Extension Viewpoints – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 14 Nov 2019 21:49:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Holiday dinner planning checklist http://www.pagosasun.com/holiday-dinner-planning-checklist/ Sat, 16 Nov 2019 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191315 Planning for your holiday dinner can alleviate stress and ensure you have everything you need to serve a wonderful holiday meal. Here is a checklist to help you plan, and guidelines for cooking a turkey that will be safe and delicious.
Two to three weeks before:
• Make your guest list and invite them.
• Plan your menu (keep the list handy so you can add or delete items).
• Decide how much food to buy for the number of guests being served.
• Order fresh meat. If buying a frozen turkey or other meat, make sure you have plenty of freezer space to store.
• If you are asking your guests for help, give them a heads up.
• Will they bring a side dish?
• Will they help set up and/or clean up (this is really a great job for spouses and kids; just let them know you need their help).
A few days before:
• Start defrosting frozen turkey in refrigerator (see the chart below).
• Make sure your shopping list is up to date and go shopping.
• Make pies and desserts (day before).
• Make other sides that will keep overnight (cranberry sauce is best when it has a few days to sit).
The morning of the dinner:
• Get the coffee going.
• Set the table, assemble dishes, platters and serving utensils.
• Prepare vegetables for the side dishes. Clean, peel and cover. Store in refrigerator or place on the stove so they are ready to start.
• Chill wine and other beverages.
• Check your menu to make sure you haven’t forgotten any dishes.
Hours before the dinner:
• Start cooking your turkey (see the chart below for cooking times, plan for 30 minutes after your turkey is cooked to carve and serve).
• Set out snacks and beverages for your guests — not too much so they don’t get full.
• Start cooking vegetables.
• Check the temperature of your turkey (see below for temperatures).
• Prepare gravy.
Dinnertime:
• Place food in serving dishes and take to dining table.
• Put wine and water on the table.
• Call guests to the table.
• Reflect on what you are thankful for.
• Enjoy an impressive holiday dinner with your guests.
Let’s talk turkey: A USDA consumer guide to safely roasting a turkey
Fresh or frozen?
Fresh turkeys
• Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
• Buy your turkey only one to two days before you plan to cook it. You may need to preorder your turkey; ask your market.
• Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
• Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.
Frozen turkeys
• Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
• Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
• Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however, cook within one year for best quality.
• See “Thawing your turkey” for thawing instructions.
Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys
The USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or state mark of inspection on the packaging. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions.
Do not thaw before cooking. Cook from the frozen state. Follow package directions for proper handling and cooking.
Allow 1 1/4 pounds of turkey per person.
Thawing your turkey
There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely — in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave oven.
In the refrigerator
In the refrigerator (40 degrees Fahrenheit or below). Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds:
• 4 to 12 pounds — one to three days.
• 12 to 16 pounds — three to four days.
• 16 to 20 pounds — four to five days.
• 20 to 24 pounds — five to six days.
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for one to two days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
In cold water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound:
• 4 to 12 pounds — two to six hours.
• 12 to 16 pounds — six to eight hours.
• 16 to 20 pounds — eight to 10 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours.
Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
In the microwave oven
• Check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound and power level to use for thawing.
• Remove all outside wrapping.
• Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak.
• Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave oven.
Reminder: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.
Roasting your turkey
• Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
• Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
• For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
• If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
• A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
• If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer.
• For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
• Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.
Timetables for turkey roasting: (325° F oven temperature)
Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.
Unstuffed:
• 4 to 8 pounds (breast) — 1 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours.
• 8 to 12 pounds — 2 3/4 to 3 hours.
• 12 to 14 pounds — 3 to 3 3/4 hours.
• 14 to 18 pounds — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours.
• 18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
Stuffed:
• 4 to 6 pounds (breast) — not usually applicable.
• 6 to 8 pounds (breast) — 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
• 8 to 12 pounds — 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
• 12 to 14 pounds — 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
• 14 to 18 pounds — 4 to 4 1/4 hours.
• 18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours.
• 20 to 24 pounds — 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours.
It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.
Optional cooking hints
• Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking. This is referred to as “akimbo.”
• Add one-half cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
• If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist and reduces oven splatter. To prevent overbrowning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
• If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 degrees F, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F throughout the product.
• If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.
Remember: Always wash hands, utensils, the sink and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.
