Home & Garden

April 3, 2010: WSU extension Q&A

Q. I would like to try canning some pickled asparagus this year. What are some general guidelines for safety?

A. Vinegar is the key ingredient in a pickled asparagus recipe. There must be at least as much vinegar as water. If a recipe calls for less vinegar than water, increase the quantity of vinegar to equal the water. Any vinegar can be used as long as it is 5 percent acidity. White vinegar has a sharp, pungent taste. Cider vinegar has a more mellow taste but does not make as clear a brine as white vinegar. Sugar can be added to decrease the sour taste.

Q. Can I use insecticidal soap to control the codling moth on my apple tree?

A. No. Insecticidal soap works best as a contact pesticide, meaning you have to apply it to the insect. This is much easier on crawling insects like aphids rather than flying moths.

Q. I want to plant a tree in my yard. What is a good choice for this area?

A. It all depends on what sort of space you have available for your tree. You should consider a tree's mature height and width before selecting any tree for your yard. If you have plenty of space and want a large shade tree one of the red maples or red maple hybrids are a good choice, as well as red horsechestnut, sweet gum, red oak, little-leaf linden or river birch. Keep in mind that these trees reach a height of 50 feet or more and need plenty of space to grow. If there are utility wires above or if space is limited, you will want to consider smaller trees.

For a complete list of recommended trees, consult the tree list put together by local tree experts of the Mid-Columbia Community Forestry Council.

You can find it at: http://benton-franklin.wsu.edu/garden/extensionbulletins.htm.

Q. I'm a 4-H leader. If I wanted to do more hands-on learning in our 4-H club, how would I go about that?

A. Philosopher John Dewey, who was born in 1959 and died in 1952, gave an excellent description of the experiential learning process.

He wrote, "Experiential (hands-on) learning takes place when a person involved in an activity looks back and evaluates it, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity."

This approach allows youths to experience something with minimal guidance from an adult. Instead of being told the answers, learners are presented with a question, problem, situation or activity that they must make sense of themselves. Then the reflection process after the "doing" is what creates experiential learning. This processing requires assistance from an adult or leader.

* Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 509-735-3551 or Pasco at 509-545-3511.