News From 2012
In my last column, I suggested gardeners shouldn’t jump the gun and pull out summer annuals that still look good. But if you do have an open spot in your landscape, now is a good time to consider adding some cool-season color.
The pansy is one bedding plant that just can’t be beat in cool-season landscapes. As a group, pansies are great for outstanding cool-weather performance. The pansy series that has taken the landscape by storm is the Matrix. These pansies have quickly become one of the industry’s leading cool-season bedding plants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Early October rains that could have devastated the state’s cotton crop seem only to have delayed harvest of what should be near-record yields.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the cotton harvest was a little behind schedule, with just 33 percent of the fields harvested by Oct. 7. However, they rate 67 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition and another 24 percent fair.
JACKSON – Mississippians can see the talent of the state’s youth at 4-H Day at the Mississippi State Fair on Oct. 13.
Contests, exhibits and other events will be open to the public beginning at 9 a.m. Most contests will conclude around noon. Livestock events will continue throughout the day.
All 4-H events and contests will be held in the Trade Mart, except one. Public speaking will be held in the Cattlemen’s Association building located across from the fairgrounds at 680 Monroe Street, Suite A. Exhibits will be displayed in the Trade Mart’s 4-H Village.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A long-standing and well-attended festival in Ocean Springs gave Mississippi State University researchers an opportunity to calculate the value of these fun events to the state’s economy.
The John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development and the Extension Service at Mississippi State University completed two economic impact studies of the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival. This annual festival draws more than 100,000 people to the community of 18,000 residents and has a $13 million impact on the local economy.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As a boy growing up in central Mississippi, Joe Gordy never imagined that his love of flowers would grow into an accomplished career.
Gordy, a Mississippi State University alumnus, has a passion for floral design that began in childhood.
“As a child I was fascinated with plants and flowers. I grew up on a farm, and I loved working in the flower garden,” Gordy said. “Horticulture was a subject I wanted to study because I have always been interested in plants. But design is what I love.”
By Amy Cagle
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Willis Durden “Dan” McGeary left Mississippi to follow his dream of becoming a pilot, but he never forgot his connection to his home state or his alma mater, Mississippi State University.
The last surviving member of a prominent Delta family, McGeary willed Sidon Plantation in Leflore County to Mississippi State University. The bequest includes 2,069 acres of farmland and 568 additional acres around Sidon Plantation near Greenwood, as well as one of the oldest homes in Leflore County. McGeary died in 2011 at age 91.
The crisp fall air has many families playing outside in leaf piles, tossing footballs at tailgating events, and getting ready for Halloween and fall festivals. Seasonal decorations can be challenging, but the Internet and sites like Pinterest can help anyone, even those without a speck of the Martha Stewart gene.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Southern hospitality does not need to extend to members of the insect world when temperatures drop.
“Now is the ideal time to prepare your home for winter, before the paper wasps, Asian lady beetles and kudzu bugs start looking for a warm place to spend the cold months,” said Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension Service entomologist.
In nature, many insects overwinter under tree bark, in rocky outcrops or hollow trees, Layton said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Gardeners can add fresh color to their landscapes with plants purchased at the Mississippi State University horticulture club’s annual fall plant sale.
This year’s sale will take place Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Dorman Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Popular flowering plants, such as chrysanthemums, pansies and dianthus, will be available for purchase. Ornamental white and orange pumpkins and cold-hardy vegetables, such as Swiss chard and kale, also will be for sale.
Even though pansies, viola and dianthus are showing up in garden centers, don’t be too quick to pull up your summer-flowering annuals. The Fall Flower and Garden Fest in Crystal Springs this weekend gave visitors a glimpse of what summer annuals can do for the fall landscape.
Our summers in Mississippi can be brutal, and they even take a toll on flowering summer annuals. But once we turn the corner and start heading towards fall, these plants get a second wind. Like humans, they also appreciate the moderating temperatures.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year’s soybean crop is on track to set a state yield record, but much depends on whether recent heavy rains that halted harvest seriously damaged what remains in the field.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the state’s 2.1 million acres of soybeans were 77 percent harvested by Sept. 30. Acreage is up 17 percent from what was planted in 2011.
VERONA – Several agencies joined forces in Wiggins and Verona to help train first responders how to rescue large animals safely following a disaster or accident.
“Mississippi is a rural and agricultural state, but many of our first responders have no experience with horses, cattle and other large animals,” said Elmo Collum, disaster preparedness coordinator for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Over the years that we have conducted these trainings, we have discovered that even people with large-animal experience can learn from the classes.”
VERONA – DeSoto County emergency responders were just settling in for a day of large animal rescue training when the call came on Sept. 28.
“An 18-wheeler hauling about 100 calves through the state hit the Coldwater River bridge on Highway 78 in DeSoto County,” said Dr. Carla Huston, an associate professor with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the CVM Disaster Response Team. This was not a drill.
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fall is an ideal time for farmers to add value to their businesses by engaging in agritourism and developing farm-to-table relationships.
Becky Smith, Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor of agricultural economics, said farmers can diversify income through fall agritourism activities like corn mazes, tractor rides and pumpkin patches.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – To most consumers, the idea of someone purposefully contaminating food seems far-fetched, but to food business owners, it is a reality for which they must plan.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and if the men in the National Football League can wear pink, surely the rest of us can use technology to prevent, diagnose and beat breast cancer.
Research shows that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and early detection is important.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landscape and garden enthusiasts can get help planning for next spring from nationally acclaimed designers at a Mississippi State University landscape design event.
The 57th annual Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Design Symposium will be Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bost Conference Center on MSU’s Starkville campus. Attendees can preregister by Oct. 12 for $20 or register at the door for $25.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show will showcase the newest technology and machinery being used to advance the South’s timber industry.
The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the John W. Starr Memorial Forest off of Highway 25 near Starkville. It is sponsored by Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources, Hatton-Brown Publishers Inc., the Mississippi Logger’s Association and the Mississippi Forestry Association.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When hunters in Lowndes and surrounding counties see deer with colored ear tags this fall, researchers at Mississippi State University hope they will allow the research subjects to roam.
Scientists at MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center are studying antler size and growth rates for 77 tagged whitetail bucks in the wild. Researchers hope to determine whether antler size in young deer is a predictor of antler size at maturity.
Gardeners getting ready for fall planting should consider dianthus, a versatile group of plants that grow well in Mississippi gardens and landscapes.
Dianthus come in annual and perennial selections. There are cool season and warm season varieties. I really like their color palette – we can grow a wide variety of pinks, purples and whites, along with bicolors. Dianthus is one flower that lets us keep a sense of landscape and garden color continuity across all the seasons.