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Saucer magnolias bloom before the leaves emerge with huge, white, pink or bold-purple flowers that reach up to 10 inches across. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
January 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Saucer magnolias and other flowering, deciduous magnolias start to peek out of their buds every spring, usually in late February or early March. The rush of colorful pinks is always a welcome sight.

So, imagine my surprise when the saucer magnolia at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi exploded into bloom three weeks early in mid-January.

January 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Mississippi Well Owner Network, Rural Water Association
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

COLUMBUS, Miss. -- North Mississippi homeowners with private wells will have two opportunities next month to learn how to improve the functionality of their drinking water sources.

Private well owners can get their water screened for bacteria and can attend a workshop in Lowndes County to learn how to better manage, operate and protect their private wells.

The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will be held 6-9 p.m. Feb. 21 at the MSU Extension office on 485 Tom Rose Road in Columbus.

Nitrogen is applied to rice fields as urea, which is being sprayed by aerial application on this preflood field in Washington County, Mississippi, in June 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Lee Atwill)
January 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice, Healthy Soils and Water
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new way of growing rice keeps costs down while maintaining yields, and Mississippi State University researchers say the method does not hinder application of the key fertilizer.

Alternate wetting and drying, or AWD, is a method for growing rice that allows fields to dry out before farmers flood them again. The conventional method of growing rice uses a continuous flood over the paddy.

Many archers begin with a compound bow, which uses a system of pulleys and levers to bend the limbs of the bow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
January 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many hunters share my favorite recreational activity: bow hunting white-tailed deer.

I am a fan of every benefit offered by archery, which can have a lasting impact on your life. My journey started when I got a youth model compound bow around the age of 12.

January 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Agri-tourism, Livestock, Forestry
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Scientists are seeking producer input on future agricultural research and outreach programming at three Mississippi State University Research and Extension Centers.

Producers of more than a dozen commodities will meet with specialists and researchers from the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station during Producer Advisory Council meetings in Verona, Raymond and Biloxi.

Mississippi Greenhouse Tomato Short Course logo
January 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Greenhouse Tomatoes
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Greenhouse tomato growers and other interested individuals are invited to attend the 27th annual Mississippi Greenhouse Tomato Short Course March 7 and 8.

Experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and Auburn University will present the latest production information. Experienced growers and industry professionals from around the U.S. also will speak.

The short course will be at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center, located at 1500 Raymond Lake Road in Raymond.

Nothing beats looking at displays of beautiful plants in the garden center, but an advantage of ordering from catalogs is getting exactly the variety you want and maybe even trying news ones. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
January 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

They seem to show up at my house every day, whether in sunny, rainy, warm or cold weather. They're relentless. I'm not referring to home-security sales folks; I'm talking about gardening catalogs.

These catalogs arrive in all shapes and sizes, in full color or black and white, and they all encourage us to make sure we're ready for spring. This spring marketing blitz is targeted at gardeners suffering from cabin fever. And the catalogs do succeed in us getting ready, maybe a little too ready if we succumb to their temptations.

A Mississippi State University associate professor of landscape architecture, working with the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, designed this dry swale to reduce nonpoint-source pollution from runoff at a south Mississippi golf course. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker).
January 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Heavy winter and spring precipitation can result in water runoff from roads, homes, lawns and parking lots, washing more than water downstream.

Spores of the Macrophomina phaseolina pathogen can be seen as transparent ovals in this microscopic image taken from an infected corn plant. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/ Clarissa Balbalian)
January 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Ornamentals Diseases
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- When impatiens planted as part of a Mississippi State University variety trial died within two weeks, researchers acted quickly and described a pathogen never before seen in this flower.

"We were growing SunPatiens, which are hybrid impatiens immune to downy mildew. This disease has been a big problem for the industry," Broderick said. "The plants were doing really well, but in July they started to look like they were wilting. The stems were collapsing and dying, and in a two-week period, they went from looking relatively healthy to dead."

Jameka Coffey Harkins, left, and her mother, Rose Coffey-Graham, represent two generations leading an Oktibbeha County 4-H Club. Adult volunteers are keys to the youth develop program’s success. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
January 10, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Even adults benefit from involvement in 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the nation.

