Railroad weed war
"But make no mistake: the weeds will win; nature bats last" ~ Robert M. Pyle, lepidopterist and author (Photo by Debbie Johnson)

“But make no mistake: the weeds will win; nature bats last” ~ Robert M. Pyle, lepidopterist and author (Photo by Debbie Johnson)

Weeds, brush and overgrown trees aren’t just an eyesore for railroads. Out of control vegetation can reduce visibility for train operators and vehicles or pedestrians trying to cross the tracks.

Because this is a safety issue, railroad companies must keep weeds under control. That’s not as easy as it sounds and it can be pretty pricey. A weed scientist with the University of Missouri, works with railroads, testing experimental chemical mixtures and labeled products, searching for the most effective controls for the least amount of money.

 

 

Featured:

Reid Smeda, weed scientist for University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Shane Riley, maintenance engineer for the Columbia Terminal railroad, or COLT

Photo by Debbie Johnson

Photo by Debbie Johnson

Navigating health insurance terminology: Copayment
"A hospital should also have a recovery room adjoining the cashier's office" ~ author Francis O'Walsh

“A hospital should also have a recovery room adjoining the cashier’s office” ~ author Francis O’Walsh

Choosing the right health care plan can have a huge impact on our physical and financial health.  That’s why it’s important to understand terms, fees and out-of-pocket expenses when choosing group medical insurance.

Today’s guests are Brenda Procter, associate professor of personal finance for University of Missouri Extension and Graham McCaulley, an MU Extension personal financial planning specialist. The term for today is copayment.

 

 

 

More information can be found at University of Missouri Extension’s Health Insurance Initiative, Cover Missouri and Health Literacy Missouri

 

 

GPS Technology Helps Small Town Fire and Rescue Services

Frank Wideman, natural resource engineer for MU Extension (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

Many small towns rely on volunteer firefighters to protect and serve their community. But there’s problem. Volunteers may not know where all the fire hydrants are. Fredricktown, Missouri, found a way to correct that problem. They gave local Fredricktown Boy Scouts a project: Collect GPS coordinates on the 300 fire hydrants in town.

 

 

 

John Clark, Fredricktown Fire Chief, driving the fire engine. (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

Bill Starkey, Cherokee Pass Fire Chief (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

Bill Starkey, Cherokee Pass Fire Chief, driving the 4-wheeler used in search and rescue. (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

Fredricktown Boy Scouts collected GPS coordinates for the town's 300 hydrants (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

Fredricktown Boy Scouts collected GPS coordinates for the town’s 300 hydrants (Photo by Kent Faddis, MU Extension Communications)

From Seed to Harvest and Beyond: Garden Journal and Calendar

University of Missouri Extension offers a useful tool to help both new and experience gardeners create and maintain beautiful and productive gardens. The Garden Journal will help you keep track of everything in your garden. It explains hardiness zones, soil tests, monthly garden tips and tips for controlling pests and diseases.     Order: From…

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Diagnosing poor plant health
Many things can attack a plant causing it to decline (Photo by Jon Lamb - University of Missouri Extension Communications)

Many things can attack a plant causing it to decline (Photo by Jon Lamb – University of Missouri Extension Communications)

Indiscriminately spreading chemicals for ailing plants is a bad idea. Many things can cause problems for plants: insects, viruses, bacteria, fungi and even poor nutrition. You need to know what’s wrong before you can choose the correct treatment. For people in the Midwest, the University of Missouri’s Plant Diagnostic Clinic is a good place to get your plant problems diagnosed.

 

 

 

 

MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic

Patti Wallace, director of the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic, examines an ailing tomato plant (Photo by Jon Lamb, University of Missouri Extension Communications

Patti Wallace, director of the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic, examines an ailing tomato plant (Photo by Jon Lamb, University of Missouri Extension Communications

 

Sweater weather in July
July 2014 sets a record for cool temperatures (Graphic by Pat Guinan, climatologist for University of Missouri Extension's Commercial Agriculture Program)

July 2014 sets a record for cool temperatures (Graphic by Pat Guinan, climatologist for University of Missouri Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program)

If you thought July in Missouri was a bit on the cool side, you’re right. Shots of cool air from Canada brought the Show-Me State below normal temperatures for the month.

 

 

 

Missouri Climate Center

Beautiful bulbs – Heralds of spring need care and feeding
“She turned to the sunlight  And shook her yellow head,  And whispered to her neighbour:  "Winter is dead."  ~ A.A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”
~ A.A. Milne from “When We Were Very Young”

Nothing signals the end of winter like bright daffodils and colorful tulips. Spring flowering bulbs are easy to grow and always rewarding. To enjoy their early spring show you must plant these bulbs in the fall and care for them after they bloom.

Today’s guest is David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. He has some dos and don’ts for keeping daffodils, tulips and hyacinths happy and putting on a glorious spring show year-after-year.

 

 

Post-Flowering Care of Spring Bulbs

Spring Flowering Bulbs

"The tulips make we want to paint, Something about the way they drop Their petals on the tabletop And do not wilt so much as faint" ~ A. E. Stallings from him poem "Tulips" (Photo by John O'Neill)

“The tulips make we want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint”
~ A. E. Stallings from him poem “Tulips” (Photo by John O’Neill)

"Here hyacinths of heavenly blue Shook their rich tresses to the morn" ~ James Montgomery, British editor and poet from his poem "The Adventure of a Star." (Photo by John O'Neill

“Here hyacinths of heavenly blue
Shook their rich tresses to the morn”
~ James Montgomery, British editor and poet from his poem “The Adventure of a Star.” (Photo by John O’Neill)

Cash does grow on trees – Chestnuts are a lucrative crop for family farmers
Seed pods on chestnut trees grown at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, MO (photo by Kyle Spradley)

Seed pods on chestnut trees grown at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, MO (photo by CAFNR’s Kyle Spradley)

Finding alternative crops for small to medium size farms can be daunting. In the Midwest one crop is emerging as an option – Chinese chestnut. While chestnuts must have well-drained soil, it doesn’t take thousands of acres to be a big time producer. Fifty acres are enough to produce thousands of pounds of chestnuts.

It will take six to eight years before the trees will produce nuts, but chestnuts offer the perfect opportunity for alley cropping while you wait for them to mature. Food crops or forages are options.

The demand for chestnuts is on the rise and current producers can’t keep up, so growing chestnuts has real profit potential.

 

 

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Center for Agroforestry

MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center

 

 

 

 

No lamb for March – April showers are here
Tornado near Trenton, MO. Photo credit: Amy Madden

Tornado near Trenton, MO. Photo credit: Amy Madden

Nearly 31 days  of low temperatures in March saw a month that was more lion than lamb. There was even a temperature record set.

April is bringing somewhat milder temperatures, but is shaping-up to be stormier and wetter.

 

 

 

Missouri Climate Center

One wascally wabbit knew best
"Carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it's maaaaaaagic!" ~ Bugs Bunny (Photo from the National Garden Bureau)

“Carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it’s maaaaaaagic!” ~ Bugs Bunny (Photo from the National Garden Bureau)

Bugs Bunny was never seen without a carrot at hand. Could it be the nutritional boost he got from his favorite food that kept him one step ahead of Elmer Fudd?

You should consider growing carrots in your garden. Fresh-from-the-garden carrots are often the sweetest and tastiest.

Home grown carrots also offer a great teaching moment for children. Watch the look of awe and surprise from a young child when you pop a carrot out of the ground, rinse it off and hand it to them to eat. They’ll think you’ve discovered buried treasure, which of course you have.