Storing your leftovers
• Discard any turkey, stuffing and gravy left out at room temperature longer than two hours, or one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.
• Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
• Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days.
• If freezing leftovers, use within two to six months for best quality.
Reheating your turkey
Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated.
In the oven:
• Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
• Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
• To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.
In the microwave oven:
• Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time.
• Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.
• Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.
For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, (888) MPHotline [(888) 674-6854)].
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 to Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan.18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies. More information to come.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Researchers study earthworm diversity http://www.pagosasun.com/researchers-study-earthworm-diversity/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190743 By Mary Guiden
Special to The PREVIEW
Researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) are among 140 scientists across the globe who have compiled the largest earthworm dataset in the world, encompassing 6,928 sites in 57 countries.
The research team found that in any single location, there are typically more earthworms and more earthworm species in temperate regions than in the tropics. The scientists also found that global climate change could lead to significant shifts in earthworm communities worldwide, threatening the many functions they provide.
Results from the study, “Global distribution of earthworm diversity,” were published online Oct. 24 in Science. The research project known as sWorm was led by scientists from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and from Leipzig University in Germany.
Diana Wall, a co-author, soil ecologist and director of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, said that CSU scientists have studied earthworms and their ecosystem functions in different continents, so their data were important for the lead researchers to better understand earthworm biodiversity on a global scale.
The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative is a collaborative of scientists that inform the public and help shape environmental policy for the sustainability of soils. Wall, University Distinguished Professor, serves as the scientific chair of the initiative, which includes more than 4,000 researchers.
“People don’t know about global soil biodiversity, but they do know about earthworms and their great impact on ecosystems, so one of the questions we tackled was: How do you handle data ranging from museums to molecular data, not to mention all the taxonomic names that exist for earthworms?” she said.
Earthworms can be found in many ecosystems. Where the soil is not frozen, too wet, acidic or completely dry, earthworms substantially shape the way ecosystems function. They dig holes, mix soil components and eat organic debris. By doing so, they drive a wide range of ecosystem services, such as nutrient provision, freshwater supply, carbon storage, climate mitigation or seed dispersal. This is why earthworms are considered highly important “ecosystem engineers.”
This important role is also reflected by the large amount of biomass that accumulates in earthworms: the total earthworm biomass is often larger than that of all mammals living in the same area.
Helen Phillips, a researcher at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and Leipzig University and lead author of the study, said that until now, scientists had been unable to quantitatively investigate global patterns for earthworms, since there was no worldwide dataset. The results of this huge effort show that patterns of belowground biodiversity do not match those observed for organisms living aboveground.
Plant, insect or bird diversity increases from high to low latitudes, meaning that the number of species is highest in the tropics. For earthworms, however, the researchers found the opposite pattern. In fact, the highest local earthworm diversity was found in Europe, the northeast U.S. and New Zealand. Similar patterns were found for earthworm abundance and earthworm biomass.
Steve Fonte, assistant professor of agricultural systems science at CSU, provided earthworm data or connected the lead authors with former students in South America — including Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru — as well as California and Colorado in the U.S.
“We as scientists have been talking for a long time about the influence of earthworms, how they are distributed and where they’re important in the world,” he said. “The study gives us new revelations of where earthworms are important drivers of soil function.”
Andre Franco, a soil ecologist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology at CSU, said that he contributed data from his doctoral thesis at the University of São Paulo in Piracicaba, Brazil.
“This was brilliant work, and a heroic collaborative effort” on the part of lead authors Helen Phillips, Nico Eisenhauer and Erin Cameron, said Franco.
“Now, we can identify where these species are and where they are more vulnerable to changes in the climate,” he explained. “It also gives us the potential to see where earthworms are more threatened and more at risk of becoming endangered than in other places.”
Franco’s data, which looked at pastoral lands that were being used to produce sugar cane in Brazil, found a nearly 98 percent reduction in earthworm abundance with changes in land use.
“By losing those earthworms, we are losing the ecosystem services that they provide,” he said. “We are losing the structure of the soil, and the soil is less stable and more vulnerable to erosion. We are also losing carbon. If the earthworms are not there anymore, a lot of the carbon is lost to the atmosphere.”
Healthy Lands Workshop
The Healthy Lands from the Bottom Up Workshop will be on Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 to Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Have fun and stay safe on Halloween http://www.pagosasun.com/have-fun-and-stay-safe-on-halloween-2/ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=189863 Halloween is an exciting holiday for school-aged kids and many of us kids at heart. Children enjoy picking out their costume, making special treats, picking out a pumpkin, carving a jack-o’-lantern, attending Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.
