News Release Distributed 11/29/10Many consumers are experiencing an off year due to a “bah humbug” economy, but LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker says holiday spending is expected to be up this year. Americans will spend about $688 per household on gifts, decorations, food and other purchases this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation – a 2.3 percent increase over 2009 sales. If this amount was put on a credit card at 18 percent interest – and assuming only minimum payments at 2 percent were made – it would take more than six years to pay off the balance. Tucker points out consumers would also pay $485 in interest charges. “Considering the current economic climate, families are encouraged to plan their holiday purchases more carefully than ever,” she said, advising families to avoid allowing holiday spending to cause their financial security to backslide. Tucker says it’s best to say “no” to gifts and other purchases that you truly cannot afford. “The greatest gift you can give your family is financial stability.” From gifts and parties to decorations and travel, the holiday season brings a multitude of financial pressures. “Don’t let this pressure, often combined with enticing sales and impulse purchases of last-minute items, cause you to lose perspective,” Tucker says. “Remember, spending money you don’t have to save money on a sale item is no savings at all.” The LSU AgCenter expert offers these tips to manage spending during this holiday season: – Make a budget and commit to following it. Identify and list all the gifts and decorations you plan to buy, the parties you will attend and the travel expenses you anticipate. Calculate how much you can realistically afford to spend on each of these items. Do not exceed your preset limits. – Make a gift list and check it twice. Like Santa, list all family members, friends and co-workers for whom you plan to make purchases. Be flexible in cutting the list to accommodate your budget. – Comparison shop. Consider online shopping to compare products and costs to find the best deals, but be sure to figure in shipping costs. Check sale ads regularly, and be selective in your shopping. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, not the price. Once you have purchased a gift for someone, cross them off your list. Avoid adding last-minute impulse items just to make your gift seem more meaningful. – Trim your list. To maintain your budget, you may have to cut down your list of recipients and gifts. Discuss alternative options with close friends and family members. Consider drawing names; exchanging “homemade” gift certificates for babysitting, home repair, yard work or other services; sharing a photograph of the gift giver and recipient; substituting “family’ gifts for individual gifts; mutually agreeing to limit gifts to something personal, meaningful but inexpensive or even suspending some gift exchanges this year. You also may have to be selective in the parties you attend. Many people will add substantial costs with other expenses, such as elaborate gift wraps and sending holiday cards. Avoid costly wrapping and consider sending a letter or personalized electronic greeting rather than individual cards. – Begin saving for next year. Although it may be late this year, remember, holiday spending is an annual expense. Consider establishing a savings account that you regularly contribute to throughout the year. Check to see if your bank or credit union offers “Holiday Club” accounts that allow you to make regular, automatic deposits. Savings will help reduce your dependence on credit when the holidays roll around. But if you turn to credit cards, be sure to use them responsibly, Tucker says. Designate one card to use for holiday shopping and leave the others at home. Be sure to select a card with a low interest rate – check for zero percent interest offers. Finally, keep a record of all expenses and stay within your budget so you can pay off the bill when it arrives in January. “Remember, those ‘bargains’ that are so tempting in the store are not really bargains if you end up paying interest on them,” Tucker says.
