Upcoming Events



Decorating With Nature

 

camellia blossoms on the shrub

November 14th from 9 am  to 11 am in the Extension Auditorium. 

Learn to collect plant clippings and materials from nature to create beautiful décor.

Demonstrations on Garland and wreath making along with other ideas.

Bring a bucket of your own clippings from your yard or just come and watch Mallory work her magic. Click on the link below for more information and registration.

Decorating with Nature- Tallapoosa

RCS Alabama Announces Drought Funding

 

Eligible Landowners with Grazing Lands Encouraged to Apply

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2017 – USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Alabama Ben Malone announced that the agency is providing funding to assist landowners impacted by last year’s extreme drought. Agricultural producers statewide suffered losses from months with low rainfall. Eligible landowners are encouraged to apply by July 28, 2017. Alabama landowners living in counties identified as high priority will be assigned the highest priority for financial assistance because they were impacted the most by the drought.

Funding will be provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will address fencing, water troughs, pasture, hay land re-establishment, wells, and prescribed grazing. In addition to others, these practices will not only help landowners recover losses from the drought, they will serve as a proactive step to help landowners in the event of future drought situations. Measures such as planting drought affected cool season grasses such as fescue and installing water tanks and fencing will make lands more sustainable.

“Landowners across the state have weathered the drought for months and these funds will assist them in replenishing losses and doing what they can to help their grazing lands recover,” said State Conservationist Ben Malone.

During the worst of the drought, USDA reported more than $30 million in disaster funds were distributed nationally for livestock feed programs and non-insured disaster support. In addition, because livestock feed was in short supply, cattle sales were 19% ahead of 2015. This impacted the value of livestock that was sold.

Alabama landowners who are interested in applying for drought funding should contact their local USDA NRCS service center in Tallapoosa County at 256-329-3084, Ext 2, Monday-Friday 7:30 – 4:00 and in Coosa County at 256-377-4750, Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 7:30 – 4:30 to learn more.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:  USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Trying New Vegetable Seeds Can Be Fun

Have you ever given much thought to the vegetable seeds you plant? Why do you plant them? Taste? Production? Disease resistance? Recommended from a friend? Many people plant the same cultivars each year and never think of planting anything else. The Extension System has taught many tomato workshops over the years and have a tomato taste test as part of the program. Many gardeners bring in some of their favorite tomatoes. We assign the tomato a number, then slice it up for tasting. Participants eat the tomatoes, not even knowing which one they brought. It is very interesting to see the participants who have grown a particular tomato for years because they thought it was the best, only to actually like several others that they have never grown. There are actually thousands of different tomato cultivars to choose from, and I do not know if someone would ever eat fruit from all of them but they can certainly have fun trying.

One question is where would someone find different tomato cultivars? Nurseries and farm supply stores have many cultivars ready for transplanting, and growing your own transplants is an option as well. Seed starting can be fun, and this opens the door to thousands of cultivars. The Extension System can help you if you have questions about growing transplants.

Tomato plants get several diseases that lower production, and cultivar selection could help decrease some of those diseases. Some of the common problems you can find resistance to include fusarium wilt and nematodes. However, resistance to verticillium wilt, alternaria stem canker, bacterial speck, gray leaf spot, tobacco mosaic wilt virus, and others are available. Tomato spotted wilt virus is common, and cultivars such as Bella Rosa, Amelia, BHN 640, Christa, Primo Red, and others are resistant. Growers can even find heat set tomatoes. Many tomatoes do not set fruit well with temperatures in the 90’s. While tomatoes do not perform well with high temperatures, the heat set tomatoes do better than others. Some of the heat set tomato cultivars include Phoenix, Red Bounty, Redline, Solar Fire, and others. Some tomatoes are more suitable for greenhouse production or high tunnel production than others, and choosing the right cultivar for those locations is very important.

Just check the tags where you purchase plants or seeds, and it will list the plant resistance. Tomatoes are not the only crop in which you can find disease resistant cultivars. If you have questions about disease resistance, seed starting, or most anything else, just call your local Extension office for additional information.

by Dr. Chip East, Regional Extension Agent for Commercial Horticulture

Tips on Buying Container Plants

This time of year, true plant lovers know how tempting it is to walk through a garden center full of vivid blooms and beautiful foliage. It is difficult not to pick up at least one extra plant.

“While a spontaneous purchase can turn out to be a real blessings in the garden, more often impulses lead to wasted money and plant materials. There is either no planting spot suitable for the plant or the plant doesn’t fit the needs of the garden”, says Mallory Kelley, a regional horticulture agent in Montgomery County.

Avoid Impulse Buys

Kelly offers some suggestions to help you avoid impulse buys and choose healthy plants on your list.

First, know your needs. How much attention are you willing to give a specific plant? Is the planting area sunny or shady? Moist or dry? Know the size and color requirements of your landscape. Avoiding plants that don’t suit these needs will save you time, money and worry.

Examine Each Plant

Kelley says, “once you know what species you need, examine each specific plant.” Often the plants have been on the shelf a long time without proper care and attention and are no longer the best buy for your money.