When we wait all month for this special day to arrive, we want to make sure the festivities are fun for everyone involved. Having a safe Halloween will help make cherished memories for both you and your children.
Halloween is likely to rank high on most kids’ list of favorite holidays, but their anticipation and excitement can make them vulnerable to injuries and accidents during Halloween celebrations. Halloween-related incidents can involve a number of hazards, including burns from flammable costumes that come into contact with open flames (particularly candles used to illuminate jack-o’-lanterns); falls and abrasions from ill-fitting costumes, shoes and accessories; and fires caused by burning candles left unattended, near combustible decorations or knocked over by kids and pets.
The following safety precautions have been suggested by The American Academy of Pediatrics, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Fire Protection Association.
All dressed up
• Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes (including robes, capes and gowns) are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
• Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes, especially if colors are dark, for greater visibility at night by motorists.
• Be more visible by carrying candy in a white or brightly colored bag. Alternatively, put reflective tape on the bag.
• When making a costume at home, use fabrics that inherently are flame resistant, such as nylon and polyester.
• If a costume requires a mask or other face covering, you should be able to see clearly and breathe easily at all times. Unless the mask is clipped to your hair or costume, take it off when walking between houses.
• Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider nontoxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
• Read the packaging before using any makeup and follow the application instructions carefully. Be especially careful when applying makeup near eyes.
• Do not leave any makeup on overnight. Follow the removal instructions carefully and use the recommended products. Again, be careful when cleaning the area around eyes.
• Wigs and accessories should clearly indicate they are flame resistant. Make sure that scarves, sashes and hats are worn securely and do not block vision.
• If a sword, cane or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
• Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
• Teach children how to call 911 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
Jack-o’-lantern safety
• The safest jack-o’-lanterns are those with painted faces. Kids can use markers, paint and even glue-on embellishments to create a fun or scary pumpkin designs.
• Kids under the age of 14 should not do the actual carving or cutting. Have your child draw their design on the pumpkin, but let an adult carve it to avoid accidental lacerations and puncture wounds to the hands and fingers.
• Use special pumpkin carving tools instead of kitchen knives. Pumpkin carving kits are easy to find in most stores in the weeks before Halloween. These tools are usually smaller, less sharp and easier to control than a kitchen knife and less likely to cause a laceration or puncture wound. Make sure to use a well-lit, stable, dry surface to work on. Keep hands and tools clean and dry to minimize slips.
• Votive candles are the safest type of candle to use in a carved pumpkin.
• Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects and should never be left unattended.
• If you do put candles in pumpkins or paper bags, set them back from the walkway so that long costumes will not fall into the flames.
• Battery-operated flameless candles and other flameless lighting are safe alternatives to traditional candles. This reduces the chances of decorations catching fire.
Decorating a safe home
• To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and yard anything a child could trip over, such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
• Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
• To create a spooky atmosphere, use colored light bulbs or theatrical gels to change the color of your porch light. Do not use plastic wrap because it could melt or cause a fire. If you use cloth, do not drape it over the bulb and make sure that it is not touching the bulb at all.
• Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater. Also, keep pets and children away from candle lit jack-o’-lanterns or luminaries.
Trick-or-treating
• A parent or responsible adult should plan to accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Even if it is cold outside, do not be tempted to drive your child from house to house. The best safety measure is to walk with your child from house to house so that they are sure to be seen in the dark.
• Trick-or treating alone is not safe. If you allow an older child to go trick-or-treating with a group of friends, be sure to plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. Bring a cellphone, walkie-talkies, or pin your child’s name and telephone number in their pocket or on their costume in case someone should get hurt, lost or separated from the group.
• Encourage children to walk, not run; stay on sidewalks and driveways to avoid damaging plants or tripping over obstacles. Do not cut across yards or use alleys. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. Running or riding a bicycle while wearing a costume may be hazardous, so walk from house to house to prevent injuries.
• Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks, as available. Never cross between parked cars or out driveways. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters, so do not assume that a passing car will see you.
• Carry a flashlight so you can see where you are walking and so others can see you. Do not walk near luminaries or jack-o’-lanterns.
• Don’t try to pet dogs or cats, even if you know them. Friendly pets may not recognize you in your costume.
