Kyle’s News and Reviews
I will apologize for the absence of my articles over the Christmas break, as John put in the Coffeeville paper I missed the reporting deadlines. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write the articles while I was off of work, it was just that I only remembered them when it was too late. One of these years I am not going to plan a bunch of extra projects while I am off of work at Christmas.
I certainly hope that you all had a very good Christmas and are having a happy New Year.
The New Year has arrived now and I am looking forward to starting fresh and helping everyone with any agriculture or natural resource concerns that may arise. Like many of you, I made several resolutions to help make myself better for the year. As of right now I am still keeping those resolutions.
Some of you might start getting cabin fever with all of these rainy days that we are having. Selecting seeds for your garden and planning is one thing that can be done to help with boredom. It is always a good idea the plan ahead and get an overall layout for your garden, keeping in mind that crops need to be rotated especially tomatoes. Another task that could be done now is making sure all old plant debris is removed from last year’s garden. As far as seed selection, don’t be afraid to try new varieties, especially those that have increased disease resistance. Just to dispel the myth, hybrid varieties are not GMOs, hybrids are varieties that are selected or bred for certain traits and are not modified in any way. Another myth about GMO free/organic production is that they are chemical free that simply is not true.
For those of you looking for yard cleanup work to do there are several task that can be done now. The most important being removing leaves and debris from lawn areas. Leaf and debris buildup on grassed areas can cause serious damage to the grass and ground under it. The damage is caused by keeping the ground waterlogged which can actually cause the grass to die if the area cannot dry out. If you are wanting to prune shrubbery now don’t, you need to wait until February to do any pruning unless it is a perennial that has died back to the ground. Soil testing is another task that can be done now to help plan for summer gardens.
MSU Extension soil testing lab offers new services
The Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Lab has new equipment that allows it to offer an expanded range of services to clients.
A new carbon and nitrogen analyzer tests both soil and plant tissue. The new instrument adds soil nitrogen tests to the list of services offered by the Extension Soil Testing Lab and streamlines the process of obtaining soil organic matter and plant nitrogen analyses.
Clients can now choose several different tests. First is the standard soil test for $8. A test for both soil and organic matter costs $10. For $4, clients can order a test for organic matter and soil nitrogen only, excluding the standard soil test. The plant tissue test remains $15 per sample.
Soil tests are useful for clients interested in improving crops, lawns, home gardens and wildlife food plots. Optimal pH and soil fertility are critical to obtaining maximum plant growth and economic yields. Soil tests take the guesswork out of fertilizer and lime applications. Reducing excess fertilizer application saves money and prevents the environmental impacts of nutrient runoff.
Forms, fee information, an online payment option and an instructional video for taking a soil sample are online at http://extension.msstate.edu/lawn-and-garden/soil-testing.