County Extension

  • Ornamental grasses in the home landscape

     By Sam Marshall, Horticulture Agent

    You have likely seen the vibrant pink plumes of muhly grass this fall, now a much-used and vibrant addition to home landscapes. Ornamental grasses are quickly establishing themselves as a common addition to landscape beds and along roadsides. And with good reason. Grasses afford interesting texture and graceful, arching foliage that adds movement to an otherwise stagnant landscape.

  • Understanding genetically modified foods


    By Sam Marshall, Horticulture Agent


  • Maintain, don’t gain, this holiday season

     The big question is: Will you weigh the same on Jan. 1, 2016, as you do right now? Weight gain during the holidays is common with many Americans gaining 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.

  • Figuring out what really matters to our plants

     If asked what truly matters in the world, most of us talk about real friends, family and doing something positive in the world. Rotarians speak of “service above self,” something that might make this crazy world we live in a little less crazy. As much fun as sitting around waxing philosophical is, you came here looking for something about gardening.

  • Pumpkin is more than just a pie

     I’m continuing on my quest to get people to eat more pumpkin. That pumpkin on your front porch can be more than just a doorstop or seasonal decoration. It can give your diet a real nutritional boost. The bright orange color is a dead give-away that pumpkins are full of important nutrients, antioxidants and beta carotene. The Produce for Better Health Foundation says that just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains only 50 calories. Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for proper health of eyes, respiratory tract, skin and tooth enamel.

  • Do you want what you have?

     By Linda Arnold

    Even though it’s early, we’re starting to see glimpses of the upcoming holiday season. Retailers remind us to get our wish lists together and to get an early start on shopping.

    This got me thinking about wishes. And, as often happens when researching my column, I’ll hear something that results in an “a-ha” moment for me. True to form, this happened the other day when I read a proverb by the philosopher Philemon: “It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.”

  • Preserve fall with pumpkins

     For many, fall simply means pumpkin. Some people carve them up as jack-o’-lanterns and others just set them on their porch or stairs as a symbol of the harvest and changing seasons. But what are you going to do with that pumpkin when you’re done with it?

    Have you ever thought of eating it? You really need to think about what you want to do with that pumpkin before you buy it, so it may be too late for this year. They all look great and the many colors and sizes are wonderful decorations, but not all are good eating pumpkins.

  • Salad dressing: friend or not?

     Many people elect to eat salads as a way of controlling calories and getting more vegetables into their diet, but sometimes the added salad dressing can reduce the benefits of the salad.

  • Backyard wildlife habitats

     By Sam Marshall


    As residential and commercial areas continue to grow, habitats that support native wildlife are shrinking. Residential and commercial development oftentimes displaces native species, and alters the environment such that it no longer supports native wildlife. However, one way you can enhance the natural features of your yard, community, and town would be to create environmentally friendly wildlife habitat.


    Focus on diversity

  • Salsa is not just for chips

     Most of the time when people think of salsa, they think of the tomatoey mixture with onions and peppers that is served with chips. But the term salsa has come to mean just about any combination of chopped fruits and vegetables. The spiciness can vary from mild to hot depending upon personal tastes.