Warm Weather And Garden Time? Not Yet
Last week I talked about how cold it had been the previous weekend so, in typical Mississippi fashion, I can talk about how warm it was this past weekend. Saturday and Sunday afternoon my boys actually pulled out a good many of their summertime outside toys and were able to play with them. Sometimes the weather here is comical and even more comical are the people who forget it is like this every year. I think the only ones that actually enjoy this weather are the doctors and staff who get to earn their keep from giving out sinus cocktail shots.
I talked with a farmer on Monday and told him that if it was to stay warm for a few more days some people would probably start getting their gardens ready. I was at an equipment sale one time over in the Delta and overheard two farmers talking about how with warm weather in February some Delta farmers would start thinking about planting corn. One said to the other that he had actually hooked to a seed cart and pulled it around the town he was from just to see which other farmers would get jealous.
In all seriousness, now is the time to be ordering seed for the upcoming year and also planning what to plant where so when the weather does break you will be ready.
The Coffeeville Saddle Club will have their first horse show of the season at the Multi-purpose Building in Coffeeville on January 28 at noon. The Horse Show will be a speed show and admission is free. The Yalobusha County 4-H Horse Club will provide a concession stand for the event.
There is an upcoming interest meeting for the Master Gardener training at the Multi-Purpose Building in Coffeeville. This meeting will be held on January 24 at 5:30 pm. We will discuss the overall Master Gardener Program and also trying to set up a Master Gardener volunteer group again.
Are you tired of winter? Aching to see some spring flowers? Well, there is a way to rush spring. Keep a close eye on the flower buds of your early spring flowering shrubs or trees. As soon as the flower buds begin to show the faintest hint of color, branches can be cut, brought indoors and forced into early bloom. Actually, using the word “forced” is a misnomer as you’re not forcing anything—the plant is already programmed to bloom. You are just providing the warm conditions inside to make the blooms open a wee bit earlier. Good candidates for “forcing” indoors would be forsythia, spirea, redbud, saucer magnolia, star magnolia, weigela, flowering quince and any fruit tree that you are willing to cut some potential fruiting branches from.
When you make the cut, remember you are pruning your shrub or tree as well.
To facilitate water uptake, make a vertical slit or two into the cut end of each stem, rather than crushing the stem ends as has been done in the past. Condition the stems by placing them immediately after cutting into a bucket of warm water to which you have added a little bleach to kill any bacteria (1 T bleach/1gal of water).
You can leave them overnight in this solution in a cool place like a porch or garage (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) before moving the branches indoors. You make want to keep them longer in this location if the buds are not showing a lot of color. As the buds begin to just open up, it is time to move them indoors and arrange them attractively in a vase or some other container. The blooms won’t last a very long time, so I would stagger my “pruning” of shrubs and keep a few branches conditioning in the garage or porch and bring a few in at a time to prolong the floral display.
So, indeed it is possible to fool Mother Nature just a little and enjoy early spring flowers by bringing them indoors and “forcing” them into bloom for your enjoyment.