WSU Extension Q&A

March 14, 2013 

Q. Last summer, all my grapes were sunburned on one side. What can I do?

A. Grapes need a balance of sun and shade. They are more prone to sunburn on the west side of the canopy when the sun is in the west and it is the heat of the day. On that side of the canopy, allow a fuller canopy by either not removing those leaves or training a few canes from the east side to the west side.

Q. I want to start some vegetable plants indoors. When is the right time to get started?

A. It is based on how long the seed takes to germinate, how fast the plant grows and the last average date of frost where they will be planted. Generally, you start cool season crops 10 weeks before the last average date of frost, the warm season crops seven weeks before the last frost and the vine crops four weeks before the last frost. Our average last date of frost in the spring in the Tri-Cities is May 1. In areas of higher elevation or away from the moderating effect of the Columbia River, the date is closer to May 15.

Q. I would like to check the accuracy of my food thermometer. What is the correct way to do this?

A. There are two temperature land marks that can help you determine if your thermometer is accurate. The first is a cup full of ice and water. The temperature of this mix will be 32 degrees. Ice water is a good standard reference if your thermometer can register temperatures that low. The other standard is boiling water. At sea level, the temperature of boiling water will be 212 degrees. Because the boiling point of water is lower at higher elevations, it’s important to know the altitude of your location when using this option.

Q. How much does it cost to join a 4-H club?

A. No costs are required to join 4-H. Sometimes an individual club may assess a small fee to seed their treasury for activities, manuals, insurance, special events, etc. However the club must ensure that the dues are never a barrier to joining. Members will have to purchase their own project manuals and materials. Each 4-H volunteer determines what his or her personal investment is, usually determined by the role and extent of the projects they have chosen.

--Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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