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Extension Corner: Spring and Farmer’s Market are just around the corner

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One of the greatest things about living in Arkansas is the fact that we have four seasons. It is hard to believe that the official start of Spring will happen this Saturday on the 20th. So, I know that most of you that have gardens or planning to plant a garden are thinking about or may have already started your seeds growing, getting them ready to plant in the good rich Arkansas soil. However, is your soil ready? Did you know that the Extension Office would test your garden spot soil free? I do not know about you, but if I am going to work and put not only my money in on garden plants and seeds, but also sweat equity, I want that garden soil to be able to produce to the best of its ability.
For the soil to be tested, a sandwich bag full of dry, rock free soil should be brought into the extension office. The soil will then be sent to U of A Soil Testing Lab in Marianna. The results will be returned to our office in about two weeks depending on how busy the lab is. The results are then mailed to you, so that you can see what your soil may or may not need. If you do not understand your results, the extension agent can explain it to you.
In agriculture, a soil test is the analysis of a soil sample to determine nutrient and contaminated content, composition, and other characteristics such as the acidity or pH level. A soil test can determine fertility, or the expected growth potential of the soil, which indicates nutrient deficiencies, potential toxicities from excessive fertility and inhibitions from the presence of non-essential trace minerals. The test is used to mimic the function of roots to adapt minerals.
With the talk of gardens and fresh produce, it is time to start thinking about our local Farmer’s Market. Last year, our Farmer’s Market had a really good market year with producers coming and providing products from early spring until late fall. The market was open on Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Fridays from 1 until 5 on the Jasper courthouse square.
The members of Farmer’s Market met March 5th to discuss the new season. The first market is planned for April 13th. The group is planning on accepting again the Senior Vouchers. The group would love to have more vendors and wanted to encourage young people to be a part of this community activity. The group is expecting 3-5 new produce vendors to join their market this year and they would love to have more. The group appreciated all of those that came, supported our local farmers, and purchased products from the vendors. For more information about this meeting, contact Dian Avriett, Market Manager at 870-861-5070
For more information about this topic or others, contact the Newton County Extension Office at 446-2240. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity, equal access and affirmative action institution.

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