Q. I heard de-icing salt was bad for my plants. Is that true?
A. Any salt can affect the soil conditions and nutrient availability to the plants. De-icing salt has other chemicals that had been well documented to affect trees close to highways. There can be damage from salt build-up near the roots or by de-icing salt splashing onto green plant tissue. Symptoms are similar to other issues, but include brown necrotic leaves or tips of evergreen needles. Limiting the spread of de-icing salts near perennial plants is key to solving the problem.
Q. Why is planting vegetables into cool and wet soils not recommended?
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A. Planting into cool and wet soils increases the likelihood of adverse impacts on tender seedlings. Cool and wet soils cause slow germination and emergence, making young seedlings susceptible to soil-borne diseases, insects and bacteria. Warmer soils promote more rapid emergence and reduces the amount of time that negative organisms can attack seedlings.
Q. My child came home from school and was asking about whole grains. How do I know if a food is a whole grain?
A. Look for the word whole at the beginning of the ingredients list. Some whole grain ingredients include oats, wheat flour, corn, brown rice and rye. Foods that say multi-grain, 100 percent wheat, high fiber or are brown in color may not be a whole grain product.
Q. How are pasture rental rates calculated?
A. Fair and equitable pasture rental involves landowner and renter responsibilities, and should always be in written form between the parties. Pasture rental/lease rates can be calculated using a variety of formulas that can include the animal performance method, fee per head per month, fee per acre and Animal Unit Month (AUM) methods. Examples can be found in a Washington State University Extension fact sheet at https://pubs.wsu.edu.
Q: I have some meat in the freezer that has been there for more than a year. Is it still good?
A: With frozen foods, the recommended storage times are for quality only. Food in the freezer stays safe as long as the freezer is operating properly. A general guideline for frozen food is to use it within six months to one year. If you aren’t sure about a food, assess its quality after thawing. Some foods will develop a rancid odor when frozen too long and should be discarded.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.