Q. I want to try growing hops, but when I try to order from mail-order seed companies, they say they can't or won't ship into Washington. What's the deal?
A. Washington, especially the Yakima Valley, is the major hop-growing region in the world, there are concerns about introducing hard-to-control hop diseases, including a verticillium wilt, a powdery mildew, and a variety of viruses into our state and threatening our hop industry. Dried hops are exempt from the quarantine.
Because other states can't easily ship hops plants, or rhizomes, into Washington, your best bet is to order from a company within Washington, such as Hops Direct (Puterbaugh Farms) at www.hopsdirect.com in Mabton. Their 2014 season for shipping hops starts in mid-February.
Q. When it is cold, windy or wet, does this change how much I need to feed my cows?
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A. Yes, depending on the weather conditions, you will need to alter the amount you feed your cows. In cold weather, you will have to feed more energy. For example, assuming your cows have a dry winter coat, they will need to be fed about 20 percent more energy at 10 degrees than they needed at 30 degrees. When feeding average hay at 10 degrees and minus 10 degrees, this would be about 4 pounds of hay per cow per day. If there is wind, rain or the cows' coats are wet, this also increases the amount of hay you will need to feed.
Q. How can I keep my baby's food safe? Do the same rules for food safety apply to baby food?
A. Guidelines for safe food handling are the same regardless of the age of the person. And in fact, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness because their immune systems are not developed enough to fight off infections.
When opening a jar of baby food, use a clean spoon to dish the portion of food from the container into a clean dish, and refrigerate the remaining food. Throw away any food that is not eaten. Avoid feeding your baby directly from the container or jar. If you do, any food that is left should be discarded.
Also, keep in mind the two-hour rule: If a container of food is opened, it should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. If you are traveling or out of the home for an extended period of time, unused food may need to be discarded.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.