WSU Extension Q&A

January 31, 2013 

Q. My dad always planted peas on George Washington’s birthday. Is that a good time to plant peas?

A. That is very patriotic, and is a good time to plant peas in the Columbia Basin. Peas grow well in cool soils. Later plantings of peas (into April) should be fine too.

Q. My cattle have lice. What damage do they cause and how do I control them?

A. Lice are one of the most costly of the external parasites of cattle. They reduce feed conversion, cause weight losses, anemia and some deaths. For best control of cattle lice, use a product that removes all stages of lice with one treatment. It is necessary to follow all label directions because most products used for lice control are toxic substances.

Q. I’ve been looking over my new seed catalogs and have noted an increasing number of varieties listed as “open pollinated.” What does this mean?

A. Open-pollinated varieties are nonhybrids that are either self-pollinating or cross-pollinating. They have stable traits that make plants of that variety similar but not usually as uniform as plants from hybrid varieties. Varieties of the same type of cross-pollinating plants, winter squash for example, must be isolated from each other so they will come “true to type” if a gardener plans to save the seed.

Varieties of self-pollinating types of vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans and lettuce, don’t need to be isolated for seed saving purposes. Seed catalogs are offering an increasing number of heirloom vegetable and flower varieties that are open-pollinated and have been handed down from generation to generation.

Q. How do I determine if my backyard grape vine has winter injury?

A. Grapes have three buds inside the one that you see. One or all of these can be killed. Winter injury also can occur to the plant’s vascular system, which carries water and nutrients. You can assess damage by cutting a few buds and canes. For full instructions, go to http://pubs.wsu.edu and search for publication number EM042E.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 547-3511.

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