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Environment Blog Posts

Multiple sweet potatoes in a box.

November 8, 2019

Sweet potatoes and yams. They’re the same thing, right?

Not really. They look and taste different. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are sweeter with a smooth, thin skin. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A group of yellow and red pansies bunched together.

November 1, 2019

If you’re anything like me, the last few months of the year are always the busiest. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between, I feel like I’m running all over the place. With colder temps here, the to-do list for your garden and landscape is shrinking. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, be sure take some time to get things prepared for winter and spring! (Photo by MSU Extension)

Colorful flowers planted in a white pot.

October 29, 2019

Container gardening is a quick and easy way to spruce up your front porch during the fall and winter months! My favorite cold weather plant is the pansy. They’re easy to take care of and they bring the perfect amount of color to any landscape. They also act as the perfect spiller plant for a ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ styled container. (Photo by Michaela Parker)

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October 17, 2019

If you have caladiums in your landscape and want to be sure they come back next year, you’ll need to dig them up just before the first frost. Mississippi’s winters are too cold for the plants to survive in the ground.

Ripe muscadines on the vine.

October 15, 2019

If you want to grow muscadines at your home, choosing the right variety can be intimidating. With so many varieties to pick from, how do you know you’re picking the right one?

A mum with maroon budding flowers in a clay pot.

October 1, 2019

Nothing says fall like buying mums to incorporate into your home landscape! They’re the perfect plant to transition from hot to cool weather. With several gorgeous colors to choose from, mums are a must for fall weather.

Rows of yellow mums.

September 27, 2019

Fall is my favorite time of year. The autumn colors people incorporate into their landscape just make me giddy! 

A man kneels in a flower bed next to some plants.

September 24, 2019

Fall is one of the best times to divide perennials, such as daylilies and irises. It is best to divide these kinds of plants when they are not blooming. If you don’t get this task done in fall, don’t worry. You can divide perennials throughout the winter and into early spring.

Dark brown soil in a small white box.

September 3, 2019

You’ve spent all summer planting and maintaining your garden or mowing your lawn and are ready for a break. But before you put your landscape to bed for a long winter’s nap, consider applying lime.

A group of yellow, orange and red flowers.

August 27, 2019

How is it already September? I know I’m not the only one in disbelief that fall is right around the corner! Now’s a good time to prep your garden for the upcoming cooler temps.

Two walls of a kitchen that has been flooded show significant mold damage and damage to the drywall.

August 22, 2019

When you’re ready to hire a contractor to repair or rebuild property damaged by flooding, keep these tips in mind to help avoid being scammed.

A kitchen with white walls and cabinets shows severe flood damage, including mold damage, on floors and cabinets with doors and drawers removed.

August 21, 2019

Getting started on clean-up after a flood can seem overwhelming. Before you do any work, be sure you know what your insurance company needs to file a claim. Take photos and video of damage, inventory items damaged beyond repair, and keep track of expenses.

A man prepares for cleaning floodwater damage by wearing rubber gloves, a face mask, and goggles.

August 20, 2019

You’ve been waiting for months to clean up your flooded home, but before you start this daunting task, you need to purchase the appropriate safety equipment to wear. Mold and other toxins can pose a serious health threat inside a flooded home. By following the manufacturer’s instructions, safety gear can protect you from those dangers.

Bright pink flowers in full bloom on a crape myrtle tree on a partly cloudy day.

July 23, 2019

There’s always a lot going on in August. School is back in session, and everyone is trying to get back on their busy schedule. In the middle of the chaos, don’t forget your garden!

A small child runs barefoot through tall grass and has red insect bites on his calf.

July 19, 2019

Being outside in the summertime can feel like a battle against nature. Mosquitoes. Ticks. Chiggers. (Photo by CanStock)

Two partially filled canisters contain rice and flour sit on a speckled black countertop.

July 2, 2019

Everyone deals with the occasional invasion of sugar ants in the kitchen. It’s just a fact of life.

But when they do make their way in, you don’t want to lay out the welcome mat for them. Regina Boykins, Extension agent in Humphreys County has a few tips to help keep ants and other pests out of your kitchen.

A combination container with pink impatiens and red and green coleus.

June 21, 2019

It’s officially summer, meaning the heat is here in full force! I set my watering can by the door as a reminder to water my plants. A few years back, when I first started growing an interest in gardening, I learned the hard way that you have to water your plants regularly because of the Mississippi heat. Don’t be like young Michaela. Always water your plants! (Photo by Michaela Parker)

A young woman with dark hair extends her palm forward with the Healthy Homes Initiative logo on her palm.

June 4, 2019

Maintaining a healthy home can be challenging, but it IS possible. Use the “right hand rule” to make your home a healthy one.

Tiny brown insects scattered across the underside of a green eggplant leaf.

May 31, 2019

No matter how you slice it, gardening is a risky business.

We have no control over the weather, waves of pestilence, the threat of plant diseases. It’s a wonder we don’t all just chuck our gardening tools and say, “See you at the farmers market.”

Multiple clusters of blueberries in varying stages of ripeness adorn a branch covered with green leaves.

May 28, 2019

If edibles are on your list for the landscape or garden this year, check out the list of Mississippi Medallion winners. They are proven performers when it comes to our Mississippi climate.

Our horticulture experts help select several plants, including fruits and vegetables, each year that make the cut. 

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu