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Jonesboro Spring Garden Seminar and AFGS 2017

February 21, 2017

I had an early morning departure to make it to Jonesboro by 9 a.m. but it was an easy drive. That early and the traffic was at a minimum even with rain. I had rain off and on both coming and going to Jonesboro, but I did get .69 inches of rain at home. We needed it.  The new bypass shaves a good 30 minutes off the drive, even if my older GPS doesn’t know the bypass exists!  The Craighead County Master Gardeners did themselves proud today. They had a sold-out overflow crowd from a myriad of counties from across the state. jonesboro-spring-garden-seminar-feb-17-1They had all their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed. They had educational exhibits highlighting their projectsjonesboro-spring-garden-seminar-feb-17-9 and Mimi was representing County 76 and selling garden tools and gadgets galore.jonesboro-spring-garden-seminar-feb-17-2  Registration went like clockwork jonesboro-spring-garden-seminar-feb-17-7and they had friendly faces greeting folks as they arrived and directing them where to go. jonesboro-spring-garden-seminar-feb-17-8  They had plenty of snacks and a great lunch–no one went home hungry. There was a whole lot of learning going on!  One of the questions was “what are all the white flowering trees that we are seeing on the roadsides now?”callery-pear-seedling-feb17  Unfortunately, the majority of them are seedling callerypears–seedlings of the ornamental Bradford pears.  The birds eat the fruits and drop the seeds and these pears are blanketing our state.

I left after lunch.  As I was driving out I saw some stunning tulip magnolia–Magnolia soulangeana. tulip-magnolias-jonesoboro-feb-17 Before I left town, I stopped in at the Sam’s in Jonesboro to see what they had available for our Extension booth for the AFGS.  I bought a few pots but stopped on the way home at some local garden centers to see about plants.  I was at Lowe’s as the Bonnie Plant truck was delivering so I got the mother lode of vegetable transplants to use in the garden at the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show.  I bought the right plants–cool season vegetables that should be planted now–broccoli, lettuce, spinach, onions, cabbage, etc. Unfortunately, they also had a huge display of tomato and pepper plants OUTSIDE on racks.  As we all know it has been way too warm too early but just like last year, this is NOT the time to plant tomatoes nor peppers.  So sad to see this happen. If new gardeners see this, the message is that it is time to plant tomatoes and it is NOT!!!  tomatoes-and-peppers-feb-22-17-1 tomatoes-and-peppers-feb-22-17-2When the plants die of cold damage, I fear the newby gardeners will blame themselves instead of who sold them a tomato plant in February. Tomatoes should not be planted in Arkansas until mid-April to early May.

While I was doing my thing in NE Arkansas, Julie was taking the first load to the Statehouse Convention Center and beginning setting up our Extension display.  afgs-set-up-tuesday-17 afgs-set-up-tuesday-2017 afgs-set-up-tuesday-feb2017 afgs-set-up-tuesday2-17Today and tomorrow is for the big garden displays only. Thursday will see the addition of the rest of the vendors. We open for business at 10 a.m. Friday morning.  Don’t miss out!

Tomorrow morning I will do a spot on Channel 7 morning show at 9:30 or so to promote the show.

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