Extension News from the West
Northwest growers can take an in-field look at Washington State University’s most promising crop varieties and management practices at 2016 summer crop tours.
In the tours, held in June and July, cereal breeders, Extension agronomists, plant pathologists, and other scientists guide visitors through a wide range of experimental plots, explaining strategies to improve production, solve pest problems and prepare for future challenges.
“Growers provide important support through their checkoff dollars for much of the research being shown at the various crop tours and field days, so they should come and see what they are supporting,” said Drew Lyon, WSU Endowed Chair in Small Grains Extension and Research, Weed Science. “These events also provide researchers with the opportunity to discuss their work with the people it is intended to help, and they enjoy the direct feedback they get from growers.”
For example, at the upcoming Dryland Research Station field day at Lind, WSU researchers will give updates on winter pea variety trials, winter triticale agronomy, and Russian thistle controls.
“We are very enthusiastic about the potential for winter pea in the lower rainfall areas, and as a much needed crop to have in rotation with winter wheat,” said Stephen Guy, WSU Extension agronomist. He and USDA-ARS legume breeder Rebecca McGee will feature the pea trials at the Wilke farm tour June 23.
Learn more and view location maps for the WSU Cereal Variety trials at http://variety.wsu.edu. Learn more about Small Grains research at WSU at http://smallgrains.wsu.edu. Prospective participants should check with the listed contacts prior to the tour to verify time, location and agenda, and ensure a place at the table if food is served.
Washington Grain Commission funds support the trials and the tours.
• Ritzville, 1 p.m. June 8. Contact Aaron Esser, (509) 659-3210
• WSU Weed Science Tour, Pullman, 1 p.m. June 8. Contact Drew Lyon, (509) 335-2961
• Western Whitman County at LaCrosse, 9:30 a.m. June 9. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
• Connell, 5 p.m. June 9. Contact Wayne Thompson, (509) 240-5018
• Pendleton Field Day, 7:30 a.m. June 14. Contact Mary Corp, (541) 278-4415
• Moro, Ore., 7:30 a.m. June 15. Contact Mary Corp, (541) 278-4415
• Harrington, 4 p.m. June 15. Contact Diana Roberts, (509) 477-2167
• Lind, 8:30 a.m. June 16. Contact Bill Schillinger, (509) 235-1933
• Diagnostic Clinic, Spillman Farm, Pullman, 8 a.m. June 17. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
• St. Andrews, 5 p.m. June 17. Contact Dale Whaley, (509) 745-8531
• Fairfield, 7 a.m. June 21. Contact Diana Roberts, (509) 477-2167
• Moses Lake irrigated tour, 8 a.m. June 22. Contact Andy McGuire, (509) 754-2011
• Almira, 3 p.m. June 22. Contact Diana Roberts, (509) 477-2167
• Cook Farm Field Day, Pullman, 8 a.m. June 22. Contact Dave Huggins, (509) 335-3379
• Reardan, 7 a.m. June 23. Contact Diana Roberts, (509) 477-2167
• Wilke Farm Tour, 9:30 a.m. June 23. Contact Aaron Esser, (509) 659-3210
• Walla Walla legume tour, 10 a.m. June 28. Contact Wayne Thompson, (509) 240-5018
• Walla Walla cereals tour, 3:30 p.m. June 28. Contact Wayne Thompson, (509) 240-5018
• Dayton cereal and legume tour, 8 a.m. June 29. Contact Paul Carter, (509) 382-4741
• Wheat College, Wilke Farm, Davenport, 9 a.m June 29. Contact Lori Williams, (509) 659-0610
• Mayview, 9 a.m. June 30. Contact Mark Heitstuman, (509) 243-2009
• Anatone, 3:30 p.m. June 30. Contact Mark Heitstuman, (509) 243-2009
• University of Idaho/Limagrain, 8:30 a.m. July 6. Contact Don Thill, (208) 885-6214
• Palouse, 9 a.m. July 11. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
• Bickleton, 3 p.m. July 12. Contact Ryan Higginbotham, (509) 335-1205
• Farmington, 8 a.m. July 13. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
• St. John, 10 a.m. July 14. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
• Lamont, 2:30 p.m. July 14. Contact Steve Van Vleet, (509) 397-6290
Research is the key component for the existence of the WSU Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center. But that isn’t limited to WSU research— scientists from other institutions contribute to bear research as well.Peeka rolls a steel puzzle box around, trying to get to the hidden apples inside.
Recently, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, a graduate student at Oakland University in Michigan, has been working with the bears on a behavioral flexibility study.
“We’re basically giving the bears a series of puzzles they have to solve,” Johnson-Ulrich said. “We time them to see how long it takes to get to the food, or see if they keep going to the same spot or learn that the food has been moved. We’ve got several tests for them.”
Johnson-Ulrich is part of a research team comparing the way carnivores and omnivores adapt to different situations. So far, the team has studied tigers, sun bears, lynx, and hyenas, among other animals.
