First Sunday in May memories flood my soul!
That meant we went to Caledonia to Egger Cemetery. Before plastic and silk flowers became available, Mama contacted the neighbors for fresh iris, roses and spring flowers to be placed in those tall juice cans we covered in aluminum foil. Pop Browning would order gladiolus from A&P.
We remembered my grandparents, great grands, aunts, uncles and cousins. It’s a tradition we continue today. After the trip to the cemetery, we would visit Aunt Bettye and Uncle Robert Lee on Old Wolfe Road for a delicious family lunch using the good china and silverware. Then we could take off our shoes and go barefoot.
So, what if the yard was full of stickers. It was officially spring!
Mississippi offers a long growing season for vegetable and flower gardening. Many more family gardens can be spotted in the neighborhood. It can save money if you do your research on the best plants for our hardiness zone. A recent workshop offered by the local extension office made me aware of the plant resistance codes. This means certain plant varieties could escape pathogens and diseases. Many of the newer varieties will have a better taste, higher yield and will have more disease resistance qualities.
Planning your garden space will make the garden more productive.
Think about the space. Can you manage the space with just a hoe, or will you need to invest in a tiller or small tractor? Plants grow better in well-prepared soil.
Is the garden plot on flat, level land? Does the chosen spot have a bit of a slope to it? The rows will need to run perpendicular to the slope.
Does the soil in the area often erode or wash down the hill? Mulch such as pine straw, leaves, shredded paper, cardboard, or newspaper will help prevent weeds and reduce soil erosion.
Plant the vegetables that should produce all season together, so that when the early crops have been harvested, you have easy access to that soil for another planting. Observe the sun and shade in your chosen garden spot. Watch where you plant the tall plants, so they do not shade the shorter vegetables.
A vegetable garden will help with your grocery bill. You will also have the freshest veggies. In a matter of minutes, you can harvest, prepare and enjoy.
Much of our grocery store fresh produce travels about 1,800 miles from producer to consumer. Visit the local farmers market if you do not have the space or time to garden.
Early spring gardeners should be enjoying lettuce, greens, onions, cabbage, squash and green beans. Maybe, a few potatoes. Now what? In our area of Mississippi, you could experience more than one vegetable in the same space with succession planting. As soon as one crop is finished producing, clear the row, run the tiller across the area and plant another vegetable.
Plant lima beans, peas, cucumbers, okra, corn, another variety of tomatoes and peppers, now. Too many times an empty row will produce lots of weeds. Enjoy those vegetables and gardening from the last frost of spring to the first hard freeze of fall.
Thank you for visiting our plant sale. Proceeds help finance a scholarship to a Mississippi State University student interested in an agricultural-related field.
Former elementary teacher and avid gardener Olivia Sansing lives in the New Hope community and shares timely tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners.
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