Q. Can you tell me how to freeze fresh asparagus?
A. Prepare asparagus by washing thoroughly and sorting into size by thickness. Snap-off or trim at least a half inch from the bottom of each spear — where the stem begins to toughen.
To freeze asparagus, cut into even lengths to fit containers. Blanch in boiling water, small spears for 2 minutes, medium spears 3 minutes, and large spears 4 minutes.
Reduce blanching time for shorter pieces. Cool promptly in ice water, drain and package in plastic freezer bags, freezer jars, plastic freezer boxes or vacuum package. No head space is necessary.
Spears of asparagus may also be individually frozen before being packaged; this prevents it from freezing as one mass.
In its fresh state, asparagus has a high water content. As it freezes, the water changes to ice crystals causing the cells to break down. As a result, frozen asparagus may seem less firm than other frozen vegetables.
Q. When should I start spraying for codling moth in my apple trees?
A. For backyard fruit trees it is a general rule to start spraying for codling moth on Mother’s Day. Then follow the label for reapplication, however, most of the products require a 7-10 day reapplication.
For ease around work schedules and to prevent severe infestation, it is recommended that reapplication occurs every seven days if labeled this way.
If you do not want to spray pesticides on your apples, then you can also thin your apples and tie a paper bag around each apple. Remove it near harvest and the apples will redden.
Q. In years two and three after establishment of alfalfa, what are the largest production costs per acre and what are some ideas for reducing costs?
A. The largest cost is land rental. The second largest is fertilization. One idea on reducing fertilization costs is to see if manure is locally available and push the pencil to see if that might be a good way to build up your phosphorus and potassium levels.
The third greatest expense is baling. Our figures showed that large square bales were $62 per acre ($7.75 a ton) cheaper to bale, hale and stack than two-tie bales.
Before switching you have to consider how much extra you are getting paid for small square bales and do you have enough acres to pay for buying a new large square baler.
Q. Who can get involved with YA4-H?
A. Youth Advocates for Health (YA4-H!) is open to teens ages 14-18 who want to learn about healthy and active living and then teach it to younger peers.
Families are encouraged to contact the WSU Extension office in Pasco at 509-545-3511, Ext. 6003, to find out about summer opportunities available in the Tri-Cities and Mid-Columbia region.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.