At WSU, one of the puzzles involved putting a few apples, a favorite treat for the bears, into a metal box. Each side of the box requires a different method for getting the fruit out, including a swinging door, a sliding door, and a tray.Zoe Johnson-Ulrich and a WSU researcher roll the steel puzzle back into place.
“They do really well on these tests,” Johnson-Ulrich said. “They often try to use brute strength to get to the apples at first, but they figure it out pretty quickly.”
“We are very excited that our grizzly bears can contribute to a greater understanding of bear behavior and cognition,” said Monica Bando, the Bear Center manager. “Bears are widely recognized as a highly intelligent species and Zoe’s project aims to answer deeper questions about bear cognition.
“Her project simultaneously provides a unique and valuable form of enrichment and it’s fascinating to see how our bears use their brains—or brawn—to figure out how to solve these puzzles to obtain their apple rewards,” Bando added. “It’s a win-win project from our perspective.”
Learn more about WSU Bear Center research here.Peeka figures out one solution to getting her apples in the puzzle box.
Find out how WSU researcher Brandon Hopkins uses European bee stock, without importing any bees (which is illegal), to help bees. Check out the NWPR story: Beekeepers can’t change the winter, but they can change the bees. Read More Cosmic Crisp getting an out-of-this-world reception from apple growers, breeders
The Yakima Herald tells the story of how one good apple “is soaring in popularity a full four years before the first commercial crop is expected to hit the market.Read More After landslide, communities rewarded for resilience
Two years after the deadly landslide that devastated the Oso, Wash., area, the towns of Darrington and Arlington were announced April 27 as finalists in the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition.Read More Seniors envision healthier future for Puyallup Watershed
Landscape architecture students put their diverse education to work to design a healthier Puyallup River watershed Read More Pollination and Protecting Bees and Other Pollinators
Download this FREE Extension publication (pdf) designed to help home gardeners optimize pollination conditions to ensure maximum seed and fruit quantity and quality.Read More
Certification classes hosted for beginning farmers and ranchers in June and July
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program is offering certification classes this June and July for those who want to learn about meat harvesting and processing. Basics 1 and Basics 2 are hands-on classes, taught in partnership with the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, that teach skills in food safety and the slaughter and processing of livestock, and that provide insight into the processing and retail sales of meat in Nevada.
“This program is for beginning farmers and ranchers, agriculture producers involved in the meat industry, or others interested in where their meat comes from,” said Extension Educator Staci Emm, who helped coordinate the classes.
The first Basics 1 session is on July 7 and covers the basics of meat harvest (slaughter). The second Basics 1 session is on July 19 and covers processing (cutting). Participants will learn how to keep meat safe and sanitary for consumers, while maximizing the meat’s use and profit. Each session has its own certification, and though taking both is recommended, it is not required for certification. Both sessions are 6:30 a.m. — 1 p.m. at Wolf Pack Meats, 5895 Clean Water Way in Reno. Register for Basics 1 Slaughter at http://slaughter-july07-2016.eventbrite.com/, and for Basics 1 Processing at https://processing-july19-2016.eventbrite.com/. Each Basics 1 session costs $135.
Basics 2 is offered June 30 — July 1, and participants must attend both days. The June 30 session will take place at the University of Nevada, Reno Agriculture Experiment Station, 8311 Clean Water Way in Reno at 8 a.m. It will cover how packers make their money. Topics include the USDA Grade & Yield System; livestock evaluation; grade and yield; a live evaluation of cattle and ultrasound evaluation of cattle; business planning; enterprise budgets for Farm-to-Fork operation; marketing; and what restaurant owners, wholesalers and retail sellers are looking for in their meat.
The July 1 session will begin at 8 a.m. at Wolf Pack Meats and end at the University of Nevada, Reno Fleischmann Agriculture Building on campus, at Evans Avenue and East Ninth Street in the meat lab. The session will cover different cuts of meat, tenderness and packaging.
Register for Basics 2 online at https://basics2-june30andjuly1-2016.eventbrite.com/. The cost of the two-day workshop is $250.
“This series is especially for small-livestock producers to get them more familiar with the process of how to get their meat directly to the market,” said Extension Educator Steve Foster, who is teaching the series. “It’s for producers who want to know about processing and what the meat packers are looking for.”
Those attending are encouraged to preregister at the websites given above to ensure ample space and educational materials are available. Or, register by contacting Jessica Anderson, 775-945-3444, ext.12 or email@example.com. Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should call at least three days prior to the trainings they intend to attend.
The University began offering the courses in spring 2014. Since then, at least 90 producers have been certified, and demand for the trainings remains high.
