News From 2017
Most folks have poinsettias and entertaining on the agenda during the holidays, but for this week’s column, I want to highlight a plant that has been an outstanding performer for me all year.
It took this past weekend’s hard freeze to finally shut down my black-eyed Susan vine (I’m going to use the abbreviation BES for this flower), known botanically as Thunbergia alata. For many gardeners, in their experience this is traditionally a basket plant that deserves to be grown more often.
STARKVILLE, Miss.—J. Christopher “Chris” Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is visiting Mississippi State University this week to learn more about the land-grant university’s expertise in agricultural fields and interact with MSU students.
Charlie Thornton, legislative affairs director for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is joining Giancarlo on the trip. The visitors spent part of the week touring agricultural facilities, including MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center in the Mississippi Delta, before coming to Starkville Tuesday [Dec. 5] and meeting with MSU President Mark E. Keenum and other university leaders.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All of us live in a particular town, county, state and country. Just as importantly, we also live in a specific watershed.
Everyone on earth resides in and interacts with a watershed on a daily basis. Watersheds are natural landscape boundaries that define an area that drains into a stream, river, lake, reservoir or ocean. Watersheds can range from a few acres to thousands of square miles. They are also nested, meaning smaller watersheds make up larger watersheds.
PINEY WOODS, Miss. -- The National Center for Appropriate Technology will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day on Dec. 15 in Piney Woods.
Representatives from the center's Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson will provide a hands-on bed preparation demonstration at its farm at The Piney Woods School. The demonstration will feature the use of small farm tools, including a rotary tiller, rotary plow, power harrow and flail mower. Attendees can also see bed preparation in a hoop house using a broadfork, lightweight tiller and seedbed rake.
A project by the Pearl River County Master Gardeners aims to help increase populations of monarch butterflies by providing habitat and educating the public.
This past spring, the group revamped a portion of the children’s educational garden at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum to serve as an official, certified Monarch Waystation. Master Gardener members recently dedicated the garden with the placement of a sign from Monarch Watch, the nonprofit organization that manages the waystation program.
It seems like I've seen Christmas decorations in stores for at least a couple of months. They really accelerated after Halloween, completely ignoring Thanksgiving, which was when I noticed early poinsettias out in force.
Along with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the appearance of these poinsettias means we are in the full swing of the Christmas season.
In my opinion, the poinsettia is the quintessential Christmas plant. With its brightly colored bracts, it is a plant truly full of holiday cheer. I think most people will agree that the poinsettia is second only to the Christmas tree in essential Christmas season decor.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although they are beneficial as a hunting tool to increase visibility, elevated tree stands come with many safety concerns.
Fortunately, it is easier than ever to hunt safely from trees. When using a tree stand, design choice and placement location are your most important decisions. Finding a healthy, large tree with no visible signs of damage or rot is essential when using fixed, permanent or ladder-style tree stands. These stands require a sturdy base to mount and climbing gear to reach ideal hunting height.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hunting and driving all-terrain vehicles are so linked in Mississippi that many people forget safety precautions when using these powerful machines.
Bradley Staton, Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H ATV associate, offered a few tips to increase the chances that people will have a safe time in the woods on ATVs.
"Always wear protective gear," Staton said. "That means a helmet to protect the head if you lose control and flip the ATV, and appropriate clothing, including long sleeves, a jacket and boots. And, since it's hunting season, always wear an orange vest so others hunters in the same area can see you."
Celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends got me thinking about traditions and beliefs, some popular in the distant past but gone by the wayside today.
In agriculture, some of the most popular myths revolve around the changing seasons.
Hunting season preparation is done to increase our odds of harvesting some of the special and iconic native species that we are fortunate to have in Mississippi, whether we're targeting white-tailed deer, small game, waterfowl or a combination of quarry.
Whatever we hunt throughout the rifle season, we all want to increase the success of our outdoor, sport-hunting experience -- while at the same time, decreasing the available space in our freezers.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Eleven registered American Quarter Horses from the Mississippi State University equine unit in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences will be available for online purchase this weekend.
The auction begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 24 and concludes at 8 p.m. Nov. 26. Descriptions, images and registration papers for each horse may be viewed online at https://auction.msucares.com/.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Several Mississippi Master Gardener groups marked the state's bicentennial with near-perfect tributes -- by donating and planting Magnolia grandifloras in their communities.
"The tributes are perfect in a state known for its generosity, service to others and love for the environment," said Gary Jackson, director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
INDIANOLA, Miss. -- Learning how to show pigs in 4-H livestock competitions made a leader out of Sarah Thomas Smith.
Smith, 17, is a junior at Indianola Academy in Sunflower County, Mississippi. She has been an active member of the Sunflower County Livestock 4-H club since 2010.
The last two weeks, I've told you about two of my top three cool-season flowering bedding plants. Today, I'm going to complete the trifecta with another plant everyone should have in their landscape: the viola.
Violas may have smaller flowers than their cousin, the pansy, but they're maybe even tougher and more tolerant of cold, winter weather than pansies. These plants are beautiful massed in landscape beds, and they can be great performers all the way to Easter.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s premier agricultural leadership program has officially launched.
Nine industry professionals from across the state are the first participants in the Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program, or TCALP. Through a series of rigorous seminars over the next 22 months, these professionals will gain skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship, agribusiness, leadership theory, public policy and global markets.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The first Mississippi team ever to compete in the North American International Livestock Exposition came home with a first-place win in the evaluation division.
The four-member team was an all-star group of 4-H members made up of winners of the premier exhibitors’ competition at the Dixie National Livestock Show in February. The national event was held in Louisville, Kentucky, with teams from 19 states competing Nov. 13-15.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – What do Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, the U.S. Forest Service, Tootsie Pops and Xyzal have in common? All prominently feature owls in their stories and marketing campaigns.
Some owls help sell products such as lollipops and allergy medications. Others sell ideas, like the Forest Service's Woodsy Owl -- "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute." Harry had a pet owl named Hedwig, and Winnie had a friend named Owl.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Home gardeners and landscape professionals are invited to the first Mississippi Smart Landscape Symposium at Mississippi State University to learn how to design and manage low-maintenance landscapes.
This full-day training course will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Bost Extension auditorium at MSU. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cover crop usage is gaining momentum on Midsouth farms and will be a major focus of the 2017 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course.
The MSU Extension Service will host the course at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville Dec. 4-6.