PrecipAre you interested in the Nevada Legislative sessions regarding the Mason Valley and Smith Valley groundwater limits October 5th and October 7th but cannot go to Carson City for up to four days for the hearings. Do you not have enough internet bandwidth or enough data on your personal internet to run streaming video for the live sessions for four days? The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Lyon County will be running the streaming video of these sessions in the conference room at 504 S. Main Street in Yerington on a 50-inch monitor for viewing. The room is reserved for this use October 5th through October 8th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for those who wish to attend. Please contact Marcia Moffitt if you plan to attend so that we can make accommodations to meet the response. Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance must contact Marcia at least three days prior to the first day of the sessions.

This will not be an interactive system but viewing only. Those wishing to give expert testimony or ask questions will still have to travel to Carson City. For more information and requirements regarding expert testimony please refer to the Mason Valley News article.

According to the Mason Valley News , you can to go the DWR website to obtain copies of the curtailment orders. You can contact Malcom Wilson of the Division Resources at 775 685-2806 for a copy of the Desert Research Institute model files or memorandum. More details regarding the curtailments are available in both news articles in the Mason Valley News.

This week, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program participants will be receiving canary melon cups and parsnip coins. If time allows, I will include some additional information about the fruits and vegetables that is for the adults that might be interested in these fruits and vegetables and read the blog. This can supplement your knowledge as the educator and maybe make it more interesting to you. The FFVP focuses on youth trying and eating fruits and vegetables without cooking or adding dressings or sauces, but I frequently have adults involved with the fruits and vegetable programs ask what else can be done with the things the kids are trying. Let me know what you think.

Canary melon is sweet and juicy with a creamy texture. These melons are at their best when they have a bright, smooth skin and is firm with a slight give when squeezed. Due to the naturally high sugar content, chucks will not completely freeze at typical freezer temperatures and are great for adding to smoothies or as a slushy treat. Canary melon is usually just eaten plain, but can be thinly sliced with other melons and dressed with a little balsamic vinegar, a sprinkling of mint leaves and goat cheese for an elegant salad.

Parsnips are a very versatile vegetable. A carrot texture combined with a sweeter, turnip flavor they are a great addition or substitute for any recipes that include carrot, potato, turnip or other root vegetables.  Roasting turnips will concentrate the natural sugar and give it a nice caramelized flavor. A quick search online will give you recipes for parsnip chips, mash, fries or salads that will add something different to your dinner routine. Look for firm, white roots. Flexible roots can often be crisped up by soaking in ice water for a few minutes. Smaller parsnips are sweeter, larger parsnips have a higher starch content and are more like potato. Parsnips do grow wild in North America, but do not pick and eat what you think is a wild parsnip, it might be poison hemlock and you will have just picked your last meal.

FFVP logoLyon County schools will again be participating in theUSDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program grant through USDA will begin receiving fresh fruits and vegetables from Bonaza Produce to try to encourage youth to eat more fruits and vegetables, expand the experience of trying new fruits and vegetables, and providing healthier food choices. Schools included in the program are: Yerington Elementary School, Dayton Elementary School, Sutro Elementary School, Fernley Elementary School, and Silver Stage Elementary School.

horiz.colorgrape-tomatoUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension supplies educational support for this program by creating fruits and vegetable flyers with information about the produce to be eaten that week. The flyers are prepared by Lyon County Extension Educator Joy Paterson and includes information about nutrition, history, horticulture, and fun or odd facts to engage the kids in learning about the food they eat to encourage them to try the produce that is presented. While only students at schools that qualified for the program will receive the fruits and vegetables at school, flyers will be posted to the fresh fruits and vegetable section of the Lyon County Cooperative Extension blog. Parents or teachers can use the flyers to create their own tastings or to discuss fruits and vegetables that the cafeteria served. Specific vegetable or fruit flyers can be requested and will be provided if previously prepared.

This weeks produce is grape tomatoes and honeydew. Have you tasted either of these? Have your kids? If you find these in the supermarket, pick them up and host your own tasting. Try it, you just might like it.

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Making jelly is fun!

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Pressure canning lid is locked into place

A two-part “Food Safety and Beginning Canning” class was taught by Lyon County Extension Educator Joy Paterson. The first part of the course consisted of a two hour long workshop where participants learned the biology of botulism, the science of food selection and preparation for use in canning and the basics of boiling water bath canning and pressure canning. Unsafe or untested methods of canning were briefly discussed with scientific discussion of why some methods are unsafe, unpredictable or untested using the latest information from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. During the workshop, participants checked canning jars for safety, handled various canning equipment and looked at canned jars of food. Participants were encouraged to bring their equipment to share with the course and for a safety evaluation of pressure canning equipment. Even veteran canners learned new information that will make grandma’s recipes safer and canning that produce faster.

Are you canning at the right pressure for you altitude?

Are you canning at the right pressure for you altitude?

Afternoon class cuts up garden vegetables for a quick canning pickle

Afternoon class cuts up garden vegetables for a quick canning pickle

Tomatoes are peeled, cored and placed in the cooking pot for a hot pack

Tomatoes are peeled, cored and placed in the cooking pot for a hot pack

During the hands-on portion held at Holy Family Catholic Church’s community center kitchen, participants canned using a hot pack and a cold pack method with both a pressure canner and boiling water bath equipment. Groups prepared jars, cleaned and prepared produce, followed recipes, filled jars, tightened lids and safely processed the food they prepared. The two groups cleaned, peeled and hot packed tomatoes. Green beans were cold packed and pressure canned by the first group. Jam recipes for blackberries and zinfandel grapes was demonstrated and participants processed the jars. Group two cold packed garden vegetable pickles. Jars of food prepared the day before were cleaned and checked for a proper seal. Information discussed in during the workshop were reinforced and everyone left feeling confident enough to can their own jars of treasure from the garden.

There is interest in a course that focuses on fall canning of fruits and fall garden produce, with potential dates in October. I would like to teach a canning class next summer in your part of the county. We need access to a commercial kitchen with 10-20 paid participants. Classes can be modified to what the group wants to learn. If you are interested in attending a future canning course or can assist in facilitating one, email, call or come by the Lyon County Cooperative Extension Office.

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Close-up of a yellow starthistle, showing the star-shaped spines around the base of the flower

Close-up of a yellow starthistle, showing the star-shaped spines around the base of the flower

Yellow starthistle is an annual plant with yellow flowers with long white spines covering the plant. Under a microscope, the surface of the plant also has thin curly hairs that cover the surface and cause a grey appearance to the stems and leaves. The plant can vary greatly in size from very short, 6 inches, to over 5 feet with stems that appear winged. It has a deep taproot and with many branched stems. Disturbance allows yellow starthistle to rapidly colonize areas. Once established, it is able to rapidly remove the moisture from the soil, preventing other plants from establishing. Ideal habitats are dry and sunny. Flowers are very productive, producing thousands of seeds per plant. Horses should not graze in areas where yellow starthistle is present. It can cause chewing disease, which is fatal for horses that eat the plant.

Side view of the flower head and stem, notice the winged appearance of the stem, long yellow spines and greyish appearance of the plant surface

Side view of the flower head and stem, notice the winged appearance of the stem, long yellow spines and greyish appearance of the plant surface

Distribution of yellow starthistle is broad across the United States. Spreading in our area of Nevada anecdotally follows primarily riverways and weed management work along the Carson river watershed in Carson County has focused on preventing spread further downstream. It has been reported 11 times in Lyon County by EDDMapSWEST and is currently unreported by the USDA PLANTS database. While these reports were in Southern Lyon county, it is likely to spread into Northern Lyon county via waterways or highways. It has been reported to infest between 10 and 15 million acres in California. The photos in this blog were taken in California, where I observed yellow starthistle infesting roadways, fields, irrigation ditches and encroaching into natural areas.

Yellow starthistle growing on dry roadside

Yellow starthistle growing on dry roadside

Management of yellow starthistle is most effective when weeds are managed prior to going to seed. Frequent scouting in areas of potential spread, repeated scouting in treated areas and removal of plants prior to seeding. Small patches are best handled with hand pulling ensuring that all flower heads are contained to prevent spread at the disposal location. Larger patches have a variety of control options, but without re-vegetation with desirable plants,  yellow starthistle can quickly re-establish. Prevention of establishment relies on effective reporting and treatment of infested areas. Email photos of suspected yellow starthistle for identification confirmation.