• Trick-or-treat in your own or a familiar neighborhood. Never go into a house or apartment unless your parents are with you. Avoid darkened houses; only visit those with a front porch light turned on. Never go into a stranger’s home. Accept treats at the door. Never accept treats from a stranger in a car or truck. Never get in a car with a stranger.
• Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
Happy and healthy
Halloween
• A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. Eating a small meal or sandwich can curb hunger and make children less likely to sample goodies before they have had time to let their parents check them over.
• If you are answering the door and giving out treats, offer non-candy substitutes such as prepackaged fruit snacks, pretzels or sealed boxes of raisins. Treats do not have to be edible — items such as pencils, coloring books, stickers or small toys add variety to a trick-or-treater’s haul.
• Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. Check wrappers carefully for signs of tampering such as discolorations, pinholes and small tears. Any opened packages and homemade food or candy should be thrown away.
• Try to ration sugary treats for the days following Halloween. Too much candy on Halloween night can mean a stomachache. Store candy out of sight and allow children to choose it as a dessert or an occasional snack.
From all of the staff at the Archuleta County Extension office and 4-H program, we wish everyone a fun, safe and happy Halloween.
Register your child for 4-H
The new 4-H year has begun, so don’t miss this opportunity to enroll your child in a youth development program that teaches life skills, community involvement, leadership and much more.
If your child is between the ages of 5 and 18, he/she is eligible to join over 150 youth throughout the county in this fun and educational program. If you are interested but need more information, call the CSU Extension office at 264-5931. Partial and full scholarships are available upon request.
Free wood chips available for pickup
We are cleaning up the fairgrounds and all of the wood chips that helped keep things dry during the fair are available to anyone for pickup. If you are interested, just bring your pickup and haul it away. There is no need to call the Extension office for permission.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Healthy Lands Workshop
There has been a date change for the Healthy Lands Workshop to Nov. 12. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.

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Archuleta County 4-H invites public to an open house http://www.pagosasun.com/archuleta-county-4-h-invites-public-to-an-open-house/ Mon, 21 Oct 2019 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=189094 By Becky Jacobson
SUN Columnist
Archuleta County 4-H will host an open house for the youth of Archuleta County. Come see what new and exciting opportunities await you at the local Extension office on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The CSU Extension office is located on the Archuleta County Fairgrounds at 344 U.S. 84.
If you are a young person ages 5-7, you can explore the world of the 4-Hs (head, heart, hand and health) as a Cloverbud. Older youth up to age 18 can learn valuable life skills, explore new subjects, travel and meet new people from across Colorado and the world as a 4-H member. Your local Extension office has much to offer you and your family, so mark your calendar for Oct. 23 to join us.
If you were one of the lucky people who had the opportunity to participate in 4-H in your youth, you might remember a program centered on rural ways of life, agriculture, ranching and home economics. Today, we are proud to teach from our core values, but we are so much more than cows and cooking.
If you’ve ever wondered what 4-H is all about or wanted to get acquainted with 4-H activities, this is your chance. We are kicking off our new 4-H year this October and are looking for new members and new volunteers.
Come to open house to learn about 4-H and discover all of the projects we will be offering members this year, including:
• Alpaca.
• Gardening.
• Cats.
• Sports fishing.
• Shooting sports.
• Photography.
• Scrapbooking.
• Home design.
• Vet science.
• Cake decorating.
• Beginning cooking.
• Clothing.
• Dog agility.
• Horse.
• Livestock.
• Model rocketry.
• Wildlife conservation.
Come out to the Archuleta County Extension office with your family and have some fun, enjoy hands-on activities, and visit with 4-H’ers and volunteers. Meet with our staff — 4-H Program Coordinator Becky Jacobson, Administrative Assistant Terry Schaaf and Extension Agent Robin Young — and tour the Extension office. Experience what makes 4-H and Extension programming valuable to your community and get involved.
For more information about the open house, call the Extension office at 264-5931.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County Office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 for Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Dial gauges should be checked for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause overprocessing. Pressure adjustments can be made if the gauge reads up to 2 pounds high or low. Gauges that differ by more than 2 pounds should be replaced.
Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gasket, safety plugs) for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.
Weighted gauges will either keep rocking gently or make a frequent jiggling noise to indicate that the correct pressure is being maintained. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to know how a particular weighted gauge should rock or jiggle. Weighted gauges do not require testing.
