Street Talk

Beating Around The Bush = Tomatoes

By Mickey Howley


If you read the garden zone guidelines, we live in zone 7. Some zone maps even say 7A some say zone 7B and some say we’re right on the A–B zone line. You may be in a zone by the end of this column, but these zones are useful.
Yes, being in a zone is important. These zones are the guides that suggest to gardeners what to plant and when. And if you dig a bit deeper in to the zoniness, you can zone in on the last frost maps. Please note in the fine print the zone maps are careful to say “average” last frost. And for Yalobusha, average last frost is around that mid-April zone. This year the last frost looks like it will have been, unless it gets real chilly again, May 4.
Out of the normal zone for sure. And you may ask why is this all-important for a newspaper column that deals with Water Valley Main Street stuff. Because last frost (and this very late one) determines the date the Farmers Market opens.
Because there is an unwritten rule about Farmers Markets—if you don’t have tomatoes, you don’t have a market. So the late date for this 7th season for the Water Valley Farmers Market is June 1.
That’s two weeks later than ever before and I know folks are ready to zone in and eat local and super fresh, but just stay in that holding zone for a little bit more and consider the plants that have suffered. The 7th season starts soon under the big magnolia in Railroad Park.
And if you are a merchant on Main Street, you’ll want to mark this on your calendar. There will be an early morning meeting Tuesday June 4. That’s when retail expert Margie Johnson will be in town. Margie has been working nationwide for 30 years in bumping up retail sales for Main Street merchants. Mississippi Main Street noticed her some years ago and has been bringing her to south Mississippi to work with retailers there with great success. And finally she is coming to north Mississippi.
She’ll have a workshop starting at 8 a.m. upstairs in the big room at the BTC building at 301 N. Main Street. If you have a storefront on Main Street, you’ll want to be there.
Still hearing positive comments from this year’s World’s Largest Crappie Fest. The Crappie Fest has had over the past years some very steady sponsors like Mechanics Bank, Turnage Drug Store, The Library Sports Bar, Renasant Bank. This year BorgWarner joined in as a sponsor and brought a new twist to the Fest; the Crappie Run/Walk.
While the weather has been cool for growing tomatoes, it was just about near perfect running temperature for the start of the race. All the runners I talked to loved the race and it flowed smoothly into the day’s events. That seamlessness doesn’t just happen, the BorgWarner crew put in some serious time making sure all the details came off without a hitch.

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