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Growin’ Green

Christmas Broccoli Starting To Head

By Brent Gray

The frosty nights and days in the sixties are ideal for many cool season vegetables. Christmas broccoli and cauliflower should be starting to head now. Keeping the developing heads dry to prevent rot organisms from growing is critical.  Remove older leaves to provide air movement if the young heads have beads of water on them at lunchtime.
Cool temperatures intensify the colors in red mustards and kales. Mississippi State fans can have patches of quasi-maroon by New Year’s eve by planting Garnet Giant, Red Giant, or Osaka purple mustard now. Ole Miss fans will have to buy ornamental kale or cabbage to add red color to their landscape for December 31.
Onions have shallow root systems. Water them any week if it does not rain.

Transplanting Perennials
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 topdressing 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.
Christmas Trees
Live Christmas trees need to be monitored for water through the Christmas season. The trunk should have an inch or two cut off before placing in the stand. The reservoir should be filled as soon as possible after the trunk is trimmed. You may have to refill the stand the day after mounting since the tree has re-hydrated. Check the water level in the stand twice a week. Under watered trees shed needles and are un-pleasant to touch.

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