News Release Distributed 11/19/10When it comes to preparing a holiday turkey, cooks can choose from a variety of methods, including marinating, brining and basting. These methods involve the use of a liquid to change or improve the flavor, taste, tenderness or texture of poultry, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames. They can be done at home, or birds may be purchased already marinated, basted or brined. Marinating means to steep food in a marinade – a savory, acidic sauce in which a food is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it. The acid in marinades causes the tissue to break down and has a tenderizing effect. “The breaking down of the tissue also causes the poultry to hold more liquid, making it juicier,” Reames says. “Too much vinegar or hot sauce in a marinade, however, can have the opposite effect and cause the meat to be stringy and tough.” Poultry may be marinated by completely immersing it in the marinade. To help infuse the marinade, you may use a fork to make holes in the meat or use a needle-like injector. Poultry can be refrigerated for up to two days in a marinade. For easy cleanup, use a food-grade plastic bag and discard it after use. Or you can use food-grade plastic, stainless steel or glass containers. In any event, cover poultry while marinating in the refrigerator. For safety’s sake, Reames says, don’t use marinade from raw poultry as a sauce unless it is boiled first to destroy bacteria. Brining means to treat with or steep in brine – a strong solution of water and salt. A sweetener such as sugar, molasses, honey or corn syrup may be added to the solution for flavor and to improve browning during cooking. Salt in the brine dissolves protein in the meat, and the salt and protein reduce moisture loss during cooking, Reames says. This makes meat juicier and more tender. To prepare a brine solution for poultry, add 3/4 cup of salt to one gallon of water or three tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Add sweetener, such as sugar or molasses, if you wish. Place the brining solution in a food-grade plastic, stainless steel or glass container and totally submerge the turkey. Store it covered in the refrigerator. “For best results, refrigerate at least overnight,” Reames says. “Poultry may be left in the refrigerator up to two days after it’s thawed or purchased fresh.” If you’re stuffing a marinated or brined turkey, marinate or brine the bird first and then cook it immediately after stuffing. A third way to cook a turkey is by basting it in the oven. “Basting adds flavor and color and prevents poultry from drying out,” Reames says. Basting means to moisten meat or other food while it’s cooking, generally with melted butter or other fat, meat drippings or liquid such as a stock. The basting liquid can be spooned or brushed on the turkey or drizzled with a bulb baster. If you’re basting a bird, remember that each time the oven door is opened, the oven temperature is lowered and additional cooking time may be needed. And always use clean utensils to avoid cross-contamination, Reames says. However you prepare it, be sure to cook your turkey safely. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees, and cook whole birds or parts to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees as measured with a meat thermometer. Stores may sell raw poultry products that already have been marinated, basted or brined, Reames says. These products have been injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock, or water, plus spices, flavor enhancers, colorings, or other approved substances. “If you see terms such as basted, self basted, marinated or for flavoring on a raw-poultry label, a solution has been added during processing – up to 3 percent by weight for bone-in poultry and up to 8 percent by weight for boneless poultry,” Reames says.
News Release Distributed 11/19/10By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings Whether renovating an existing landscape or working on a new landscape, we need to remember that soil pH and proper preparation of landscape beds will be essential in determining the performance of your ornamental plants. A Louisiana landscape planned for long-term success includes these important considerations. Optimum soil pH is critical for landscape success. Louisiana has soils that are somewhat variable in pH ranges. Ideally, a perfect soil pH for most ornamental plants in Louisiana is 5.5-6.5. Soil pH is a measurement of its acidity or alkalinity. A pH value of 7 is neutral while a pH value less than 7 is acid and a pH value greater than 7 is alkaline or basic. Soil pH is raised by using lime (normally dolomitic lime in landscape situations) and is lowered by using sulfur. Always adjust pH based on the results of a soil test. Some plants in Louisiana landscapes and home gardens are classified as acid-loving. These plants do best with a soil pH slightly lower than other plants that we commonly grow. A soil pH in the 5.0-5.5 range is preferable for plants that require more acid growing conditions. Common examples are blueberries, camellias, sansanquas, dogwoods, azaleas, periwinkle, petunias and pansies. In turfgrass, centipede grass prefers acid soil, while St. Augustine grass prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soil. The LSU AgCenter Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Lab can conduct soil testing for you. It will provide a report with information on soil pH and also the levels of many essential nutrients present in your soil. A routine test is $10. You can access information from the LSU AgCenter Soil Testing Lab at www.lsuagcenter.com/soillab. Once you know your soil pH, you can move on to bed preparation. Several factors need to be carefully considered when you are developing beds for ornamental plants. Improving internal drainage should be the first priority. This can be accomplished by amending some of our existing soils, but more intensive work may be needed in more poorly drained soil types. French drains can remove water from poorly drained areas by providing subsurface drainage. You can construct a French drain by first selecting an area lower than the landscape site. Dig a trench, fill it partially with gravel and lay pipes to carry water away from the planting site. Sometimes lawn areas benefit from French drains, and landscape beds may need French drains depending on the individual situation. Raised beds are almost essential for successful landscape plant establishment if French drains or “pitcher’s mounds” are not used. A raised bed at least 6-8 inches deep can be enclosed with decorative bricks, concrete edging, landscape timbers, railroad ties or 4x4s. Chemically treated wood is safe for use around ornamental plants. A raised bed does not necessarily have to have a physical border on the edge. If properly prepared and well mulched when completed, the soil should hold in the bed and not wash away in heavy rainfall. We recommend a “pitcher’s mound” or berm when planting an individual tree or shrub. This accomplishes the same thing as a raised bed, but it’s done for an individual plant. The berm should be 1 foot tall and needs to come out from the center gradually and slope down to the surrounding soil level. If you’re planting directly in a heavy clay soil, incorporate a 3-inch layer of new soil to form a transition layer between the existing soil and any soil that is added. A sudden change in soil texture disrupts the flow of water and causes a stagnant area beneath the new soil. It’s highly likely that roots of a newly planted tree or shrub will not move out of the planting hole if you don’t follow proper planting procedures. Soil preparation, drainage and pH are very important in landscape gardening success. Do not overlook this important factor. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.
