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County Extension

  • 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

     

  • 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.

  • 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