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July 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

With the return of oppressive heat, gardeners may be wishing for an extended solar eclipse. That just happens to be one of the names of the hottest new groups of coleus to come out in years.

The Solar Series boasts eight cultivars of bold striking foliage for our landscape. Coleus plants are gaining widespread popularity not only for shaded areas, but also for full sun, and the Solar Series gives us a lot more choices.

July 17, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent, unseasonal rains are just what the doctor ordered --the plant doctor, that is.

Most of the state received several inches of rain the second week of July, ending drought-like conditions that were taking their toll on nonirrigated crops. Corn was one of the hardest hit by the lack of rain at a critical growth stage, followed by cotton, soybeans and pastures that were suffering.

Dr. David Shaw, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said most farmers received more than the proverbial million dollar rain.

July 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The recent heat wave with indexes near 110 may make us want to wilt, but established lantana plants don't even flinch at the scorching temperatures.

While the 1996 Mississippi Medallion award winning New Gold Lantana is still recommended, there are many more to choose from in various shades of colors, leaf variegation and growth habits, from trailing to upright.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Memories of a deadly 1997-1998 school year have many parents facing new fears about sending their children to school, but the solution to the violence may rest on the adults.

According to information posted on the Internet by the Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, nearly 1 million students took guns to school in the 1997 academic year.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Technology

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Internet, allows billions of people to entertain and inform themselves, but it also can be a priceless teaching tool for today's students.

"A very important advantage students get from using the Internet is immediate access to information from all over the world," said Dr. Matt Raven, an associate professor with the Mississippi State University's Agricultural Educational and Experimental Statistics Department.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dressing students for school both fashionably and sensibly does not have to eat up the grocery money if parents have a plan and a budget before they start.

Dr. Betty Fulwood, clothing specialist at Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said parents should determine what the child needs and how these can be met within the budget.

"The first step in getting back-to-school clothes ready is to inventory what the child already has," Fulwood said. "New items often can be added to extend the existing wardrobe."

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a child does not want to go to school, parents should take note because it could signal something more serious than simply not wanting to study.

Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said problems on the first day of school are common for young children, but consistent episodes could mean trouble.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- New interpretations of education laws will result in less separating of children with special needs from their classmates this fall. Advocates believe the success of inclusive education will depend strongly on positive attitudes and a lack of prejudices.

Connie Clay, a project coordinator with the Institute for Disability Studies, is a believer in inclusion in the classroom.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When classes begin, students realize nothing comes cheap -- books, tuition and housing. Credit cards are often used to pay these inevitable expenses, but many students later learn credit cards may not be the best financial option.

According to a CNN 1996 report published on the Internet, most college students are bombarded with nearly 20 credit cards applications each semester. Since most college students have little or no income, many question why credit-card companies target this high-risk group.

July 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Acne, awkward limbs, body growth, hormonal rushes and moodiness are some recognizable signs puberty brings to children and parental communication could make a difference to ease children's emotional and physical stress.

"Children from ages 9 to 16, embark on an amazing adventure at puberty," said Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "This is when the brain begins to send signals to a child's reproductive system to develop."

July 10, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains across parts of the state breathed new life into some parched soybean fields, but much of the state's crop is still in critical need of moisture.

Storms have brought more than an inch of rain to parts of northeast and central Mississippi, while other areas, including most of the Delta, did not get any.

Dr. David Shaw, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said soybean yields will drop significantly if the rest of the crop does not get rain in seven to 10 days.

July 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Palms can give a tropical feeling around the pool or patio like no other plant can. I used to poke fun at people who tried to grow certain plants far outside their preferred habitat, then I realized that palms made me one of those people.

July 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The botanical name of Periwinkles is Catharanthus, which means pure and without blemish. That is pretty much how we use to feel about them. You may remember them as Vinca rosea, but the official name is Catharanthus roseus.

They were such a favorite of the Southern garden that many people started planting them too early in the spring, making them much more susceptible to disease.

July 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather that had most other farmers praying for rain has had a positive effect on Mississippi's shrimp harvest.

"We've had good growing conditions Gulfwide," said Dave Burrage, marine resources specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Two months of dry weather have resulted in increased salinity and temperatures -- the higher, the better."

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Thousands of miles from the Asian financial crises, Mississippi university students are feeling the pinch.

Dr. Bill Herndon, agricultural economist at Mississippi State University, said some foreign currencies have plummeted in the last six months. The countries most affected include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines and Singapore.

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fleas and summertime may seem inseparable, but proper treatments can give pets a little relief from these biting pests.

Dr. John Tyler, a specialist in small animal medicine at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said a combination of treatments usually works best to rid fleas from pets and their environment. Traditional insecticide foggers are ineffective at treating flea infestations.

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Kelli McPhail

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Keeping fresh flowers proves difficult, but drying flowers can be a creative and fun way to preserve flowers for decoration.

Dried flowers work well in bouquets, pressed flower pictures, potpourri, wreaths and as a wall decoration.

Norman Winter, a Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulturalist, said flowers like strawflower, baby's breath and cockscomb air dry easily.

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Water Quality

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's high temperatures make people drink more water, but sometimes consumers wonder whether bottled water is any different from tap water.

"People usually purchase bottled water because they perceive it tastes better," said Dr. Frances Graham, a housing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "However, taste is not an indicator of safe water."

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Fruit

By Marcela Cartagena

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Strawberry wine may have a place on country music charts, but Mississippi State University wine researches are looking to score with the state's own blueberries.

"Blueberry wine tastes different," said Dr. Juan Silva, associate professor in MSU's Food Science and Technology Department. "It has a softer and less acid flavor than grape wine."

Silva said the blueberries are shipped from South Mississippi, near Collins and Poplarville, to make this 12 percent alcohol wine.

June 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An 1880s and a 1920s cotton gin are the latest additions to agricultural engineering classes at Mississippi State University.

Joe Jim Hogan of Oxford donated the cotton gin stands to MSU's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in May. Both cotton gins were steam-powered. The older one could gin four to six bales of cotton a day, the newer one could gin eight in a day.

"I thought maybe the university could use it in some way to show people how the old gins were made," Hogan said.

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