Q. Is 16-16-16 a good fertilizer to use on my lawn?
A. No, because it is illegal in Washington to apply phosphorus (the second number in the ratio) unless a soil test show that your soil is phosphorus deficient. If a soil test indicates a deficiency, take the lab test results with you when you go to the garden store to ask for a lawn fertilizer containing phosphorous. However, 16-16-16 may legally be used as a garden fertilizer elsewhere in your yard.
Q. Is it true that black widow spiders eat their mate?
A. While it is true that black widow spiders are cannibals, they really only eat their mate when they mistake them for food. There are several insects that exhibit cannibalism of some sort. Researchers used to think that it was a sacrifice made to ensure a better survival for the young. But it seems to occur more when resources are limited or thought to be limited. In captivity, praying mantis are far more likely to eat their mate then they do in the wild. Black widow spiders get a bad reputation for being terrifying, but they are often non-aggressive and retreat from vibrations and disturbed areas.
Q. How long can foods in my refrigerator and freezer remain safe if my electricity goes off?
A. Fall and winter storms can cause the loss of household power. When the power is out, the foods in your refrigerator and freezer could become unsafe. The best way to prepare for this situation is to have a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. Keep the appliance doors closed as much as possible. Opening and closing doors will release cold air and reduce the safe storage time of perishable items. A fully stocked refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours. A freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours if half full or 48 hours if full. Once the power returns, check the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer. If foods in both appliances are still under 40 degrees, they are safe to keep and/or refreeze. If the foods are above 40 degrees, they should be discarded.
Q. When can I sign up my child to join a 4-H club?
A. The 4-H year starts on Oct. 1, so that’s the best time to get your child signed up. You can call the Franklin County WSU Extension Office at 545-3511 for more information about joining 4-H.
To submit a question, please call 509-735-3551.