News Release Distributed 11/17/10Pies are traditionally served at holiday feasts, but some need to be treated carefully, according to Beth Reames, a nutritionist with the LSU AgCenter. To prevent foodborne illness, pumpkin, custard and cream pies and others containing eggs and milk and pecan pies made with eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation, Reames says. And they shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than two hours when they’re being served. Holiday cakes, cookies and breads with perishable fillings or frosting also should be refrigerated. “Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content,” she says. “Bacteria can multiply rapidly when foods containing these perishable items are left at room temperature. Refrigerate perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours.” Pies containing eggs and milk should be baked to at least 160 degrees, cooled quickly and refrigerated until they’re served, Reames says. Leftovers should be returned to the refrigerator. “Commercial pumpkin pies have preservatives and other ingredients added to make them shelf-stable,” Reames says. “They may be displayed and stored at room temperature, but once cut, they should be refrigerated. Check the label on commercially baked pies for storage requirements.” Leftover fruit pie, which typically is prepared without eggs, can be covered and stored unrefrigerated for up to two days. To maintain best quality, however, refrigerate them. The nutritionist recommends storing fruit pies in the refrigerator during warm weather.
News Release Distributed 11/15/10For most Americans, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without turkey. But cooking a big bird requires care, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames. “There is no quality difference between a fresh or frozen turkey, although fresh turkeys have shorter shelf lives,” Reames says. “By purchasing a frozen turkey, you can often take advantage of special sales.” To make sure you have enough turkey for the feast and for leftovers too, purchase at least one pound of uncooked turkey per person, If you choose to buy a frozen bird, make sure you have adequate storage space in your freezer. If you buy a fresh turkey, be sure you purchase it only one to two days before cooking. Proper thawing is important to prevent growth of harmful bacteria that may have been present prior to freezing a turkey. Reames says three safe ways to thaw a turkey safely are in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or less, in cold water and in a microwave oven. When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey, she says. Place a frozen turkey – still in its store wrap – in a baking sheet with a lip or a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. To thaw a bird in cold water, keep the turkey in the original packaging, place it in a clean and sanitized sink or pan, and submerge it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. For microwave thawing, follow the oven manufacturer’s instructions. “Plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing in a microwave because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing,” Reames says. For safety’s sake, wash your hands for 20 seconds in hot, soapy water after handling raw poultry or meat, she says. Also, be sure that utensils, plates, work surfaces, etc. have been thoroughly cleaned. Keep raw foods separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination, Reames warns. It is important that the juices from raw meat and poultry do not come into contact with food that will be eaten without cooking. Also, never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat or poultry. To cook a turkey safely, set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees, Reames says. To make sure a whole turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, use a food thermometer to check the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of the breast. An unstuffed turkey that weighs 14 to 18 pounds will need to cook approximately 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours in a 325-degree oven. “The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety,” Reames says. “Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.” If you decide to stuff a turkey, prepare the stuffing and stuff it into the cavity immediately before it's placed in the oven. When you cook a stuffed turkey, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of both the turkey and the center of the stuffing, the nutritionist says. If the turkey is done and the stuffing has not reached 165 degrees, remove the stuffing from the turkey and place it in a greased casserole dish to continue cooking. For optimum safety, cook stuffing separately from the turkey, Reames says. Cooking stuffing separately also will help prevent overcooking the bird. Take care of leftovers promptly to keep foodborne bacteria from growing. Cut the turkey into small pieces and refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days and gravy within one to two days, or freeze these foods. Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time Monday–Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
