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WSU extension Q&A: Oct. 30, 2010

Q. I heard that some weeds were becoming resistant to Round-up. Is this true?

A. Several years ago growers on the East Coast discovered weeds that didn't die after being sprayed with glysophate, the active ingredient in Round-up. Almost all insects and weeds have the potential to develop a resistance to pesticides. This is why we recommend using different pesticides with each spray (i.e rotate the active ingredients). Continually using the same insecticide or herbicide increases the likelihood that the pest will become "immune" to the toxin.

Q. What do I have to do to become a 4-H volunteer leader?

A. There are several steps to becoming a 4-H leader. First, a volunteer application must be filled out. The application is then sent to the Washington State Patrol for a criminal record clearance. Second, leaders must take new leader training sometime during their first 12 months of service. The flexible training series is held in the fall and spring to give volunteers several opportunities to attend. The training helps leaders gain vital information about organizing, using resources and learning materials, working with youth, and life skills teaching techniques.

Q. Do I really need to dig up my dahlias now that they've been killed back by a hard frost?

A. If you don't want to lose your dahlias, it's a good idea to dig up and store these tender tubers. Frost in the soil kills the tubers. Gardeners shouldn't gamble on a mild winter with no frost in the soil, especially if they have special dahlias they wouldn't want to lose. Some gardeners may get by with applying a 6-inch layer of mulch to insulate the tubers, but I wouldn't count on it protecting them from severe cold. In warmer climates (Zone 8 or higher), dahlias may be treated as perennials and left in the ground all year. Dig your dahlias soon after frost kills and blackens the top of the plant.

Q. I would like to make some pumpkin butter. Is there a process I can use so it can be stored at room temperature? Do you have directions for canned pumpkin butter?

A. Although there are recipes for canning pumpkin butter "floating around," it's important to recognize there are no recipes available that have been tested by either USDA or any of the national canning companies. It is not because they have not tried. There have been several attempts to develop a pumpkin butter recipe for canning. Unfortunately, the food scientists have found too much variability between batches prepared in the lab, even when using the same formulation. At this point in time, freezing your pumpkin is the safest option.

* Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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