Rose Coffey Graham became a 4-H volunteer leader in 1982 because she saw a need for young people living in rural Oktibbeha County. She discovered much more.

"I love having opportunities to work with children but also with the other adults. We learn together and have so much fun," she said.

The Controller's Generation II 4-H Club focuses on the essential elements of 4-H, including belonging, independence, mastery and generosity.

January 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. -- The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production will hold its first field day of the New Year on Jan. 20 at Ole Brook Organics in Brookhaven.

Speakers will include Bill Evans, associate research professor with Mississippi State University; Girish K. Panicker, associate professor and director of the Center for Conservation Research with Alcorn State University; and Al Buie, farm owner.

January 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Community
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Local craftsmen will display their metalworking skills during this year's Forge Day at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum.

Artists will demonstrate blacksmithing and metalworking techniques at the event on Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interested individuals can learn how to begin these hobbies.

Some artists will allow adults and children to try out metal forging. Signed waivers are required and protective gear will be provided.

Knife sharpening will be available. Some artists will offer products for sale.

Temperatures as low as 12 degrees in Tupelo and 23 degrees in Ocean Springs froze many plants this past weekend. These Quad Color Clerodendrons were scorched brown by the freeze. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
January 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Wasn't this past weekend’s cold something else? We've had some cold snaps already this winter but nothing like those low temps. That kind of cold brings our attention front and center to winter.

The previous warm weather had gotten many gardeners a little complacent, including me.

January 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

VERONA, Miss. -- Produce growers can learn the latest research on production methods and disease management at a two-day workshop Feb. 9-10.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the North Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Conference at the Lee County Agri-Center at 5395 Miss. Hwy. 145 in Verona.

The conference will be held at the facility's Magnolia building.

As winter weather brings cold and ice, waterfowl will leave Northern habitats to find suitable resources down South. (Submitted photo)
January 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Every waterfowl hunter anticipates the cooperation of winter weather to turn the skies black with incoming ducks and geese as migratory journeys deliver the birds to decoy-laden waters in the South.

Southern hunters frequently watch the forecast in hopes that winter weather up North will finally have the ducks packing up and heading our way.

January 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Children and Parenting, Family Financial Management
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers know they can turn to the Mississippi State University Extension Service for solid advice, but newly married couples can rely on the same source for friendly help with family challenges.

The Extension Service offers numerous publications online and in county Extension offices that address a wide variety of issues important to newlyweds. Topics include budgeting, nutrition, child rearing, conflict resolution, fitness and job skills. County offices also offer a wide range of training programs to area residents.

Professional florists can learn to make arrangements for bouquets like this one during a two-day wedding floral workshop on Jan. 30 and 31offered by Jim DelPrince, floral design specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jim DelPrince)
January 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Community
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

BILOXI, Miss. -- Professional florists and others who want to begin or expand businesses can learn about wedding floral design during an upcoming two-day workshop.

Jim DelPrince, floral specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will conduct the Wedding Floral Design Workshop Jan. 30 and 31 in Biloxi.

Herb plants make excellent gifts, as they can add beauty to indoor décor and good flavors to holiday meals. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
January 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Since the Christmas holiday season started last month, gardeners across Mississippi have been giving and receiving plants as gifts: poinsettias, begonias, cactuses and cyclamens -- oh my!

Oh my, indeed. Having plants inside during the winter adds beauty and a sense of charm and serenity. Herb plants also should be included as a gift choice, as they add good flavors to holiday meals.

Mallard drakes are beautiful up close, but they are also stunning as they migrate across Mississippi skies in V formations. (Submitted photo)
December 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Few things are as stirring as the sight of long strings of high-altitude, migrating geese. Soft calls from on high beckon us to stop and marvel at their flight, their apparent freedom and their single-minded purpose to reach their winter home.

Geese are members of a large group of birds known as waterfowl. These large-bodied birds depend on wetlands, lakes and other watery habitats. Ducks and swans are also members of this group. Webbed feet, flattened bills and waterproof feathers are characteristics shared by most waterfowl.

Bright Lights Swiss chard is a cool-season plant that does double duty as a beautiful landscape attraction that is edible and tasty. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

As we prepare to head into a new year of gardening adventures, I've been thinking about a variety of landscape questions and quandaries that pop up from time to time.

A common question in the spring concerns starting plants from seed.

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