County Was Well Represented At Annual Convention
Well I think all of the prayers for rain over the last few months have been answered in the last week or so. I emptied 4.5 inches out of my gauge last week in two days and that is not including what has fallen this week.
I spent this past weekend at the 95th Annual Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Jackson. This was a big Convention for Yalobusha County with Beth Tillman winning the 2017 Farm Bureau Ambassador Award. Beth is the daughter of Jeff and Faith Tillman of Tillatoba and is a senior at Mississippi State University in Special Education. The Farm Bureau Ambassador is charged with telling the story of Farm Bureau to the State and Nation. Congratulations Beth on your accomplishment!
Jody Bailey and Christine Fielder won an achievement award for Ag in the Classroom. This award recognizes individuals who excel in providing Agriculture related learning experiences for kids in schools around the State. Congratulations Christine and Jody on your award and thanks for all of your hard work.
Also representing Yalobusha County in the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award contest were Justin and Suzanne Brooks of Sylva Rena. Justin and Suzanne were chosen as one of four finalists from around the sate. Justin is a cattle, cotton and vegetable farmer who is very involved in the community.
Justin is also the night manager at the Yalobusha Gin. Congratulations Justin and Suzanne on your hard work. Justin is the son of the late Brad Brooks and LuAnn Brooks of Grenada.
Be an informed and discerning shopper when picking a nice poinsettia plant for yourself or someone else. Inspect closely the little yellow or greenish buds in the center of the “bloom”. If they are not small and greenish, pass it on by. If the center of the showy bracts has all yellow buds with stamens (little hairy-looking things) visible, it is past its prime and will not last as long during the holidays. It’s alright that a few of the total buds are open, just try to find one with the least number that are. The unopened buds, which by the way are the true flowers of the poinsettia, will eventually open into little yellow flowers. If you see a plant where these little buds are missing or dropping off, the plant is past its prime. The bracts or “petals” should be fully colored without too much green, and the plant should have strong stems and green leaves.
Christmas Tree Tips
If you buy a cut tree, here are a few quick tests for freshness. Bend the needles back to see how pliable they are. Hold the tree by the trunk, and give it a firm shake to see if it retains its needles. Once you’ve got the tree home, cut at least 2 inches off the base to help with water movement up the trunk. When it’s in the stand, check the water level daily, and never let it fall below the base of the trunk.
For those who want to be more “green”, buy a living potted tree that can be planted out in the yard after the holidays. Shop for these at your favorite nursery or garden center. While the containerized tree is indoors being a Christmas tree, definitely try to situate it away from heat sources, in an area of adequate light, and keep it watered. After the holidays plant it outside
. Coldest temperatures of the season are predicted for this week. This may be the time to harvest those tomatoes you have been carefully covering and nursing through the mild freezes we have had so far. If temperatures drop into the teens as predicted, tomato plants will die even if covered with blankets. Plants in containers should be moved indoors. Mustard, turnip, cauliflower and broccoli will need protection. The only crops not to be concerned about are kale, collards and rutabaga. . Irrigate before the cold temperatures are expected. The water in the soil acts as a heat reservoir and well hydrated plants withstand cold temperatures better.
Cold rainy weather is a good time to stop and think about the past season. Was there a time you wished you had drip irrigation during the drought in late summer? Now is a good time to shop for the components while stores are offering discounts to attract Christmas shoppers, Seed catalogues are available from many national suppliers just by requesting a copy online. Think about what worked well and which varieties you enjoyed eating… Some varieties are already sold out for next spring so make arrangements to have your seed available by either ordering your own and talking with the staff at your local garden center to be sure they will stock them.
Rainy weather is also a good time to check the drainage in the garden. Soon after the rain stops, or even during a prolonged rain, walk around the garden area and see where water is accumulating. Small puddles are not a problem, but water inches deep indicates an area where plants may not survive. Note where these problems are to see if there is a traffic pan. When the surface is dry, take a long (at least eight inches) shanked screwdriver or knife and push into the soil with only your thumb. Be very careful if you are using a knife. There may be a pan if you can’t push it to the hilt. Pans can be broken with subsoilers on tractors or by double digging small areas. Double digging requires much patience and is hard work. First you dig a trench one shovel deep and set the soil aside. Then you dig a second shovel deep in the same trench and pile the oil on top of the first. Then move over one shovel width and turn the first shovel deep soil into the trench you have just dug. The second shovel depth soil goes on top of the first. Continue across the area, filling the last trench with the soil from the first one. The good news about double digging is the effects last for many years.
Horticulture tips provided by Dr. Leila Kelly and Dr. David Nagel.