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County Extension

  • Mother’s Day lesson: bloom where you are planted

    Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mothers certainly deserve a day of recognition. After all, none of us would be here without a mother. And, if you’re like me, you put yours through more than a few trials and tribulations.

    Even so, many of us had more of a Joan Crawford rather than June Cleaver experience. If you’re still blaming your mom for your problems 25 years hence, save yourself a few hours on the shrink’s couch and let it go. She was doing the best she could with what she had to work with.

  • It’s strawberry time again!

    I consider it a true sign of spring when local strawberries are available. By the numbers of people at the local pick-your-own patches I’m guess other people feel the same way.

    The season had a slow start with the colder temperatures and near freezing nights earlier in the year. But, according to Al Hight from Brunswick Berries, this week and next should be the prime season and, if Mother Nature continues to be favorable, we will have berries through Memorial Day. 

  • Facing garden challenges like weeds, insects and diseases

    Working with people to make their gardens better affords me the opportunity to see a lot of the challenges you’re facing with diseases, insects and weeds. Winter weeds, aphids and fire blight are the favorite topics for this week.

  • Reluctant spring challenges gardeners

    April hasn’t felt much like spring so far. We were teased with a couple of days in the 80s that reminded us of

    beaches, sand bar parties, shrimp boiled in beer, guys in really short shorts and girls with big hair. Or, maybe that was just me.

    Regardless of your warm-weather memories, the reluctant spring continues to be a challenge in the garden. Soil temperatures are in the mid-60s, so our lawns, newly-planted flowers and shrubs aren’t doing what they normally do.

  • How to serve veggies with a twist

    All the latest healthful eating recommendations encourage adults to consume at least two to three cups of vegetables each day. Depending upon their age, children should have one to three cups. To get that many you need to eat at least one veggie at every meal. While most of us know this, finding new ways to put vegetables on our plates can be difficult and monotonous. Luckily, there are some new kitchen tools on the market that can make putting vegetables on your plate easy and fun.

  • Mistakes that would rankle ‘Dirty Harry Gardener’

    If tax time had you awake in the wee hours of the morning watching television, you saw all kinds of old movie marathons. I was watching several of the old “Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood flicks last week. You’ll remember Harry Callihan as the anti-hero with the unconventional methods who always helps the good guys win. 

    What if there was a “Dirty Harry” for horticulture whose sole purpose was to prevent unnecessary insults and poor treatment of plants — a crape myrtle cop, a verbena vigilante? 

  • Eat more fish

    A couple weeks ago I wrote about NC Catch, Brunswick Catch and the NC10% Campaign. All of these groups encourage us to eat more fish — especially local fish. I’d like to pick up on this topic again.

    Living by the coast gives us some wonderful advantages. Not only can we go to the beach, but we can get fresh locally caught seafood more often. This makes it easier for us to achieve those nutrition and health recommendations that say eat more fish. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.

  • Carbs are not created equal

    I know you’ve heard people say “I don’t eat carbs” or “I’m cutting down on carbs.” Perhaps you wonder to yourself, “Should I be doing that, too?” Is it healthy to eat or not eat carbs?

  • New Hanover County Arboretum welcomes spring

    We have been on a roller coaster ride this year with April temperatures in February and February temperatures in April. Even with the crazy fluctuations, our spring blooming plants are still putting on a grand show. And, nothing says “it’s spring” quite like the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale at New Hanover County Arboretum. This year’s event is Thursday through Saturday, April 20-22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 23, from noon to 5 p.m. 

  • Learning about listeriosis

    A couple of weeks ago a friend posted on Facebook about a food recall. The “shocking” headline was about a popular refrigerator stable having deadly bacteria. The food recall was for packaged cheese and the bacteria are Listeria monocytogenes, frequently just called Listeria. The food borne illness you get from these bacteria is called listeriosis.