News Release Distributed 11/12/10By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen OwingsNovember and early December are excellent times for planting trees in Louisiana. We have many excellent species of trees recommended for the state, including our native trees, such as the Louisiana state tree – the baldcypress – and the Louisiana state flower – the Southern magnolia. During late fall and through the winter months, the soil is still warm enough to encourage vigorous root growth, and trees will have several months to get established before next summer’s heat. At the same time, the weather is cool, and the trees are going dormant, helping reduce stress. Normally generous rainfall during winter also makes constant attention to watering unnecessary. Planting at this time of year is especially beneficial for balled-and-burlapped trees because they lose so much of their root systems when they are dug. You can plant trees properly by following these steps: – Dig the hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball and no deeper than the height of the root ball. – Remove a container-grown tree from its container. If the root ball is tightly packed with thick encircling roots, try to unwrap, open up or even cut some of the roots to encourage them to spread into the surrounding soil. Place the root ball in the hole. – Place balled-and-burlapped trees into the planting hole. Remove any nails, nylon twine or wire basket that has been used to secure the burlap. Then fold down the burlap from the top half of the root ball or remove the burlap. – Make the top of the root ball level with or slightly above the surrounding soil. It is critical that you do not plant trees too deep. – Thoroughly pulverize the soil dug out from the hole and use this soil, without any additions, to backfill around the tree. Add soil until the hole is half full. Then firm the soil to eliminate air pockets, but do not pack it tightly. Finish filling the hole, firm the soil again and then water the tree thoroughly to settle it in. – Generally, do not fertilize trees planted during fall, although you can apply some slow-release fertilizer next spring. The use of a root stimulator solution is optional. – Stake the tree if it is tall enough to be unstable; otherwise, staking is not necessary. If you use stakes, drive two or three firmly into the ground just beyond the root ball. Use strips of cloth or nylon stockings – or use wire covered with a piece of garden hose where it touches the trunk – tied to the stakes and then to the trunk of the tree. Leave the support in place no more than nine to 12 months. – Keep the area 1 to 2 feet out from the trunk of a newly planted tree mulched and free from weeds and grass. This encourages the tree to establish faster by eliminating competition from grass roots. It also prevents lawn mowers and string trimmers from damaging the bark at the base of the tree, which can cause stunting or death. The mulch should be 2 to 4 inches deep and pulled back slightly from the base of the trunk. Follow these steps and you’ll be successful with your tree-planting efforts. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.
(Distributed 11/05/10) SHREVEPORT, La. – AgMagic at the State Fair answered a question that has been bugging one Bossier City student for years. “What happens if a bug gets into cotton?” asked Dallas Kaiser, 10, a student at Meadowview Elementary School in Bossier City.
(Distributed 11/1/10) Many gardeners get caught up in using the same bedding plants year after year. Pansies are very popular for the cool season, but the LSU AgCenter also recommends other cool-season bedding plants for home landscape use.
(Distributed 11/04/10) Fish and other seafood are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA, which have been found to provide protection from chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, said LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames.
(Distributed 11/05/10) Some of the most popular plants being sold in Louisiana these days are Encore azaleas. These multiseasonal blooming azaleas debuted in the late 1990s and have tendencies to bloom during spring, summer and fall.
(Audio 11/01/10) Found in the bayous and estuaries of coastal Louisiana, the cocahoe minnow is a prized marine bait fish used for fishing in coastal waters. These minnows usually are caught from the wild, but their population isn’t consistent. The LSU AgCenter's Aquaculture Research Station conducted a cocahoe minnow workshop to discuss the fish and the possibility of farm-raising them. (Runtime: 1:46)
(Radio News 11/01/10) Cocahoe minnows are a favorite live bait for anglers fishing in or along the Louisiana coast. The one drawback to the minnows, however, is that their population is seasonal, says LSU AgCenter aquaculture researcher Christopher Green. (Runtime: 1:20)
(Radio News 11/29/10) More schools are planting gardens and incorporating them into the curriculum. LSU AgCenter gardening specialist Kathryn Fontenot says gardens offer many benefits, including nutrition, to school children. (Runtime: 1:05)
(Radio News 11/22/10) A sweet potato processing facility opened recently in north Louisiana. The ConAgra Lamb Weston facility in Delhi will make frozen sweet potato French fries. LSU AgCenter sweet potato specialist Tara Smith says this is good news for growers. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/22/10) Fourteen high school juniors and seniors from across the state are participating in the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Young Ag Producer Program. Bradley Leger, who coordinates the program, says participants started with an institute aimed at giving them a broad view of Louisiana’s agricultural industry. (Runtime: 1:05)
(Radio News 11/15/10) Researchers with the LSU AgCenter Pecan Research Station are working on new ways to combat pecan scab disease. Randy Sanderlin, the resident coordinator at the station, says pecan scab disease is a fungus that can attack any growing part of the tree, and has the potential to completely destroy the crop. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/15/10) The turkey is the star on Thanksgiving tables. Most people buy their birds frozen, so to get it ready for the big day, it must be thawed properly, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/01/10) Fall is a great time to enjoy Louisiana sweet potatoes, and LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames says they are loaded with nutrients. (Runtime: 1:10)
