We hit December this week, and it seems like we haven't really had a fall season yet. Hot summer weather really overstayed its welcome, infringing on the mild temperatures I know gardeners were expecting.
I've been writing about cool-season color replacing the summer color in my garden, and I recommend that my readers plant them, too. Now, however, I'm being stubborn with my heirloom tomatoes.
RAYMOND, Miss.--Farmers and other birds hate them, but hunters love crows for the productive, fast-paced hunts they can provide.
The black clouds of birds can do a number on a pecan orchard in a short amount of time. Similarly, they are known to dig up seeds in corn, peanut and other row crop fields. That is why farmers hate them.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dawn Morgan's father was an organic gardener before organic was cool, but for years she preferred a more manicured yard and the practices that entailed.
Then she began reading about the decline of bee colonies and remembered her dad's orchard and garden buzzing with pollinators.
"Dad kept bees but in a very primitive way," she said. "No bee suit, no smoker, never used herbicides or pesticides. He did everything naturally."
I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that a few early-season poinsettias are showing up on garden center shelves. And while we're celebrating Thanksgiving this week, the appearance of the poinsettia means we are in the full swing of the Christmas season.
Traditionally, the red poinsettia is the first choice of many holiday gardeners.
STARKVILLE, Miss.--A new report from the National Science Foundation again finds Mississippi State ranked among the nation's top 100 research institutions and the Magnolia State's leading research university — climbing four spots since the last reporting period.
BROOKSVILLE, Miss. -- Many farmers in east Mississippi are investing heavily in drain tiles that work like French drains in the landscape, and the result is higher productivity on land that previously was too wet.
Dennis Reginelli, a regional agronomic specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Noxubee County, said farmers are installing the flexible plastic tubing in the ground to drain away excess water.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The best fishing holes may begin with good fish genetics, but they continue with proper pond management.
Since the early days of farm pond management, MSU Extension Service specialists have made fish stocking recommendations based on the idea that if it's set up right in the beginning, the pond will provide quality fishing opportunities for decades to come. I have told many landowners there's no need to restock bass or bream unless there is a fish kill or someone wants to intentionally start over by draining or poisoning the pond.
LAUREL, Miss. -- Win or lose, competing in livestock shows would not be possible without the help of others.
"Everyone helps everyone else," said Rustin Anderson, 17, of Jones County. "We're all like family, even though we are competing against each other."
Anderson, who has been showing Brangus cattle since 2009, is highly involved with the Jones County 4-H program. He serves as president of the junior livestock exhibitors for the county. He said the family atmosphere is what makes the program unique.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Quality child care does not require a large budget. Dewberry Daycare and Hazlehurst United Methodist Church Child Care and Preschool prove it.
Both centers attained a four-star classification in Mississippi's Quality Rating and Improvement System. Commonly referred to as Quality Stars, the voluntary program is designed to help licensed care and education centers meet and maintain high standards in five areas: learning environments, professional development, administrative policy, parent involvement and evaluation.
Washington, D.C. -- Mississippi State University and Mississippi Farm Bureau leaders gathered Monday in the Capitol to announce the new Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program developed by the MSU Extension Service.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- As fall quickly winds down, gardening experts urge Mississippians not to throw in the trowel just yet.
Some pollinators are still active and need nectar for energy to reproduce or migrate to their overwintering locations.
Like many other home gardeners in Mississippi, I'm in the full swing of planting cool-season annual color. And like everyone else, I've been planting my favorites, which are Matrix pansies and Sorbet violas. You really can't go wrong with these easy-to-grow landscape plants.
But the last couple of years, I've been kicking the pansy planting up a notch, to borrow the catch phrase of a famous New Orleans chef. I've been using Cool Wave pansies more and more in some nontraditional settings.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- As the days turn colder, many people can't wait to spend time on the water, and safety should be a top priority.
Loan officers and other agricultural business professionals from across the state came together for the fourth annual Agricultural Financial Professionals Workshop. Mississippi State University Extension Service hosted the workshop Nov. 10-11 at the MSU Bost Extension Center. Among the attendees were Chelsi Smith, left, Mississippi Land Bank capital markets representative, Senatobia office; Bryon Parmon, assistant Extension professor and workshop organizer; Jay Slater, Mississippi Land Bank loan officer, Starkville office; and Josh Fair, First South Farm Credit.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Before they prepare for 2017, Mississippi producers will have a chance next month to catch up on recent row crop research being conducted across the Southeast.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites producers to its annual Row Crop Short Course Dec. 5-7 at the Cotton Mill Conference Center in Starkville. Registration is free until Nov. 28 and $40 on site.
SAUCIER, Miss. -- Larry Haley has no problem selling his Christmas trees each November.
In fact, he has to set a limit on how many he can spare and stop once he reaches that number to maintain a steady inventory. His target this year is about 300 choose-and-cut trees before Thanksgiving.
"A couple of years ago, I got in trouble because I sold too many in one season and almost depleted the next year's stock," he said. "Last year, we started holding fields back for a season so that doesn’t happen again."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All the good smells of the holidays brought into the house by candles, cooking, live greenery and holiday plants can contribute to poor indoor air quality.
David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said indoor air quality affects human health in several ways.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The holiday season is a time to celebrate blessings and good health -- something many Americans do by eating more food than normal.
People who have or are at risk for diabetes must be more careful and health-conscious to maintain their health, and family chefs should keep their loved ones’ needs in mind when thinking about what dishes will be on the dinner table.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Decorated homes and busy kitchens mark the holiday season for many families, but this time of year also brings an increased number of safety hazards.
Decor and cooking fires increase during the holidays, causing numerous deaths and injuries, as well as millions of dollars in property damage. Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to about 1,070 home fires a year started by holiday decorations, including Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Before buying electronic educational gadgets to help children learn, adults need to recognize the difference in active engagement and passive entertainment.
Louise E. Davis, a professor of child and family development for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said children who are less than 2 years old should not be exposed to interactive digital media. Instead of screen time, she suggested playing with Lego bricks or large building blocks, as well as reading books together, as ways to encourage imagination.