The workshops are part of Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program that helps farmers and ranchers across the state develop agricultural entrepreneurship, implement sustainable agricultural marketing strategies and improve profitability. The program is in collaboration with the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; and is supported by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers free workshop at Research Center
Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on Saturday, June 18, for a one-day workshop on irrigation. The free, two-hour class, held at the Research Center and Demonstration Orchard, begins at 9 a.m.
With summer fast-approaching, it’s time to start thinking of our landscapes. As your plants grow, and your landscape changes, your irrigation needs change, too. No one type of irrigation is good for all plants. When you have a variety of plants in your landscape, you need a varied irrigation to accommodate those plants. Hintâ¦there is more than one type of drip irrigation.
If you’d like to have a better understanding of your irrigation system, or you want to make your system more efficient, then this workshop is for you. Proper irrigation can prevent water waste and help you save money.
ML Robinson, environmental horticulturist, will help you discover the right type of irrigation for your landscape. The workshop, will cover different types of irrigation and how they are best used so you can figure out what would work best in your landscape. Homeowners and other interested parties are welcome to attend.
The Research Center is located at 4600 Horse Road, North Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, contact the Research Center Technician at 702-786-4361.
This will be my last article for this paper. My schedule has become unmanageable, and sadly, I had to give up some of my writing. Since this is my final article, I thought it might be a good idea to highlight some of the points I made over the past four years.
It is possible to grow virtually anything in southern Nevada, if one is careful to provide plants with sufficient water and fertility as well as the proper environmental conditions. One way to determine what correct conditions might be is to look at where the plant evolved. Certainly one that originated in a tropical rain forest would have a different set of requirements from one that evolved in a desert.
In general, plants get their nutrients from the soil in which they are growing. It will probably not come as a surprise to hear that Mojave soils are notoriously infertile. For desert natives that evolved here, this is not a problem. They are generally slow growing and use soil nutrition very judiciously. In a home garden, they would need a small amount of soil improvement, but it would be unwise to add a large amount of fertilizer to these plants. Promoting fast growth could make them too tender to survive this stressful environment. On the other hand, a quick growing plant will suffer from nutrient deficiencies unless that soil receives a considerable amount of compost or other amendment.
Water is a critical issue in the desert, as we all know. Our lack of water is not necessarily the cause of all watering problems here. Many times a plant will suffer and appear dry when in fact the opposite is true. If there is poor drainage in the soil, the roots will be stuck in airless mud. They cannot take up water from it, and the result is plant death. If the plant has received irrigation but looks dry, check the soil drainage. Poor drainage is probably the main cause of landscape plant death. This poorly drained soil will often smell foul, like ammonia or even sewage.
Like many other things, finding garden problems early can prevent them from turning into disasters. When looking over the landscape, remember not only to look at the beautiful plants, but also examine their leaves (including the undersides!) and stems for signs of trouble. Insects like aphids and thrips can lurk in hidden places such as the junction where leaves meet stems.Some of the plants in our gardens can actually suffer from sunburn.
When this occurs on thin-barked trees like peaches and their cousins, it can create a highway for disease organisms. To limit the chances of this happening on your fruit trees, paint their trunks with a very dilute coat of white latex. Note that the paint must not be thicker than milk. This acts as a sunscreen for tender bark.
Thank you for your interest in gardening and in my columns. I will continue to be a faculty member of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, and welcome your questions. I can be reached via email or at 702-257-5581. You will find all of my previous four years of categorized articles on our website!
Twenty-three WSU faculty members, including four from CAHNRS, completed the Provost’s Leadership Academy this spring.
The semester-long training program, based on CAHNRS’ Tidal Leadership course, develops self-awareness and confidence, bringing faculty members in touch with WSU leaders and building knowledge of the university and its challenges. Exercises and discussions help participants discover their strengths and weaknesses and maximize their effectiveness. Cohesion grows at a January retreat, and each participant works on a leadership project.
Participants in 2016 included James Pru, Animal Sciences; Mark Lange, Biological Chemistry; Kate Evans, Horticulture; Elizabeth Soliday, Human Development; Tammy Barry, Psychology; Bob Mealey, Veterinary Medicine; Julie Postma and Catherine Van Son, Nursing; Glen Duncan, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology; Judi McDonald, Mathematics; Olusola Adesope and Tammy Crawford, Education; John Bishop and Donald Allison, Biological Sciences; Jennifer Schwartz, Sociology; Thabiti Lewis, English; Timothy VanReken, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Brady Washburn, ROTC; Luz Maria Gordillo, Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies; Jenny Kim, Hospitality Business Management; Haluk Resat, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Lynne Nelson, Veterinary Clinical Sciences.
The course is led by Mary Kay Patton, assistant director of the college’s Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership; CAHNRS Acting Dean and CTLL founding Director Kim Kidwell; Denise Yost, CTLL clinical assistant professor; and Kelly Ward, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Sport Studies, and Educational/Counseling Psychology in the College of Education. Jerman Rose, former special assistant to the Provost, helped with the academy prior to his leaving WSU.
