Consider adding color to your garden this fall with mums
Spring is often thought of as the prettiest time of the year for flowers—but fall is full of beauties too, including the hardy chrysanthemum.
Fall-blooming mums can enliven autumn gardens with an array of pinks, apricots, reds, purples and yellows. These enduring plants are a delight both in the garden and as long-lasting cut flowers.
Mark Viette, a horticulturalist in Augusta County, warns shoppers to be aware that most mums purchased in the fall are not winter-hardy in colder regions. “It’s important to ask someone at a good garden center whether or not the mums they sell are winter-hardy,” he explained. “You may be able to tell by looking at the label. If it doesn’t give hardiness information, it probably isn’t a hardy variety.”
Another way to tell is to look for basal shoots, or stolons, at the base of the plant. “If you see these young shoots, then it is probably a hardier variety,” Viette added.
Hardy mums prefer full sun or light shade and well-drained soil. “Poorly drained, wet soil is fatal to these perennials, especially during the winter,” Viette explained. It is important to maintain 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the plants to protect the crown.
“If you can, it’s always best to plant mums early, before the first frost,” Viette suggested. “Keep them well watered after planting, and do not allow them to dry out!”
To keep the plants nice and compact with lots of blooms, shear or pinch them back by about one-third when they reach about 6 inches tall, and again when new growth reaches 3 to 5 inches. Do not pinch back after mid-July.
Once frost finally kills the last of the mums' blossoms, shear the flowers off, but allow the old foliage to remain over the winter to protect the crown. Cut this foliage back in the spring, being careful not to disturb any new growth.
What do these beef labeling terms mean?
Beef. It's What's for Dinner®. But, what kind of beef do you want to buy? Here's a rundown of the terms used on beef packaging labels.
Grain-finished indicates beef that comes from cattle that spend the majority of their lives eating grass or forage, then spend four to six months eating a diet of grains, hay or forage and other local ingredients; and may or may not have been given U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved antibiotics to treat, prevent or control disease, and/or growth-promoting hormones. Most U.S. beef cattle are raised this way.
Grass-finished or grass-fed describes beef from cattle that spend their whole lives eating grass or forage; may also eat grass, forage, hay or silage at a feedlot; and may or may not be given FDA-approved antibiotics to treat, prevent or control disease, and/or growth-promoting hormones.
Certified organic indicates beef from cattle that never receive any antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones; may be either grain- or grass-finished, as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service certifies the feed is 100% organically grown; and may spend time at a feedlot.
Naturally raised labels beef from cattle that never receive any antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones; may be either grain- or grass-finished; and may spend time at a feedlot.
It's still not too late for a backyard cookout! Try grilling up these flavorful, Greek-inspired hamburgers from the Virginia Beef Industry Council. They'll keep your party guests coming back for more.
Study finds adults don’t always wear rear safety belt
Adults have gotten the message that it’s safer for children to ride in the back seat properly restrained. But when it comes to their own safety, there’s a misperception that buckling up is optional.
Among adults who admit to not always wearing safety belts in the back seat, four out of five surveyed by the Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said short trips or traveling by taxi or ride-hailing services are times they don’t bother to use a seat belt.
“For most adults, it’s still as safe to ride in the back seat as the front seat, but not if you aren’t buckled up,” explained Jessica Jermakian, IIHS vice president for vehicle research and a coauthor of the study. “That applies to riding in an Uber, Lyft or other hired vehicle too.”
Of the 1,172 respondents who said they had ridden in the back seat of a vehicle in the past six months, 72% said they always wear their belts in the back seat, while 91% said they always wear their belts when seated in front.
Using a lap and shoulder belt can cut your risk of a fatal injury by 60% in a van, pickup truck or SUV and by 45% in a car, and it’s one of the simplest precautions a driver or passenger can take.