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County Extension

  • Examining the safety of blowing out birthday candles

    Birthday celebrations tend to revolve around food. Specifically this food is usually a cake or anything with a candle in it. We all know the routine … everyone sings and the birthday person makes a wish and blows out the flame. One story behind this tradition is the wishes made are carried by the smoke from the candles to the gods.

    Not to gross you out, but have you ever wondered about germs from the people blowing or (worse yet) spitting on the cake as they blow out the candles? It probably never stopped you from eating cake, but maybe you did think about it.

  • Some tips on how to make your garden work for you

    New gardeners tend to be a bit obsessive about their lawns and landscapes. Like the French (and the English who copied their style), evergreen shrubs must be controlled into boxes and balls. If we have one plant on this side of the walkway, symmetry demands a repeat on the other. Expansive lawns must be immaculate, perfectly-groomed and weed-free. That works pretty well if you’re Louis XIV or King George with an army of serfs to do your bidding.

  • Consider a fall vegetable garden

    By Sam Marshall

     

    Fall is an exciting time in southeastern North Carolina! We finally get a reprieve from the heat and humidity and the bugs are more tolerable, which means you can begin to reclaim the outdoors and get back in the garden. Now is the time to start a fall vegetable garden. If you typically grow a summer garden — tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash — and no fall garden, you are only getting half the production potential from your beds and are missing out on some tasty cool-season veggies.

     

  • Enjoy fresh local corn while you can

    Truly one of the great tastes of summer is sweet corn-on-the-cob. There’s still time to enjoy it this year. I’ve been told by local farm markets they will have corn well into September.  

  • Achieving higher levels of gardening consciousness
  • What about five a day?

    Five a day? Can you do better? How about doubling that amount?

  • Casting shade in the garden

    One of the best ways to beat the heat in the garden is to cast a little shade on the situation. Not only will you make things more pleasant, you’ll also save 25 percent or so on your home cooling costs if that shade tree is located properly.

  • What’s a healthy snack bar?

    I bet you have one or two in your purse, briefcase, car or gym bag. What am I talking about? A snack bar or energy bar of some sort. Prepackaged and ready-to-go bars are popular for busy people to grab and take with them. But the question is, are these any better for you than a candy bar?

  • Watering responsibly in the summer

     

     By Sam Marshall

     

  • Get gluten

    Got gluten? Maybe you should.

    Gluten-free diets are popular these days despite the lack of evidence they are healthful for most people. If you’re trying to go gluten-free, you may want to give it a second thought. A recent article by Lisa C. Andrews, MEd, RD, LD in Food and Health Communications reports on a new study that suggest that going gluten-free may actually raise your risk for type 2 diabetes.