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Author Archives: Katie Nichols

New Meat Processing Plant Brings Opportunities

AUBURN, Ala.–California-based restaurant industry supplier Golden State Foods’ plan to build a meat processing plant in Opelika, Ala. is a step in reaching the goals of the Alabama Strategic Plan for Agriculture. The strategic plan has a  a goal of expanding agriculture-related jobs by 58,000 and adding $7 billion to the state economy by 2020. With completion expected in fall 2016, the  plant will contribute ... Read More »

Food Friday: Summer Squash

Many gardeners in central Alabama are already catching a glimpse of cheery yellow squash ripening in the garden. Right now, squash cooked with butter, bacon and onion sounds like a delicious side dish, but as the summer wears on, your tastebuds might like a little deviation from the norm. Since squash plants produce all summer long, try incorporating these recipes ... Read More »

Tomatoes: Disease and Drought

Tomato plants are susceptible to foliar diseases and sensitive to drought.  To avoid those problems, gardeners need to use extra care in the garden. Selecting a disease resistant tomato variety is one of the first steps toward growing healthy tomato plants. There are plenty of good tomato varieties, but it’s best to pick a variety recommended for your region. To be ... Read More »

Turf Tips 101

With warmer weather and abundant rain, many Alabama lawns have jumped into high gear. Homeowners can tackle some simple chores to help get their turf in tip top shape. Dr. Dave Han, an Alabama Extension turf specialist, said general maintenance on the mower is one of the first orders of business. Sharpening mower blades, changing spark plugs and setting mower ... Read More »

Food Friday: Blueberry Delight

Berries are popping out all over! The sunshine is out, and blueberries are almost ready to eat off of the bush. Whether your tastebuds prefer something tart or something sweet, berries can do the trick. Try adding a little color to your dinner table this weekend. Make something full of delicious blueberries! Blueberry Crisp Butter flavor cooking spray 4 cups ... Read More »

Cool Weather May Extend Strawberry Season

Relentless bands of rain pounded strawberry crops, threatening to leave them underwater and forcing harvest to begin several weeks late. A cold, cloudy wet spring has had strawberry farmers concerned about this spring’s crop, but now sunny, drier and still cooler temperatures may help extend the season. Chilton Research and Experiment Center Director Jim Pitts said the cooler weather folks ... Read More »

Tomatoes: Pruning and Supporting

Tomato plants can produce a lot of delicious,  but heavy fruit. In order to keep tomato plants in top producing condition, pruning and support are essential. Pruning Pruning can increase fruit size and help facilitate early fruiting. Prune by removing suckers developed at ground level. Suckers forming below the first flower cluster should be left alone. Hunter McBrayer, an Alabama Extension ... Read More »

Daffodils Didn’t Bloom This Year?

Gardeners across the country love daffodils.  The beautiful white and yellow blooms brighten up the dreary winter weather, ushering in the spring. But sometimes these seemingly bullet-proof plants don’t bloom. Sallie Lee, an Alabama Extension urban regional agent,  has some ideas on why daffodils fail to bloom as well as tips for season’s end bulb care and ways to help ... Read More »

Food Friday: Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo week! While today isn’t exactly Cinco de Mayo, it doesn’t mean yummy Mexican food won’t make this weekend’s menu. Spice it up with some dishes from below the border. Mexican Bean Casserole 3 cups cooked dried pinto beans 1 cup canned tomatoes 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper 3/4 cup chopped onion 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon ... Read More »

Tomatoes: Site Selection and Planting

photo by shutterstock.com/AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA

Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants grown in a southern garden, especially in Alabama. To get the most productivity from tomato plants requires gardeners do more planning and work than any other garden crop. Hunter McBrayer, an urban regional agent with Alabama Extension, recommends planting the garden close to home. “Gardens take a lot of work and the further ... Read More »