h/g briefs 6/30

Organic matter

essential in garden

n In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, there is a growing awareness among consumers regarding the quality of food we eat.

Farmers’ markets are not only a popular alternative to large mono-culture farms, but they also offer locally grown and locally owned produce – a priority for better controlled quality of foods.

As a gardener, each of us can make a worthwhile contribution to better quality gardening procedures. The use of natural organic matter provides for strong and healthy plants and guarantees an improved soil environment. As good as fertilizers and other chemicals might be, they do very little to improve the soil. During these long, dry and hot summer days, only organic matter will retain soil moisture and conserve water.

If you are just a little bit industrious, try a backyard compost bin. Vegetable matter from the kitchen, along with dead leave and grass clippings, offer ideal soil enrichment. Do not put meat or dairy products in the bin.

A recent medical publication listed its “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables which typically contain an abundance of pesticides. They are: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach and strawberries. Gardeners, we can do our part. Use pesticides when necessary, but be wise to your health and that of those around you.

Reggie Rose, a Master Gardener, is a trained volunteer of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. For gardening questions, call the Hort Line at 620-8280 in Lee County and (866) 920-4678 outside Lee County.

Gardening programs

at botanical gardens

n Mississippi State University is bringing the classroom to Verona with a series of seminars that could be called “Yard Care 101.” Monthly seminars will give information on gardening and landscaping that will be suitable for both amateur and experienced gardeners.

MSU horticulture specialists based in north Mississippi will conduct the seminars, which all begin at 1:30 p.m. Bring your gloves; there will be opportunities for hands on activities. Here’s what’s planned:

– July 25: Disease identification and prevention – An ounce of prevention (Alan Henn)

– Aug. 30: Growing Herbs – Add some spice to your life (Lelia Kelly)

– Sept. 26: Landscape design – Learn from the professor (MSU landscape architect)

– Oct. 31: Christmas tips – Holiday plans and plants (Jeff Wilson)

For more information, call (662) 566-2201.

Daily Journal report