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County Extension

  • Don’t guess, soil test!

     

     

    By Sam Marshall

     

    Any successful gardener in this area will tell you that the key to a beautiful lawn or garden starts with healthy soil. The only way to ensure your soil is healthy is to conduct a soil test. Soil test results guide decisions like which type of fertilizer to use and whether or not to apply lime. Different types of plants have different pH and nutrient requirements. By soil testing, you can ensure you are applying the proper amounts for optimal growth of all your plants.

     

  • Can you spot the mistakes?

     Doug Powell says he can’t watch cooking shows on television. Why not? He complains the music is terrible, the chefs awful and the food safety non-existent.

    I happen to agree with Dr. Powell. I usually can’t watch cooking shows because the food safety practices concern me. On one half-hour show, I spotted at least three things, including recipes for home canning and meat cooking temperatures, that were just wrong!

  • Eat more nuts and nut butters

     Earlier this year I wrote about the Mediterranean diet. This eating pattern incorporates the basics of healthy eating traditionally practiced in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Eating like those who live in the Mediterranean region has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic diseases.

  • Summer squash for the home garden

     By Sam Marshall

     

    Warm weather will be fast-approaching our region and now is the time to start squash seeds for your spring garden. Easy to grow, quick to mature and full of flavor, summer squash is a great early-season vegetable that will turn any “brown thumb” into a successful gardener.

     

    Getting started

  • Late-winter garden chores

     The shortest month of the year with Valentine’s Day in its middle should be a great time for romance. If your relationship is still in that stage, enjoy. For those who have been together long enough that leather and lace has given way to coffee makers and car tires, you might get some extra points by taking care of some late-winter garden chores like pruning and controlling weeds.

  • Making your own baby food: Keep baby safe

     There’s a new baby in your house and you’re thinking of making your own baby food. Not only can this be a nutritious alternative to store-bought baby food, it can be a real money saver.

    First off, don’t rush adding solid food to baby’s diet. By age of 4 months to 6 months, most babies’ energy needs increase, making this the ideal time to introduce solid foods. Until this age, they usually don’t have enough control over their tongues and mouth muscles to eat solid foods.

  • Smart shopping

     For the past couple of weeks in this column, I’ve been talking about grocery shopping and offering simple shopping tips that can both help with your food budget and offer healthy eating. For years, home economics, dietitians and health professionals have been promoting something called “shopping the perimeter” as a way to help you choose foods that support a healthy diet.

  • Giving up on traditional turfgrass? Plant a meadow garden

     

     

     By Sam Marshall, Horticulture Agent

    NC Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center

     

  • Healthful savings at the grocery store

     I don’t have to tell you the price of eating is over the top. I swear, prices of some of my frequently purchased items at the grocery store are going up on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. Last week in this column, I offered some ideas on how to make some healthy changes to that grocery cart, but you may be thinking you can’t afford to eat healthy.

  • Addressing cold weather plant damage

     It’s been a couple of weeks now since the winter blast that sent the temperatures plunging into the teens. From what I’ve seen at the New Hanover County Arboretum and at my humble abode, the usual suspects — oleanders and sago palms — got fried. While that was no surprise, the level of flower damage on pansies and violas was a bit worse than I expected. And, my poor ornamental beets look like they may have gone to the great compost heap in the sky.