Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 58)

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FAQ: What is my plant hardiness zone?

Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

Most of Northeastern North Carolina is in Zone 8. The Plant Hardiness Zone Map was created by the United State Department of Agriculture to help gardeners determine if a plant will thrive in a specific location. Zones are based on average minimum temperatures – Zone 1 being the coldest and Zone 13 being the warmest. Gardeners should select plants that fall within their location range for best performance. Microclimates can still exist and site requirements must still be matched (for example – full sun). Visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for more information.


The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help you decide if a plant will thrive in your area.

Mother Nature’s Paintbrushes

Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent

What You’ll Need:

  • Twigs
  • A selection of leaves, grasses and flowers
  • Rubber bands
  • Paint
  • Paper


  1. Gather your supplies. Head outside to gather some thin, strong twigs and a selection of leaves, branches, grasses, and flowers with stalks.
  2. Secure your leaves or flowers to the end of a twig by wrapping a rubber band around and around them. Take care not to crush any delicate leaves or flowers.
  3. Use all sorts of different flowers and leaves. This will give you different textures and make different marks when they are used as paintbrushes.
  4. Dip your nature paintbrushes in the paint and see what textures, lines, and patterns they make when you paint with them on paper.

For more information on these nature paintbrushes.


Grilling Safely At Home

Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Now that the weather is getting warmer it’s a great time to get outside and grill food. Not only is it fun but also helps keep the heat out of your kitchen when it starts to get really hot. You can grill your meats and most fruits and vegetables on the grill. There are a few food safety guidelines that you do need to know about to keep your grilled food safe.

The first question is do you own a food thermometer? If the answer is no, go out and get one. The food thermometer not only lets you know that your food is being cooked to the proper internal temperature but it can also ensure that you are not overcooking your food. You can purchase a food thermometer that is digital and instantly reads the internal temperature from most stores for about $10-$20 depending on how fancy you want to get. Once you start taking the temperature of your food you will learn how much better your food is if you are not trying to guess. Follow these guidelines on Grilling Safely at Home by the NC State University Safe Plates program.

If you have any questions about Food Safety please call Mary Morris at 252-482-6585 or email at mary_morris@ncsu.edu.