Evening with Nature - March 10, 2015, Rolla Middle School, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Over 25 interactive booths for those curious about Missouri's outdoors. Featuring raptors from the World Bird Sanctuary. Free to the public.

Growing Green Seminar - March 21, 2015, Havener Center - Missouri University of Science and Technology, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Don't miss this upcoming gardening seminar that offers a wide variety of classes to chose from. There is something for everyone.

Extension to offer strength training class for seniors

The University of Missouri Extension is partnering with the Greentree Christian Church in Rolla to offer Stay Strong, Stay Healthy - a strength training program to help men and women increase strength, flexibility and balance. Participants are made to feel comfortable regardless of their current fitness level so they can safely participate and gradually build the strength beneficial for health. Building strength promotes quality of life and independence, especially for adults over 50.

The program will be offered at the Greentree Christian Church on Wednesdays, April 8 through June 17, 2015 from 10-11 a.m. Cost of the program is $35 with a $10 refund if you complete 10 exercise sessions and pre and post assessment. For more details about the program or to register, please call the Phelps County Extension office at 573-458-6260.

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.

Phelps County University of Missouri Extension can check your pressure gauge in just a few minutes. This service is provided for a fee of $1. The office is located on the west side of the courthouse. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

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 http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/hesguide/foodnut. The Quality for Keeps series is all about home food preservation.  

Soil testing

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 underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.” 

Soil testing can be done through the extension office. The cost is $15 per sample and mailed to the lab every Friday with a turn around time of about two weeks. Soil testing publications

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