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News From 2020

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.

Plants with ruffled, purple leaves and ruffled, green leaves.
October 12, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This weekend, I was excited to see that one of my favorite fall/winter vegetables is beginning to play a prominent role -- if not center stage -- in my ornamental landscape and culinary garden. Of course, I’m referring to kale.

Combine picks soybeans in a field.
October 8, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Soybean growers in the Mississippi Delta are hustling to beat Hurricane Delta.

Row crop producers across the state are joining in the scramble to harvest as many of their crops as possible before the storm’s expected heavy rains batter their fields.

The National Hurricane Center forecasted on Oct. 8 that Delta would be at least a Category 2 hurricane when it makes landfall in Louisiana Oct. 9. Damaging winds and up to 1 foot of rain is probable for Mississippi in the second weekend of October.

Four women pose with an award.
October 8, 2020 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Marine Resources, Water

A partnership led by Mississippi State University Extension Service specialists recently received a national award for work aimed at understanding and mitigating the impacts of rising sea levels.

An individual red bloom is in focus in front of other, scattered red blooms.
October 5, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of the attributes I look for when choosing annual color plants is how hardworking they will be in my home landscape.
While I know garden chores are an integral part of the landscape game, I like my garden and landscape to be relaxing. I don’t like to change out color every month. If you do, that’s fine, and you might not be interested in what I have to say next. But I personally like easy.

Two caterpillars with white, black and yellow markings sit side by side on a leaf.
October 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Insects, Insects-Vegetable Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Spring and summer bring out the insects in Mississippi lawns and gardens, but fall has its own share of pests that attack cool-season vegetables.

An ear of corn in front of a backdrop of stalks.
October 1, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn

A soggy planting season dissuaded some Mississippi producers from planting corn this year, but those who stuck with the crop have mostly been rewarded with a solid harvest.

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