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County Extension

  • Current garden trends as 2018 approaches

    It’s hard to believe next week is Thanksgiving. This decidedly American holiday provides a couple of days off for most of us to wear ourselves out visiting relatives and eating too much. We should certainly be thankful most of us have the opportunity to eat too much, but let’s go in a completely different direction this time.

    Since 90 percent of 2017 is already history, it’s time to start thinking about what’s coming in the new year. So, let’s look at some of the current garden trends.

  • Fresh versus frozen

    When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, more is certainly better. Current research out of the United Kingdom is saying that we need even more than the recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend. Their study suggests 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day can really go a long way toward reducing risk of early death and chronic illness.

    But, how in the world can you eat that many? Or maybe a better question would be, how can you afford that many? One easy answer: Go for frozen.

  • Hollies for year-round garden interest

    By Sam Marshall

     

    Current horticultural trends have, unfortunately, relegated hollies to an afterthought in coastal gardens, doomed forever to be hacked into little green meatballs and left to survive in the most inhospitable of environments. At best, hollies are used primarily as background filler plants for showier trees and shrubs, or worse, ignored altogether. But with their bright red berries, their diverse forms and foliage and their tough-as-nails habit, hollies deserve a prominent place throughout our coastal landscapes.

     

  • Use integrated approaches to manage pests, part 3

    By Sam Marshall

     

    In the past few weeks we have been discussing the basic tenants of integrated pest management (IPM) and the cultural, mechanical and biological tools you have available to help control garden pests. In this final part of the series, I will discuss the use of chemical controls, with a focus on pesticide safety and organic and synthetic controls.

     

    What are pesticides?

  • Only the turkey should be stuffed

    The big question is … will you weigh the same Jan. 1 as you do right now? Weight gain during the holidays is common and many Americans gain between one and five pounds. While that doesn’t sound like much, too often these extra pounds aren’t lost after the holidays. And this goes on year after year. This holiday season, the only thing that should be “stuffed” is the turkey.

  • What and when to plant down South

    Coastal North Carolina is the ideal place for those of you who are tired of the snow but still like some change from one season to the next. That means you’re just as likely to hear a “youse guys” as a “ya’ll” in these parts. It also means most of what you knew about gardening —especially the types of plants to use and doing things at the right time — don’t apply. 

  • Eat eggs — no yolking

     

  • Holiday season survival

    As I write this column, I know some of you will be reading it before Thanksgiving and probably others during the weekend after the big day. I’m guessing you’ve already been bombarded with cautions and concerns about overeating or food safety related to that big meal, so I’ll forgo those topics.

  • Use integrated approaches to manage pests, part 2

    By Sam Marshall

     

    In my last column, I explained how using integrated approaches to managing pests can be both economically and environmentally beneficial. I went over the basic tenets of integrated pest management (IPM) and discussed some cultural practices that can be used to mitigate pest issues in lawns and gardens. This week I will talk about mechanical and biological controls as a part of your IPM program for your home landscape.

     

    Mechanical controls

     

  • Snacking for success

    Are you a snacker?

    Most Americans are. Snackers tend to eat throughout the day rather than opting for three square meals.

    You may be thinking snacks are always unhealthy and something to avoid or if you’re snacking you’re “cheating.” That isn’t always the case. The secret is in the snack you pick.