Lelia Kelly, David Nagel
It is planting time for direct seeded onions and strawberries. Check your local garden center for onions adapted to Mississippi conditions. Make sure the variety is a short or intermediate day type. Long day onions do not start to bulb until the temperatures are too high for the plant to grow. Short day onions will be ready for harvest for bulbs in June, intermediate day onions will be harvested in July. Plant the seed about one inch apart in rows at least five inches apart. This allows you to have green onions for Christmas utilizing the plants you remove to reach the right population for bulbs. You can pull the onion plant at any time and use it as a scallion. Onions have very short roots so irrigation is a necessity, particularly during October. Short roots also require frequent, small fertilizer applications.
Strawberry plants should be available at garden centers upon request. Spring bearing varieties like Chandler, Tangi, and Camarosa are harvested in May and early June while ever bearing varieties like Albion and Ozark Beauty make smaller berries over a longer period. Make arrangements to be notified when the plants arrive and plant that same day. Planting depth is critical since strawberry crowns planted too deeply will have difficulty producing leaves and crowns set above the soil surface will have problems growing roots. Make sure the crown is on the soil surface and irrigate the same day you plant to create a good crown to soil contact. The plants are very cold tolerant, but the flowers are killed by frost. Planting in October may set a few berries during the winter if temperatures remain above forty degrees.
Remember the Fall Flower and Garden Fest at Truck Crops Experiment Station October 18 and 19.
Some homeowners like to over seed their lawn with perennial ryegrass to have a green lawn during winter. Annual ryegrass is not well adapted to this practice and should not be used. Over seeding is detrimental to the warm season lawn grass, but it can be very attractive. Prepare for over seeding by gradually decreasing your mowing height for a few weeks. Germination of the perennial ryegrass is much better if the lawn is watered after seeding. Remember that over seeded lawns require the same amount of maintenance all winter as the warm season lawn required all summer.