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County Extension

  • Join the ‘No More Shears’ movement

    The guys came through my neighborhood this week with the hedge shears to turn every shrub — loropetalum, ligustrum, holly, camellia, whatever — into round balls.

    Humans seem to love this “geometric pruning” because you see it in Europe as well as here in the states. I suppose part of the appeal is that it’s easy and quick and you don’t have to know anything about plants. 

    Sheared plants make sense in very formal gardens, but our gardens are much more informal with flowing lines and asymmetrical balance. 

  • A bag of apples

     

  • Cruciferous vegetables fight cancer

     

  • Use integrated approaches to manage pests

    By Sam Marshall

     

    Arguably the biggest issue in any lawn, ornamental landscape or vegetable garden is pest problems. Whether it be from insects, disease or weeds, damage from pests may cause lawns and landscapes to look unattractive or vegetable gardens to be unproductive.

    When pests problems occur, a common question is, “What can I spray to make it go away?” with little regard as to why a problem occurred in the first place.

  • Sugar in healthy foods

    Sugar is a nutrition buzzword these days. What I’m hearing people talk about is about the need to cut back on the amount of sugar we eat. But, many people may be avoiding some healthy foods while thinking they are doing good to avoid sugar. In some cases, this might not be the right thing to do.

  • Managing irrigation system use

    Irrigation systems are one of those necessary evils in our landscapes. It’s so hot and stressful during the summer that many plants just won’t do well without a little extra water — especially during the first few years after planting. But, our plants would be healthier and we’d use less water if we managed these systems a little better. 

  • Germs in your water bottle

    Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. This simply means providing your body with the fluid it needs to keep itself healthy. Drinking fluids can help your body regulate different functions including temperature, digestion and waste and heart rate. They can also help carry nutrients to the cells and flush the bladder. We lose water from our body every day by breathing, sweating and in urine. The best way to hydrate is to drink water.  

  • Fast-tracking fruits and veggies

     

  • Enjoy fresh salsas

    Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce. Salsas are not always that spicy red sauce served with chips. What’s great about salsas is they can be low in calories, full of flavor and available with a variety of ingredients, especially fruits and vegetables.

    Salsas can be made with everything from tomatoes, jalapeños and habaneras to mangos, strawberries and even beans. If you have some end-of-the summer fruits and vegetables, this could be the perfect way to experiment with different salsa recipes and flavors.

  • Consider planting herbs for fresh flavor this fall

    By Sam Marshall

     

    Cooler days and nights are not too far off on the horizon. The trees and flowers will soon make their show and another gardening season will soon come to an end for which some of you are no doubt very grateful. But for those who just cannot let it go, gardening is still a possibility and especially if you like fresh herbs, there are lots of ways you add some color to bleak winter days and still eat fresh from the garden.

     

    Herbs for cooler weather