Since the Christmas holiday season started last month, gardeners across Mississippi have been giving and receiving plants as gifts: poinsettias, begonias, cactuses and cyclamens -- oh my!
Oh my, indeed. Having plants inside during the winter adds beauty and a sense of charm and serenity. Herb plants also should be included as a gift choice, as they add good flavors to holiday meals.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Few things are as stirring as the sight of long strings of high-altitude, migrating geese. Soft calls from on high beckon us to stop and marvel at their flight, their apparent freedom and their single-minded purpose to reach their winter home.
Geese are members of a large group of birds known as waterfowl. These large-bodied birds depend on wetlands, lakes and other watery habitats. Ducks and swans are also members of this group. Webbed feet, flattened bills and waterproof feathers are characteristics shared by most waterfowl.
As we prepare to head into a new year of gardening adventures, I've been thinking about a variety of landscape questions and quandaries that pop up from time to time.
A common question in the spring concerns starting plants from seed.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Burn bans such as the ones recently imposed in Mississippi are not unusual, especially in the fall when dry leaves are abundant.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission will issue a burn ban, typically at the request of a county board of supervisors. Once approved, the ban prohibits all outdoor burning until local authorities deem that conditions have improved enough to allow safe and responsible burning.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Local gyms are popular places in January, but good nutrition is just as critical as exercise in achieving New Year's fitness resolutions.
Food consumed after workouts -- known in sport dietetics as recovery nutrition -- has as much of an impact on improving well-being as the workouts themselves.
The Christmas season is a time for decorating, as we put up wreaths, poinsettias and trees. But Mother Nature is always in on the plan, too. I love the timing that allows our landscape hollies to get into the decorating action with their bright and colorful berry displays.
The most prevalent holly berries we see right now in Mississippi are on our native yaupon holly.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While hunting on public land can be difficult and overwhelming at times, just knowing a few tips can help increase your success.
There are plenty of places throughout Mississippi to get a taste of some of the finest hunting anywhere in the country. Residents in the southeast part of our state enjoy hunting opportunities in the DeSoto National Forest. This semicoastal national forest provides just over 500,000 acres of open-canopy pine forest habitat.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The estimated $7.6 billion value of Mississippi agriculture increased by 1.8 percent in 2016, helping the industry retain its prominence in the state's overall economy.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Good seasons for cotton and corn should increase Mississippi's agronomic crops production value by 12.5 percent increase in 2016.
Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most crops had a good year despite the extended drought.
"Fortunately, the drought came late in the season when most crops were past the critical stages," Williams said. "Total production was up, and the value on crops was also up, thanks to cotton and corn."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Poultry remains Mississippi's top agricultural commodity with an estimated value of $2.9 billion, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2017.
Forestry comes in a distant second with total farm-gate value of $1.4 billion, according to 2016 estimates.
Mississippi State University Extension Service economists just released their estimates for the state's agricultural commodity values in 2016. The top commodities remain poultry and forestry. Soybeans remain in the third spot, dropping 1.7 percent to just over $1 billion.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A farm crisis may have silently begun in the United States, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service concluded after careful consideration of commodity prices and farm costs.
"2013 was the last year of relatively high commodity prices. At that same time, during the run-up of commodity prices from the mid-2000s to 2013, input costs went up," said Bryon Parman, Extension agricultural economist. "Now, commodity prices have come down, but input costs have not come down nearly as fast."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many people in the agricultural world complain that consumers do not understand what farmers do, but few of them are willing to dedicate their careers to a solution.
Jessica Smith, a senior at Mississippi State University, grew up on a farm in south Mississippi and is majoring in agricultural communications because she sees education as a key element in changing how her peers perceive something as basic as where their food comes from.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- When the new year rolls around, people often resolve to focus on personal fitness goals, but it is a great time to make sure homes are healthy as well.
"There are a lot of hazards our homes can pose that could be harmful to our health," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Some of these hazards give no warning signs."
Carbon monoxide, lead and radon are odorless, invisible contaminants that can cause serious health problems and even death if left unchecked.
Ornamental kale and cabbage are in a group of my favorite plants for the winter landscape, and I find them to be among the most reliable, as well. They are really easy to grow, and now that we’re getting cooler weather -- as in frost -- kale and cabbage are starting to show some great color.
Garden centers often lump ornamental kale and cabbage together, and it is true that they are the same species. However, there are a few differences that I think should be considered.
SHAW, Miss. -- Efforts are underway to inform producers about incentives to encourage sustainable agricultural practices on farms across Mississippi.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Woodsmanship and stewardship are two characteristics of all successful deer hunters as they track down injured deer.
The initial impulse most hunters have after taking a shot is to bail out of the stand and immediately look for their target. Depending on where the animal was hit, this hasty action could be a terrible mistake. Attempting to trail a deer prematurely can spook the deer even more and make locating it more difficult, if not impossible.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More Mississippi producers are getting the word about how much they can learn in three days at the state’s premier row crop conference.
The Mississippi State University 2016 Row Crop Short Course had more than 600 attendees. Attendance at the Row Crop Short Course has steadily increased since 2009. Approximately 60 people attended the event in 2008.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers have a plan to drastically change the way rice farmers grow their crop while cutting water use by one-third and maintaining yields.
The MSU Extension Service is encouraging Mississippi rice growers to consider using alternate wetting and drying -- or AWD -- management in their rice fields.
About 20 percent of Mississippi farmers use some form of AWD today, but Jason Krutz, Extension irrigation specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, wants that number to increase.
We're now officially in the Christmas season, and holiday shopping is in full swing. So, instead of an ugly sweater or a pair of reindeer socks, consider gifts that the special gardeners in your life could use in their landscape and garden.
So, here are what I consider some nice gifts for the gardener.