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Frost on a plant.

It’s hard to believe we will be closing out another year at the end of the month. If you’ve followed our monthly garden checklist, we know it’s been a busy year for you! Staying on top of the chores in your yard and garden is quite the undertaking, but isn’t it rewarding? To wrap up the year, here are a few things to take care of:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. Mississippi is known for its unpredictable weather, and you don’t want a sudden cold snap to ruin your plants! Bring cold-sensitive container plants indoors and apply 6 to 8 inches of mulch in your garden or flower beds
  2. ...

Mosquito

Tips for Reducing Mosquito Bites

August 13, 2021

If theres one thing we can all agree on, its that mosquitos are no fun to have around. Mosquitos are often most active when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they are around in Mississippi for a large chunk of the year. 

A woman stands in a kitchen with food products on the counter.

Natural and Added Sugars: What’s the Difference?

August 10, 2021

You’ve likely heard natural sugar is okay, while added sugars should be limited. But what's the difference and why does it matter?

Sliced red, yellow and green bell peppers

What is the Difference Between Green, Red, and Yellow Bell Peppers?

August 6, 2021

Bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors and have many health benefits. The variety and amount of time a bell pepper spends on the plant determines its color and ripeness.

Raccoon.

Critter of the Month: Northern Raccoon

August 3, 2021

The Northern raccoon, also known as the backyard bandit, is no stranger to Mississippi. Known for the black bandit mask on its face and its striped tail, these raccoons can be found in a variety of environments. They easily adapt to their surroundings, whether that be in forested areas or cities. 

Orange flowers.

August Garden Checklist

July 30, 2021

After a relatively mild summer, heat and humidity have arrived in full force in Mississippi. Going outside during the afternoon is miserable these days! If you’re like me, I try to get all my outdoor activities wrapped up in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Be sure you can recognize the signs of heat-related illness, and remember to drink plenty of water anytime you’re outside! Hydration is important!

Green Frog.

Toads vs. Frogs

July 27, 2021

Is it a frog or a toad? If you stumbled on this amphibian, would you be able to call it by its correct name? Many people believe that frogs and toads are two different types of amphibians. Technically, a toad is a type of frog! At first glance, they may appear very similar but there are a few differences that will help distinguish one from the other. 

A dog lies on the grass in the shade.

How to Protect Your Dogs from Warm Weather Risks

July 23, 2021

Heat stress in dogs is just as serious and life-threatening as it is for humans. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), high temperatures can be dangerous for your dogs, even when it doesn’t seem that hot to you. So, I take steps to help make sure my dogs can stay cool when they are outdoors.

A plate of sweet potoato fries

The Food Factor: Air Fryer Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

July 20, 2021

Video by Jonathan Parrish

Cooking food in an air fryer gives you that crunchy texture you love without the added calories of deep frying. This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Fries features Mississippi-grown sweet potatoes, olive oil, and spices—that’s it!

Whether you serve these as a side dish or a fun snack, you’ll enjoy the health benefits of sweet potatoes, including fiber, beta carotene, and vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that has antioxidant properties that can help protect cells from damage. For savory sweet potato fries, use garlic powder,...

Stinkbug.

Five Common Garden Insect Pests

July 16, 2021

If you have a home garden, you know the headache of dealing with garden pests. Insects can damage the produce, both directly and indirectly. There are a multitude of different insects that can wreak havoc on your vegetables. We asked MSU Extension Entomology Specialist Blake Layton what are the five most common insects he sees in gardens. Here’s his list: 

A child smiles at the dining table.

School’s Out: 3 Easy Summer Snack Ideas

July 13, 2021

With my kids out of school for the summer, snacks are an important part of our routine. Check out three of my family's favorite nutritious and filling snacks.

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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.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Qula Madkin, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. 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