By Brent Gray
Fall will be here soon (Sept. 22) and garden centers will have bins, bags and other packages of spring bulbs for sale. Nothing shouts SPRING more than the cheery buttercup. If you long for spring during the bleak, dreary days of winter you might want to look for the earliest blooming buttercup selections. The ones listed below are among the earliest bloomers.
• Rijnveld’s Early Sensation
• Early Bride
(LC) Dark yellow/white
• February Gold
• Golden Harvest
Trumpet daffodils have the center “trumpet” as long as or longer than the petals; large-cupped daffodils have the trumpets more than one-third, but less than equal to, the length of the petals.
The North Mississippi Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Verona will be having a field day on September 28. There will be an opportunity to see pumpkin varieties, southern pea plant spacing, tomato fertilizer rate, and compost studies and displays of southern pea varieties, pepper varieties, and landscaping ideas with native plants and annuals.
Much of Mississippi is entering drought conditions. Remember that fruit bearing tomato plants need two inches of water each week, and most other vegetables require one inch.
Don’t be too eager to harvest pumpkins. Many are orange now, but the interior is still immature. Harvesting pumpkins too early will cause the pepo to have a very short display life since the rind is not hardened by lignification and phytolith formation. Phytoliths are silicon dioxide structures that form within the rind and make it resist decay and weathering. Test the rind in a not obvious spot (bottom) to make sure it is hard.
Rutabaga lovers should be planting soon. These amphidiploid plants contain complete sets of genes from both the cabbage and turnip families and produces a storage root like a turnip. The plant is often called a Swedish turnip since it was widely grown in Scandi-navia due to its cold tolerance. Rutabaga does not grow as well in Mississippi as it does in Norway, but it will produce larger roots than turnips and can grow in almost any cold temperature we experience.
The last application of fertilizer nitrogen should go out this week if, and only if, the grass has become pale and almost stopped growing. The shorter days of September tend to slow the growth rate down naturally, but the grass should still need mowing.
Remove tree leaves at least once a week from the lawn. Generally mowing will pulverize the dead leaves enough for the sun to reach the grass leaves.