Shred Day
On Oct. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m., you can bring a maximum of three boxes to the old Hometown Market parking lot and support your local 4-H program. The cost is $5 per box. Protect your identity.
Healthy Lands Workshop
There has been a date change for the Healthy Lands Workshop to Nov. 12. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Learn to grow with Colorado Master Gardener Program http://www.pagosasun.com/learn-to-grow-with-colorado-master-gardener-program/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 11:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=179624 Gardening is a popular hobby and leisure activity that provides outdoor physical activity, contact with nature and sharing with others. For many gardeners, digging in the soil, pulling weeds and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables is comforting to the soul and makes the taste buds happy. Nurturing the plants can help you unwind and turn a stressful day into one that can be quite rewarding. Spending quality time in the garden allows the gardener a chance to slow down, be creative and enjoy simple pleasures.
If you have a love of gardening and would enjoy sharing your passion with others, perhaps you should begin thinking about becoming a Colorado Master Gardener. Those that have transplanted to the San Juan Mountains from the Front Range or other states might find gardening at 7,000 feet a challenge. It tests our gardening skills and sometimes tests our patience. Do not despair — the Master Gardener Program will help you gain the knowledge, skills and ideas necessary to turn your yard into a fantastic home garden.
To become a Master Gardener, your only prerequisite is to have a passion for gardening. The term “Master Gardener” does not mean that you have expertise in all subject matters related to gardening. The hands-on expertise comes from the 50-plus hour apprenticeship. The apprentice program furthers your knowledge with ongoing continuing education opportunities, information provided by Colorado State University (CSU) Extension and from the knowledge shared by other Master Gardeners. If you are interested in learning without the volunteer commitment, you can complete the program with a Colorado Gardener Certificate.
The Colorado Master Gardener program is specifically designed to use the services of trained volunteers who have horticultural knowledge gained through the program, and a willingness to share that knowledge with other county residents.
Many newcomers and inexperienced gardeners in Colorado are in great need of gardening advice. The Master Gardener training will give you the skills needed to diagnose and solve gardening problems and give you the confidence to share your expertise with others.
Master Gardeners provide the following types of services to Archuleta County:
• Answer gardening questions that come into the Extension office.
• Design programs related to gardening.
• Participate at the Archuleta County Fair and plant clinics.
• Demonstrate new gardening techniques.
• Help educate children about gardening.
• Participate in many other exciting community gardening projects.
There are plenty of opportunities to develop public speaking skills, interact with the public and develop areas of expertise. All of these activities are very rewarding and the feeling of accomplishment Master Gardener volunteers receive through the service they are providing is very gratifying.
The Master Gardener program and training is conducted by CSU Extension via distance technology and face-to-face. The Master Gardener training courses are taught by CSU Extension professionals and local experts. The program covers the challenges specific to gardening in southwestern Colorado. A sample of topics covered includes:
• Soils, fertilizers and soil amendments.
• How plants grow.
• Mountain gardening.
• Vegetables.
• The science of planting trees.
• Lawn care.
• Weed management.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. Cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available for the Apprentice Program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in the Archuleta, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15.
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team. Apply today.
Shred Day
On Oct. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m., you can bring a maximum of three boxes to the old Hometown Market parking lot and support your local 4-H program. The cost is $5 per box. Protect your identity.
4-H open house
There will be a 4-H open house at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the fairgrounds. Come see what 4-H is all about. Call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information.
Healthy Lands Workshop
There has been a date change for the Healthy Lands Workshop to Nov. 12. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.

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Getting your bees ready for winter http://www.pagosasun.com/getting-your-bees-ready-for-winter/ Sat, 05 Oct 2019 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=179168 By Lisa Jensen
Special to The PREVIEW
This time of year, you may be canning, pickling, freezing, putting up your crops in common storage and, of course, eating. Bears are in hyperphagia, eating and drinking nonstop in preparation for hibernation. Deer are munching their way through the forbs.
Like bears and deer, honey bees need to be healthy and strong, and have food stores so they can survive the cold winter.
Hopefully, your bees (and you) have had a good summer and you have healthy, strong hives. During the summer, a colony should reach over 40,000 bees by the time of major honeyflow. A hive scale is very helpful in estimating the number of bees: one deep frame covered with adult bees weighs about 1 pound and equals about 3,500 bees. Going into winter, the hive should have 20,000 to 30,000 bees, which is eight to 10 frames covered with bees on both sides.
