Q. Will a soil test help me grow better vegetables next year?
A. A soil test can be helpful if you’ve been experiencing problems in your garden. Kits can be bought at garden stores, through catalogs or online to test for basic soil nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), but generally are not accurate. Soil tests from laboratories are accurate but expensive ($50 each). In most cases, establishing good soil fertility in a garden does not require testing. If you have had problems, such as general chlorosis of leaf tissue or striping of yellow between leaf veins, you may have a nutrient deficiency. Placing compost in the garden will help enhance soil fertility and beneficial microbial activity. A triple sixteen fertilizer in the spring and some foliar feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the season is generally enough to produce a quality vegetable garden.
Q. Is there a resource that can assist me in what to spray for pests on alfalfa and other crops?
A. Each year, universities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho get together and publish recommendations for pest management on various crops. This handbook is not intended to be a complete guide to weed control or herbicide use, but the authors have assembled the most reliable information available to them at the time of publication. Because of constantly changing laws and regulations, authors can assume no liability for the recommendations and any use of a pesticide contrary to instructions on the printed label is illegal and not recommended. Before using any herbicide, read the label on the container.
Q. My husband and I often go out to dinner, then to a movie. Sometimes we take leftovers from the restaurant. How long are these leftovers safe?
A. In order to assure the safety of your food, leftovers from a restaurant must be refrigerated within two hours of service. Discard any perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, side dishes or casseroles, that have been without refrigeration longer than two hours; one hour at temperatures above 90 degrees. If your leftovers made it to the refrigerator within the suggested time limit, they will remain usable for three to four days.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.