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News From 2021

Clumps of purple berries line a green branch.
September 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Lately, I’ve been browsing through gardening social media pages, and I’ve noticed lots of questions about this shrub that seems to have appeared out of nowhere with its beautiful purple berries. I love when people notice our native Callicarpa americana for the first time. Its common name,  American beautyberry, makes sense once you have seen the plant.

Rows of mums fill a flower bed.
September 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Cut Flowers and Houseplants, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

The 2021 Fall Flower & Garden Fest will return to an in-person event but will be modified because of the persistently high number of COVID-19 cases. The fest will be held 9 a.m. to noon daily Oct. 4-8 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs.

September 10, 2021 - Filed Under: Water, Rural Water Association, Water Quality

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Private well owners in five coastal Mississippi counties may participate in a free water-testing program offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Medical worker in protective clothing takes a throat swab from a male patient.
September 10, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Health, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The risk of infection and hospitalization from COVID-19 is significantly higher in unvaccinated people, but some fully vaccinated people are also being infected due to the contagiousness of the delta variant of the virus.

Though no vaccine is 100% effective, it is the best method to avoid contracting the virus or suffering a severe illness from a breakthrough infection, said Dr. Tami Brooks, Starkville physician and retired professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine.

A small red toy house rests in a woman’s open hands.
September 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

A status known as “heirs’ property” legally ties up thousands of acres of land across Mississippi, making it almost impossible for owners to capitalize on the value of their assets. Heirs’ property is land that has been passed down from one generation to the next without specific ownership, increasing the number of property owners. Some owners know they have a portion of the property, while others may not even know they are legal owners.

September 8, 2021 - Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing, Healthy Soils and Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Far too often in Mississippi, soil management after major weather events must be considered, but landowners affected by Hurricane Ida now have a guide on how to approach this task.

“Soil Management After Hurricane Ida” is available online on the Mississippi Crop Situation blog at https://www.mississippi-crops.com/2021/09/02/soil-management-after-hurricane-ida/.

September 7, 2021 - Filed Under: City and County Government, Economic Development

Volunteers, employees and board members of the tourism sector or related organizations can get training and build networks with other tourism professionals in the Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program.

September 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

Mississippi State University recently welcomed a new sweet potato specialist. Lorin Harvey joined the MSU Extension Service after completing postdoctoral work with sweet potatoes at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, which is part of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center.

Green leaves are decorated with yellow or pink splotches.
September 3, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

My favorite plants for the fall season are crotons. These beauties have some of the boldest and brightest foliage found in garden centers. Their warm foliage colors of bright yellow, red and orange shades are perfect for autumnal decorations and displays

Large, silver fish swim in blue water.
September 1, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management, Marine Resources

Fisheries experts at Mississippi State University and other research institutions are conducting an $11.7 million study of the greater amberjack, an important recreational and commercial species in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that is threatened by overfishing.

Close-up of a cotton plant.
August 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When the calendar turns to September, many who call Mississippi home long for cooler temperatures to relieve the summer’s heat, but the state’s cotton growers want high temperatures and dry weather to drag into October.

Round, yellow and green peppers grow on a bush.
August 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As I wrote this column, I also was watching the weather as Hurricane Ida aimed for the northern Gulf of Mexico. As such, I spent time in the garden picking and harvesting various crops that I don’t want to lose. One group of plants I harvested were my specialty peppers that I’ve been babying all through this hot and humid summer. I brought in both biquinho and aji charapita peppers.

An adult male turkey is in a field.
August 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife

It seems that wild turkeys don’t like humidity any more than people do. That is a finding of a study conducted by the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center, or FWRC, in response to concerns that Mississippi’s turkey season was not timed properly.

Maroon and white flowers cover a carpet of green foliage.
August 23, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As we’re marching through the gardening year, I just knew it was going to happen. I’m not ready for it; it’s still too hot and humid, and I’m behind on the summer projects still on my to-do list. But when I visited a big box store garden center this weekend, I saw them out on full endcap display. Of course, I’m referring to fall mums.

August 23, 2021 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development, Small Business

Entrepreneurs can get the resources and training needed to launch a small business in 30 days in an upcoming series of online courses.

StartUp Mississippi participants will learn how to create a small business plan, conduct a market analysis, promote their business on social media, gain necessary resources for establishing a business, and create and maintain a webpage.

Peanut vines grow in a field.
August 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Peanuts

Mississippi’s peanut crop is well on its way to a strong finish for 2021.

Woman in wading pants collects a water sample in a creek.
August 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Healthy Soils and Water, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Recreation in and around water is a great way to get outside in the warmer months and still stay cool. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, wildlife watching, exploring creeks and streams, or paddling coastal bays and estuaries, Mississippi’s waterways have a lot to offer.

A moth feeds from a purple bloom.
August 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the zinnias I’m growing in the hell strip planting bed out by the street. It is gorgeous; judging by the response we’ve had on social media, an awful lot of other gardeners agree.

After mowing my lawn yesterday and cooling off in the shade, I admired the colorful show from the various zinnias.

August 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Economics, Forest Management, Timber Harvest

Curtis VanderSchaaf joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service in the southwest region as a forestry specialist with regional and statewide duties. He also is a faculty member in the MSU Department of Forestry.

People stand in a garden.
August 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community, Food and Health, Food, Vegetable Gardens

When members of the Jackson chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority brainstormed ways to serve their community, they decided to start a gardening project. Their plan was twofold: grow fresh produce for members of the community who could not get to the grocery store on a regular basis; and get community members involved and teach them how to grow produce. But they soon discovered they were going to need some guidance.

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