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County Extension

  • Whether landscape friend or foe, mistletoe remains a holiday staple

     

    By Sam Marshall

     

  • Food volunteers wanted

    OK, admit it. You watch cooking shows and say to yourself “I could do that.” You can!

    Or perhaps you really like to cook and would like to share those skills with others. You can!

     

    If you like cooking, eating, local food work or just simply food, volunteering for the Extension may be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for. I’m talking about the Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program. Applications are due now, but training won’t start until after the new year.

  • Dine in Dec. 3 for better health

    This coming Sunday marks the fourth annual “Dine-In” day. Do you have special plans for dinner (or even breakfast or lunch) on Sunday? In observance of this day, why not think about planning, preparing and eating a healthy meal with your family? Since 2014, more than 300,000 people have committed to Dining in on Dec. 3.

  • Don’t neglect turf, gardens during winter

    We made it through another Thanksgiving with the relatives and the biggest shopping day of the year. Now, it’s time to do your imitation of Clark Griswold’s house for the next big celebration in a little less than one month.

    At my house, the decorating is limited to a wreath on the front door and lights outlining the shape of an Oshio-Beni Japanese maple. The limited investment in decorations leaves me with some time to work in the garden. And, there are plenty of things to do during these short, late fall days.

  • 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.