Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 48)
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Managing Flooded Landscapes
Horticulture at Home
Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent
Rain rain, go away, come again another day. We’ve been in a season of rain for over a month. Combined with wet springs and heavy floods, our yards need a break! But what if they don’t get a break? If flooding continues to be an annual problem, you may want to rethink your landscape strategies. Tips to keep in mind:
- Select plants that can withstand periods of flooding followed by periods of drought. Native plants tend to respond better to these conditions. Perennials like milkweed, swamp hibiscus, and switchgrass; shrubs including buttonbush, winterberry, and wax myrtle; and trees such as magnolia, black gum, and bald cypress are good examples. Turfgrass may be temporarily affected, but it is usually quick to recover after flooding.
- Mulch is less likely to be impacted by flooding if it is shredded material, and applied without the use of landscape fabrics or plastics. Bare areas can be seeded with utility grass (ex. ryegrass) and/or mulched to reduce erosion.
- Ensure that landscaping is not blocking water dispersal. Grade soil and mulch away from the house, and clear out gutters and drains regularly. Floodwater can be managed onsite with the use of rain gardens.
- Keep an eye out for older plants that may not recover as well from extreme weather events. Damage is usually first noticeable in the growing tips of plants. If serious, the plant will continue to decline.
- Manage algae and moss buildup with soil aeration. Avoid further compacting the area with vehicles, foot traffic, and equipment. Improve shade-related issues by pruning out selected branches.
For more information on managing flooding in the landscape, contact the Ask A Master Gardener Helpline at (252) 482-6585.
Preparing For Winter Storms
Family and Consumer Sciences at Home
Submitted by: Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
Written by: Natalie Seymour, Extension Associate, Agricultural and Human Sciences, North Carolina State Extension, NC State University
As winter weather makes its way to North Carolina, keep food safety in mind with these tips to prepare for a power outage.
- Purchase or locate thermometers. Place a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer; have a tip-sensitive digital thermometer ready to check food temperatures. Foods that can support the growth of pathogens (like cooked vegetables, cooked and raw meats and cut melons, leafy greens, and tomatoes) are riskier after being held above 41°F for more than 4 hours.
- Check stock of refrigerator. Purchase or prepare food items that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill.
- Store or purchase water in case water systems are impacted resulting in boil water advisories. Use bottled/clean water for everything from brushing teeth, cooking.
- Prepare coolers and purchase ice and dry ice. Use dry ice to extend the amount of time food stay below 41°F. Freeze containers of water for ice or purchase ice.
Popping Up Agricultural Wonders
4-H at Home
Submitted by: Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent
Written by: Liz Driscoll, NC State Extension 4-H Specialist
Popcorn seeds are agricultural wonders. With a little heat, the water inside each kernel turns into steam, building pressure in the very hard, nonporous outer shell called the pericarp. The pressurized steam (the temperature inside the kernel reaches 355 degrees F) gelatinizes the starchy endosperm into soft, tasty popcorn. What’s an endosperm? It’s the part of the seed that stores food that a plant uses as it grows.
To cook popcorn kernels on the stove, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bottom of a pot and a handful of loose popcorn kernels. Put the lid on and turn your burner to medium heat. How long does it take for the kernels to pop? Do they all pop? The popping sound comes from when the water vapor is released after the kernel has cracked.
Plain popcorn is a healthy whole grain and can be eaten as is. You can also add a dash of salt, a bit of butter and other spices (yes chili!), and herbs (oregano, please) for a delicious snack.