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Tables and chairs are on a patio in a backyard garden.
May 13, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Last week, I told you about the spring-blooming native plants I saw during a recent visit to the backyard gardens of Sarah Young in Tupelo. The benefits of this garden filled with native and non-native plants extends beyond the beauty of the plants themselves.

Gardening is a form of physical activity. Digging, planting, weeding and harvesting can contribute to improved flexibility, strength and endurance. It is a great way to stay active without feeling like you’re exercising.

A man holds out a fur skin for a woman to touch.
May 10, 2024 - Filed Under: County Extension Offices, Plants and Wildlife

An underserved community spent a day enjoying the outdoors at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in early May as Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel hosted 20 adult residents of care homes. 
Jim McAdory, MSU Extension agent in Winston County, coordinated the May 1 event with help from several other Extension agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff. The goal was to allow this population to experience the outdoors, complete with a hot dog lunch at the end of the event. 

May 7, 2024 - Filed Under: Water, Mississippi Well Owner Network

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will offer free bacteria screenings for private water well owners in Pearl River County during an upcoming workshop.

Adults do paperwork at tables.
May 7, 2024 - Filed Under: Master Irrigator, Irrigation

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is taking irrigation education a step further than before by offering Master Irrigator status to those who complete a course of training.

There is no cost to growers to participate in this training, which includes eight hours of online classes and 16 hours of in-person training. Drew Gholson, MSU Extension irrigation specialist and coordinator of the National Center for Alluvial Aquifer Research, said the goal is for participants to put into practice the skills acquired in the program.

Delicate orange flowers bloom in a cluster.
May 6, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I recently had the pleasure of visiting my friend Sarah Young’s gardens in Tupelo, and I enjoyed her stunning collection of plants that are perfect for Southern gardens.

During my visit, I was amazed by her spring-blooming native plants, especially the native azaleas which were in full bloom. Their white, pink, yellow and orange flowers were absolutely breathtaking.

The base of trees is covered by a fire ant mound.
May 1, 2024 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

Sunshine and long days make summertime in the South desirable for people, but those same conditions are exactly what allows the dreaded, imported fire ants to thrive.

Almost any sunny, grassy area left unattended will soon be home to fire ants. Fire ants were accidentally imported from South America to Mobile in the 1930s and have since spread throughout the Southeast.

A shrub has clusters of red flowers on stems.
April 29, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I recently visited with the DeSoto County Master Gardeners and had the opportunity to tour their learning garden/arboretum at the DeSoto County Extension office in Hernando. Some of the plants, trees and shrubs were starting to come out of their winter slumber, showing some beautiful spring color. I noticed that the arboretum area was adorned with a Possumhaw viburnum in full bloom.

An irrigation structure rises over a corn field.
April 25, 2024 - Filed Under: Irrigation

Knowing when and how to irrigate are questions every grower with the ability to water their farmland on demand face each year.
Irrigation costs per acre are among the highest inputs growers face. In a state with the capacity both for extreme drought and high temperatures as well as prolonged rainy periods, the question of whether or not to irrigate is very important.

A yellow upright bract has small white flowers.
April 22, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

During my Southern Gardening travels across Mississippi, I have observed how plants grow differently across the state. For example, several perennial plants that typically grow in some areas act as annuals in other areas due to colder winter temperatures.

A close-up photo of a pine tree’s damaged bark
April 19, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Disaster Relief, Forestry, Forest Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Forest landowners in Mississippi can now join the state’s farm owners who suffered production loss due to last year’s drought in applying for federal emergency loans.

April 18, 2024 - Filed Under: About Extension, Extension Administration

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Trent Irby has moved into an administrative role with the Mississippi State University Extension Service after more than 12 years of serving the state’s soybean growers.

A man lectures from the front of a classroom.
April 17, 2024 - Filed Under: Food, Food Safety

Representatives of many of the industries that supply America’s restaurants and grocery stores gathered at Mississippi State University in April to learn ways to perfect their trade and enhance their products. MSU hosted 46 attendees plus presenters and students at the 15th annual workshop “Marination 101: The Flavor of Science,” organized by the MSU Extension Service.

Clutter fills a room.
April 16, 2024 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Spring’s arrival motivates many people to refresh the spaces where they spend their time. This refresh should include removing clutter, which can affect quality of life and lead to serious health concerns if small amounts turn into larger amounts.

Blue flowers with white spots bloom above green foliage.
April 15, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Spring is my favorite season of the year as I enjoy the return of warmer days and the colorful blooms in gardens and landscapes. Among the many flowering plants that grace the spring landscape, petunias stand out as one of my favorites.

As nature bursts into life, now is the perfect time to visit your local nurseries and garden centers to acquire bright and colorful petunias.

A small brown insect has long, white wings.
April 12, 2024 - Filed Under: Termites

Invasive Formosan subterranean termites were first found in the state 40 years ago, and soon, these dangerous pests will swarm and threaten unprotected structures in about one-third of Mississippi’s counties.
Santos Portugal, Mississippi State University Extension Service urban entomologist, said Formosan termites typically swarm in the millions from early May to early June. They have the ability to infest and significantly damage structures much more quickly than native subterranean termites.

Dark leaves with pink centers are edged in bright green.
April 8, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I have always been amazed at the diversity of colorful coleus plants. Their foliage offers a dazzling array of impressive hues and patterns. The most remarkable aspect of coleus plants is undoubtedly their vibrant leaves.

April 5, 2024 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dean Jousan helps the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association select the annual winner of its Paul F. Newell Award, which honors an outstanding Mississippi State University Extension agent for serving in Extension’s 4-H livestock program.

A man shows a Van de Graaff generator to students on a class trip.
April 4, 2024 - Filed Under: 4-H

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Seth Lewis’ father is an electrical engineer, but seeing the capabilities of high voltage in person was no less fascinating for him than anyone else watching the demonstration.

“We saw what would happen to a person if he got too close to a 300,000-watt electrical field, and we saw a demonstration on how lightning would affect metal if it hit it,” Lewis said. “I learned a lot of cool things today, but I think the electrical engineering was my favorite thing.”

April 4, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi soybean producers may qualify for free nematode testing through the Mississippi State University Extension Service Plant Diagnostic Laboratory. Limited free tests are available between April 1, 2024, and March 31, 2025.

Dairy cows look directly at the photo lens.
April 4, 2024 - Filed Under: Dairy, Poultry, Avian Flu

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The transmission risk of H5N1 bird flu to humans remains minimal despite a rise in confirmed cases in dairy cows and poultry in several states and the first known case of a person catching the virus from a mammal.