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County Extension

  • Tips on gardening for N.C. newcomers

    Tom Woods 
    Master Gardener

    Humid weather, high rainfall and nutrient-deficient soils are just a few of the challenges you might face as a gardener new to Brunswick County, but North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension specialists and agents agree there are also upsides to gardening here.

    If you recently moved to North Carolina and want to start a garden, you need to forget everything you know about gardening. No longer can you stick a plant in the ground and expect it to grow.

    Clay and sand

  • Celebrate the poinsettia

    By Susan Brown
    Horticulture Extension Agent

    It’s that time of year again to celebrate and consume a great deal of food. Time to hang those lights, decorate those Christmas trees and shop until we drop. Work in the garden has started to wind down. Some days of winter can be dreary and cold. 

  • An early cold spell

    If you speak Spanish, the word to describe the weather of late is “freo.” That’s “cold” to those of you who don’t habla the Español. Whatever your language of choice, the temperatures have been abnormally low in the last week or so. What does the cold mean for our garden plants?

    The short answer to that question is, “Not too much.” While the temperatures haven’t been pleasant for those of us who prefer the feel of sweat rolling down our backs, the plants are doing just fine. 

  • Learn how to indulge without guilt during the holiday season

    NCSU Cooperative Extension will present “I’m Dreaming of a Light Holiday” from 12:15-1:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, at the training center, NCSU Cooperative Extension, Building N), at the Government Complex in Bolivia.

    A study suggests most folks gain weight between Halloween and New Year’s and this free lunchtime class will look at healthy eating strategies for this holiday season. The goal is to weigh the same on Jan. 2 as you do now. That way you aren’t losing ground.

  • Trees provide color in spring, fall keep a garden bright

    Susan Brown
    Horticulture Agent

    Most of our coastal trees are showing their fall color. Those not showing color yet will either turn fast or show no color change at all. 

    When a homeowner purchases a tree, interest is in the mature size, what the light requirements are for that particular plant and when and how long they will bloom. Often times the fall color of a tree can be overlooked. Some trees can provide a homeowner color in spring and again in fall.

  • A cactus will stick around after the holidays

    Ask most folks about a plant at Christmas and they’ll mention poinsettias or Christmas trees. Both of those are traditional parts of our holiday celebrations, but neither usually sticks around much past early January. 

    If you want a great Christmas plant that will do great year after year, consider what is now called a “holiday cactus.” These natives of the tropical rainforests of Central and South America boast colorful blossoms in shades of pink, red and white at the tips of each arching stem. 

  • Make good plant choices; read labels

    Tom Woods 
    Master Gardener

    Reading nutritional labels can help you make the best food selections for your body’s needs. Taking time to read plant labels can help you to do the same for the plants.

    Before you buy a plant, you need to read and understand information on its label. This is as important for plants as it is for seed, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. 

  • Evergreens drop leaves and needles, too

    Pine trees aren’t the only trees that shed needles. Evergreen trees have many needles that change color or turn brown in the fall. This often causes alarm to homeowners who don’t know evergreen trees drop needles.

  • Noticing the native plants

    By SUSAN BROWN
    EXTENSION HORTICULTURAL AGENT

    Winter is slowly on its way. It is becoming harder to find interesting color in the garden. Have you noticed the pockets of color along the roadside? 

    Being a Raleigh native and new to the area, I was unsure of what to expect in the fall. It is always a tradition for me to visit Asheville and see the palate of color the leaves create. The rich, reds, bright, yellows and brilliant, oranges are always so vibrant and well worth the trip. 

  • Therapeutic garden time killing

    Even though the fall has been fairly mild this year, the list of chores in the garden is much shorter—no grass to mow, fewer weeds to fight. There’s always football, basketball, hockey, eating too much and all of those parties and family get-togethers during the holiday season to fill the time, but there’s nothing more therapeutic than getting some dirt under those fingernails.