County Extension

  • Slime molds popping up on irrigated lawns

    By Tom Woods
    Master Gardener
    A few homeowners have recently asked me about gray powdery stuff showing up in small areas of their lawns. This slime mold on turf looks like burnt wood ashes that have been scattered in small spots on a lawn.
    Those of you lucky enough to get a few sporadic showers or who have irrigated lawns may notice these slimy areas.
    Hopefully, rain will arrive soon to relieve us of this extended drought. When it does, slime mold may pop up on more lawns.

  • Refresh in June, Iced Tea Month

    June is Iced Tea Month. After checking several references, I couldn’t find out who made this declaration or how long it’s been around. But does it matter, especially here the South where iced tea is frequently the beverage of choice? We don’t really need a special month to celebrate this popular beverage.
    Statistics show Americans now drink more tea than the British and approximately 85 percent of that is iced tea.
    As with many foods and beverages, there are many stories of how iced tea got started.

  • Our plants prosper in spite of us

    The world is full of luscious landscapes comprised of the color green. Everywhere we look, from the city streets to the beaches, there is plant life. No matter the situation, plants seem to grow and even to prosper despite the best efforts of people and geography. Yet we are not happy.
    If there is an oak in our backyard, we are disappointed if it is small; if there is a rose on our trellis, we are disappointed if it is not covered in blooms; if there is a tomato plant on our patio and it is not covered in bright, red tomatoes, we are disappointed.

  • Make summer sizzle with herbs on the grill

    Summer is the perfect time to enjoy sizzling culinary experiences. Using the grill and experimenting with fun flavor combinations is a wonderful compliment to days filled with sunshine. Fresh herbs can be a perfect way to season summer meals.

  • Helping your yard survive the drought

    By Tom Woods
    Master Gardener
    Signs of the severe drought currently gripping our area can be seen in lawns and landscapes throughout southeastern North Carolina. These include stunting, wilting, yellowing or browning leaves, early leaf drop, dead stems and branches, and reduced flower, fruit, and seed production.
    How you care for your yard during drought will have a huge effect on how well it recovers once the rain returns. Use the following tips to help your yard survive the drought:

  • Going organic in the home garden

    How do we know if the food we are eating is organically grown or not? Typically, claims such as organic and natural on gardening products are, for the most part, not regulated. When a fertilizer package includes these words, it can simply mean that it contains carbon-based matter or some natural ingredients. It does not necessarily show that the product is free from toxic and persistent chemicals or that it is appropriate for an organic garden.

  • Now is a great thyme for herbs

    Have you ever really thought about the difference between an herb and a spice? In general, most herbs and spices are parts of plants. A colleague, Ann Hertzler from the Virginia Cooperative Extension, offers these definitions:
    Herbs are leaves of low-growing shrubs. Examples are parsley, basil, chives, marjoram, thyme, basil, dill, oregano, rosemary and sage.
    Spices come from the bark (cinnamon), root (ginger, onion, garlic), buds (cloves, saffron), seed (yellow mustard, poppy, sesame, berry (black pepper) or fruit (allspice or paprika) of tropical plants.

  • Merry Gold Gardeners grow a new project

    Merry Gold 4-H Junior Master Gardener Rosie Marley went home from school one day and talked to her father, Michael, about the Nature Trail project at Supply Elementary. He saw to it that the Merry Gold Gardeners submitted an application for a $2,900 grant from Home Depot to help with the expenses and labor for a new garden.

  • Eating smart and moving more

    For families wanting to prepare healthy meals and save money at the grocery store, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program’s “Families Eating Smart and Moving More” classes are the answer.
    This program teaches qualified participants to prepare and eat meals at home, while including fruits and vegetables for a healthier lifestyle.
    Myra Burgess, Extension program assistant, teaches classes on nutrition, food buying, meal planning, food preparation, portion control and physical activity.

  • New incubator farming

    North Carolina is a state rich in agricultural traditions and resources, yet the majority of North Carolina’s food dollars are spent on products that are imported from other parts of the country, or from other countries. North Carolina farmers—existing, new and beginning—have the potential of meeting many of the state’s food needs but require support in order to do so.