Guest speakers included WSU Interim President Dan Bernardo, Interim Co-Provost Ron Mittelhammer, Chief University Budget Officer Joan King and Provost’s office Executive Director Don Holbrook.
Nominations for the 2017 cohort are due in October.
Learn more about the Provost’s Leadership Academy here:
Northwest dryland and irrigated growers, industry and faculty learned about new canola varieties, agronomy and technology in Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems-hosted field tours held in May in Douglas County, Odessa and Pomeroy, Wash.
At the Schibel farm southwest of Odessa, University of Idaho research scientist Jim Davis led the crowd through seven-foot tall winter canola to the UI variety trials, and presented on current varieties as well as other varieties in the breeding pipeline with higher yield potential and cold tolerance. Barring any major weather events, Davis estimated canola in the area will yield very well this year.
Ben Rathbone of Cascade Agronomics launched a drone with infrared cameras, and explained how results from petiole sampling, coupled with readings from the drone, guided micronutrient applications in Schibel’s canola. Cascade and Redox will continue their study through harvest to determine if the added nutrients result in improved yield.
At Odessa, researchers dicussed how and why to submit samples to the WSU Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic, and examples of recent potato, wheat, and alfalfa diagnoses; an intriguing account about horned larks destroying spring canola seedlings near Lind, and the battle to eradicate the birds.
Despite a windy and chilly morning, 60 attendees arrived at Brian Scoggin’s winter canola field near Pomeroy on May 19 to learn about canola production strategies, varieties, and best practices.
Frank Young, a USDA-ARS research agronomist based in Pullman, has conducted winter canola variety trials in the Pomeroy area for several years, and was fortunate to have representatives from three seed suppliers present to talk about their entries in the trial. Producers heard about new varieties available starting this fall, with higher yield and better tolerance to cold and heat stress.
Katie Reed, a representative of seed supplier Croplan, explained how tissue testing can be an excellent tool to detect nutrient deficiencies in canola, especially paired with soil testing.
Blackleg, a disease of canola, has been getting more attention in Washington recently due to a crucifer quarantine enacted in eastern Washington counties last year. Tim Paulitz, Pullman-based USDA-ARS plant pathologist, showed photos of symptoms, and emphasized the importance of buying seed that is certified blackleg-free and is treated with a fungicide to ensure the disease does not get established here.
Attendees were able to see stand establishment differences between spring canola that was drilled versus broadcast in nearby fields, and Beau Blachly, also of Croplan talked about advantages and disadvantages of each.
According to Steve Starr, a representative of Pacific Coast Canola, the canola and vegetable oil market outlook is “looking bullish at this point” due to world and local demand, and other market factors. Mike Stubbs, president of the Washington Oilseeds Commission, provided an update of recent activities and noted that Dr. Young’s variety trials were funded in part by assessment monies from the commission.
Douglas CountyFrank Young, USDA-ARS Pullman, speaks during the Douglas County tour.
The Douglas County canola tour had a new twist this year, featuring not only canola, but several other crops and cropping strategies including triticale, peas, sunflowers, cover cropping, blackleg management, and chemical fallow weed management.
Frank Young, USDA-ARS Pullman, is retiring this fall and was recognized for his dedicated efforts to promote canola production in the region for the last nine years.
The tour started at a canola field of Tom Poole’s; he has grown canola for a number of years, and is convinced that despite the challenges of learning about the crop, the benefits are far-reaching. Reduced weed and disease pressure in his winter wheat crop, and not relying only on the wheat market are just a few of the many benefits Poole noted. Sunflowers and triticale are new to Douglas Poole’s crop rotation this year, with triticale as a rotation crop and to rebuild residue after losing portions of fields to the Chelan complex fire last summer. He is also experimenting with cover crops to improve soil organic matter, soil microbal activity, and provide rotation benefits to the following winter wheat crop.
Dan Cavadini is using cover crop acreage for grazing his cattle and likes what he sees so far. Winter peas are another crop option in some of Douglas County, and Howard Nelson of Central Washington Grain Growers reported that winter wheat following a pea crop has a nitrogen source due to increased soil microbial activity during fallow.
The final stop on the tour included a demonstration of the Weed Seeker spot spray system and the potential it has to reduce total herbicide use. Ian Burke, WSU weed scientist, and a graduate student are exploring strategies to maximize weed control in chem fallow, particularly with weeds that are becoming glyphosate resistant.
Other information presented during the tour included updates from Jeff Schibel of the WA Oilseeds Commission, Rachel Bomberger from the WSU Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic, and Karen Sowers from WSU-WOCS.
The Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems project team would like to thank Jeff Schibel, Dennis Swinger, Ben Rathbone, Jim Davis, Rachel Bomberger, Karen Sowers, Bill Schillinger, Steve Starr, Brian Scoggin, Tom Poole, Douglas Poole, Aaron Viebrock, Dale Whaley, Frank Young and his crew from USDA-ARS/WSU, Beau Blachly, Katie Reed, Tim Paulitz, Mike Stubbs, the Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems Project, sponsors Cascade Agronomics and Redox Chemicals, lunch sponsors Croplan by Winfield, Pomeroy Grain Growers, WSU Douglas Co. Extension, and all who attended the tours.
Researchers in the Department of Human Development, Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership and the Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program have earned seed money for their projects building student success and meeting global challenges.CAHNRS seed grant recipients, from left, Mary Kay Patton, Elizabeth Soliday, Anand Jayakaran and Sara Waters.
On May 19, the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences received two WSU Grand Challenge Research Grants and one Student Success Seed Grant, out of 10 WSU projects selected.
Sponsored by the WSU Office of the Provost and the Office of Research, the seed grant competition generated 150 letters of intent and 41 full proposals. A total of $350,000 will be disbursed to fund Grand Challenges research projects, and $125,000 will go to fund Student Success projects.
Student Success Seed Grants enable faculty to develop projects to improve student retention and progress toward graduation. Grand Challenges Research Grants will jump-start projects focused on WSU’s Grand Challenges: Sustaining health; Sustainable resources; Opportunity and equity; Smart systems; and national security.
Student Success: Enhancing retention
Mary Kay Patton, assistant director of the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership (CTLL), and Elizabeth Soliday, associate professor in the Department of Human Development at WSU Vancouver, are joint principal investigators on “Extending an evidence-based retention-enhancing Human Development course across WSU campuses.”
HD205 is a communication and life skills course that increases self-management, interpersonal communication, and leadership skills, which students can apply beyond the classroom and into their personal and professional lives. Data from 2,329 students in three successive Pullman cohorts shows that those who took the course had an 8 percent higher retention rate. To help promote student success, the grant extends this course to Vancouver and Tri-Cities campuses.
Co-investigators include Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Vancouver, June Canty; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Tri-Cities, Kate McAteer; Laura Hill, chair of the Department of Human Development at Pullman; CAHNRS Acting Dean Kim Kidwell; Jane Lanigan, associate professor, Human Development, Vancouver; Anna Whitehall, clinical assistant professor, CTLL; Denise Yost, clinical assistant professor, CTLL; Robby Cooper, clinical assistant professor, CTLL.
Grand Challenges: Development, health and disease
Sara Waters, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development, is the lead principal investigator for “Developmental origins of health and disease: Identifying potential mechanisms for intergenerational transmission of risk and resilience.”
Waters’ project studies 100 pregnant women and their infants over the third trimester of pregnancy and first year of life, looking at maternal prenatal stress, physical health, and nutrition will be examined as predictors of infant physiological and behavioral stress responses. Results will enhance our basic understanding of intergenerational health risk, and help find ways to lower it.
Her co-investigators are Chris Connelly, assistant professor of kinesiology, College of Education; Maria Gartstein, professor of psychology, College of Arts and Sciences; Michelle Maguire, associate professor, School of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences; and Lucia Peixoto, associate professor in the College of Medicine.Green stormwater infrastructure, such as this rain garden, is the focus of one of CAHNRS’ Grand Challenge grants.
Grand Challenges: Green stormwater infrastructure
Anand Jayakaran, associate professor with the Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Unit, is lead principal investigator on “Optimizing GSI efficacy by integrating hydrologic, cultural, and socioeconomic elements in a watershed spanning the urban-agriculture continuum.”
The project looks at ways to optimize implementation of green stormwater infrastructure, while considering hydrology, economy, community perception, and socioeconomic vulnerability. The test watershed is a part of the Puyallup River valley that has experienced rapid land use change, and a growing population, much of which is socioeconomically vulnerable.
Jayakaran is joined by Joan Wu, professor, Biological Systems Engineering; Michael Brady, assistant professor, School of Economic Sciences; Michael Sánchez, assistant professor, School of Design and Construction; Jolie Kaytes, associate professor, School of Design and Construction; Danna Moore, senior research fellow, Social and Economic Sciences Research Center; Stephanie Hampton, professor, School of the Environment, Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach; John Stark, professor of entomology, director of the Washington Stormwater Center; and John Harrison, associate professor, School of the Environment.
Read more about the seed grants here.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers workshop July 16
Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on Saturday, July 16 for a workshop on Gardening in Small Places: the dirt on soil from 8 a.m. to noon.
If you’ve gardened in other parts of the country and then tried to garden here, you’ve noticed that the soil is different. Our Mojave soils are infertile, salty and alkaline — fine for desert natives — but not good for much else. If you’re curious about the soil in your yard, Angela O’Callaghan, social horticulturist, will help you analyze your soil. For this hands-on class all participants are asked to bring a bag of soil from their yard to test. Due to the hands-on nature of this class, class size is limited. Homeowners and other interested parties are welcome to attend.
