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May 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Economic Development

The most recent set of economic, community health and retail data is available to developers working to improve Mississippi counties and towns.

A short papyrus plant grows in a metal cauldron.
May 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

With all of the bright, colorful summer annuals we’re planting this month, I find myself looking for more out-of-the-ordinary plants for my landscape. One that always creates a bit of a stir and generates questions is an old plant called papyrus.

Papyrus, similar to the plant grown and used by the ancient Egyptians to make paper, is easy to grow and has few pests. If you’re intrigued by this plant, you will be happy to learn there are three selections suitable for use in our Mississippi landscapes.

 Small soybean plants stand a few inches tall against a blue sky.
May 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- At about 2.2 million acres, soybeans are easily the state’s biggest row crop with a flexible planting window that puts them in the clean-up position when farmers cannot plant other crops on time.

A northern snakehead is an invasive fish that can reach lengths of about 33 inches and are generally golden tan to a pale brown with dark-brown mottling.
May 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Catching a northern snakehead fish may not seem like such a big deal until you realize that this unique critter is not native to the U.S. and it’s illegal to transport, sell or possess live snakeheads in Mississippi.
 
Colorful flowers are planted next to a sign at the entrance of the North Bay Elementary School garden.
May 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Master Gardener, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Youth Gardening

BILOXI, Miss. -- Students at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi got another hands-on learning component this spring with the addition of a school garden.

May 10, 2018 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources

NEWTON, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites anyone interested in ornamental flowers and landscaping to the third annual Wildflower Trails of Mississippi Field Day on June 21.

The Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton will host the event, which will include an afternoon field tour of test plots. Keep Mississippi Beautiful, the event’s sponsor, is providing lunch.

Topics include native landscaping, ornamental flowers and milkweed management. Speakers include MSU Extension Service specialists Shaun Broderick and Pat Drackett.

May 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Mississippi producers and gardeners who want to learn more efficient planting methods are invited to a May 18 field day.

The Alliance of Sustainable Farms will host “A Garden Tour and Square Foot Gardening/Intensive Planting Demonstration” at the 34th Street Wholistic Gardens and Education Center. The event will focus on the square-foot gardening method, which is designed to save time, work, space and water.

White flowers with deep purple centers  lie above green leaves.
May 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If you’re still looking for a favorite plant for our hot summer landscapes, consider Superbells. I love their funnel-shaped flowers and great growth potential. Their variety of colors can even rival petunias.

Superbells are tough plants with good summer heat tolerance. One of their attributes that I like best is, after a rainstorm, these plants recover and perk up faster than many other summer-flowering annuals, even my vaunted petunias.

These plants look great in containers, hanging baskets and mass plantings in landscape beds.

A lake with bare trees full of large birds perched in the branches.
May 4, 2018 - Filed Under: Catfish, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Over the past 15 years, there has been a steady decline in Mississippi catfish production.

Short, green rice plants stand in a Drew, Mississippi, field.
May 4, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Rice

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Spring’s cool temperatures have rice producers playing the waiting game in Mississippi.

Man drives tractor pulling a large roller over a grass field while spectators watch.
May 3, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Farming

MAYHEW, Miss. -- Agents and specialists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service are currently the No. 1 fans of using cover crops, but farmers will soon surpass their enthusiasm after realizing the value of adopting this management practice.

May 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Economic Development

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Massive quantities of local economic, community health and retail data gathered and organized help the Mississippi State University Extension Service fulfill its mission of extending knowledge and changing lives.

Alan Barefield, Extension economic development specialist, oversees the process of gathering retail, health and economic data from sources that include the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and several proprietary data sources. The team analyzes this data and provides information to Mississippi counties and towns.

Fiery red blooms reach upward against a brick wall.
April 30, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I was beginning my horticulture journey after making a career transition, I thought I had some idea about color and planting combinations. I would alternate colors and sizes because all my neighbors were planting that way. But this approach changed for good one afternoon.

A group of horticulture club students was helping our advisor, Dr. David Bradshaw, add color annuals to the entrance beds of the horticulture building.

April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The 4-H Livestock Club in Hinds County has deep roots. And now that history is on display for all to see at the Multi-Purpose Livestock Building on the Hinds Community College campus.
 
Agents of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Hinds County found hundreds of documents, photos and other memorabilia related to the club when they were moving their office from Jackson to Raymond a few years ago.
 
“We found two filing cabinets full of things dating back to the club’s beginning in the 1930s,” said Extension agent Theresa Hand. “We didn’t even know one of those cabinets was there.”

Two small gray squirrels peak out between wooden slats with nesting material behind them.
April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a flying squirrel!

While technically unable to fly like birds and bats, the southern flying squirrel is able to glide from tree to tree using the membrane between its front and back legs to stay airborne. The adaptation of gliding for this squirrel subspecies usually keeps the animals away from predators on the ground.

Strawberries in various stages of ripening sit on top of black weed barrier matting.
April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Fruit, Specialty Crop Production, Farmers Markets

MACON, Miss. -- Myron Unruh has no complaints about the quality of his farm’s strawberries. He just wishes more of them would grow.

“We picked some strawberries earlier this week, and they were gorgeous, but we’re getting less than half of what we should be getting,” said Unruh, who owns Lazy U Farms in Macon. “It’s pretty tough right now.”

Shoppers can be seen browsing in the background of a farmers market sign.
April 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Local Food System Economies, Farmers Markets, Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program TCALP

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The value and healthfulness of farm-fresh foods will be on display May 22 for a group of 15 adults who attend a Mississippi State University Extension Service daylong tour.

A group of people surround more than 20 musical instruments.
April 25, 2018 - Filed Under: 4-H, Leadership and Citizenship, Community
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Patients at Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson now have the gift of music to help them during the healing process.
 
Elizabeth Hale, a participant in the Leadership Lauderdale Youth 4-H Club, delivered new acoustic guitars, xylophones, bongos, ukuleles, triangles, tambourines and an electric keyboard to the hospital on April 11. The donation of more than 20 instruments was part of the teen’s Leadership Lauderdale Youth community service project, which she named “The Miracle of Music.”
 
A man mimics removing a fishing hook from a woman’s arm during a safety demonstration as another man looks on.
April 25, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Chickasaw County has piloted the 4-H sport fishing program in Mississippi for two years, but other counties will soon be offering the curriculum.

Long, red radishes rise above the soil beneath leafy green tops.
April 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I have visitors to my garden, I like to tell plant stories. It seems that almost everything I grow has a story associated with it. The stories behind the plants make them more interesting.

One of my favorite stories is about my White Profusion butterfly bush that I originally propagated in class in 1989. Another story is about my variegated Duet beautyberry, a mutation I found in 2000. I also grow a lot of heirloom vegetables, and the stories surrounding many of these varieties are interesting.

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