Q. I enjoy making homemade jam. However, I really don't want to process all of my jams and jellies in a boiling water bath canner. Is there another option?
A. If you want to store your jams and jellies on the shelf, they need to be processed in the boiling water canner. If you are going to eat them quickly, store them in the refrigerator. For longer-term storage, it is also possible to store jams and jellies in the freezer. The gel will not be affected by the freezing process. Freezing also helps preserve the color and flavor. In some cases, freezing might be a better option than canning. A canned jam or jelly product keeps its top quality for three to six months. The frozen product will keep top quality for nine to 12 months.
Q. We are starting a new 4-H club. Can we choose any name we want for it?
A. Almost any name can be chosen, however, we do not duplicate club names. Also, the 4-H club name must abide by the nondiscrimination clause and values of the Washington State 4-H Program. Call the local Benton-Franklin 4-H Program to see if the name you're thinking of is already in use: 509-545-3511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Q. I would like to attract some beneficial insects to my garden. How would I go about doing that?
A. Adequate habitat is the most important factor, and plants that flower for a long period of time are excellent. Avoiding the use of insecticides is another key factor. Only use narrow-spectrum insecticides when needed, and apply only to plants infested with pest insects.
Q. Where can I get my soil tested in the Tri-Cities?
A. There are two soil testing labs that will do a test for home gardeners: Northwest Agricultural Consultants Inc. in Kennewick and US Ag Analytical Service in Pasco.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.