Class space is limited to 15 and pre-registration is required. To register for the workshop held at the Lifelong Learning Center (8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev.), email or call Elaine Fagin at 702-257-5573. Register online at Eventbrite.com.
The next Gardening in Small Places workshop dates are Aug. 20, Landscape design; Sept. 10, Native plants; Oct. 22, Roses (new class); and Nov. 19, Growing fruit at home.
Cooperative Extension team recognized for work and impact in fire mitigation, prevention and education
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program team received the “Great Basin Fire Mitigation, Education and Prevention Award” at the Great Basin Fire Mitigation, Education and Prevention Conference held last month in Boise, Idaho.
“The Living With Fire team is an amazing group,” said State Fire Mitigation and Trespass Specialist Jennifer Myslivy, with the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. “They don’t just help people within Nevada — their work reaches all across the United States.”
Living With Fire Program Directors Sonya Sistare and Ed Smith, and Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator Elwood Miller were chosen by a panel with representatives from Nevada, Idaho and Utah. The Living With Fire team was selected based on their cooperation with communities and program partners, their community impact, their educational materials, and their overall interactions and approaches to spreading wildfire awareness and teaching homeowners how to live more safely with the threat of wildfire.
“Living With Fire has received other forms of recognition in the past, but this award is especially meaningful because it comes from our peers in wildfire mitigation education who understand the significance of the issue and the associated challenges,” said Smith.
The conference includes wildfire mitigation and prevention specialists from Nevada, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, eastern California and western Wyoming, with presenters from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, various State Divisions of Forestry and local fire services.
Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program is made possible through a unique partnership with the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information about Living With Fire, visit www.LivingWithFire.info, or contact University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-336-0271.
As summer approaches, we are preparing for the times of amazing heat in the Mojave Desert. We may complain about it, but this smallest and driest North American desert is our home. We have the means to survive temperature extremes, such as fresh water and air conditioning. Desert gardeners even make sure that their plants get shade and extra irrigation, when necessary.
It is also a time to protect the worms in our compost bins. If you have not yet discovered the great work that compost worms do, you should explore it. Their demands are small, and the rewards are large. Their castings are a fabulous source of plant nutrition.
Heat is good for them, up to a point. Compost worms thrive, eating their own weight daily when temperatures are somewhere between cool and warm, around 60°F to 90°F. As long as they remain moist, these “red wigglers” are as happy as worms can be. Worms breathe through their skin; if it becomes dry, they will die. Fortunately, if conditions are not too severe, eggs may survive and grow when the bin is rehydrated.
These are not night crawlers or bait worms. Compost worms (Eisenia foetida) do not live in soil; instead, they flourish in decaying organic matter. They need the rich waste that we otherwise discard. In order to remain healthy, they should be living in a container that has access to air. A tote box with Â¼” holes drilled into the sides makes a perfectly acceptable worm bin.
Because they are quick to decompose it, I use compost worms to digest household food waste, and a standard compost bin for garden debris like leaves and pruned branches. This keeps pest problems down. Another way to limit pests is to freeze food waste before placing it in the bin. Freezing kills most insect eggs that could be present, and since water expands when it freezes, it begins the breakdown process before the worms start eating. Of course, it is a good idea to thaw the “feedstock” so as not to shock them.
From fall through spring, worm bins can remain outdoors, although this may be risky. Those winter nights when temperatures drop into the 30s can kill them, so they do need protection. In general, a protected place like a garage is a better place to store them through most of the year. Summer, however, is a much greater threat, and even the heat in a garage can be excessive.
The contents of a worm bin can become well above 100°F, and do not necessarily cool as quickly as the air outside. This means that the worms have little chance of escaping a fatal situation. Many of our homes have a second bathroom, often with a bathtub or shower stall. Are you using it? This can be an ideal spot for a bin through the summer. Unless they are very understanding, however, you probably want to take the bin out of the shower if you are expecting overnight guests.
Email or call Angela O’Callaghan, Social Horticulture Specialist for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5581.
WSU students got a firsthand look in May at some of the biggest, most important clothing production and merchandising companies in China.
Associate Professor Ting Chi led eight undergraduates from the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles on a two-week trip to Shangai, Beijing and Xi’an that launched May 8.
China is the largest textile, apparel, and footwear supplier to the world and U.S. market, and the annual trip helps AMDT students understand the business practices that drive that dominance.
“The economic connection between the U.S. and China has never been so tight,” said Chi. “Understanding cross-cultural differences between China and the U.S. and learning business norms and practices in China have become imperative for any student who wants a successful career in the fashion industry.”
In Shanghai and Beijing, students visited major suppliers for companies like Target, Nordstrom, Speedo, Macy’s and Calvin Klein. They also visited a leading textile and apparel university in Shanghai, Donghua University, meeting students and faculty.
