Friday, January 28, 2011

Composting with Worms!

Composting your kitchen scraps not only keeps them out of the landfill, it also provides an excellent soil amendment and natural fertilizer that will improve your soil, boost plant growth, and increase plant drought tolerance and pest resistance. Vermicomposting is a method of composting that uses worms to break down kitchen scraps into a rich, soil like material known as worm castings. Vermicomposting takes up little space and can be done indoors or out. To get started you just need to know a little about the basic supplies and procedures for keeping a worm bin.

Learn More! Read the rest of the article on the Pender Cooperative Extension website,, or check out the many resources available from NC Extension's Vermicomposting website,

Friday, January 21, 2011

For the Birds: Creating Backyard Habitat

Adding a bird feeder or bird house to the landscape is a good way to draw birds into your garden, but if you want to attract a wide range of birds and have them call your backyard home, you need to create a suitable habitat. Modifying your landscape to make it a welcoming place for migrating and resident birds is not difficult and usually just involves adding a few more plants.

Winter is a great time to plant trees and shrubs in our area. Planting in winter allows plants to establish roots before the heat of summer sets in. Adding bird friendly plants to your landscape this winter is simple and expert advice is available from NCSU’s Going Native website,  Developed by specialists with NC State University’s Wildlife Extension Program, this site offers expert advice and step by step instructions on how to incorporate native plants for wildlife habitat into your yard, and includes a searchable plant database that allows you to create a personalized list of native species for your landscape conditions.

Learn more! Read the rest of the story on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Planning for Year Round Harvest

With a little planning, you can harvest fresh vegetables from your own backyard most of the year. Vegetables can be grown outside in SE NC from late winter through late fall. The hoops on these beds make it easy to cover them with frost protection cloth, extending the growing season for some crops through the winter.

The key to growing a productive vegetable garden in all seasons is knowing what to plant when. Knowing when to plant different crops allows gardeners to easily develop a planting calendar for year round harvest. Use the planting guidelines available from Pender County Cooperative Extension at, to plan your 2011 vegetable garden.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Caring for Storm Damaged Trees

Luckily our recent winter storm did not dump enough snow or ice in our area to cause major damage to trees and shrubs. But this is not always the case. Winter storms do strike SE NC every so often and can cause major damage to trees and shrubs. Even more common is damage caused by tropical systems or intense thunderstorms. When storms occur, broken limbs and branches are one of the most frequent forms of damage. While a few broken branches will not cause serious harm to a tree for the present time, how you care for a tree with a broken branch will have a huge impact on its long term health and ability to withstand future storms.

When removing a branch at the main trunk, cut just beyond the swollen area known as the branch collar and never flush against the trunk of the tree. For most homeowners, limiting cuts to those that can be made with a handsaw or loppers is best - professionals should be hired to remove anything that requires use of a chainsaw or ladder.

A properly removed branch preserves the branch collar area but does not leave a long stub.

Learn More! Read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension website: