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News From 2021

Bluish-green, upright leaves are interspersed with a mound of red flowers.
June 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Now that we’re officially into summer, I know there will be days when it will be too hot to work in the garden, but I’ll still want to do garden activities. On those days, one easy garden project that I think is perfect is creating combination containers.

Two people step off a bus.
June 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, AIM for CHangE, Rural Health

Citizens in northern Sunflower County can use a new ride-sharing service to maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle. The service, called Healthy Destination Access, kicked off June 15 with ribbon cuttings in Rome and Drew.

Girl in a blue T-shirt and baseball cap holding a small fish.
June 18, 2021 - Filed Under: Environment, Fish Management

Grandpa cast the jig and cork to the center of the pond and handed it to Lucy. “Now, start reeling in slowly,” he said.

She did as Grandpa instructed. On the third crank of the reel, the float disappeared several inches below the water surface, and Grandpa shouted, “She’s got it; reel it in!”

That day, Lucy perfected her casting technique and caught nearly a dozen small bass and several large bluegill.

A hand holds a brown snake.
June 18, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

Young people with an interest in the outdoors have a chance to engage with nature in Mississippi State University’s 2021 Conservation Camp hosted July 19-23. The weeklong day camp is for rising sixth- through ninth-graders. It is based on the MSU campus, and features wildlife science and outdoor exploration. A $100 fee includes lunch each day and all activity costs. The camp extends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

June 17, 2021 - Filed Under: Soil Testing

Mississippi agricultural producers and landowners who are interested in carbon sequestration can test their soil’s carbon content through the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Two watermelons on the vine.
June 15, 2021 - Filed Under: Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Watermelon production is on track despite cool weather at planting.

“I’ve been in our watermelon fields a good bit over the past several days,” Heath Steede, Mississippi State University Extension agent in George County, said on June 9. “The crop looks really good. We had a slow start with the cool nights this spring, but they caught up later. The watermelons are stacked in there, and we’ll have a good crop as far as the number of melons.”

Continuous rains, however, have Steede a little concerned.

Small orange, purple and yellow fruit point upward from green plant.
June 14, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

With the start of both meteorological and astronomical summer over the last couple of weeks, I’m focused on the hot, humid weather that’s coming and the impact it will have on our gardens and landscapes. Among the best performing plants for this weather are peppers.

A goat stands in front of a fence.
June 10, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Agriculture, Agri-business, Goats and Sheep

Dairy goats make up a niche market of the Mississippi livestock industry, but their popularity is growing across the state. Interest has grown among 4-H livestock program members, people who participate in various other showmanship contests and people who want goat milk products.

A large, striped butterfly rests on a green plant.
June 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This spring, I’ve been getting some interesting questions as more and more homeowners are enjoying their landscapes and gardens. Lots of these questions are about the various caterpillars we find also enjoying our landscapes and gardens.The questions arise because, since we have caterpillars, we have plants being munched on.

Flood waters surround a home in the south Delta.
June 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Rural Health

To some people, farming is an idyllic way of life, but producers face some unique stressors that can impact their well-being. In fact, a national poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2019 confirmed that about two in five farmers and farm workers reported experiencing increased stress levels and more mental health challenges since 2014.

June 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Mississippi Well Owner Network

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi homeowners with private wells have two opportunities to learn how to enhance the quality of their drinking water sources.

The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will hold workshops at the Extension offices in Perry County July 15 and at the East Central Community Center in Jackson County July 29. Each workshop begins at 6 p.m.

June 4, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Wildlife Youth Education

4-H’ers can participate in an upcoming camp and have fun while learning about environmental sciences. The 4-H E.A.R.T.H. Camp, or Environmental Awareness through Recreation, Technology and Health, will be held Aug. 2-4 at Lake Tiak-O’Khata in Winston County.

Smooth, green avocado fruit hang down on single stems.
May 28, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Here’s a little ditty ‘bout Joey and Lila: two cold-hardy avocados growing up in the heartland. Lila was doing OK in my Ocean Springs yard, but I introduced Joey to bring the thrill of living. With apologies to John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane,” avocados have been one of the most interesting additions I’ve made over the past few years to my Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm.

Girl wading knee-deep in water measuring its depth with a yardstick
May 26, 2021 - Filed Under: Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, Environment

Like sea levels, expenses related to flooding in communities and businesses along the Gulf Coast are rising.

One student spent last summer investigating ways to mitigate these costs while enhancing approaches to shoreline protection during her time in the Mississippi State University Extension Undergraduate Apprenticeship program. The program is targeted toward high-achieving undergraduates from across the country to give them firsthand experiences in research and extension to understand how research can be applied.

A single purple bloom has several overlapping petals.
May 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I enjoy the last part of May in my home landscape and garden.

My small rose garden -- which I’ve started to expand -- is in its full glory. I’ll share my latest rose story in a future Southern Gardening, but I’m also really loving the various hibiscuses I have growing in my landscape.

A drone in the foreground being controlled by young students in the background.
May 21, 2021 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Agriculture

As students toss their caps into the air at graduation, some may be wondering how to combine their love of video games with careers that offer financial independence and stability.

Fortunately, a wide range of careers in agriculture await those more inclined toward advanced technology than previous generations might have experienced.

Several times a year, Mississippi State University Extension associates visit high schools across the state to show students how their love for technology intersects with agriculture, the state’s largest economic driver.

A bird with black and gray feathers perches on a stem.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Biology, Environment

The terms “bird of prey” or “predatory bird” are most often used to describe birds that hunt and kill their prey -- a species also known as raptors. But while all raptors are birds of prey, not all birds of prey are raptors.

 A man in a hat kneels among straw to point at tiny plants.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

Because it is the first crop planted starting in March, Mississippi corn is in much better shape than other row crops struggling with the challenges of wet, cool weather.

May 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Irrigation

STARKVILLE, Miss.-- A new online resource is helping agricultural producers find technologies to improve water conservation on irrigated land.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is among four land-grant universities collaborating on this web page, which is available at http://surfaceirrigation.extension.msstate.edu. The page hosts dozens of publications and videos related to irrigation, as well as product demonstrations.

A cluster of small, white flowers with red centers.
May 17, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of my favorite summer color annuals is the old-fashioned red geranium.

This is one of the plants that could be considered an old timey flower whose time has passed, but I don’t think so. They are just as useful and beautiful in our modern gardens and landscapes as they were once upon a time.

As I write this, I find it ironic that I’m calling the geranium one of my favorites.

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