4-H offerings expanded

Published 1:16 am Sunday, May 11, 2008

Last December we stated that one of our New Year’s Resolutions was to expand our program’s efforts in the area of youth development. On behalf of the Adams County Extension Service we are proud to announce Ms. Melanie Sojourner is now part of the Adams County 4-H and Extension Staff. Melanie, a longtime resident and former Adams County 4-H member, has a large job assignment with partial responsibilities working as an area 4-H livestock specialist in Southwest Mississippi and as Adams County 4-H agent. Please be sure to welcome her as she will be a valuable asset in our mission to enhance the lives of Adams County and surrounding youth.

If you have not already begun, May is a great month to begin working outside and getting all your plants ready for the rapid growing season which has already begun. Every year this is the time when we receive calls about what to plant in specific areas around the house whether it be sunny or shady, wet or dry. We also receive calls about starting small vegetable gardens, wondering what to plant and when the proper time is. Here are some things you can work on during the month of May if you are trying to fix up gardening chores around the house.

Q. What is the best thing to plant under shade trees and out in full sun?

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Every year a common mistake is to plant plants where we think they will look best not where the plant performs best. Most plants have optimum growing conditions based on available sunlight, water needs and soil quality. If you are attempting to grow plants in a shady area around the house or yard I would recommend; Impatients, Coleus, Dianthus or Sweet Lobelia. If you are trying to grow out in full sun then you should consider; Wax Begonia, Marigolds, Ageratum, Periwinkle, Verbena or Zinnas.

Q. What vegetables should I be planting in May?

May is a great month to start a vegetable garden for the coming months. Keep in mind it is also a good project for kids to get involved with because it has an edible reward at the end. For instance, let your child plant watermelons in May and they can be enjoyed during the hot summer. This is also the time to start planting corn, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, cantaloupe, squash, okra or cucumbers.

Q. Are there any time sensitive chores I should be doing now around the house?

May is the final month to prune plants like azaleas and camellias. These shrubs begin forming new buds in late May and June. Pruning after this date removes buds that will bloom later. If you have not spent any time mulching yet, now is the time. With hot temperatures ahead mulching helps maintain moisture and cooler temperatures as well as eliminate weeds and increase the general appearance. If you have a lot of fern in your garden that are becoming overcrowded this is the time to divide them and re-pot or replant. Finally, check your house plants, if they are overgrowing their current containers now is a good time to move them up to larger containers.

David Carter is director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at dcarter@ext.msstate.edu.