During a honeyflow, bees are very active and you may observe much foraging activity. Minimize your time working the hives so as not to disrupt their activity and to avoid killing bees, especially the queen. Before and during a honeyflow, you may need to add supers to give the bees more room to store the nectar. Only add as many frames as the bees can fill, so that they fill one super before moving into the one above. Be sure to keep the queen out of the supers; one method to ensure the queen stays in the brood chamber is to use a queen excluder.
To prepare for winter, bees will hoard more nectar than they may need. If you have provided empty combs for them to store honey, you may end up with a surplus that you can harvest for your own use. Be sure, however, to only harvest the surplus and leave ample food reserves for the bees to get through the winter. In our climate, each colony needs about 90 to 120 pounds of surplus honey.
Besides having ample food stores, bees should be healthy going into winter. Once you have removed the supers and surplus honey, inspect your hives to make sure the bees are in good condition. This includes checking for mites and brood diseases and treating if necessary, checking winter stores and feeding if necessary, removing any honey supers you do not want the bees to move into over the winter, and requeening if necessary so the colony has a young, vigorous queen.
If your hives have a high population of varroa mites, be sure to treat early enough in the fall for the treatments to work before winter. You must remove the honey supers before doing so.
Bees survive the winter temperatures by forming a cluster (just as we may huddle together to stay warm). Bees will form a cluster when the air temperature is below 57 degrees Fahrenheit and most bees will have joined the cluster when the air temperatures are 43 to 46 degrees. Within the cluster, bees carry on their activities, eating, rearing brood and generating heat by “shivering.” While you want to protect the bees from cold winds, the hives still need ventilation as these activities generate water vapor.
Bees need a connective bridge from the main cluster to the food stores, so in the fall, they should have stored honey above the cluster. Feed your bees syrup while the days are still warm, so they have time to cure the stores before winter.
In preparation for winter, make sure your hives are protected from cold winds. Shrubs, fences or buildings may provide a windbreak, or you can construct a temporary one using a snow fence or slotted boards. Place weights on top of the hives so that the covers do not blow off or strap the tops onto the hive bodies. Be sure there is still adequate ventilation.
In midwinter, the queen will resume egg laying. At this time, the temperature of the cluster near the eggs and brood will be around 93 degrees. Bees may leave the hive on sunny days when the temperature reaches over 57 degrees to take cleansing flights, removing fecal matter from the hive.
Winter is a good time to clean and repair your equipment (in between skiing, of course) and to make plans for next spring.
Coffee with your
Extension agent
You can have coffee with your Extension agent, Robin Young, in Arboles on Oct. 5 at the Tara Community Center, 10 a.m. to noon.
4-H open house
There will be a 4-H open house at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the fairgrounds. Come see what 4-H is all about. Call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information.
Healthy Lands Workshop
There will be a Healthy Lands Workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.

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Foraging for edible weeds http://www.pagosasun.com/foraging-for-edible-weeds/ Mon, 30 Sep 2019 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=178701 By Ethan Proud
SUN Columnist
I frequently get asked about whether or not noxious weeds can be eaten, used medicinally or as herbs. The short answer is yes (poisonous plant extracts are often used in modern medicine), though it is not an effective management strategy.
However, if you want to forage and try some weeds, do not harvest them from the rights of way as they may have a chemical residue, do not trespass and, if you plan on harvesting from the National Forest, check with the local office regarding the legality of such activities.
Planting and intentionally cultivating noxious weeds is against state law. However, if you want to try to eat some of your garden invaders, many can be added to a salad and are quite palatable. Hoary cress is in the brassicaceae family (mustards such as cabbage, broccoli and kale are in this same family) and tastes like a cruciferous vegetable with a spicy flavor, but some literature indicates that it may be poisonous. Dandelion and chicory greens may be added to a salad, though the leaves of mature plants often taste bitter. Dandelion wine is fairly popular and may be a good use for all the yellow flowers that are competing with your lawn. Chicory root is also used as a coffee substitute, though it is bitter and doesn’t really taste like coffee.
Thistles are in the clade carduoideae and have a popular edible cousin, the artichoke. Some individuals eat thistle by peeling the skin off of the stem, though it seems labor-intensive and prickly for such a small morsel. Common mullein has also been used in teas for respiratory ailments, though its trichomes are a skin and mouth irritant and should not be eaten. Many noxious weeds also contain poisonous compounds or have highly poisonous look-alikes and foraging should only been done under the direction of an expert.
