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News From 2006

This display of Lime Zinger elephant ears is perfect underneath red Tonto crape myrtles and above a bed of Joseph's Coats.
July 20, 2006 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

This plant is a real zinger -- Lime Zinger to be exact. All of you who passed it up at this year's garden and patio shows would kick yourselves if you could see those owned by Barbara Harvey in Kosciusko. The Southern Gardening TV crew filmed her wonderful landscape as part of our 10th anniversary celebration.

July 20, 2006 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Consumers may not be able to control the price of gasoline, but they can adjust their driving techniques and maintain vehicles for peak performance.

Herb Willcutt, an agricultural engineering professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said good maintenance and proper care of the tires are keys to good gas mileage.

July 20, 2006 - Filed Under: Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landowners searching for ways to increase their income may need to look no further than their backyard. That is what Wade Henson of Montgomery County did. 

Henson developed a successful fee-hunting business on his family's farm near Kilmichael. He started Cypress Lodge Outfitters on a shoestring budget in 1994, offering just a few hunts a year.

“Now we stay booked most of the year,” Henson said. “We offer white-tailed deer, turkey and waterfowl hunts to Mississippians and visitors from around the world.”

Jim Steeby
July 14, 2006 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi's farm-raised catfish farmers have had their best hatchery season in 30 years and are seeing their best market prices since 1995.

Jim Steeby, aquaculture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the warm temperatures in April were ideal for the final maturing period.

“Fish started spawning by mid-April and were nearly finished by the first week in June, which is about three weeks early,” Steeby said. “Farmers were able to stock fry ponds earlier and have the entire summer for the fish to grow.”

Glory lily, the national flower of Zimbabwe, is very much at home in Mississippi gardens. These tropical treasures grow on vigorous vines that are perfect for a trellis or small arbor.
July 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The glory lily is one of the most exotic flowering vines we can grow in the Southern garden. Its first blooms will take your breath away by their color and intricate structure.

Most people will recognize them immediately as tropical in origin. They are from tropical Africa and Asia and are the national flower of Zimbabwe. I like the glory lily's botanical name, Gloriosa superba, because we can paraphrase by calling it gloriously superb.

July 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting, Food and Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Schools are making sure children have healthy food options during the day, and parents should do their part to see that healthy eating continues at home.

The U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Child Nutrition Act, is requiring all schools this year to adopt a wellness policy, and is encouraging all schools to offer only healthy foods and drinks off serving lines and in vending machines. To continue the day's healthy diet, parents are being encouraged to stock healthy snack and supper options at home.

July 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Students expand their skills and knowledge of the Internet every year, so parents need to increase their efforts to monitor their children's activity and help them use this technology in a safe manner.

Ted Gordon, a Mississippi State University Extension Service safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said parents should not only establish Internet rules, they should monitor its use.

July 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many college freshmen enjoying their first taste of real freedom find themselves caught up in some habits they will struggle to overcome later.

The social opportunities of college combined with freedom from parental limits make being a freshman an exciting time. While some young adults handle the transition well, others living alone for the first time start eating poorly, do not get enough rest, and drink or smoke for the first time or to excess.

July 7, 2006 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry weather statewide since mid-May has stressed Mississippi's corn crop and is expected to push yields well below recent levels.

“The thing that really broke farmers' backs this year is it's been a lot drier than normal,” said Erick Larson, small grains specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We got into a summer weather pattern in mid-May where all we saw was scattered showers, and we usually don't get into that type of weather until after the Fourth of July.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture horticulture laboratory in Poplarville
July 6, 2006 - Filed Under: Fruit, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most people looking at the new U.S. Department of Agriculture horticulture laboratory in Poplarville see brick, concrete, glass and steel. Jim Spiers sees something else -- cooperation.

