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News From 2016

The compact family of SunPatiens has a high heat tolerance and requires little pruning. (Photo by Gary Bachman/MSU Extension)
April 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

New Guinea impatiens and SunPatiens are similar in appearance and impressive with their ability to brighten any landscape, but SunPatiens have a much higher tolerance for Mississippi’s summer heat.

A 12-ounce can of soda may contain as much as 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar. Added sugar in soda may increase the risks of insulin resistance, weight gain and dental health problems. (Photo by CanStock)
April 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Nutrition

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Added sugar found in soda is not as sweet as it sounds.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said a 12-ounce can of soda may contain as much as 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar.

Antlers form unevenly when a deer has been injured. Here, the jagged abscission surface on the left antler and uneven number of points compared to the right antler indicate a brain abscess. (Submitted photo by Josh Payne)
April 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

by Sarah Buckleitner
MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each spring the woods are littered with antlers as deer shed their old racks to make way for new sets, and these “sheds” may reveal hidden health problems in the bucks that drop them.

To learn more about these lucky finds, many people bring shed antlers to the Mississippi State University Deer Lab, which specializes in deer biology and antler formation.

April 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families can celebrate the joy of early learning experiences during the annual celebration of the Week of the Young Child from April 11 to 15.

The Early Years Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will host daily activities at each of its 17 resource and referral sites across the state. From making musical instruments to crafts and dramatic play, Early Years Network staff members have planned hands-on fun for children, families and child care providers.

Like jets lining up on a runway, Mississippi growers are ready to take off and resume their planting as soon as the weather allows. Shaifer Bell of Huddleston Planting Co. is at the controls of this tractor as he plants corn near Metcalfe, Mississippi, on March 30, 2016. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center Communication Department)
April 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Crops

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Crop decisions made in January based on markets and profit potential may be cloudy memories for growers waiting on fields to dry out enough to allow spring plantings.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers have purchased seed and locked in their planting intentions, unless rains prevent timely plantings. Few changes will be based on the market’s response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings Report released March 31.

Brown-headed nuthatch (left) inspecting a recently cleaned-out nest box in a backyard in Clinton, Mississippi. Nest boxes with easy access doors make cleaning the boxes for the new breeding season simple and quick. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Adam T. Rohnke).
April 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- One of the key elements of creating a wildlife-friendly yard is providing areas for animals to nest.

Gray water can be used for lawn and garden irrigation, which is how Mike Boyles, a homeowner in Winston County, uses his recycling system. Here, Boyles is inspecting the access point he uses for water treatment. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
March 31, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Even in a state that averages more than 50 inches of rainfall a year, water conservation is important, and some water recycling has true value to homeowners.

The term “gray water” applies to water that has come in contact with humans, such as from sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, showers and bathtubs. It can be filtered and reused for irrigation and other purposes. Blackwater goes down the toilet and is typically treated commercially.

March 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative, Food and Health, Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Good health begins at home, and Mississippians can learn more about hidden dangers lurking in their household environments through workshops available from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

David Buys, Extension health specialist, said agents across the state are ready to deliver workshops on 12 different topics as part of the Healthy Homes Initiative.

Prescribed burns can reduce the fuel available in forestland, significantly lessening the risk of an unmanaged forest fire. This managed fire was used on Monroe County timberland in February. (Submitted Photo by Matt Walters)
March 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many people are conditioned to think that any fire in the forest is a bad thing, but controlled burns prevent wildfires from being a problem in the woods.

Humans are the primary cause of forest fires in Mississippi. In 2015, there were about 1,800 wildfires in the state; lightning caused only eight of them. These fires affected an average area of 13 acres, for a total of about 23,000 acres burned. February and March face the highest risk of forest fire in Mississippi.

Sun coleuses (left) thrive in the Deep South but require constant moisture during summer months. —- A 2010 Mississippi Medallion winner, the Electric Lime coleus (middle) is durable and pairs well with spring and fall foliage. —- Henna coleus (right) has chartreuse and copper colors on the tops of its leaves and shades of burgundy underneath. (Photos by Gary Bachman/MSU Extension)
March 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I have to admit most of my gardening life can be summed up by this saying that someone shared with me on social media: “Real gardeners buy at least 10,000 plants in the course of a lifetime without having the least idea where they’ll put any of them when they get home.”

