Add some color to your living space with houseplants.

This fall, bring the outdoors inside with houseplants

Want to “green up” your living space? Plants can add warmth to any room in your home. If you don't have a green thumb, don't worry. A little attention to detail can help ensure that you pick a survivor.

“When picking out a houseplant, purchase hardy plants that were grown locally in a greenhouse for at least a couple of weeks,” said horticulturalist Mark Viette.

Many houseplants are tropical or from areas that rarely experience freezes, so they are well-suited for the indoors.

A few plants Viette recommends are alocasia and peace lilies, which have glossy leaves that need a lot of light and high humidity; cast iron plants and snake plants, which are hardy, easy-to-grow choices for low light; and ponytail palms, dracaena and corn plants, which are long-living and grow easily indoors.

Norfolk Island pines also make great indoor plants, Viette said. “They enjoy bright light and high humidity and should have nice, soft foliage. Avoid pines that are brittle, gray or have needles that fall off easily.”

Viette recommended trimming indoor plants regularly to allow new shoots to grow.

“Wherever the plants are pruned, they will send out new shoots,” he said.

When picking out a houseplant, purchase hardy plants that were grown locally in a greenhouse for at least a couple of weeks. (Click to Tweet)

The peanut has its roots in Southeast Virginia

The first commercial crop of peanuts in the United States was actually produced in 1842 in Southeast Virginia.

Most Virginia peanut farmers grow the Virginia-type peanut, which is known for its large kernels compared to the other types grown in the United States. The majority of Virginia-type peanut production in the United States takes place in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The larger Virginia kernels support various prominent industries. The in-shell peanut is sold in grocery stores and at sporting events. The shelled extra-large kernels are used as cocktail peanuts. The super extra-large kernels are used by gourmet processors to cook and package, usually in tins, for distribution.

The gourmet peanut industry is known worldwide for the tins of home-cooked Virginia peanuts, and that makes Virginia unique when compared to other states. There are about 40 of these companies in Virginia, with most located in the peanut-growing area.

Virginia-grown peanuts are produced in about eight counties in the southeastern part of the state, where sandy soils are conducive to their growth. They typically are planted in May and harvested at the end of September or first part of October.

Waldorf Salad with Peanuts

2 apples
½ cup raisins
½ cup celery
½ cup salted peanuts, chopped
mayonnaise, to taste

Toss ingredients. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
Serves 4

Source: Virginia Carolina Peanuts

Careful driving around large trucks means everyone arrives safely

U.S. truck drivers travel more than 430 billion miles each year. Their vehicles' size and handling characteristics require careful driving, not only by truckers but also by motorists around them.

That’s why it’s important to “Share the Road” when traveling the same routes as tractor trailers.

A Virginia Tech Transportation Research Institute study found that 78 percent of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles were caused by passenger vehicle drivers. Such crashes, and resulting injuries, fatalities and property loss occur due to a lack of awareness and understanding about the special considerations involved with driving a truck.

tractor trailer on the road

An 18-wheeler is a large, heavy vehicle that:

  • requires more turning space and a greater braking distance;
  • has larger blind spots that can hide even another truck from the driver’s view;
  • needs more space and distance to execute a merge or exit on the interstate;
  • has a higher center of gravity that makes it more susceptible to rollovers;
  • can drift backward as much as 15 feet before the forward gears engage when the truck is stopped on an upgrade; and
  • can gain speed when traveling on a downgrade, especially when carrying a full load.