Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners host Everything Garden Expo

Shoppers browse the MSU Horticulture Club's plant sale during the Everything Garden Expo. MSU Horticulture Club member Phil Reamer, at left, offered advice to those interested in beginning gardening. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners hosted the Everything Garden Expo Saturday and Sunday at the Mississippi Horse Par, which featured guest speakers, children's activities and vendors selling everything anything and everything related to gardening.

The Mississippi State University Extension Plant Doctors set up a booth, providing attendees with information regarding plant deceases and insect control.

MSU Extension entomology specialist Blake Layton offered advice on how to deal with fire ants and termites for not only gardeners, but any homeowners.

"Fire ants are the insect I get the most questions about, because everyone has them," Layton said.

Layton said granular baits are available at most stores that can be spread over an entire yard that are effective and safe to use.

"They are slow acting and a really effective way to reduce your fire ant numbers," he said. "After that you can target the mounds that survive that with more specific fire ant mound treatment."

Layton said treating both an entire yard and individual mound is best for killing fire ants.

"A big mistake people make is just treating the mounds you can see, because for every big one you see there are a dozen or more that are smaller but not visible in the grass."

Another common problem insect this time of year is termites, Layton said.

Layton recommends maintaining a contract with an exterminator for regular termite treatment and inspection, along with preventing excess moisture or water leaks inside an house, avoiding mulch piling up around the foundation of a home and preventing soil from being dug up around the foundation of a house.

"Sometimes people dig it up to put in a flower bed or animals dig it up," Layton said. "That soil is often treated a termiticide that protects the house."

More information about troublesome insects and other gardening tips is available online at extension.msstate.edu.

The MSU Horticulture Club also hosted its plant sale during the Everything Garden Expo.

MSU Horticulture Club member Phil Reamer had some advice and recommendations to anyone who is interested in beginner gardening.

Reamer said starting out, the bigger pot for a plant, the better.

"Start with the biggest pot you can for container gardening," Reamer said. "The bigger the pot, the less likely it is to dry out. For a lot of indoor plants, you're most likely to kill it with love by watering it too much."

Reamer said for outdoor plants, the biggest issue is planting something in an area where it doesn't belong.

"Read the labels as much as you can, and learn about how much light everything needs and how much water everything needs," Reamer said.

For beginner gardeners in Mississippi, Reamer recommends marigolds because they almost can't be destroyed. He also recommends sweet potato vines for those who don't like flowers because they are also almost indestructible. For perennials, he said Black-eyed Susans or rudbekia are good plants for beginners.