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Frost covers the ruffled leaves of young lettuce.
November 30, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Well, it happened again this week. It seems every year, home gardeners get surprised by the first cold snap. Whenever weather forecasters utter the words “frost” or “freeze” for the first time each fall, you can bet there will be cases of landscape panic and questions about how to protect our garden plants from the onslaught of Jack Frost.

A serving island and three stools sit in a kitchen.
November 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Wood Products, Wood Utilization

Old wood’s depth of beauty has made it popular in remodeling and new construction, but this type of wood presents some unique challenges that need addressing.

November 23, 2020 - Filed Under: Water, Rural Water Association

A Mississippi State University Extension Service water quality specialist has been named 2020 chair of a regional professional and trade association.

Red poinsettia leaves sport white centers.
November 23, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and the “official” start of the holiday season.
In this year of COVID-19, we will celebrate our holidays differently than in past years. But despite any accommodations we have to make, there’s one thing that will always be associated with the Christmas season, and that is beautiful poinsettias.

Christmas tree in the foreground in a field with other trees behind it.
November 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Trees, Christmas Trees

CHUNKY, Miss. -- The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted countless traditions in 2020, but it will not keep living rooms across Mississippi from featuring Christmas decor, nor will it deter customer demand for fresh trees.

In fact, business is booming at farms that have opened for the season, said Southern Christmas Tree Association President Michael May.

A deer with antlers standing in the snow.
November 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Trees, Christmas Trees

“Where are all the bucks?”

Several years ago, Larry Castle, formerly of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), and Steve Demarais of the Mississippi State University Deer Lab got together to discuss what could be done to address deer hunter questions and concerns regarding where bucks were going during hunting season. For years, Larry and his team at MDWFP would get questions from hunters who were frustrated with not seeing the deer they think they should be seeing. 

Flowers with white and yellow petals bloom above lush, green leaves.
November 16, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past weekend, I planted the last of my Big Four must-have, cool-season color annuals: violas.

Violas are tough, and I think they tolerate cold winter weather even better than pansies. They perform well in landscape beds as well as in containers. They grow right through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and are still shining in the garden at Easter and beyond.

A single red bloom rises above green leaves along with white and purple blooms.
November 9, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This week, I got to get back gardening after cleaning up the Hurricane Zeta debris. While visiting a garden center upstate, I was reminded that if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your pansies planted for great cool-season color.
Stop in your favorite garden center now to find all kinds of colorful pansies ready for their new home landscapes. Pansies are among my go-to annuals, and there are some great selections available in the market.

 A tree lays on the ground with its entire root system exposed.
November 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design, Trees

I had planned to write again this week about more great cool-season color options, but we had a landscape and garden crasher named Hurricane Zeta make a mess on the Gulf coast.

This storm surprised most folks with its intensity and property damage. It also did a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of damage to trees that resulted in widespread power outages. My family and neighbors were lucky that our power was off for only 48 hours.

Closeup of pecans on the tree.
November 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Nuts

Despite weather challenges combined with a decreased production year for most pecan varieties, Mississippi’s 2020 crop will be decent.

November 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development, Technology

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the right resources and partnerships, now is not too late for aspiring entrepreneurs to StartUp their small businesses in 2020.

StartUp is a series of online courses designed to provide the education and training needed to start a business in 30 days. To access the free virtual sessions, participants need about three hours a week and a smartphone, tablet or computer. Faculty and staff with Mississippi State University Extension will host the seminars beginning Nov. 30.

A woman leans over a bush growing in a bed outside a house.
October 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Coronavirus

Staying active and socially involved is not hard during a pandemic when favorite pastimes include outdoor activities and individual hobbies.

Voter wearing mask, standing by booth and looking at camera.
October 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Community, Voter and Election Information, Health, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippians voting in person on Election Day will notice extra precautions in place to ensure the safety of polling locations.

From inside a tent, cars can be seen lined up on the street.
October 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Family, Coronavirus

It should come as no surprise that 2020 holiday gatherings will have a new element of health safety that impacts every part of the festivities and requires planning.

Ruffled edges of lichen cover the top of a wooden birdhouse.
October 26, 2020 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

Lots has changed during this year of the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, there has been a dramatic increase in interest in the home landscape and garden. People are spending more time in the garden and actually taking a look at what’s going on. In fact, gardeners are taking very close looks, which can result in them finding things that some think can only occur in the crazy COVID year. And believe me, I gets calls and emails about them all.

One thing that causes the most landscape consternation is lichen.

October 23, 2020 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Farm Stress

The Mississippi State University Extension Service PROMISE Initiative will launch a webinar series Nov. 17 about farm stress, mental health and social structural issues affecting farmers and ranchers.

Small, leafy greens grow in a blue container.
October 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Other Vegetables, Flower Gardens

Last week, I sang the praises of my favorite cool-season vegetable and explained how it is both edible and ornamental. Kale is a multitasking super food that is really easy to grow from seed. But there are other great cool-season vegetables like lettuce and collards. I consider these must-haves for my garden, and they also are easy to grow from seed, especially in containers.

October 16, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

The 2020 Mississippi State University Extension Service Row Crop Short Course has been cancelled as COVID-19 cases trend back up in Mississippi.

A bird eats seed from a feeder.
October 15, 2020 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Plants and Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- When all things “pumpkin spice” start filling up your social media feed, you know it’s time to start winter preparations for backyard wildlife.

Many people feel invigorated to get outside and do yard work in the first cool days of October.  To help you channel this energy, here are some easy tips on how to provide needed habitat for our critter friends while still tidying up the yard.

October 14, 2020 - Filed Under: Forestry

A prominent national forestry organization is recognizing a Mississippi State University Extension Service staff member with a prestigious honor.  

Senior Extension Associate Marcus Measells is one of only 17 honorees nationwide recently named a fellow of the Society of American Foresters. One of the organization’s highest accolades, fellows are honored for their extensive and long-standing dedication to the advancement of the forestry industry at local, state and national levels.

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