Friday, August 31, 2012

Controlling Caterpillars

Ragged holes are sign of caterpillar feeding.
Just as plants have peak seasons, so do pests. Aphids rule the spring, beetles reign in summer, but fall is the season of the caterpillar. Many different types of caterpillars can currently be found munching on tree, shrub, and vegetable leaves in our area. In many cases they can be left alone, causing no lasting damage to plants, but there are some situations where control is needed. If you have a caterpillar outbreak that requires control, numerous insecticides are available that can do the job, including several organic products. 

Learn more about when control is needed and what you can use to get the job done by reading the whole article on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Battling Mosquitoes

Asian Tiger Mosquito
If you think all those mosquitoes in your yard are flying in from some far away swamp, you may need to think again. The Asian tiger mosquito, our state’s worst mosquito species, lives and breeds in urban areas and odds are it is making its home in your yard at this very moment.

Easily identified by its distinct white and black striped legs and body, the Asian tiger mosquito is one of more than 40 types of mosquito found in our area. It is of particular concern because it can spread diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, as well as heartworms to dogs and cats. While many garden related activities create the perfect habitat for these prolific pests to multiply, there are actions you can take today so they will find your yard less appealing.

Find out what you can do to reduce mosquito populations in your yard; Read the whole article on the Pender Extension website:

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Time for Muscadines!

The jewel bright tones of ripe muscadines are matched by the intense fruity flavor.

Want to grow grapes in the south? If so, you have two choices, plant muscadines or plant another type of grape and watch the vines die. While table, wine, and concord type grapes rarely live for more than a few years in our area, muscadines thrive. This tough, native grape can be found growing along woodland edges throughout the south and is easily cultivated in home gardens. Bronze, red and black muscadine varieties are available. All are delicious to eat fresh, with an intense fruity taste, and make wonderful jams, jellies, pies, juices, and wines. 

Learn more about growing and enjoying muscadines! Read the rest of the article on the Pender Extension website:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Landscape Gold Medal Winners

Cherry Dazzle crape myrtle
Extreme heat, erratic rainfall, and prolific pests turn southern landscapes into Olympic arenas each summer, where the goal for plants from all over the world is simply to survive. Any plant that can make it through to August still looking decent is definitely tough. Those that look great undeniably deserve a gold medal. If late summer finds your yard looking a little worse for the wear, add some of these landscape champions and expect years of stellar performances.     

 Plants that thrive on heat and humidity, waiting until the dog days of summer to put their best foot forward, definitely go above and beyond the call of duty. Among well known landscape plants crape myrtles certainly fall into this category, but if all you picture are trees when you think crape myrtle, get ready to expand your mind. The new Cherry Dazzle crape myrtle is a true shrub, forming tight mounds that grow 3’-4’ tall and wide and are covered in intense red flowers throughout July and August. 

Other late summer winners include 'Orange Peel' Cestrum, coastal Joe Pye weed, 'Herbstonne' Rudbeckia, and wax mallow. Learn more about these plants and others by reading the rest of the article posted on the Pender Extension website:

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Fight Rising Food Costs - Start a Fall Vegetable Garden!

'Early Jersey Wakefield' Cabbage
Keep your grocery bill down and enjoy a bounty of healthy, fresh vegetables by planting a fall garden this year. One of the most affordable ways to grow fall vegetables is to plant them from seed and now is the time to get started. Growing your own plants from seed also allows you to cultivate new or unusual varieties not commonly available as transplants from garden centers. To find out which vegetables you can start now  read the whole article on the Pender Extension website:

Learn more about cool season vegetables and how to grow them by attending the upcoming free class, ‘Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden’. The class will be taught from 10am to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the barn at Poplar Grove Plantation, located on Hwy 17, south of Hampstead, and again from 10am to noon on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Pender Extension Office, located at 801 S. Walker St. in Burgaw. Both sessions are free, but registration is required. To register please call Pender Cooperative Extension at 259-1235 at least one day before the class date. For accommodations for persons with disabilities, contact Charlotte Glen at 259-1235, no later than five business days before the event.

Sign Up for Food Gardener!
To receive timely updates by email about how to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in southeastern and coastal North Carolina sign up for the Food Gardener email news service, brought to you by Pender County Cooperative Extension. Food Gardener will keep you up to date on what you can grow, when and how to plant, and provide recommendations for sustainable and organic pest and crop management. To sign up, send an email to Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the message put: subscribe foodgardener