Thursday, February 28, 2013

Easy Vegetables and Herbs for Beginners

Loose Leaf Lettuce
Many vegetables and herbs can be grown in our area, but some are easier than others. If you are a beginning gardener or are simply looking for a few easy crops, consider planting loose lettuce or Swiss chard now for spring greens. Once the threat of frost has passed (mid April) you can set out pepper plants and basil in raised beds or large containers. While tomatoes are one of the most challenging vegetables to grow successfully, small fruited cherry varieties usually thrive. For more suggestions of easy herbs and vegetables read the rest of the article posted on the Pender Extension website

Free Class!
Learn lots more about growing vegetables and herbs at a free class titled ‘Vegetable Gardening for Beginners’ taught by Pender Extension Horticulture Agent Charlotte Glen, Saturday, March 16, 1:30pm until 4:00pm. The class will be held at Wesleyan Chapel United Methodist Church, located on Hwy 17 across from Poplar Grove Plantation.

The class is free but registration is required. Call 910-259-1235 to register or register online at:

Donations to support the WCUMC community garden will be accepted. Pender Extension Master Gardeners will have their ‘Garden by the Month’ calendar ($9) and gardener’s cookbook ($10) available to purchase.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Is This Prickly Weed?

Lawn Burweed
If you have ever walked barefoot through your lawn in spring and thought you were stepping on sandspurs chances are lawn burweed has infested your yard. Lawn burweed, also known as spurweed (Soliva sessilis), is a common turf weed easily identified by its low ferny foliage and sharp, spiny seed pods that ripen in late spring. These can be painful to both pets and people who visit your yard. Now is the time to spray this weed to prevent these prickly pods from forming.  

Learn more about how to identify and control this weed on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, February 15, 2013

How to Prune Crape Myrtle

This type of severe pruning, often referred to as crape murder, is never the correct way to prune crape myrtle!
Too often crape myrtles are cut back to bare trunks in the belief this abuse will yield more flowers. In reality this type of severe pruning results in a shorter bloom time, delayed flowering, weaker branching, and can increase insect and disease problems. This practice, known as topping, is harmful to all trees and is never the right way to prune a crape myrtle.

Like all trees, the correct way to prune a crape myrtle involves enhancing its natural form rather than trying to force it to grow in a space that is too small or an artificial shape. Crape myrtles naturally grow as small upright or vase shaped trees with multiple trunks. In a well pruned crape myrtle, the trunks grow upward and outward, with branches fanning out rather than growing inward into the center of the tree. To learn more about how to prune crape myrtle, read the whole article posted on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Which Vegetables Can I Plant for Spring?

Seed potato with 'eyes'. 
This is the time to get serious about planting a spring vegetable garden. Vegetables that produce during the spring months are known as cool season crops, meaning they can tolerate some frost but do not like hot weather and should be planted outside now to harvest before the heat of summer. 

Vegetables that can be planted in February include broccoli, garden peas, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. Some vegetables are typically planted in the garden as seed, while others do better when set out as young plants. Cool season vegetables that do best when seeded directly into the garden include roots crops like radish, beets, turnips, kohlrabi and carrots.

Learn more about planting these and other cool season crops by reading the whole article posted on the Pender Extension website:


Friday, February 1, 2013

What Is Growing in My Yard?

Ever find something in your yard and wonder, “What is that?” If so, you are not alone. Throughout the year people bring bugs, plants, and mysterious growths found in their yard to their local Cooperative Extension office for identification. Among the items most frequently brought in that fall into the category of “mysterious growths” are algae, lichen, and stink horns. All three of these are common throughout our region, which means there is a good chance you may find them in your yard too.

See images and read more about lichen, algae and stink horns on the Pender Cooperative Extension website: