Q. I want to start a compost pile. What garden waste can I use?
A. All garden waste can go into a compost pile except for perennial weeds (such as field bindweed), weeds with seeds (such as prostrate spurge), diseased plants, and raw potato, onion and garlic waste. Garden waste will decompose faster if you chop it into smaller pieces. This can be accomplished by running over leaves and nonwoody waste with a rotary mower. Woody waste can be chopped with a chipper. You should also not compost cat litter, greasy food waste, dairy products, pet or human waste, meat scraps or wood ashes.
There will be a free composting workshop Oct. 11 at the Kennewick Mid-Columbia Library, 1620 S. Union St., Kennewick. For more details and to register, call 735-3551.
Q. What does phosphorus actually do in the plant?
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A. Phosphorus is a critical component of DNA in a plant, which regulates protein production, cell division and development of new tissue. Phosphorus is a component of the chemical compound that carries energy in the plant. Phosphorus fertilization in low-testing soils will enhance root growth, winter survival and tillering (multiple stems from one plant). Plants low in phosphorus may exhibit a reddish-purple color. Yield may be reduced without a change in color, and so soil testing is important to do, especially this time of year.
Q. Why don't the ears on my corn fill out all the way to the end? Only half of the cob is filled out on some of my corn.
A. The corn ears did not fill properly as a result of poor pollination. Pollen grains travel through individual silk tubes to individually pollinate each kernel of corn. If pollen does not travel down a silk, the kernel will not be formed. Corn is wind pollinated, so proper pollination and ear fill is best achieved when corn is planted in blocks of four or more rows instead of single rows.
Q. When can I sign up my child to join a 4-H club?
A. The 4-H year starts Oct. 1. For more information, call the Franklin County Washington State University 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.