This past weekend was glorious and I appreciated puttering around my yard and landscape. It’s not often that we can enjoy a Saturday and Sunday in February with temperatures in the mid-70s and bright sunny skies.
But I had to take a step back and remember that our last frost-free date on the Coast is about April 1, so I continued to transplant curly kale and Bright Lights Swiss chard in my EarthBoxes and harvested some fresh red and green romaine lettuce for salads. I also harvested 6 pounds of arugula from plugs that I had transplanted on Christmas Day. This was way more than my wife and could possibly enjoy, so we went around and shared the garden bounty with our neighbors. But I also took a chance and transplanted some heirloom Siberian tomatoes on the off chance of an early spring; I still have my main crop of tomato transplants that will be ready for their April 1 planting.
This fantastic weather really gets most home gardeners out into the garden centers looking for plants and ideas. I want to remind everyone about two garden shows that will be coming up in early March: The Garden Extravaganzas in Biloxi and Jackson.
The Biloxi show will be back in this year after taking a year off; this will be a welcome event as there were many disappointed Coast residents last year. This year’s Biloxi Garden Extravaganza will be held March 10 and 11 at the Joppa Shrine Center in Woolmarket area off of Interstate 10, Exit 41.
The Jackson Garden Extravaganza will be held the following weekend, March 17-19, 2017, at the Trade Mart on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds.
These events are great opportunities for the home gardener to get inspired to plant the newest trees, flowering annuals and perennials and shrubs for the home landscape and garden. There will be flowering plants available that are sure to hold you over until spring finally returns.
There will also be daily seminars presented by some of the leading Mississippi State University Extension specialists and professionals in the entire Southeast. This year the event in Jackson will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and we’ll be welcoming back an old friend Norman Winter as the featured speaker.
There also will be vendor displays from local garden center and landscape professionals, many of which will have display gardens.
And there will be gardening demonstrations for both adults and the kids. This is a great chance to see how these beautiful plants could look in your landscape and how to grow successfully.
So be sure to come out to either or both of these Garden Extravaganzas and get inspired and ready for the spring and summer season.
Gary Bachman is a professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.