Many of our native plant species can also be great additions to a salad or a quick pick-me-up while hiking. The spurs of columbine contain nectar and are very sweet.
Misidentifying plants can lead to disastrous, if not fatal, repercussions. A native plant to this area, death camas, has an edible relative, blue camas, and smells and appears similar to a wild onion when not in bloom. It only takes three ounces of the bulb to kill an adult.
Foraging for wild foods is a great way to expand your palate and eat an “exotic” diet, but should not be undertaken without a reputable guide book and expert advice.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Electric cooker 101
Do you have an electric pressure cooker at home, but don’t know what to do with it? Are you thinking about buying one? Then come learn about how to use one and make fabulous meals.
The Extension office will be offering two classes on Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call the Extension office to register. Classes are $15 each. Child care will be offered for the 6 p.m. class only and supports 4-H.
4-H open house
There will be a 4-H open house at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the fairgrounds. Come see what 4-H is all about. Call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information.
Health Lands Workshop
There will be a Healthy Lands Workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Are you being bugged by flies? http://www.pagosasun.com/are-you-being-bugged-by-flies-2/ Sun, 22 Sep 2019 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=178233 Are you being bugged by flies?
This time of year is delightful for many reasons, but the number of nuisance flies in and around the home can be annoying. Several species of flies enter homes in Colorado and most are mere nuisance problems. Cluster flies and some other blow flies or face flies are found during fall and winter and they use homes for shelter from the cold, but they do not reproduce during this time.
Cluster flies
Cluster flies are, by far, the most common fly found in homes during the cool months. They can sometimes be serious nuisance problems, particularly in taller buildings, where they tend to concentrate on upper stories on the south and west sides. Cluster flies are moderate-sized, generally dark gray and are distinguishable by the presence of golden hairs on areas of the thorax.
Cluster flies are actually a type of blow fly, but have very different habits. They develop as parasites of earthworms and are not associated with garbage, animal wastes or other materials that provide breeding of the various “filth flies.” In spring and summer, the adult flies lay eggs in soil and the maggots move to and develop within earthworms.
Flies that are present in late summer seek winter shelter and they survive winters as a semi-dormant adult fly. They may be seen sunning themselves on sun-exposed sides of buildings during warm periods and later infiltrate cracks in the building. In the process of seeking sheltering sites within the building, they tend to migrate upwards and, thus, are found most abundantly in upper floors of buildings. During the cool season some flies may inadvertently become active and fly lazily within the living spaces. However, cluster flies do not feed or reproduce within buildings.
Picture-winged fly
The picture-winged fly is a common invader of homes in the fall. However, unlike cluster flies, they do not survive indoors through winter and usually die out by the end of November. The larvae develop on decaying organic matter.
Fly control
Screening and other exclusion techniques can be an important management tool for several types of indoor fly problems. Caulk or cover all openings into a home to prevent flies from entering. Do so before flies enter buildings. For example, cluster flies rarely are found indoors until late winter and spring, but typically enter buildings during late August and September.
Use insecticides only as a supplement to other controls. Serious problems exist with insecticide-resistant flies and many fly populations are now difficult to control with insecticides.
Spot treatments applied to areas of high fly activity are most efficient. For example, flies that tend to rest in dark corners can be controlled by applications to these areas. For cluster flies, treat upper stories of building exteriors immediately before the flies move indoors for overwintering. Permethrin is currently the most common insecticide used for fly control and is widely available.
Several types of traps for flies also are available and can supplement other controls. Fly paper and electrocution light traps can kill flies, but are effective only in areas where exclusion and sanitation efforts have already reduced the fly populations to low numbers.
For more information on specific fly species, their life cycles and management methods, visit the CSU Extension website at www.ext.colostate.edu and download Fact Sheet No. 5.502, “Flies in the Home,” written by W.S. Cranshaw and F. B. Peairs.
Electric cooker 101
Do you have a pressure cooker at home, but don’t know what to do with it? Are you thinking about buying one? Then come learn about how to use one and make fabulous meals.
