Don't guess. Soil tests save time and money. Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services. Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.
"We frequently get questions from customers like, 'I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?" Nathan said.
"Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements," she said. "They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or under application, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment."
Soil testing provides analysis of pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter percent, neutralizable acidity, cation exchange capacity and nutrient requirements. For information on test results, see MU publication G9112, Interpreting Missouri Soil Test Reports. Regional specialists also can assist you with additional information and recommendations. Soil testing can be done through the extension office. See Services for details.
Soil testing brochure (PDF)
Test pressure canner gauges now and get prepared for home canning
Spring is here, which means it is time to get canning supplies and equipment checked and ready to use. It is also a good time to brush up on safe canning techniques. Before using your pressure canner, be sure to get the dial gauge of your pressure canner tested. The spring in the dial gauge can get worn out or stuck, so it needs to be tested annually.
Any low acid foods, like vegetables, meats and some tomato products, need to be canned under pressure in order to reach the temperature required to destroy the disease-causing microorganisms that could be present.
If a pressure gauge is not accurate, it could create an environment inside the canning jar that is not only unsafe but is instead the perfect breeding ground for growing the pathogens. The contamination cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, so the only way to ensure that the food is safe is to preserve it in the correct way.
Pressure canner gauges can be tested at Camden County University of Missouri Extension at 44 Roofener Street, Camdenton. Cost is $1 per gauge. For more information call 573-346-2644.
Quality for keeps: Home food preservation
For more information
South Central Missouri 2013 Cattlemen's Tour
The South Central Missouri 2013 Cattlemen's Tour will be held on July 15 through July 18, 2013. The tour is sponsored by Maries and Dent County MU Extension. For more information, contact Ted Cunningham, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-729-3196.
South Central Missouri 2013 Cattlemen's Tour brochure (PDF)
Missouri State Fair
The Missouri State Fair will be held on Aug. 8 through Aug. 18 in Sedalia. For more information http://www.mostatefair.com/home