(Radio News 11/01/10) Found in the bayous and estuaries of coastal Louisiana, the cocahoe minnow is a prized marine bait fish used for fishing in coastal waters. LSU AgCenter aquaculture researcher Christopher Green conducted a cocahoe minnow workshop. (Runtime: 1:20)
(Radio News 11/22/10) Cade Heinen is hoping for a future that includes big farm equipment and lots or rice acres. But before this high school student embarks on a career in agriculture, he wants to learn more, so he is participating in the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Young Ag Producer Program. (Runtime: 1:20)
(Radio News 11/01/10) Students at Fannie C. Williams School in New Orleans recently learned what bullying is and what makes a bully, and during the process many students recognized they may be bullies. The students were participating in an anti-bullying program presented by the LSU AgCenter. (Runtime: 1:05)
(Radio News 11/22/10) After two dismal years where Louisiana sweet potato farmers watched their crops rot in the field from too much rain, they finally got the harvest they’ve been hoping for this year. The dry fall allowed for a smooth harvest and a good crop, says LSU AgCenter sweet potato specialist Tara Smith. (Runtime: 1:15)
(TV News 11/22/10) Ideal weather during the 2010 harvest season helped Louisiana sweet potato farmers get their crop in just in time for Thanksgiving. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard reports that this year's crop may help some farmers to stay in business after devastating seasons the past two years. (Runtime: 1:33)
(Radio News 11/08/10) Much of the expenses for poultry producers come from heating the houses, which is critical for young chicks. Researchers at the LSU AgCenter's Hill Farm Research Station will be testing two different types of heating systems in poultry demonstration houses – brood and tube heating. Hill Farm Research Coordinator Bill Owens explains. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(TV News 11/15/10) A set of poultry demonstration houses will help growers raise chickens more efficiently. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard visited the houses to learn more about the research taking place in them. (Runtime: 1:38)
(Radio News 11/08/10) Demonstration houses at the LSU AgCenter's Hill Farm Research Station at Homer will be used to test equipment and techniques for raising chickens. LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Resident Coordinator Bill Owens explains. (Runtime: 1:20)
(Radio News 11/08/10) This fall’s drought has been good for harvesting some crops but has taken a toll on young pine trees. This makes two bad seasons for establishing forest plantations, says LSU AgCenter forestry researcher Michael Blazier. (Runtime: 1:10)
(Radio News 11/01/10) Bullying is a prevalent problem in many schools, and recent teen suicides resulting from bullying have shown how dangerous it can be. LSU AgCenter agents in Orleans Parish are trying to do something to curtail it. 4-H agent Traig Varnado hosted a weeklong anti-bullying program at the Fannie C. Williams School. (Runtime: 1:30)
(TV News 11/29/10) About a dozen high school students are spending a year immersed in agriculture. The students are participating in the Louisiana Young Ag Producers Program. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard has the story. (Runtime: 1:35)
(Radio News 11/22/10) The cost of the typical Thanksgiving meal is up by 9 percent this year. An LSU AgCenter survey shows it will cost about $40.64 to feed 10 people turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and other traditional parts of this holiday dinner. LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker explains. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Video 11/08/10) Pecans are a fall favorite, filling pies and topping sweet potato casseroles. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard reports that this year’s crop is late, but with a little rain, can rebound. (Runtime: 1:43)
(Radio News 11/15/10) Whether you brine or baste, roast or fry, an LSU AgCenter nutritionist says the one important point when cooking a turkey is to use a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked thoroughly. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/08/10) Pecan exports have increased dramatically in the past year. LSU AgCenter pecan expert Charles Graham says the pecans grown in the United States generally stayed close to home. But good news for growers is the increase in exports to Asian countries, particularly China. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/08/10) Outbreaks of salmonella in nut crops have raised concerns about food safety. LSU AgCenter pecan expert Charles Graham says the LSU AgCenter is working with growers to keep their crop from becoming contaminated. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 11/08/10) Clusters of pecans stayed in trees longer than usual this year. Dry weather throughout summer and into fall kept them in place, causing several problems for pecan producers. Randy Sanderlin, research coordinator of the LSU AgCenter's Pecan Research Station, explains. (Runtime: 1:10)
(Radio News 11/15/10) The nation’s recession has hurt the forestry industry, but LSU AgCenter researchers are looking for ways to help forestry remain profitable. Forestry researcher Michael Blazier has several studies that are aimed at helping forest landowners grow trees faster and better. (Runtime: 1:35)
