminds me of a quote I read. With apologies to the author, whom I can’t remember, I will share it with you. “A perennial is a plant that will come back every year—if it had lived.”
By choosing the right perennials we can have a succession of bloom all spring and summer. Spring bloomers: peony, German iris, Siberian iris, thrift (phlox subulata), blue phlox (phlox divaricata), blue star (amsonia), Shasta daisy, ‘Biloxi Blue’ or ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena. Summer bloomers: purple coneflower, rudbeckia, bee balm (monarda), daylily, and liatris. Fall bloomers: goldenrod, aster, garden mum, mistflower ( wild ageratum), and ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum.
Strawberries are among the easiest home fruits to grow and one of the most productive. The plants’ lack of longevity and size cause them to respond quickly to attentions bestowed or forgotten. This, and a long fruiting season, means lost ground often can be regained. If all else fails, plants are easily and quickly replaced. After three years of drought and erratic care my entire strawberry bed has in perfect unison decided to go home to their fathers. I will replace them with the variety Cardinal, the recommended choice for north Mississippi. Unfortunately, I did not get them in the ground early enough to enjoy a harvest this spring. For those of you who will enjoy a strawberry harvest and fresh strawberry pies, don’t forget to fertilize your plants after harvest. A general recommendation is 1 to 3 pounds of 13-13-13 fertilizer per 100 feet of row.
Trees and Shrubs
Why is it the roses always seem to coincide their full bloom with Mother’s Day? Maybe this is a subtle hint from nature for all you children out there to get mama a rose bush on her special day. Thereafter, when it blooms every Mother’s day she will remember with great fondness her thoughtful child. Hybrid tea roses are very popular because of their gorgeous blooms. They are also the highest maintenance roses you can get mama. There are numerous shrub and antique roses that offer magnificent, recurrent, and fragrant blooms and do not require the spraying, pruning and other high maintenance of the hybrid teas. Talk to your favorite nurserymen about these roses. He can guide you in your selection.
Vegetables and Herbs
This month is usually thought of as the time to continue planting our warm season vegetables like pole beans, squash, okra, watermelons, etc. It’s also harvest time for those of us who planted cool season vegetables. Broccoli, lettuce, radishes, spinach, onions and other vegetables can be enjoyed this month.
Because of all the disease problems associated with Southern summers, choosing vegetable varieties based on their disease resistance is essential.
Talk to your county Extension agent for recommended disease resistant vegetables. Using these recommendations will mean you won’t have to spray as often with fungicides and the less spraying the better for your family’s health and the environment.
Lelia Scott Kelly, Ph.D., writes North Mississippi Gardening Tips monthly and is the state consumer horticulture specialist for Mississippi State University Extension Service. Her office is at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.