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County Extension

  • 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.

  • Cookout safety

    I recently went to a large family reunion where there were lots of hamburgers being cooked on grills. Was there a food thermometer in sight? Nope. USDA advises us to use a food thermometer to accurately measure if meat is cooked to a high enough internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria that may cause a foodborne illness. This means on the grill, too. Many folks are not in the habit of using these tools and they are easily forgotten when packing for a picnic or cooking outside.

  • Killing and controlling the spread of chamberbitter

    Jim Gregory, a local resident and retired N.C. State forestry professor, sent me a note about a plant that he calls “niruri.” If you are into plant Latin, it’s Phyllanthus urinaria. In South America and Asia, this plant grows into a small shrub used to make an herbal remedy for kidney stones. “Niruri” literally means “break stone” in Spanish. 

  • Best melons to enjoy in the summer heat

    The Ohio State University Extension has a bi-monthly food news release called Chow Line. A recent edition focused on melons. While written for Ohioans, the information is very appropriate for us in North Carolina, too. The article really did a great job of outlining the benefits of eating melons and explained how to select the best melons. I can’t write it any better than my colleagues Tracy Turner, the Chow Line editor, and Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for The Ohio State University Extension. So I’m sharing it.

  • Fall armyworms will be here before we know it

    By Sam Marshall

    The dog days of summer are upon us and as we move into the hottest parts of July and August, a new suite of insect pests will soon descend upon our landscapes. One pest in particular, fall armyworm, is a caterpillar that appears about this time of year in your yard and, left unchecked, can wreak havoc in Bermuda grass lawns. So now is the time to start monitoring and controlling early populations of this hungry pest.

     

    What are armyworms?

  • Facts about freezing bread

    For the past couple of weeks in this column I’ve been talking about freezing foods and how to keep it from developing freezer burn and off-flavors. But one food I haven’t specifically talked about is bread. I bet everyone has at one time or another thrown a loaf of bread directly into the freezer in the store wrapper and then wondered what happened when you took it out a few weeks or months later. It was crumbly, dry, tasted a lot like the “freezer” and was basically inedible.

  • Sweltering summer heat has varying effects on plants

    Glen Frey of Eagles fame had a song on the original “Beverly Hills Cop” movie soundtrack called “The Heat Is On.” More than 30 years have passed since its 1984 release and we just recently lost Mr. Frey. Who would have known that Axel Foley, Eddie Murphy’s beat-up Chevy Nova-driving Detroit cop character, would become so iconic? And, a few thought Mr. Murphy had already reached the pinnacle of his movie career so early.

    What does any of that have to do with gardening? Absolutely nothing. But, the heat surely has been on lately.