The trip also took in cultural attractions, including the ancient terracotta warriors site in Xian and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Most of the students in AMDT 439 had never traveled abroad before. Flying 12 hours across the Pacific was their first challenge.
“Seeing the students with smiles on their faces in the Shanghai International Airport was a relief for me,” said Chi. “They were very excited.”
Visiting China challenged students’ adaptability. Chi said they were open-minded, and quickly embraced Chinese norms and basic language. Even when tired after travel, they behaved professionally, answered questions and made their own observations. Each wrote in daily journals, and will turn in a final report on their experiences and new skills.
“Going to China has not only made me want to travel more and explore the globe, but has opened my mind to a greater worldview,” said student participant Ariana Paynter. “You can never truly understand a population and their behavior unless you study their culture and history. This experience has enhanced my soft skills by providing challenges such as language and societal barriers that I learned to navigate and problem solve.”
As the first person in her family to ever leave North America, “I feel that I traveled far enough to meet myself and learn so much outside the box,” said AMDT 439 student Yeseily Pruneda. “Every from being open-minded in a different culture, to trying new things and learning so much about China.”
“More students should gain this kind of experience,” says Chi.In the observation room atop Shangai’s Oriental Pearl TV Tower, from left are Yeseily Pruneda, Kaitlyn Jo Engle, Alison DePhillips, Ariana Paynter, Katie Rae, Tatiana Sweat, Graciela Vela AMDT students visit Mengdi Textile Group in Jiaxi city, Zhejiang Province—a leading textile and apparel manufacturer, supplying high quality wool products to L.L. Bean, Levis, Brooks Brothers, and many European brands. In Shanghai, students tour Jiangsu Lianfa Textile Co., a major supplier for brands like Calvin Klein, Speedo,
Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen and IZOD. Students show their Coug flag on Shanghai’s famous Bund waterfront, with views of Pudong’s skyscrapers. From left are Yeseily Pruneda, Tatiana Sweat, Nikki Norman, Ariana Paynter, Katie Rae, Alison DePhillips, Graciela Vela, Kaitlyn Jo Engle, and Associate Professor Ting Chi. Paynter, Engle, Rae, Vela and Pruneda enjoy a Chinese lunch AMDT students tour the Silk Road Museum in Xian. AMDT students in front of the Silk Road Museum in Xi’an. The museum curates thousands of years of China’s ancient culture. Alison DePhillips, Graciela Vela, Yeseily Pruneda, and Kaitlyn Jo Engle hold the WSu banner at the ancient Terracotta Warriors site in Xi’an. The AMDT group meets with college students at Donghua University in Shanghai, during the first leg of their trip. Ariana Paynter visits the 1300-year-old Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an. Alison Dephillips removes fibers from a silkworm cocoon to make a quilt at the Silk Road Museum in Xian. Alison Dephillips and Nikki Norman inspect a 3-D weaving machine at Donghua University, Shanghai. AMDT students bicycle in the city of Xi’an, one of the oldest, culturally richest cities in China.
Wildflowers attract quail and hummingbirds
What once was nothing but an area of half-dead trees is now a growing oasis of wildflowers that are attracting wildlife to the environmental grove at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB).
The grove is a community project that started roughly two years ago and is maintained by about eight Master Gardeners from Cooperative Extension according to Master Gardener Kimberly Williams, project chair.
“There’s not a lot of available water. So, we’ve been working with the civil engineering group and they’ve been slowly bringing water to the grove for us,” stated Williams. “When they started putting in the water system, that’s when all the wildflowers really started popping up.”
Since the system was put in place last summer, an array of wildflowers, that include Penstemon and Brittlebush, began growing from the seeds the Master Gardeners planted. However, flowers are not the only species making an appearance at the grove.
“We always had coyotes that live on the base but since the wildflowers started coming, we have two coveys of quail and now a bunch of hummingbirds,” said Williams.
Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau expects the environmental grove to blossom even more.
“What really gets me excited are the much more numerous seedlings that germinated all over this spring. There are seedlings of many varieties everywhere. The rains we enjoyed this spring should ensure their survival until this year’s monsoon rains,” said Lardeau.
“When a native seed germinates and grows in place, it is much more drought resistant since its tap root has not been disturbed. It should survive easily without irrigation in our desert climate. The abundance of seedlings I observed last month lead me to believe we shall enjoy a spectacular abundance of wildflowers in future years,” she added.
To celebrate Arbor Day, the Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Nellis AFB firemen participated in a joint clean-up day at the grove trimming trees, pulling weeds and raking the foot paths. To show appreciation for the Master Gardeners hard work, the base firemen threw a barbeque.
If you are interested in this Master Gardener project and would like more information about the environmental grove located at the Nellis AFB, email or call Ann Edmunds, Master Gardener Coordinator at 702-257-5587.