I guess I’m a real gardener. To tell you the truth, I can’t help it when I go to the garden and see all the annual color each season, along with the perennials promising to return to the landscape.

March 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Technology

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While a good bargain is always thrilling, safety is the most important thing to consider when shopping online.

Jamie Varner, an instructor for the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach, said it is better to be safe than sorry when shopping on websites.

“Safety is a concern whether we are driving our car or making purchases online,” she said. “Keeping your information secure online requires you to take more time and care, but what you lose in moments, you will make up for with peace of mind.”

The adult male turkey, called a gobbler or tom, gobbles in an attempt to attract as many hens as possible with the intent of breeding. (Photo by iStock)
March 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for that chill-inducing gobble.

March 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild game processors can learn the best food safety practices at a free workshop offered in three different locations.

“Sanitation, Safety and Risk Reduction Practices for Wild Game Processors” will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m.:

March 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- South Mississippi students will learn details about daily wood use when they visit the Mississippi State University Wood Magic Science Fair on March 31.

MSU Wood Magic will be an attraction at the Crosby Arboretum’s Wildlife Day, a one-day event that draws 200 to 300 participants annually.

Students from kindergarten to the eighth grade will learn all about the significance of wood in their lives. Teachers will receive resource materials and contact information for useful teaching aids.

The yellow shrimp plant is easy to grow and will bloom all summer long. Plant and grow the plants where they can receive full morning sun but get some shade for protection from afternoon sunlight. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past weekend the Garden Extravaganza was held in Jackson, and I have to say I’m feeling really inspired.

There were literally thousands of brightly colored flowering plants all begging to be taken home. Of course, I bought a few flats of calibrachoas (mainly Holy Moly!, which I described in last week’s column) and some new Supertunias.

Mississippi is rich with local produce, as seen in this file photo from the Jackson Farmers Market. Supporting local farmers markets adds money to the economy, benefits the environment and contributes to healthy, tasty meals. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
March 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Food

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As the movement toward buying local food continues to grow, consumers may wonder if this trend is actually benefiting the environment.

A 2011 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Survey reported that consumers were motivated to buy local food for a variety of reasons, including freshness, taste, support of the local economy, knowledge of food sources and concern for the environment.

Several beehives were set up at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 16, 2016, for a hands-on, beginners beekeeping workshop planned for the weekend. The number of beekeepers in the state continues to rise. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
March 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Beekeeping is hot right now, with numbers of producers steadily increasing in Mississippi and across the U.S.

“Beekeeping continues to grow in astonishing numbers across the country,” said Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Most of that growth is from people who want to do it as a hobby.”

Johnny Thompson, a Philadelphia, Mississippi, beekeeper who raises queens and nucleus colonies, said about half of his customers are new to beekeeping.

Chrissie Ryals, an Extension associate with the Early Years Network, guides a local resident through resources available at the Central Mississippi Resource and Referral Center in Canton, Mississippi. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
March 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

CANTON, Miss. -- Canton area residents now have access to an expanded resource and referral center for child care and early education.

Early care and education providers, parents and other residents will be able to use lending library materials, such as books, toys and puzzles, die-cut machines and other instructional resources, while also having access to early child care professionals at the downtown center.

March 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture

BILOXI, Miss. -- Agricultural producers met with Mississippi State University experts on Feb. 23 at the Coastal Research and Extension Center Commodity Advisory Council meeting.

The meeting is an annual event that brings coastal area producers, industry professionals and MSU personnel together to discuss research and educational priorities for the coming year. Producers converged on the center despite severe weather threats to provide essential input.

As spring approaches, Asian lady beetles that have hibernated in houses and other structures during the winter are trying to go back outside. Homeowners who have had problems with the bugs can take several steps to prevent future invasions. (File photo, MSU Extension Service)
March 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Asian lady beetles are known for inviting themselves into houses and other structures during winter to hibernate, but they can be just as much of a nuisance in the spring when they are trying to go back outside.

Soffit and gable vents in home attics are common entry points for the beetles, but they will come in any way they can. Any crack in windows, walls or the sides of doors is a welcome mat.