News From 2015
CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Organizers of Mississippi’s 2015 Rice Tasting Luncheon are adding cooking competitions to the Sept. 18 event.
Each year, this well-known Delta luncheon provides more than 300 dishes prepared by rice-growing families and Delta restaurants. Health screening and nutrition booths with many exhibits and door prizes are also part of the event.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s two land-grant universities welcomed representatives from sister universities and a national council July 31-Aug. 2 in Starkville.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Freezing vegetables can be a tiresome and difficult task, but the end result is always worth the effort.
Natasha Haynes, an agent in Rankin County for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said one important step is often forgotten when freezing vegetables. Before freezing, vegetables need to be blanched, which means scalding them in boiling water before cooling them down quickly.
A little planning and planting early in the season can really pay off with big color during the dog days of summer that we’re “enjoying” right now. One of my newest favorite groups of plants for hot summer and fall -- yes, I said fall -- are ornamental peppers.
Ornamental peppers begin setting fruit as the temperature rises, and they keep producing through fall. These peppers are quite versatile garden performers and work well in combination containers or massed planted in the landscape.
FWRC-Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Myths abound in every culture. Stories of fairies, snow monsters and mermaids are great entertainment, but it is important to be able to separate fact from fiction.
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune recently received a Five Star grant to help create habitat for an endangered plant community and educate the public about Gulf Coast ecosystems.
The $21,938 grant will help create a 900 square-foot Quaking Bog Educational Exhibit on land formerly used for agricultural and forestry production. The Crosby Arboretum, a unit of the MSU Extension Service, is the Southeast’s premiere native plant conservatory.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi forage producers are taking the good with the bad and dreading the ugly. The state’s pastures have produced ample grass, but they have also suffered from abundant weeds and stem maggots, and fall armyworms may soon cause even more problems.
Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said summer rains have produced good growing conditions for pastures and hay production across the state. Mississippi has about 760,000 acres in hay production.
PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Sweet potato producers, researchers, industry representatives and crop consultants are invited to attend a field day on Aug. 27.
The event will be at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, located at 8320 Highway 15 South. Specialists and researchers with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will present the field day.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Parents know car seats are essential for children’s safety, but the task of choosing and installing one can be overwhelming for even the most savvy moms and dads.
“There are many different types of car seats, and parents should do a little research before going to the store,” said Lydia Bethay, associate director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service Early Learning Network. “The most important thing is to get the right seat for your child and to use it properly every time you get in the car, even on short trips.”
CHOCTAW, Miss. -- Farmers can learn about fall crop production during the Aug. 21 field day organized by the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will host the first of several rotating field days at their Farm I location, between Carthage and Kosciusko. Subsequent field days will be held at different farms throughout the state.
CARRIERE, Miss. -- Muscadine growers are invited to the Mississippi State University McNeill Research Unit in Pearl River County Aug. 29 to learn more about their crop.
The 2015 Muscadine Field Day at the MSU research unit will allow visitors to see fruit on the vine at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service cultivar trial vineyard. Speakers will address timely topics related to muscadine vines. Each year, more than 100 growers from Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida attend this educational event.
During the annual dog days of summer, it’s a really good thing to have reliable plants in the garden and landscape. One of my hot summer go-to plants is the lantana with its nonstop color.
Lantanas are versatile plants that will thrive in the heat and humidity, like the 118-degree heat index we had in Ocean springs this past week. Whew! There are many great lantana selections available for our gardens, from 4-foot specimens to sprawling ground-cover choices, which come in too many colors to list.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Life is generally better when you have a partner to go with you. Batman has Robin. Han Solo has Chewbacca. Sponge Bob has Patrick.
BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi fishermen remain intent on harvesting this year’s shrimp crop in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico despite low prices and a season paused and restarted.
Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said the shrimp season first opened June 3, closed June 19 when shrimp were too small, and then reopened July 13.
“This season has been an anomaly so far,” Burrage said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s officials seem sure the state is experiencing the calm before the storm as the poultry industry anticipates the arrival of bird flu later this year.
Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said no new reports of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza have occurred in the United States since June 17. Most 2015 outbreaks occurred in Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states.
VERONA, Miss. -- The North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona will hold a summer field day for fruit and vegetable producers on Aug. 26 at 7 a.m.
Registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. The event will begin with a covered wagon tour of the horticultural research projects in the field. Three short educational updates will follow in the auditorium. Growers will have the opportunity to network with colleagues and ask questions of Mississippi State University experts.
Many Mississippians are aware of the damage wild hogs do to the land in the region, but they may not know the Mississippi River and surrounding waters are facing a serious threat from another invasive species -- the Asian carp.
BILOXI, Miss. -- The first in a six-part floral design workshop series for the public will be Aug. 1 at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.
Long-time Mississippi State University floral professor Jim DelPrince, who joined the MSU Extension Service July 1, will kick off the series with a how-to class on flower crowns.
“All of these programs are hands-on, make-and-take classes,” DelPrince said. “I want the series to reveal who’s out there and what they are interested in learning about, so there are various topics on a variety of days and times.”
One of the most frequent calls I get in the summer concerns lawns and ground covers under trees, where sunlight is limited. Most callers want grass in these areas and realize the limitations presented by the shade.
My go-to answer is an unwavering: “Why not plant liriope?” Liriope is a versatile groundcover that is very effective under large trees with reduced light or mass-planted on slopes. It also creates soft borders and edging for paved areas and foundations.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Squirrels look cute and cuddly, but anyone who tries to feed birds knows they can be persistent thieves at the bird feeder.
Although squirrels traditionally gather nuts, seeds, acorns, mushrooms, insects and leaves from forested habitats, they also enjoy readily available food from backyard and agricultural habitats, which often causes conflict between squirrels and homeowners.