Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle Plant

Musk Thistle, Carduus nutans, is a biennial, noxious weed that occurs throughout the United States. EDDmaps reports it in Lyon county, where I took these photos. A rosette forms in the first year and the second year the plant will bolt and form a flower heads. The plant is solitary and does not spread vegetatively. The stems and leaves have spines. The flowers are white to pink or purple with spine tipped bracts at the covering the receptical, or base, of the flower. The flower heads often “nod” with the stem bending and the head tilting over to one side. Carduus species can hybridize, so morphological characteristics vary.

Musk Thistle Flower

Musk Thistle Flower

Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle Rosette

Confirm your identification prior to treating an area. Native thistles can appear very similar to musk thistle, but pose no environmental or economic threat in agricultural, grazing or natural areas.

To control musk thistle, it is best to remove the plant in the first year, when it is a rosette and has not flowered. The tufted seeds spread easily with wind. Thistles only reproduces from seed, so mechanical control can be very effective. Mechanical control is most effective when the tap root is disturbed and destroyed. Once the plant goes to seed, the area will need to be monitored every year and any rosettes destroyed. Seeds readily germinate in disturbed soil, so plan mechanical controls in the spring prior to flowering from June to September.

Musk Thistle with "Nodding" Flower Heads

Musk Thistle with “Nodding” Flower Heads

Biological control agents have been released for this weed in Nevada, but are no longer available for distribution and release. If you have a large contiguous patch, where other controls are not an option, you can monitor for the biological control agents by looking for the larvae in the root crown or seed heads. The spines and the detestable flavor of the plant prevent grazing by most animals, so control by grazing is not effective.

This time of year, the plants will have already gone to seed. If you notice the remainder of the plants, mark the location and plan to revisit the area in the spring to scout for rosettes. Prevention of further establishment is key to preventing this noxious weed from causing economic or environmental harm.

By Kate Schnoor

IMG_3633 (1280x853)IMG_3624 (1280x853)The 2015 Lyon County Fair & Rodeo in conjunction with the Silver State Youth Livestock Show (SSYLS) came to a conclusion after a successful week. The Lyon County Fair is held the third weekend in August every year in Yerington, NV. The fair hosts a variety of events for the whole family, including; mutton busting, demolition derby, a pro rodeo, tractor pulls and of course the youth livestock show. Approximately100 4-H, FFA and Grange members from around northern Nevada attended this year’s show and sale. Exhibitors arrived Friday with their breeding and market animals, the species comprised of; chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, cattle and pigs. Exhibitors spent Saturday and Sunday showing their animals to the species specific judges. Market animals were judged on look, confirmation, market quality, potential meat quality, care and cleanliness. Breeding animals were judged on potential progeny, confirmation, breed specifics, gender specifics, and cleanliness. Youth also demonstrated their handling skills, care and knowledge in showmanship.
IMG_3632 (1280x853)The Silver State Livestock Sale takes place on Sunday following the breeding sheep show. Exhibitors lined up with their animals one last time to present them to hundreds of potential buyers. I can still remember this point of a show (from 6+ years ago now) and I remember how nervous, sad, happy and excited I was. The sale not only concluded the Silver State Youth Livestock Show, but also summer vacation.
I would like to thank all of our youth exhibitors, Advisors, Leaders, parents, sponsors and Fair Board Members. It was a pleasure to meet and work with all of you!

To find out more about 4-H programs in Lyon County:

Website: www.unce.unr.edu/4H/programs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lyon-County-NV-4-H

Or contact us directly at: 504 South Main St. Yerington, NV 89447, 775-463-6541

This week’s fruit is dragon fruit and the vegetable is watermelon radish. Both of these foods are very popular in Asia and can be found in Asian cuisines. Dragon fruit is the fruit of a cactus originally from Central America. The fruit can be bright yellow or magenta pink with fleshy “scales” that look like dragon scales. You prepare it by scooping out the white center that is full of little black seeds. The texture is similar to a kiwi with a neutral sweet flavor. It is often eaten fresh or sliced into a salad. There are many Asian deserts that use dragon fruit for sweetness and flavor. Look for fruits that are firm with few blemishes for the best flavor. Dragon fruit usually travels a long distance to reach your grocery store shelf and soft fruits will be over-ripe.

Watermelon radish is a variety of the large white diakon radish. It is usually sliced thin and served as a side or in a salad. You can make an a quick pickle with vinegar, sugar, a squeeze of lime and fish or soy sauce. Watermelon radish can also be shredded finely, blanched quickly in salted boiling water, then shocked in an ice bath for a cold vegetable side dish. The cold radishes can be dressed with a little sesame oil and fish sauce with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top. Do not let the sometimes ugly outside of this radish fool you. Underneath the whitish, green skin will be a mild flavored, beautifully colored radish. Choose radishes that are firm and crisp for the best flavor. Limp roots can be revived by a 5 minute soak in some ice water.

Let me know if you enjoyed this week’s information on these interesting fruits and vegetables. Remember to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. If you tried either of these, share your thoughts with the rest of the blog by commenting!