(Radio News 11/29/10) An Environmental Protection Agency environmental education grant has helped establish 11 school gardens across Louisiana. Kathryn Fontenot, LSU AgCenter gardening specialist, is administering the grant and recently held a workshop for teachers participating in the program. (Runtime: 1:20)
(Audio 11/15/10) Amaryllis flowers are hardy in the Deep South and will bloom each April. The bulbs you see in garden centers are not ready for the ground. They've been forced into dormancy and should be planted in a flowerpot first. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/29/10) Louisiana has many Christmas tree farms across the state. A trip to one can be a fun family activity and a great way to get a fresh Christmas tree. Listen for tips on picking out and caring for Christmas trees. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/01/10) The Camelot foxglove series is a Louisiana Super Plant for fall 2010. This series comes in white, cream, rose or lavender. Get them planted during the fall to have robust, beautiful plants this spring. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/29/10) Louisiana gardeners use cool-season bedding plants to add color to our flower gardens during winter. Plants such as dianthus, pansies and violas will bloom from fall into spring. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/22/10) Keep your landscape neat and clean during the fall and winter seasons. Start by cleaning out dead or dying material. Then make sure beds are mulched. You can even consider adding cool-season winter plants. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/01/10) The Louisiana Super Plant program promotes tough and beautiful plants proven to grow extremely well in all parts of the state. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill introduces you to the beautiful shrub, ShiShi Gashira camellia. (Runtime: 1:35)
(Video 12/6/10) Even though it’s getting colder, fall is a great time to plant vegetables. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill talks about growing, harvesting and caring for asparagus. (Runtime: 1:33)
(Audio 11/01/10) Most of the shade trees we use in our landscapes are deciduous and will lose their leaves this month. Hear suggestions about what to do with falling leaves. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/15/10) Now through February is the best time to plant hardy fruit trees and shrubs. Planted now, they have a chance to settle in and get established before their first summer in the ground. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/08/10) Camellias are popular in Louisiana landscapes. The insect known as tea scale can be a problem on these plants, however, and it is hard to diagnose because it doesn't look like insects. Hear more to learn about this pest. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Video 11/22/10) If you’re looking for a cool-season bedding plant that blooms nicely most of the year, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill has a suggestion. The Snow Princess is a beautiful plant, but as you’ll learn on this edition of Get It Growing, you won’t need a magic wand to keep it alive. (Runtime: 1:39)
(For Release On Or After 11/27/10) November through early December is about the best time to plant trees in Louisiana. The soil is still warm, which encourages vigorous root growth, and trees will have several months to get established before next summer’s heat.
(Audio 11/15/10) Many plants shouldn't be fertilized this time of the year. These are preparing to go dormant for the winter and do not need to be stimulated. Perennials in active growth and cool-season bedding plants can be fertilized this month. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/22/10) As the weather gets chilly, some container plants you've got outside may have to be moved indoors. It's best to move plants to a shady place first for a few days before bringing them into the house. This will help them adjust to the lower light conditions they'll have inside. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/29/10) Many people use plants to decorate their homes during the holidays. Choose good quality plants and be careful when transporting them. Take care of them, so they will stay beautiful throughout the season. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(11/08/10) Louisiana gardeners use many evergreen plants in the landscape. To keep your lawn green in the winter, try ryegrass. But remember that planting ryegrass in your lawn means you will need to mow during the winter months to keep your lawn neat and attractive. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/08/10) Spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in November -- with the exception of tulips and hyacinths. Put those bulbs in the vegetable bin of a refrigerator for about eight weeks, so they can "chill.". (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/29/10) Louisiana's mild winters allow us to grow vegetables year-round. Consider planting some cool-season vegetables such as leeks, shallots, spinach and turnips. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/22/10) Many herbs do well in our gardens during the cool weather of fall and winter. Herbs like to have sunny and well-drained locations. You also can grow herbs in containers. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(For Release On Or After 11/19/10) Insect outbreaks on indoor plants can be disastrous. Indoors, insect pests can reproduce rapidly and cause tremendous damage because of the environment.
