County Extension

  • 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.

  • What’s all this rain going to do to my plants?

     As I was sweating it out in the gym the other day, a fellow asked a question that’s on lots of gardeners minds these days: “What’s all this rain going to do to my plants?” Some things are obvious.

  • Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes

     Whether you get them from your own garden, a farmer’s market or a pick-your-own field, there is still time for local tomatoes here in southeastern North Carolina. How you store and preserve these precious commodities is even more important now that we know the season is almost over.

  • For an alternative to the traditional sour cream dip, create your own tzatziki

     In an effort to eat healthier, many people are looking for an alternative to the traditional sour cream dip for their vegetables and whole-grain crackers. One product I’m seeing more and more of is called tzatziki.

    Tzatziki is a sauce that has its origins in Greece and the Middle East. It is frequently used as the sauce on gyros, but it can also be a salad dressing, sauce for grilled meats or mild fish or a dip. What’s nice about this tzatziki is that not only is it a lower fat alternative, it also contains a vegetable as one of its key ingredients.