Q. I know Washington State University recommends fertilizing lawns in May and June, but it also recommends not fertilizing during a drought. Should I fertilize or should I not fertilize this month?
A. The best times to fertilize lawns in our region are Nov. 15, May 1, June 15 and Sept. 1, applying 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. However, if your lawn is under stress and not receiving adequate water, definitely do not fertilize. Water is needed to activate the fertilizer and move it into the root zone. If water is not available, the fertilizer is wasted and could burn the turf. If your lawn is showing signs of drought stress, don’t fertilize.
When and if moisture is available in the fall, apply fertilizer then. Skipping the June fertilization won’t greatly impact the health of your lawn. The September and November fertilizations are the most important ones of the year.
Q. What are thrips, and what does thrip damage look like in alfalfa?
A. Thrips are small, slender-bodied insects that cause crinkled or puckered leaves that occur from the feeding thrips. Thrips have two pairs of long, narrow wings. Feeding near the center of the leaf often causes the most distortion of the leaf and is apparent when you look at it. We are not aware of any research which show thrip damage to be of economic concern in alfalfa. To learn more about thrips and see what is typical damage in alfalfa, go to www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r1302011.html.
Q. Is it possible to have one of my favorite recipes evaluated for canning?
A. The first thing to understand is that canning recipes are developed for processing foods for shelf stability. The recipes you use on a daily basis for daily food preparation are developed for fresh eating. To be safe for canning, recipes must be tested and evaluated under laboratory conditions, to determine the heat processing requirements necessary for shelf stability.
Your best bet is to look through the approved canning recipes and find one close to the product you would like to process. When you open the jar, add your special ingredients to adjust the recipe to your taste. For tested canning recipes, go to www.homefoodpreservation.com.