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County Extension

  • 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.

  • Diva-like flowering dogwood needs extra attention

    Flowering dogwood, one of the superstars of the spring flower show, is taking center stage. The excitement over this small tree is understandable, but, before you decide to plunk down the cash to add one to your landscape, remember our official state flower can be a bit of a diva.

    You’ve probably heard that dogwood was the wood of choice for the cross used to crucify Jesus. That’s a good story but, based on the horticulture, highly unlikely. Flowering dogwood is an understory tree that would never be considered for timber.

  • Bringing lesser-known wild and not-so-pretty North Carolina fish to the table

    The seventh annual NC Catch Summit was recently held in Southport. This two-day event was sponsored by the NC Catch folks and hosted here in Brunswick County by Brunswick Catch and N.C. Cooperative Extension.

  • Spring is a time of transition

    Spring is a time of transition in the garden as the cold and wind of March give way to the pleasant temperatures and light breezes of April. Milder temperatures of the last couple of days have kicked the flower show up a notch as the flowering dogwoods and azaleas take center stage. This is truly a glorious time in the garden.
    My retirement from North Carolina Cooperative Extension is official. Stepping away on April Fool’s Day was certainly appropriate.