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County Extension

  • Don’t you hand those germs to me!

    This column is about handwashing. You may say to yourself, ”I’ve been washing my hands since I was 2. Why do I need to read about handwashing?” Even so, repeated research has shown that people don’t wash their hands frequently enough and when they do, they don’t do it correctly. The reason I’m writing about this now is because Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually Oct. 15. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of the importance of clean hands 365 days a year.

  • Ground covers as lawn alternatives

    By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

    A popular choice for areas in your lawn, turf grass provides an attractive and durable surface for areas that receive a lot of use in your yard, but can also require a lot of upkeep. An alternative to a traditional lawn, ground covers provide a low-maintenance alternative that is beneficial to wildlife and highly attractive landscape addition. If you are searching for something different this year, consider planting ground covers as a lawn alternative to help reduce stormwater pollution and save money.

  • Gardening for weight loss

    Two-thirds of the population of the United States is overweight, so lots of us are looking for ways to drop some pounds. Most want the quick fix with the latest magic pill or the 21st century equivalent of the grapefruit diet. While losing weight may be difficult, the basic concept is simple: burn more calories than you consume. If hanging out at the gym isn’t your cup of tea, try these tasks that will get your heart pumping and help your garden as we move into the cooler months of fall.

  • Buying safe local produce

    Shopping local is a very popular trend these days, especially shopping at farmer’s markets or local roadside shops for fresh fruits and vegetables.

    Not only does it allow us to get the freshest possible produce, it helps the local economy. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and can help a family farm compete in the food marketplace. Buying local food also keeps dollars circulating in the community and increases local food security.

  • Food safety month

     In recognition of September as National Food Safety Month, I have two quick questions for you. What do you think — are these statements true or false?

    1.     Salmonella is the most common foodborne illness.

    2.     More people get sick from chicken than from any other food.

  • Underrated garden workhorses

     It’s easy to get excited about the superstars of the garden: roses, crape myrtles, azaleas and gardenias. When their time to shine arrives, it’s greeted with oohs and aahs from all fortunate enough to bask in their glory.

    But what about those plant workhorses that make your garden better and ask very little in return?

  • Peeling away the vegetative layers and exploring the shrub layer

     By Sam Marshall

     

    We have been discussing over the past few weeks the benefits of additional vegetative complexity in home lawns and gardens. Shrubs are arguably one of the best ways to add complexity to your landscape, as they cover the spectrum of both height and spread. You also can add a greater number of shrubs to a home yard as they generally take up less space, which makes them ideal choices for smaller areas. This column will focus on shrub selections for home landscapes.

     

    Selecting the right shrubs

  • Safe Plates food safety manager classes
  • Buy bulbs now for spring flowers

    The gorgeous displays of spring-flowering bulbs are already showing up in garden shops and nurseries. Go ahead and purchase your bulbs while the selection is still good, but it’s too early to plant them. Store them in the crisper of your refrigerator or in a cool, dark and dry place until you’re ready to plant them.

  • Safe packed lunches

     Back to school is a good time to refresh your memory and thoughts on safe packed lunches. When I was in school we carried our lunches in brown bags or cartoon character-themed boxes.  Now there many good-looking insulated bags on the market even the most image-conscious child would be happy to carry. These special bags are a great idea, especially if you’re packing perishable items.