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County Extension

  • Flour recall linked to E. coli outbreak

     General Mills has voluntarily recalled more than 10 million pounds of flour nationwide. The flour has been linked to an E. coli outbreak that has been going on since last December. Illnesses peaked at the beginning of the year and seem to be declining. This E. coli outbreak has sickened 38 people in 20 states. North Carolina is not on the list of known illnesses.

  • Weather changes bring garden activity

     One of my favorite CDs (I know, so ‘80s) is a compilation of hits by The Temptations. While few singers will ever come close to matching the skill and emotion of David Ruffin, I will have to disagree with him when he painfully intones “I wish it would rain.” We’re about 4.5 inches above normal for the year, so let’s leave the gloom behind for a little Katrina and the Waves “Walking on Sunshine” action. How’s that for an obscure 1980s song reference?

  • Dietary guidelines urge shifting

     In last week’s column, I talked about the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). These are nutrition and health recommendations for all Americans over the age of two from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The DGA committee looked at the typical American diet and the latest research in nutrition. They identified eating strategies that promote overall health and helps prevent chronic disease. It is estimated that two-thirds of all chronic diseases can be prevented by lifestyle changes, specifically diet and exercise.

  • Hydrangeas: Superstars of the Southern garden

     Ask those with dirty fingernails what makes a “Southern garden” and you’re likely to hear about evergreen azaleas, camellias, gardenias and, our subject for this week, hydrangeas. While these superstars of the Southern garden deserve the accolades, native plant purists will thumb their noses at these Asian imports. I’ve reached the age where I realize that life offers a lot more gray than black and white, so I’m fine with great plants, wherever they come from, as long as they aren’t invasive.

  • New dietary guidelines

     The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have been out for about six months. Professionals in the nutrition field anxiously awaited their release, but I’m guessing most other folks haven’t heard much about them. The DGA are developed to help promote health and prevent chronic disease for current and future generations by making recommendations about what makes up a healthy diet.

  • Sports drinks

     I’ve watched with amused interest when winning football team members cooperate to distract the coach so other members can douse him with the remaining liquid in the large Gatorade container. I’m guessing it’s all in fun and probably a show of respect and affection for the coach. All I can ever think of is how the coach now has cold wet sugary sticky hair and clothes to contend with throughout the celebration. I guess I don’t fully appreciate this Gatorade baptism ritual.

  • Diagnosing root diseases, Part III

     Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

  • Summer survival

     Although the first day of summer isn’t officially for a few more weeks, this holiday weekend usually is the kickoff for summer events and activities. Typically our lifestyles change a little in the summer and some of our health habits need to change with them. Here are a few strategies from experts can help you make the most of the summer while fostering healthful habits.

     

    Summer Survival Tip 1: Get active

  • Understanding and preventing plant diseases in landscapes: Part II

     By Sam Marshall

     

  • Great food preservation resources

     The beautiful spring weather we’ve been having is a great inspiration to start a garden. This also means it’s a good time to remind people thinking about preserving foods they need to have up-to-date recipes. Food preservation recipes and techniques are constantly being studied and revised. Just because “you’ve always done it this way” or this is how your mother (or grandmother) taught you, it may not be the most up-to-date method. Also, just because you found a recipe on the Internet or saw it on a cooking show on television does not make it safe.