Gently tap the plant out of its container and look at the roots. If the roots swirl around the bottom of the mass and there is little remaining soil, the plant is “pot bound” and has been constricted too long in a pot that is too small.  This environment can lead to stunting, poor performance and, in many cases, death.

Check For Insects

Bedding plants, such as impatiens or begonias, packed too close into flats are likely to have increased insect and disease problems. These same plants can become overgrown, tall and lanky.  Choose plants that are small and stocky. Many insect pests feed underneath the young, tender leaves and may go unnoticed without special attention. A garden center employee should be able to assist you in identifying any insect you may find.

Following a few simple recommendations in your plant-shopping routine will save time and money, and in the long run, provide you with a healthier garden.

Source: Extension Daily

March is National Nutrition Month – Extension Daily

Source: March is National Nutrition Month 

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” which acts as a reminder that each bite counts. Making just small shifts in your food choices can add up over time. Start with small changes in your eating habits – one fork at a time –to make healthier lasting changes you can enjoy.

Whether you are planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, put your best fork forward to help find your healthy eating style.

Key messages

Some of the key messages for National Nutrition Month include:

  1. Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
  2. Practice cooking more at home and experiment with healthier ingredients.
  3. How much you eat is as important as what you eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate encourages you to do.
  4. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  5. Manage your weight or lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

Alabama Extension has nutrition professionals that serve every county in the state. If you have a nutrition question, contact your county Extension office.

 

Preparing the Home for Cold Weather

Cold weather is slowly making its way to the South and it’s time for residents to prepare their homes.

Wil Golden, Alabama Extension coordinator for Macon County, said there are many steps homeowners should take each fall when planning for cold weather.

“Homes here aren’t made the same as they are in the North because of climate differences,” Golden said. “The weather here changes so much; it can be 80 degrees during the day and freezing at night.”

Prepare for freezing water

If water freezes in outside systems, it can damage those lines and even cause breaks.“You never know if you’ll get a freeze,” Golden said.

To avoid freezes in outside water lines, drain sprinkler systems and cut off outside faucets. Insulators can be used to seal outdoor faucets.

Indoor pipes are also subject to damage and breaks in freezing weather.

“Protect your pipes – that’s a big thing,” Golden said. If freezing weather hits with short notice, leaving faucets at a drip can prevent freezing. Opening cabinets to allow for warm air circulation closer to pipes will also help.

Insulate pipes when you have enough notice that especially cold weather is coming.

 

read more: Preparing the home for cold weather 

Holiday Recipes Featured in our 2016 Extension Cookbook

holiday cookbook

Our 2016 Holiday Extension Cookbook is now available online or by request at our office. Click below for the complete cookbook:

 

Here is a sample found in the Cookbook:

Holiday Fruit Cookies

1 stick butter

1 egg

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour

1 cup green and red candied cherries

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped nutsginger-bread-boy

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup chopped dates

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream sugar and butter together.  Add egg and vanilla.  Add flour, milk and spices.  Stir in fruit and nuts.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes.  Makes 5—6 dozen cookies.

Scale Back Alabama Returns January 9th

Limbering up before exercise

Obesity is a problem in Alabama. In fact, Alabama has the sixth highest rate of adult obesity of any state in the nation.

In its 11th year, Scale Back Alabama, a free statewide weight-loss competitive program, targets these adults. Sign up date begins January 9th.

“One of Alabama Extension’s planned programs is Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan, so it is a perfect fit for Extension agents in Human Nutrition, Diet and Health and nutrition educators in the Extension Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Nutrition Education Program to participate in Scale Back Alabama,” said Dr. Barbara Struempler, Extension state leader for nutrition programs.

The SBA challenge is meant to not only encourage participants to lose 10 pounds in a 10-week period, but also to encourage adults to use the challenge as a launching point to make lifestyle changes and become healthier in 2017 and for a lifetime.

The Tallapoosa County Extension office is serving as a weigh-in and weigh-out site. Sue Pemberton with the Nutrition Education Program will be available for any diet and health questions you may have.

2017 Dates

  • Kick-Off: January 9
  • Weigh-In Week: January 11-18
  • Weigh-Out Week: March 15-22
  • Final Event: April 5

Since the first competition in 2007, Alabamians participating in the program have lost 1.2 million pounds.

A participating team consists of two people. Each team member is encouraged to lose 10 pounds in a 10-week period. Teams who lose 10 pounds per member are entered into a statewide drawing for cash prizes.

Scale Back Alabama sponsors include Alabama Hospital Association, Alabama Department of Public Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

Contact us if you would like to participate or have any questions.

How to Grow Persimmons in Your Backyard

persimmons-banner

Persimmons are a unique kind of fruit. They look like orange tomatoes on the outside, but the inside is full of sweet fruit. They are not your typical and average fruit, but growing a persimmon tree is not as difficult as one might think. A little known fact about persimmon trees are that they easily adapt to a variety of soils.

Read More: How to grow Persimmons in your backyard