Q. When I buy the pre-packaged bags of lettuce or other greens, do I need to wash those at home, or are they pre-washed?
A. If the packaged greens are labeled "ready to eat," "washed" or "triple washed," they do not need to be washed at home. The pre-washed greens have been through a cleaning process immediately before going into the bag. Re-washing and handling in the home can actually create an opportunity for re-contamination of the greens. When handling pre-washed greens, be sure you have clean hands, cutting boards and utensils.
Q. How should I time my last alfalfa harvest?
A. The goal in alfalfa and other perennials is to provide carbohydrate (energy) to maintain the plant through the winter and to start regrowth next spring. To accomplish that, ideally, you should stop harvesting by mid-September. Regrowth with a late cut (after mid-September) utilizes stored carbohydrate and frost will come before new carbohydrate will be stored.
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Carbohydrate storage increases with maturity which is also the reason that short harvest intervals are hard on stand longevity. You may cut alfalfa near a frost as little regrowth will occur and storage of carbohydrate is in the crown below cutting height.
Q. How do you tell when sweet corn is ripe?
A. Sweet corn is ripe when the grain is plump and the liquid within is a milky color. Sweet corn is under-ripe when the grain is small and the liquid within is watery. Once the grain begins to dent and the liquid within becomes doughlike, the corn is over-ripe.
Q. How old does a child have to be to join a 4-H club? My daughter is 6 years old and would like to go to 4-H with her older sister.
A. In order to join 4-H, we require that youth be at least 5 years old (as of Jan. 1) and in kindergarten. This is considered the "Primary" age division. At age 8 (as of Jan. 1) and in the third grade, then 4-H members are considered "Juniors" and they are able to show large livestock and compete in shooting sports. Primaries do not compete, but they do get to show and exhibit entries for the experience and knowledge gained. For more information, contact the WSU Franklin County Extension Office at 545-3511.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.