Time to get the pressure gauge on your canner checked

When you plant your garden, it’s so easy to imagine all of the great-tasting, healthy food that will come from those tiny seeds and plants. You may be one of the people that grow not only enough to eat during the summer but extra so it can be preserved for cold winter nights. Now is a great time to make sure your canning gear is ready for production when your garden starts producing more than you can eat.  

The dial gauge on your canner should be tested every year to assure it is processing foods at the correct temperature. The dial gauge registers the pressure in the canner. The pressure is an indicator of the temperature of the inside of the canner. It is important for low acid foods to be processed at 240 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy the spores of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism.

Christian County University of Missouri Extension can check your pressure gauge in just a few minutes. This service is provided for free.  Come in to our office at 202 W. Elm St, in Ozark – across from the southwest corner of the Court House square.

If you are looking for information on how to preserve your fresh vegetables, University of Missouri Extension has up-to-date information on how to safely can foods. You can download them at Can Fresh Vegetables




Our Christian County Extension Office move to 202 W. Elm (in Ozark 2 doors down from previous) was March 7, 2019!!

"Pardon Our Mess" during the transition!



Soil Testing

Late winter and early spring is a great time to get your soil tested. Soil testing through University of Missouri Extension is a lab-analyzed, accurate reading of current soil conditions and helps you prepare for the upcoming growing season.  Bring your soil to the Christian County Extension Office to be tested to make sure you don't waste money by adding expensive, unnecessary amendments that can build up in soil to toxic levels or wash off into area waterways.  We can do soil testing for gardens, lawns, fields and commercial operations. Results are typically back to you in 10-14 business days. In most cases, gardens, lawns and fields should be tested every two years.

Relevant publications: Soil Testing for Lawns Soil Testing for PasturesSoil Testing for Hay Fields and Interpreting Soil Test Results

Collecting Soil for a Test

Three easy steps will make it possible to get an accurate soil test.

1. When taking the soil sample from the lawn, garden or field, remember to use a clean spade and clean pail.  Push the spade deep into the soil and throw out a space full of soil. Then cut a one-inch slice of soil from the back of the hole with the spade.  Be sure the slice goes 7 inches deep and is even in width and thickness.  Place this slice in the clean pail. 

2. Collect additional samples from six different spots in your lawn, garden, or field.  (Amount of samples needed depends on acreage – see instructions for details)  Mix the samples thoroughly; breaking any clumps.  Try not to include roots, thatch, or rocks in the sample.  Dry or damp soil is okay, but soggy soil should be allowed to air dry.

3. Seal one and a half cups of the mixture in a plastic bag.  Bring your sample to the Christian County Extension office.  The fee is $18 per sample – to cover laboratory and handling costs.

What You Get

The University of Missouri soil test will show pH and phosphorus levels, potassium, calcium, magnesium and organic matter and other elements that apply to your situation, and can be customized for different crops. All of these tested elements are important to the growth of turf grass and various garden and farm plants. The soil test report provides information on: soil test results and ratings;  recommendations on correcting nutrient deficiencies or imbalances; suggested fertilizer and limestone treatments for the lawn or field; and fertility management practices or concerns.  Each soil test done with the Extension office comes with individualized recommendations made by a trained and experienced specialist.

If you have questions about the results, there are Extension specialists who can answer questions about the soil test results free of charge. MU Extension trained Master Gardeners also provide informational assistance for lawn and gardening questions free of charge.


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Do you need an answer?

The faculty and staff of the Christian County Extension Office are available to assist you with research-based information on a variety of topics. If you can't find what you are looking for on our website, give us a call at 417-581-3558 or send an email to ChristianCo@missouri.edu.


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