Home & Garden

WSU Extension Q&A: Reasons to dry wet hay as quickly as possible

Q. What can you do after your hay has been rained on?

A. The answer is to "ted" the forage as soon as it begins to dry. A tedder uses moving forks to move and aerate, or fluff-up, the hay. Wet forage must be moved quickly. The open stubble surface and soil will be drier than where the wet windrow is. The hay will dry quicker if it is moved frequently. Some of the nutrients have been washed away, but you can still prevent blackening of the forage, mold formation and dusting of the hay.

The goal is to salvage what you can of hay quality. Doing nothing is a sure way to loose most of the quality, restrict regrowth and delay second cutting. Find more information at http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb1897/eb1897.pdf.

Q. I am a new 4-H leader. What are the self-determined projects listed in the 4-H project book?

A. They are projects that youth may be interested in and are not included in the project book. This allows youth the opportunity to explore most anything by setting goals, exploring and learning about this new project, and still having the opportunity to do it within 4-H.

Q. My grandmother always deadheaded her roses and other flowers. She said it made them bloom better. Is this true?

A. Yes. That is because by removing spent flowers, or deadheading, the plants will put their energy into new growth and more flower production instead of producing seeds and fruit. Deadheading is especially important for roses because it encourages a better second bloom. Also, many perennial flowers benefit from deadheading. This includes daylily, coreopsis, garden phlox, shasta daisy, coneflowers, salvia, penstemon, rudbeckia, delphinium and yarrow.

Certain annual flowers, such as zinnia, nasturtium, marigold, dahlia, geranium and snapdragon, will also perform better when spent flowers are removed. This is usually as simple as using your finger tips to pinch off blooms as soon as they've faded. Not only will deadheading result in more flowers, it gives the garden a neater, well-kept appearance.

Too lazy to deadhead? A number of modern hybrid annual flowers are "self-cleaning," meaning that the blooms easily fall from the plant when they fade. There are even some self-cleaning rose cultivars available.

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