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Growin’ Green

Cheese Orders Available Later This Week

By Brent Gray

The holiday season is upon us, this is just a reminder for those of you who have placed your cheese orders from the cheese store and established that Yalobusha County will be picking it up. It will be available for pick-up from the Extension Office on Thursday and Friday, December 5th & 6th, orders will be available for pick-up from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.

Hybrid collards are few to come to market since many of the open pollinated varieties perform well. Tiger is a new variety that is several days quicker to market size than Georgia or Southern, but has the same high leaf blade to stalk ratio. Tiger was developed for the “cut and come again” type of harvest where the first leaves are removed and a second crop grows on the same plant.
Many Mississippi gardeners had okra growing when the recent freeze killed the plant with the pods still on them. The seed from those young pods will probably not germinate, so the whole plant should be plowed in or put in the compost pile. Be sure to shed old okra stalks  or the pieces will be in the compost or garden soil for a long time.
Late November and December are normally not active vegetable growing months. The days are still growing shorter and there are a lot of other activities that take up much of the available time. Gardeners should use the daylight hours to monitor the radishes, broccoli and cauliflower growing for Christmas and keep the garden area clear of unwanted plants by planting a cover crop. Planning a late winter garden is a good use of the long evening hours. Make arrangements with your garden center or other supplier to have things delivered when you need them. Now is the time to arrange seed potatoes, onion transplants, and special varieties of seed for planting in January and February. Visit with other gardeners during the holidays to see what worked for them and brag about what worked for you.

Fall color came a little late this year, but now is a good time to look at the leaves in the neighborhood and see what works. Ask the person with the beautiful orange maple which variety it is. Determine for yourself if the brilliant yellow of ginkgo for two weeks or less  is worth it. Ask which shrub has turned bright red. Nandina has declined in popularity, but the various reds and maroons of the leaves with  bright red-orange berries is striking now and you may want to reconsider this low maintenance hedge. There are dwarf forms that can be used as ground cover.
The beautiful leaves on the tree fall to the ground and become a mess. Leaves should be cleared from the lawn by mulching with a mower or by removal whenever the grass can no longer be seen. Fallen leaves are a low nutrient containing substance in the compost pile and should be balanced  with green material like live or newly frozen  plants from the vegetable or flower garden. Dr. Geoff Denny re-minds us to check the gutters at roof’s edge to make sure the leaves haven’t clog-ged the water handling system.
Camellias are in bloom now. Sasanqua has pink to red blooms and has been being improved in Mississ-ippi since the early 1800’s. Homeowners would cross different bushes in their and their neighbor’s yard and many of the old types were offspring from these amateur breeders. Tea camellias are also in bloom now. Bushes are covered with white blooms. Several of the flowers are very fragrant, but the blooms are not individually impressive. Camellias can be rooted from hardwood cuttings now.

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