The Extension office will be offering two classes on Oct. 2: at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call the Extension office to register. Classes are $15 each. Child care will be offered for the 6 p.m. class only and supports 4-H.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Noxious weed of the month: Russian knapweed http://www.pagosasun.com/noxious-weed-of-the-month-russian-knapweed/ Sun, 15 Sep 2019 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=177718 By Ethan Proud
Special to The SUN
Russian knapweed is a drought-hardy plant and is spreading from the Arboles area up into Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Lakes area. Two other knapweeds occur in Archuleta County, diffuse and spotted knapweed, which occur throughout the county, including Chromo.
Unlike its biennial counterparts, Russian knapweed is a perennial that spreads not only by seeds, but through its roots as well.
Due to its vigorous root system, it should not be pulled, though tilling can offer some control and mowing can be done every two to four weeks to exhaust the root reserve and prevent flowering and seed set. Both tillage and mowing need to be repeated frequently over a period of years to achieve adequate control. Russian knapweed chokes out native vegetation and forms a monoculture, which stops native plant establishment. Russian knapweed causes chewing disease in horses and has no cure. Herbicide treatments can be done at all life stages, but the label must be followed. Winter treatments can be effective if conditions permit applications.
Biological controls are available for Russian knapweed, but in order to be effective, competitive native species should be planted. Russian knapweed is allelopathic and secretes chemicals from its roots to inhibit the growth of other plants.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

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Growing garlic in the Colorado high country http://www.pagosasun.com/growing-garlic-in-the-colorado-high-country/ Mon, 09 Sep 2019 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=176886 Growing garlic is easy. I have been growing garlic in the Colorado high country for over 20 years and planting between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1 (and no later) gets me the biggest and best garlic bulbs the following summer.
Every gardener that I have talked to that has followed the Oct. 1 date to plant has had the best results. It’s a year-round process that starts with planting in the fall, harvesting some spring garlic, cutting and cooking the garlic scapes in the summer, then harvesting full-grown garlic in the later part of summer — and repeat.
There are basically two kinds of garlic: hardneck and softneck. The hardneck variety has bigger cloves, is spicier, but stores for a shorter time, about three to five months. The beautiful braids of garlic that you might see are softneck, which has smaller cloves, is milder and stores for about six to eight months.
Get your bulbs from a reliable source. Most independent garden centers will have garlic bulbs for sale in September. You can buy them online, but may not receive them to get them in the ground on time. Shop as soon as they come in to get the biggest and best bulbs. Don’t wait. They are expensive, but next year you will save some of your harvest to plant back in. You may have to visit several garden shops and hardware stores to get all that you need, but it is worth it.
Plant garlic by Oct. 1, but choose your site and get the soil ready now. It likes full sun, so choose a site that allows the ground to be fully exposed to sun throughout the winter. Our soils are full of clay and shale, so it’s best to add some organic material (mushroom compost, home compost, purchased garden soil) — anything to allow for good drainage.
Separate the cloves and organize them by size. The larger cloves can be harvested in the late summer for full garlic and the smaller cloves can be harvested in the spring for smaller bulbs. Leave garlic bulbs intact until you are ready to plant, then break into cloves. Leave paper coverings on cloves. Plant in rows, 4-6 inches apart. Plant with pointy end up, root plate down and cover with 2-4 inches of soil depending on bulb size and your elevation. Roots will grow before winter.
Heavily mulch with straw. A good 4-inch layer of straw mulch will help mitigate weeds and keep the soil temperatures even as well to avoid frost heaving. In the spring when scapes appear on your hardneck garlic, cut them off once they come up and bend before they straighten back up. Eat and enjoy them as they are a spring delicacy. Harvest when leaves are 50 percent brown and you have withheld water for about five days to allow papery covering to dry well.
If you are unsure that your garlic is ready, you can brush the soil away from one of the bulbs by hand to check the size and readiness of your bulbs. Use a spading fork to loosen the soil about 3 inches from the bulb and tip the bulbs up from underneath. Shake off soil and put in well ventilated, cool, dry place to cure for several weeks. After the bulbs have cured (have the papery cover), remove the brown foliage and cut the roots; use a soft brush if further cleaning is needed.
I recommend roasting your garlic to get the full, pure flavor. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and place in a shallow dish. Roast until golden and soft, about 45 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze out the garlic cloves and use on everything.
Upcoming event
Fermentation classes: There is one class left on Sept. 11 (dairy). The class is from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Extension Office and the cost is $25. Call 264-5931 to sign up.

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