Q. What is the best kind of cutting board to use in my kitchen: plastic or wood?
A. Plastic, wood, marble or acrylic, from a safety standpoint, are fine as long as you follow a few guidelines. First, keep raw meats separate from any ready-to-eat foods. You can use two cutting boards, one for raw meat, poultry and seafood and another for ready-to-eat foods such as breads, fruits and vegetables. If you use the same cutting board, be sure and wash it thoroughly in hot, soapy water between foods. Discard cutting boards that are worn with cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars. If the cutting board will hold up to it, wash it in the dishwasher after use.
Q. I've heard several recommendations about when animals should be turned out onto irrigated pastures in the spring. What does WSU Extension recommend for the Tri-City area?
A. There isn't a set date, but rather a recommended height of the forage plants' top growth that signals when grazing should begin in the spring. The suggested height is 6 to 8 inches. Forage plants are weakened if they are grazed before they reach an adequate height. The top growth is necessary in order for the plant to restore the sugars and carbohydrates that are needed for regrowth.
To keep pastures healthy, rotational grazing should be used with adequate rest periods to allow for the regrowth. If over-grazed, the desired forage plants will become sparse and weeds or plants that tolerate close grazing, such as Kentucky bluegrass, will rapidly invade. The problems with bluegrass pastures are that they are not productive and have a shorter root system than most forage grass species. This makes them more sensitive to the hot summer temperatures in the Tri-City area.
Q. My child will soon be competing in her first 4-H horse show. How do I help her handle winning or losing?
A. The best way to approach competition for children, whether a 4-H leader, coach or parent, is to react to the child's good effort. Provide reinforcement immediately. Let the 4-H member know that you appreciate and value his or her efforts as much as you do results. Remember, whether youth show it or not, the positive things you say remain with them.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.