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County Extension

  • How to select container plants

    In late winter and early spring, garden centers are receiving their new plant material. When you go to the garden center, how do you decide what to buy, given so many choices and so many types?

    The first thing to do is check out the label that is attached to the plant. This will indicate the hardiness zone, mature size of the plant, sun and shade requirements and what the watering requirements are for this particular plant. 

  • March is Nutrition Month: Eat right with color

    March is National Nutrition Month, focusing on the importance of nutrition for health, happiness, and overall well-being, and is celebrated every year by the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

    This year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color” and aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans released on Jan. 31. Consumers are encouraged to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day.

  • Horse feed assessment vote coming up in Brunswick Co.

    Horse and other equine animal owners/lessors will vote across the state on March 15 to determine whether to “continue” to voluntarily assess themselves $2 per ton of commercial horse feed to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry. 

  • Store seeds in a dry space

    In 2005, scientists in Israel germinated a date-palm seed that was 2,000 years old and found in the desert near an ancient fortress. There is a lesson to be learned from this: Store seeds in a dry place.

    There are a dozen reasons to save seeds, whether it’s to save money or to preserve a plant variety. Seeds can be collected from the garden or store bought but they must be properly stored. A seed’s worst enemy includes heat, humidity, sunlight and hungry rodents.

  • Tips for growing a good tomato

    So today, for all you tomato lovers out there who are looking for new growing tips or simply some validation of old tips, I’ve put together a list of commonly recommended tips and tricks for growing great organic tomatoes. Perhaps you’ll find some of your favorite growing methods here. But if you don’t, please leave a comment and share your tried and true methods so that all of us OCTG’s (Obsessive, Compulsive Tomato Growers) can benefit. 

  • What you should know about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

    The buzz in the nutrition world is all about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that have just recently been released. But what do you need to know as a consumer? In “Selected Messages for Consumers,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend making changes in three basic areas. How hard can that be? Let’s take a look.

    Balancing calories

    Enjoy your food, but eat less.

  • Early spring expected to be warm and dry

    North Carolina will likely experience a warmer-than-normal and drier-than-normal winter and early spring. Heating demand for this winter should be much less than last winter. Unfortunately, recharge of soil moisture, groundwater, streams and reservoirs will probably also be less than normal.

    Climatological winter begins Dec. 1. Climatological spring begins March 1.

    El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, ocean-atmosphere patterns have a major impact on North Carolina’s winter and spring climate. 

  • Turf management can be done in February

    Bermudagrass

    Mowing: Mow overseeded bermudagrass at one-inch before the grass gets taller than one and one-half inches. Recycle nutrients by not collecting the clippings unless they accumulate heavily on the surface. Dormant bermudagrass that has not been overseeded need not be mowed. 

  • Portion distortion and food control

    Q

    uality or quantity? Which do you choose when it comes to food? 

    Ever eaten at a restaurant that brings you huge quantities of food that is pretty mediocre on the taste scale? We often leave those places talking about how much food we were served or how much food we were able to bring home for another meal and what a bargain it was. 

    Try changing your way of thinking and enjoy smaller quantities of food that is deliciously prepared with high-quality, fresh ingredients.

  • Now is the time to prune crape myrtles

    Late January to early March is the time to do needed pruning on tree form crape myrtles. The important concept here is “needed” pruning; we aren’t going to dwell on the barbaric practice of topping these beautiful plants. 

    If you have a size problem with a crape myrtle, this is the time to think about removing the plant and replacing it with a plant that better fits the space available. Do not give in to the practice of taking a saw and cutting these beautiful trees off at shoulder height.