Q. I can’t seem to find a processing time for cauliflower, broccoli or zucchini? I would like to can these vegetables. Can you help?
A. There are some vegetables that do not have a research-based processing time. In most cases, there is no processing time, because given the amount of heat needed to make the food safe would result in such a poor quality product, no one would want to eat it. In the case of broccoli and cabbage, both are sulfur-containing vegetables, and smell and taste bad when overcooked. The canning process would create these conditions. For zucchini, the texture would be extremely poor. Each of these vegetables does have an option for pickling, which does allow for canning and shelf storage.
Q. What is agronomy?
A. Agronomy is the study of plants and soils for advancing production of major food crops. This includes studying: weed control (herbicides and other methods); soil fertility (mineral requirements of plants); soil ecology (how tilling and other factors affect the soil); soil microbiology (interactions of living organisms in the soil); soil physics (how things move in the soil); soil-water-plant interactions (use and movement of water); plant physiology (how an individual plant grows); crop ecology (how the plant community grows together); plant breeding (improving crops by crossing plants); genomics (the study of the DNA of plants); and cropping systems (how many different management techniques come together to be successful). If all that sounds interesting to you, consider applying to Washington State University and join us in the crop and soil sciences department.
Q. My family loved seeing all the 4-H animals and projects at the fair. How can I sign my child up for 4-H?
A. If you live in Benton or Franklin county, call the WSU Franklin County Extension Office in Pasco at 509-545-3511 and our 4-H faculty or staff will guide you through 4-H opportunities in your area.
Q. My green peppers have big brown spots on the bottom. What is causing this?
A. Two things could be responsible. If it is on the bottom, the most likely culprit is blossom end rot. This is caused by lack of calcium at the time of fruit formation. The other possible culprit is sunscald. Sunscald, as the name implies, is caused by intense sunlight on fruit where it is not shaded by foliage. Sunscald can be avoided or reduced by planting peppers in pairs or groups to increase more shading and less exposed fruit.
To submit a question for this column, please call the WSU Extension office in Kennewick at 509-735-3551.