News From 2022
Most gardeners start planning their flower and vegetable gardens after the first of the year. This makes sense, as cabin fever from the winter months is compounded by a case of gardening fever due to the appearance of garden catalogs.
Mississippi agricultural producers shattered previous records in 2022 with an estimated $9.7 billion in production value based on high market prices that almost kept pace with higher production costs.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Poultry was already Mississippi’s top agricultural commodity before its overall value increased even more in 2022.
The estimated value of production for the state’s poultry in 2022 was $3.8 billion. This 48% increase over 2021’s record production value of $2.6 billion will rewrite the record books if these totals hold when the final numbers are released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture next April.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- An increase in both the amount of timber harvested and delivered wood prices landed Mississippi’s forestry industry in third place among the state’s agricultural commodities. At an estimated production value of $1.3 billion, timber is up 15% from 2021. Poultry and soybeans ranked first and second, generating an estimated value of $3.8 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, in 2022.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Space heaters and fireplaces can help keep temperatures comfortable during cold weather. However, all types of heating equipment can be fire hazards if safety precautions are not taken. According to the National Fire Protection Association, home heating fires happen most often in December, January and February, accounting for almost half of all home heating fires.
Coastal development compounded with the impacts of climate change are making natural resource managers struggle with restoring and managing coastal uplands due to the heavy front-end investment and need for continuous maintenance.
Some activities essential to management of coastal uplands for habitat benefits include clearing of thick woody underbrush and removal of invasive species. Common invasives found in coastal uplands locally include kudzu, Japanese climbing fern, Chinese tallow, Chinese privet and cogongrass.
At the end of each year, I like to look back at what were some of the better performers in my home landscape and in my travels with Southern Gardening. I obviously don’t have enough room here to mention all the great plants I’ve seen and grown in 2022, but I think these four were the cream of the crop.
VERONA, Miss. -- Current and prospective greenhouse vegetable producers are invited to attend the Mississippi State University Greenhouse Vegetable Short Course March 7 and 8, 2023, in Verona, Mississippi. The short course, formerly known as the Greenhouse Tomato Short Course, will be offered at the MSU North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University has been awarded a grant of nearly $6.6 million for shoreline restoration work on the Gulf Coast.
One of the most common questions I get his time of year concerns how to have landscape color from plants that are not annuals, like pansies, violas and dianthuses. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one such plant -- winter cassia -- that adds winter color to landscapes. Now, I want to suggest a Southeastern native shrub that is attractive and has a surprise use.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Flu hospitalizations in the U.S. have reached the highest level in a decade, but it is not too late to get protected during these peak months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated 34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as having the highest levels of flu activity possible on its scale during the week ending November 26. Mississippi was one of the first states to reach that threshold early that month.
Mississippi farmers and forest landowners have the opportunity to provide data that helps shape future farm policy when they complete the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The deadline to be counted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s census is Feb. 6, 2023.
This fall and winter, I’ve been going back to look at some of my really, really favorite plants that I’ve talked about over the years as host of Southern Gardening with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. I’ve enjoyed hearing reports from garden centers that a particular Southern Gardening column created a run on plants I mentioned. One in particular brings back some fun memories: the blue butterfly plant.
My favorite definition of a horticulturist is paraphrased as “We make plants do what we want, when we want them to do it.” The holiday season is the perfect time to show off these skills, and a prime example is the poinsettia. This plant “blooms” in its native Mexico around Christmas. But using science and plant physiology, we have poinsettias colored up from late October through the Christmas holidays.
BILOXI, Miss. -- The Southeast has some of the most commercially and recreationally valuable fisheries in the United States. However, anglers’ observations of fish populations don’t always match the results of official stock assessments for important reef fishes.
As we enter winter, many gardeners consider this a less interesting outdoor season compared to the warmer spring and summer seasons. To add color, we depend on cool-season annuals like dianthuses, pansies, violas, and the various kales and cabbages. Of course, we’re also entering camellia season, but that’s really about it.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Time is running out to preregister for the 2022 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course.
The course, scheduled for Dec. 5-7 at the Cotton Mill Conference Center in Starkville, is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Online registration is available at http://extension.msstate.edu/row-crop-short-course. Preregister by Nov. 27 for free admission to the conference, which includes all meals. Registration on or after Nov. 28, including at the door, is $40.
Mississippi pecan producers faced a particularly challenging year with drought and then rain at the wrong time, but irrigated orchards are making a good crop.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut crop specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the dry summer did one very good thing: It helped control pecan scab, a disease that is often a problem for the state’s pecan trees.
Although it’s only mid-November, poinsettias will be arriving very soon at garden centers -- some may have already arrived -- for the holiday and Christmas season. In many people’s minds, the traditional poinsettia color is red. And let’s face it: A red poinsettia is beautiful. My favorite continues to be the traditional red. But red is not the only color available.
A variety of pests threaten Mississippi forests, presenting a challenge to landowners who lack experience in managing land or even knowing what problems to look for. Brady Self, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that good first step is to simply do a walkthrough and look for things out of place.
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