Spiers is the USDA-Agricultural Research Service research leader at the facility, which was dedicated in May as the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in honor of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

Suncatcher sapphire - Suncatcher Sapphire petunia flowers pour out of this odd pot, making an eye-catching garden centerpiece. Defiance, a lime green and burgundy coleus, frames the pot on either side.
July 6, 2006 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Oddly enough, a pot has given me a lot of gardening fun this season, and I highly recommend it for everyone.

The pot is rather unique. My wife, Jan, saw it at a garden and patio show and had to have it. It looked like work to me -- getting it to the car, getting it home, placing it, etc. Plus, I didn't have the vision at first. Jan probably would say I never did.

Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong and Homer
July 6, 2006 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- They are an unlikely pair -- a man with a career dedicated to discipline and a pup whose first months of life were spent running with a pack of strays. How the man and the dog came together also involved unlikely circumstances.

June 30, 2006 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Scattered rainfall brought relief to crops in some areas of Mississippi during late June, but drought conditions continue to grip most of the state.

“The crop statewide needs a good rain,” said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “The potential for this crop in general is still better than many may think, but fields that have not caught some of the scattered showers and are not under irrigation are just a few days away from the point of no return for reaching anywhere near normal yields.”

The African Red banana forms a big clump, and all the shoots seem to bloom in unison, making it an incredible sight. The petioles, or leaf stems, have a reddish tinge to them, and it may be the prettiest blooming banana for the entire state.
June 29, 2006 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

It seems Mississippi gardeners have gone nuts over bananas, and I can see why. I recently visited a turn-of-the-century home in downtown Jackson. Entering the backyard, I felt like I was in a tropical paradise with elephants ears, ferns, water features and tall bananas.

One garden center this year stocked bananas by the truckload and had more varieties than I have ever seen for sale in Mississippi. It is exciting to see bananas sold by variety or species.

June 29, 2006 - Filed Under: Disaster Preparedness

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane season under way means South Mississippi residents living in portable housing have a greater-than-ever need to pay attention to the weather.

Months after Hurricane Katrina changed the face of the Gulf Coast, many communities have the majority of their remaining residents living in manufactured homes, travel trailers and Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers.

June 29, 2006 - Filed Under: Disaster Preparedness

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians learned the hard way last year that what they thought was enough supplies for a disaster was not.

When a storm approaches, those in the path can expect to see long lines at gas stations, a run on plywood, and stores sold out of bottled water, bread and batteries.

Last-minute preparations carried most people through the majority of storms in recent history. But last August, Hurricane Katrina showed the nation why it is important to truly stock up on supplies in advance and have a working family disaster plan.

Mel Ellis picks some of his vine-ripe tomatoes.
June 23, 2006 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Irrigation

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry weather throughout the early growing season has commercial tomato growers thankful for fewer foliar diseases, less tomato spotted wilt virus and their irrigation systems.

“Almost all of Mississippi's commercial tomatoes are grown with drip irrigation, so they are doing well,” said David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. “Some growers in north Mississippi still have had a challenge keeping up with water demands because of the northerly winds.”

June 22, 2006 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Community leaders and residents looking for ways to diversify an area’s traditional agriculturally based economy may find their answers at an upcoming summit on regional tourism.

The 2006 Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit will be Aug. 9-11 in Natchez. This summit targets the area of eastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. Predominately situated along the Mississippi River, this region boasts a natural, rural setting that is rich in history, beauty and attractions. The educational program will focus on the importance of tourism to a region.

Toffee Twist carex, commonly called copper sedge, adds an interesting color and texture to full- and part-sun gardens. It partners well with yellow and blue flowers.
June 22, 2006 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

It is not unusual for a stunning display of flowers to stop people in their tracks, but grasses rarely have that effect. At the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, a couple of grass-like plants did just that.

June 22, 2006 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Beautiful lawns and gardens show that experienced gardeners know how to use fertilizer, but the novice often finds the array of options, timing schedules and application rates confusing.

Horticulture specialists with Mississippi State University shared some tips on fertilizer use to take some pressure off gardeners who want to do what is best for their plants.