BY Dennis Farrell, Student Writer
RICHLAND, Wash. – The Washington State University Viticulture and Enology program, WSU Tri-Cities and the Auction of Washington Wines are partnering together for the second annual Wine and Jazz Festival, offering live music, wine tasting and the opportunity for attendees to help the Washington wine industry.
The festival starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, at the WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland. The event will feature jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa as headliner, along with two opening acts, food and wine tasting provided by 25 Washington wineries.
Proceeds from the Wine and Jazz Festival will benefit WSU V&E research. The research focuses on ensuring the Northwest region stays competitive in the national and global wine market, while providing sustainable growth in the industry. Research projects funded through Auction of Washington Wines also provide students with hands-on training, creating a workforce that can meet the growing needs of the grape and wine industry.
“We are excited to partner with WSU to bring this signature event to the Tri-Cities campus and anticipate the Wine and Jazz Festival will grow into a regional celebration of Washington wine,” said Sherri Swingle, executive director of Auction of Washington Wines. “The research being conducted by WSU’s V&E program is vital to the growth and success of our industry and will help propel us further onto the world stage.”
Kashiwa has released nine solo albums and two albums with his own group The Sax Pack. His new album, Let it Ride, features other great contemporary jazz musicians.
The festival is being sponsored by Toyota of Tri-Cities, Brightstar Entertainment, RBC Wealth Management, Russ Dean RV and SmoothJazz 102.3.
Attendees can select from several ticket packages: a $25 option for a concert ticket; an all inclusive food and wine tasting option for $85; or an all inclusive weekend package with additional features and hotel accommodations for two at $950. Tickets are available online at auctionofwashingtonwines.org
We have so many wonderful choices of landscape plants here in the Mojave. For those who are less interested in flowers than in fall foliage colors, Chinese pistache (âred push’) trees turn nearly as red as maples do in cooler climates.
Most of us are looking for blossoms, however. Despite myths to the contrary, it is possible to have flowers, or at least colors, through most of the year, without breaking our water budget. From the virtually thornless spring-blooming Lady Banks roses, to the reliable summer blooms of oleanders and lantanas, there are beautiful selections. Several rose varieties will bloom through the spring and even into the summer, until the temperatures rise to triple digits.
Many of our gardens and yards have at least one Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum spp.). Those that produce lavender flowers are the most common, but some cultivars have white blossoms, and others have blooms that are a deep purple. Each of these deserves more attention than they receive. There is also bush morning glory, which is a flowering extravaganza when it is at its best.
One group of hot weather plants that are not used nearly enough is the genus Cordia. These showy shrubs are an almost perfect addition to desert landscapes. There are about 300 different species of this beauty, some of which are native to the western hemisphere.
Two drought tolerant species that do well in Southern Nevada have deep green foliage and lovely white flowers. The leaves of either are interesting, soft and fuzzy when young, turning tougher and grey green when they are older. The one with larger leaves is Cordia boissieri, a native of southern Texas and central Mexico. Although it is not an olive, nor even a close relation, it is called Texas (or Mexican) olive, for the fruit that appears after the white funnel shaped flowers have been pollinated. These fruits are toxic to people when fresh. Birds, on the other hand, find them delicious, so it is probably best to leave the fruits to them.
Originating in Northwestern Mexico and central Baja California, the other species that thrives in our desert climate is Cordia parvifolia, little leaf cordia. Its fruits are inconspicuous, but the flowers are just as showy as its bigger-leaved cousin. It grows in a very airy form; looking almost as if it only has a small number of leaves. This is incorrect; the leaves are simply quite little.
Both are wonderful evergreen shrubs that grow well here, as long as they meet three conditions. First, like so many desert plants, they will not survive excess water. Do not surround one with high water use plants; you will kill it. Next, they thrive with a lot of sun, so place it in a very bright spot. Finally, they need protection from the cold. If temperatures drop into the mid 20’s, be prepared to see some branch dieback. This does not mean the plant is dead. As long as the root system is well established, it will return to life in the spring.
Email or call Angela O’Callaghan, Social Horticulture Specialist for Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5581.
Ryan Strom Pullman
Madison Lyons Fall 2015 – GRADUATE STUDENTS Allison Baker – Ph.D. in Food Science Assistant Professor Michelle Moyer, left, congratulates graduate student, Eric Gale during the WSU Tri-Cities Commencement Ceremony. Charles Diako – Ph.D. in Food Science
Kenneth McMahon – Ph.D. in Food Science Spring 2016 – UNDERGRADUATES Tri-Cities
Dave Balsz Director of the WSU V&E Program, Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling address graduates during Convocation. Pullman
Molly Warren Spring 2016 – GRADUATE STUDENTS Golnaz Badr – Ph.D. in Bio Ag Engineering
James Crabb – Ph.D. in Horticulture
Bhanu Priya Donda – Ph.D. in Plant Pathology
Eric Gale – MS in Horticulture
Joel Perez – MS in Horticulture