(Audio 11/01/10) Many deciduous trees drop their leaves during November, and at this time of year, it's also not unusual to see some leaves on evergreen shrubs change colors and drop off. This is not a reason for concern. It's just part of the natural life cycle of the plant. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/08/10) November is a great month to plant cool-season bedding plants. When planted now, they will provide beautiful color and flowers in the fall, winter and spring. Have an idea of color scheme and plant spacing and height before you purchase plants. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Video 11/15/10) Black is not a color you typically think about for flowers. When you visit your nursery, however, you will find you do have various choices of beautiful flowers in that unique color. But as LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill warns, you want to make certain you use them correctly in your landscape. (Runtime: 1:52)
(Audio 11/15/10) November is a great time to plant flowering bedding plants into your landscape. An outstanding plant to choose is the Amazon dianthus. This Louisiana Super Plant comes in several colors and will bloom throughout the fall, winter and spring. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(For Release On Or After 11/05/10) This fall the LSU AgCenter announced a new plant marketing and promotion program called Louisiana Super Plants. The purpose of the program is to identify superior plants for Louisiana landscapes, make sure wholesale growers are growing and retail nurseries are carrying the selections and get the word out to the gardening public about these outstanding plants.
(Video 11/08/10) Louisiana Super Plants are beautiful plants chosen by the LSU AgCenter as superior ornamentals for Louisiana landscapes. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill introduces you to one of the most recent fall Super Plants. It’s called Camelot foxglove. (Runtime: 1:43)
(Video 11/29/10) If you like herbs, fall is a great time to get them planted. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill suggests some of the herbal plants best known for their zesty culinary contributions. (Runtime: 1:43)
(Audio 11/22/10) Insect pests are not as common in winter as they are in summer, but some will still be around during the cool season. Keep an eye out for aphids, caterpillars, snails and slugs. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/08/10) Lettuce is one of the easier and more productive cool-season crops we can grow in our Louisiana gardens. Lettuce can be directed-seeded or grown from transplants, and now is a good time to plant. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/01/2010) Louisiana gardeners can plant a variety of cool-season vegetables during November. Root crops and cole crops grow well during our winter. Hear more about what to plant this time of the year. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(For Release On Or After 11/12/10) November is a great time to remove summer bedding plants and add cool-season bedding plants to your flowerbeds.
(Audio 11/22/10) After raking up autumn leaves, don't bag them and put them at the curb. These leaves are valuable organic matter and can be used as mulch or compost. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/01/10) Smart vegetable gardeners planted fall tomatoes back in August. Plants should have good fruit set now, but it can be a race between the weather cooling down and getting ripe tomatoes. You can ripen these indoors if outdoor temperatures aren't cooperating. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio11/29/10) Many gardeners may still have warm-season vegetables in their gardens. If a freeze does threaten, it's important to harvest these crops. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 11/15/10) One of the most outstanding, evergreen fall and winter shrubs for Louisiana landscapes is the ShiShi Gashira camellia. This Louisiana Super Plant is low-growing and will work well in full sun or partial shade. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Distributed 11/18/10) The LSU AgCenter’s 2010 poinsettia open house is set for Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Burden Center located at 4560 Essen Lane near the junction of I-10 in Baton Rouge.
(Distributed 11/16/10) SHREVEPORT, La. – As 2,000 students toured the LSU AgCenter AgMagic exhibit at the State Fair of Louisiana, another 1,190 from Head Start and elementary schools saw an educational nutrition show.
(Distributed 11/29/10) The LSU AgCenter recently received a grant of $21,350 to support a one-day conference for farmers markets in Louisiana.
(Distributed 11/03/10) The LSU AgCenter has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study weed management options in commercial sweet potato production.
(Distributed 11/17/10) CROWLEY, La. – The Louisiana Rice Research Board learned Tuesday (Nov. 16) that farmers will have three new varieties of rice, developed by the LSU AgCenter, to consider for planting.
