Q. I recently have a plant identified as creeping bellflower. It is pretty, but is spreading quickly. What can I do?
A. Creeping bellflower is appropriately named as it spreads easily. In some areas it is considered an invasive plant. If you do not want it taking over, then the first defense is to not plant any. Herbicides have only been mildly effective and can be tricky to use when the bellflower is close to other plants you want to keep.
The safest elimination is to dig down at least 6 inches and beyond the width of the plant to remove all roots.
Q. I have a chinchilla. Can I join 4-H and use my pet as a 4-H project?
A. Yes. 4-H offers a “cavies” project that includes chinchillas, which can be entered in the fair. The cavies can be found in the rabbit barn. A project guide for the cavies project can be downloaded at pubs.wsu.edu. Do you have a chinchilla and think you may be interested? Contact the Franklin County WSU Extension office and find a club near you.
Q. Do you have advice for keeping foods safe at a BBQ or picnic?
A. Warm summertime temperatures put foods at risk for causing food poisoning when they are served outdoors. Anytime the temperature is above 85 degrees, foods normally kept under refrigeration have a time limit of one hour. To help keep perishable foods such as pasta or potato salad cold, consider making a large ice bath for serving. Also, consider taking temperatures of perishable foods. At temperatures above 40 degrees, bacteria multiply. Another tip for help with food safety is to prepare salads and other dishes using pre-chilled ingredients, so they are already at a safe temperature before mixing.
Q. Please name some factors controlling perennial forage growth?
A. Some environmental factors include: day length (hours of light per day as well as intensity and wavelength of the light); air temperature (regulates the plants metabolism); soil temperature (works like a heat sink and lag behind air temperatures); water (required for photosynthesis to occur and also cools the plant); nutrients (required for plant growth and metabolism) and climate zones (including long-term weather of the growing season). All these come together to make a forage production or limit it.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.