Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

Getting Ready for October in the Garden

Getting ready for October in the garden and important dates in October.

October is an important month for the gardener. Here the recommended list of activities by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for the month of October: Carefully harvest material for dried arrangements at this time. Choose cockscomb, flowering artemisia, already mature okra pods, flowering oregano stalks and others to enhance fall and winter bouquets. October through November is an excellent time to purchase bulbs while you still have a good selection in the garden center. They may be planted at any time with the exception of tulips and hyacinths .Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator until mid or late December before planting. The lower part of the refrigerator is best. Do not leave bulbs in airtight plastic bags during refrigerated storage. Plant bulbs in well prepared beds so the base of the bulb is at a depth that is three times the diameter of the bulb. In sandy soil, set slightly deeper and in clay soils less deeply. Start collecting leaves for the compost pile. Be sure to have extra soil available so that each 6 inch layer of leaves may be covered with several inches of soil. Always wet the layer of leaves thoroughly before adding the soil. Add about one pound of a complete lawn or garden fertilizer to each layer of leaves to provide the necessary nitrogen for decomposition. In addition to bulbs, check your nursery or garden center for started plants of snapdragons, pinks, sweet williams, poppies, and calendulas. Keep Christmas cactus in a sunny spot where night temperatures can be kept below 65 degrees F. Buds will drop if you allow night temperatures to go above 70 degrees F. or if you allow the plant to become excessively dry. They should also be kept in total darkness from 5:00 pm until 8:00 am for about 30 days in October to initiate flower buds. If you have saved seeds of your favorite plants, allow them to become air dry, then place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Be sure to label each packet carefully. Remember, seed from hybrid plants will seldom resemble the parent plant. Prepare beds for planting pansies when they become available at the garden centers. They need a well-drained soil and exposure to at least a half-day of sun. It is best to use started plants, as seeds are difficult to handle. If you are planning to save caladium tubers for another year, dig them in late October, and allow to dry in a well ventilated but shady area. After 7 to 10 days, remove leaves an dirt, then pack in dry peat moss, vermiculite, or similar material for storage. Pack tubers so they do not touch each other. Dust with all-purpose fungicide as you pack. Place container in an area where temperature won’t drop below 50 degrees F.If twig girdlers have worked over your trees so that many twigs and branches are dropping, make sure these are collected and destroyed, as the eggs deposited in that portion of the branch that drops to the ground.There is still time to divide and reset such perennials as phlox, violets, hollyhocks, irises, day lilies, and shasta daisies.October is a good time to reduce the insect and disease potential in next year’s garden. Clean up the garden, removing all annuals that have completed their life cycle. Remove the tops of all herbaceous perennials that have finished flowering or as soon as frost has killed the leaves.Holly plants with a heavy set of fruit often suffer a fertilizer deficiency. An application of complete fertilizer late this month can be helpful and provide a head start next spring.

NETLA announces schedule for validation of heifers, goats and lambs, poultry and swine

During the first working session of the current school year of the Northeast Texas Livestock Association  (NETLA) organizers of the Hopkins County Junior Market Show, species superintendents provided the following schedule for validations:

  • Goats and Lambs: October 22, 2015 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Sulphur Springs Livestock Sale Barn. $30 each.
  • State Validation for registered heifers: October 22, 2015 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at the Sulphur Springs Livestock Sale barn. $10 each.
  • Swine validation: By November 30, 2015. Swine projects will be tagged by county agent and Ag teachers at the location of the projects. No movement of swine is recommended.¬† $30 each.
  • Poultry: November 30, 2015. All pen orders must be submitted to ag agent or ag teachers before this date. Cost $30 per pen.

Hopkins County Success stories

Trying to help ranchers and farmers requires a team effort. During the last several years I have been part of a team supporting hay producer Tracy Knight. I wanted to take some time to share part of his journey during the last few years and how Texas A&M AgriLife cooperative extension services and USDA-NRCS can contribute to makes a difference in Hopkins County. Several years ago, Mr. Knight intended to improve his hay meadows and crops. My first contact with Mr. Knight was with a trial crop of forage soybeans in 20 acres in Brashear. The goal was to produce forage using legumes dedicated for forage only. The varieties selected were non-determined soybeans round-up resistant type. During the first part of the crop growing season, the soybeans grew up well. It was until the summer, when the intense heat and drought made some impact in the crop. The soybeans basically started dropping leaves rapidly. I conducted a forage analysis in both leaves and steams and determined that the majority of the protein was in the leaves the soybeans were dropping. The decision was made to harvest the soybeans and made hay out of them before the plants dropped all the leaves. During several month (the duration of the crop), I was in constant contact with Mr. Knight as the drought and heat affected the crop.¬† The experiences acquired during this project forge a relationship that included the support of hay production for Mr. Knight. The use of remote sensing technologies to determine types of soils existing in the land dedicated to hay production using the USDA NRCS Soils web database, GPS grid layouts, agricultural liming and use of biosolids as fertilizers as part of an integrated soil management program supported by USDA-NRCS has allowed Mr. Tracy Knight to become one of the most important hay producers in Hopkins County. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic, please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].


Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.
Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR
1200B Houston Street
Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482

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