Q. When is the best time to plant garlic?
A. Garlic should be planted in the fall a few weeks before the first hard frost.
Q. I have seen spring flowering bulbs for sale in the local big box stores and garden centers for the past month? I have not bought any yet. Is it too late to plant them now?
A. No, it is not too late. Bulbs are often offered for sale in our area too early for planting. It is best to wait until the weather cools a bit in the fall. Wait to plant bulbs until after the soil (at a depth of 6 inches) cools to a temperature of 55 to 60 degrees. This will happen when the average nighttime temperature is 50 degrees or below for about two weeks. Do not forget that you will need to water the bulbs to settle the soil. Periodic watering will also be needed to keep the soil moist enough during the moderate weather of fall months to promote root growth.
Q. I don’t have room on my property to have animals. Are there other things kids can do and learn about in 4-H?
A. Yes. 4-H is a positive youth development program built with different learning opportunities for all. Animal science projects are only a fraction of what 4-H has to offer. We have projects for engineering & technology, environmental stewardship, expressive arts, family and consumer sciences and social sciences. For more information, email Sarah Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-545-3511.
Q. What is the value of a hay test?
A. A hay test will give a good indication of the value of the feed to livestock. Near infrared spectroscopy (commonly referred to as NIR or NIRS) is the cheapest method to determine an index called Relative Feed Value or RFV. Hay with an RFV=100 has the nutrition equivalent of full bloom alfalfa. The United States Department of Agriculture has alfalfa hay broken down into these categories by RFV: Supreme >185, Premium 170-185, Good 150-170, Fair 130-150, Utility <130 and, in general, these levels help determine the price received for hay. These categories work well for dairy and beef cows. You want to select the hay that meets the nutritional requirements of the animal you’re feeding. Horses may get fat if you overfeed the nutrients required.
To submit a question for this column, please call the WSU Extension office in Kennewick at 509-735-3551.