(Distributed 11/24/10) The National Science Foundation has awarded the LSU AgCenter a $600,000 grant to make upgrades in the biotechnology laboratories in Harry D. Wilson Laboratory building on the LSU campus.
(Distributed 11/15/10) The LSU AgCenter has received a grant from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to fund public awareness programs on specialty crops directed at Louisiana residents, particularly children and youth.
(Distributed 11/22/10) The LSU AgCenter is seeking photos for its 2012 Get It Growing Calendar and has issued the call for entries in the contest that selects photos for the annual calendar. Both garden lovers and photography enthusiasts have the opportunity for their work to be chosen for the Get It Growing Calendar by submitting entries in the contest, which closes Jan. 31.
(Distributed 11/11/10) Louisiana cooks shopping for Thanksgiving will find the costs of basic dinner items up this year. The 2010 Thanksgiving market basket will average $40.64 for 10 people, according to an LSU AgCenter survey.
(Distributed 11/04/10) TransGenRx, a Baton Rouge biopharmaceutical manufacturing company started through licensing agreements with the LSU AgCenter, has been awarded a $244,479 grant under the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP) for its project “Engineered Gylcosylated Interferons for the Treatment of Viral Disease, Melanoma and MS.”
(Distributed 11/17/10) Clusters of pecans stayed in trees longer than usual this year in Louisiana. Dry weather throughout summer and into fall kept them in place, according to Randy Sanderlin, coordinator of the LSU AgCenter Pecan Research and Extension Station at Shreveport.
(Distributed 11/24/10) A free Internet marketing tool offered by the LSU AgCenter for Louisiana agriculture-related businesses provides an avenue to increase opportunities to buy and sell locally produced food. John Westra, LSU AgCenter economist, said the MarketMaker website is like a sign that says, "We are open for business."
(Distributed 11/15/10) With harvest 90 percent complete, quality is good and plenty of cured Louisiana sweet potatoes will be available for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and beyond, according to LSU AgCenter sweet potato specialist Tara Smith.
(Distributed 11/12/10) If your home was built before 1978, it could have lead-based paint. Any renovation, repair or painting project that disturbs lead paint could result in a health hazard if lead-safe work practices are not used before, during and after the project, according to Claudette Reichel, LSU AgCenter housing specialist.
(Distributed 11/16/10) SHREVEPORT, La. – Caddo Parish Public Schools, winner of the Louisiana Promising Practices award, went on to win a national Promising Practices Award for recognition in social-emotional and character development.
(Distributed 11/30/10) Scott Angelle, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and former Louisiana lieutenant governor, has received the national Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Friend of Extension Award for his support and promotion of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H youth program.
(Distributed 11/12/10) CADE, La. – Karen Ainsworth of Houma was letting her horse munch on grass as a well-deserved reward for a satisfying day with the first LSU AgCenter Master Horseman trail ride.
(Distributed 11/23/10) Six 4-H’ers represented Louisiana at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 17-18, 2010, according to Theresia Lavergne, LSU AgCenter poultry specialist and leader of the 4-H poultry project.
(Distributed 11/04/10) A work of love to honor a Jackson Parish 4-H’er killed in an automobile accident was auctioned at the State Fair of Louisiana Junior Livestock Sale in Shreveport on Oct. 27. 4-H’er Tyler Wayne Ledford, 17, of Eros, was killed on July 31 in Marion. He was a senior at Quitman High School.
(Distributed 11/12/10) POLLOCK, La. -- The closing on 10.77 acres of land donated to the LSU AgCenter Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center by RoyOMartin is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18, at 10:30 a.m.
(Distributed 11/30/10) MANSURA, La. – The LSU AgCenter 4-H program helped students participate in a statewide robotics competition in New Orleans, and one of the teams received an award for its rookie performance.
(Distributed 11/11/10) START, La. – A panel of farmers practicing agritourism shared their successes at a natural resource enterprises workshop sponsored by the LSU AgCenter on Nov. 9 at Curry Farms near Rayville.
(Distributed 11/17/10) NEW ORLEANS – LSU AgCenter scientists have discovered fusarium wilt of Canary Island date palm trees in the city for the first time. The disease is previously known to occur in Florida, California and Nevada.
(Distributed 11/16/10) FRANKLINTON, La -- Improved forages, improved prices and improved management practices were three of the highlights at the LSU AgCenter diary field day on Nov. 11.