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November 15, 2019

Roasted Brussels sprouts on a serving dish.

Eating seasonal vegetables helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Brussels sprouts are wildly popular right now and are easy to prepare. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/MSU Extension)


A display of produce including red raspberries in a small clear glass bowl, green broccoli florets in a small clear glass bowl, 2 red apples behind the bowls. Does that work?

The Food Factor: Fruits and Veggies – Do you Measure Up?

April 18, 2019

I get it. You’re busy. It’s hard to squeeze a lot of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.

And, if you’re like me, when you hear a recommended number of daily servings, you just want to roll your eyes.

A red-throated hummingbird hovers over a red geranium.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

April 16, 2019

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures and fun to watch. We usually begin to see them in Mississippi in March. Here are a few tips to draw them to your landscape.

A flower pot with three types of full sun flowers sits in the sun.

Container Gardening for Sun

April 12, 2019

If you have a sunny area where you’d like to try out some plants, consider putting them in a container for a trial run.

Plant them in the ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ fashion for a container with lots of visual interest. The thriller is the main focal point. A filler plant will help fill in the majority of the pot, and the spiller plant will grow to flow over the sides of the container.

A closeup of a red variegated coleus plant.

Container Gardening for Shade

April 9, 2019

Container gardens are a quick and easy way to spruce up your porch, deck, or landscape. Just make sure you choose the area you want to place the container before heading to the garden center. (Photo by Michaela Parker/Cindy Callahan)

Homemade ranch dressing in a clear glass bowl atop a turquoise blue plate, surrounded by baby carrots, broccoli florets, and grape tomatoes.

Make Your Own Ranch Dressing

April 5, 2019

If you’re like me, a full bottle of salad dressing often expires before I can use it all. Plus, ready- made salad dressings tend to be loaded with hidden sugar, salt, and fat.

By making your own ranch dressing, you can control the fat, the flavors, and the portions.

Several worker eastern subterranean termites eat a piece of dead wood.

3 Tips to Protect Your Home from Termites When Landscaping

April 2, 2019

Termites are probably not something you consider when you are gardening. But many landscaping tasks, including digging and mulching, can put your home at risk for termite damage. (Photo by Blake Layton)

2019 planting intentions.

2019 Planting Intentions

March 29, 2019

Many Mississippi crops must overcome flooded conditions to achieve the 2019 acreage forecasts released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 29. (Graphic by Phil Smith)

An assortment of snack foods on a butcher block table top, including a green pear, red grapes, baby carrots, pretzels, pecans, dates, almonds, and trail mix.

Smart Snacking

March 29, 2019

Time and money are both precious resources, but you don’t have to sacrifice them to eat healthier foods. Next time you find yourself standing in front of the vending machine at work or dashing into a convenience store for a snack, have a plan! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

A picture of several pink tulips with one in focus and others blurred in the background.

What to Do in Your Garden in April

March 26, 2019

It’s officially spring! The temperatures are finally starting to warm up after a cold and wet winter. Gardening is the perfect excuse to spend some much-needed time outside. Grab your gardening tools—there’s a lot to be done! (Photo by Michaela Parker)

Close-up of a portion of a clear bottle filled with bright blue liquid that is water-soluble fertilizer dissolved in water, against a blurred dark green background.

Fertilizers Explained

March 22, 2019

Now is the time to fertilize some landscape plants, but there are several different kinds of fertilizers available. MSU Extension horticulture specialist Gary Bachman helps you understand what’s in fertilizer and the different types available.

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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