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Live well utah FROM Utah State University Extension

How to

pick the best produce


your own garden boxes


your pest problems


Upcoming events mark your calendars

Utah Prepare Conference & Expo Saturday, April 13, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. South Towne Expo Center 9575 South State Street, Sandy, Utah

BABY ANIMAL DAYS Friday, May 10, 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. USU Botanical Center 875 South 50 West, Kaysville, Utah

4-h aggie adventureS FOR KIDS June through July Day camps for kids grades 1 - 8

publication TEAM Senior Editor: Mike Whitesides Editors: Donna Falkenborg and Lynnette Harris

Graphic Design and Layout: Logan Perez and Olivia Yeip Publication Advisor: Scott Boyer

Photo Credits: Logan Perez, Todd Reese,

Writer: Julene Reese Copyright 2013 Utah State University Extension

In This Issue 2 | Teaching Children to Garden Has Many Benefits


3 | Simple Steps to Build Your Own Garden Box 4 | Gardening is Homegrown Security 6 | Tips for Selecting Fresh Produce 8 | “A Guide to Common Gardening Questions” 9 | When the Lights Go Out 10 | Gardening Resources 12 | EFNEP Program Helps Improve Nutrition and Health

6 4 3

10 1 | Live Well Utah

Teaching Children to Garden Has Many Benefits Gardening with children is a perfect way to teach responsibility and ownership of a project and to help connect them with where their food comes from. In addition, research shows that kids are more likely to eat vegetables they help grow. That alone can make it worth the effort. USU Extension 4-H leaders have had great success teaching youth to garden using the Salad Table™ and Salad Box™, created at the University of Maryland. The two types of container gardens bring fresh, flavorful greens close to the back door and don’t require digging in the soil. “We did these because they are perfect for kids who may not have space for a garden,” said Stacey MacArthur, USU Extension assistant professor. “They can be placed on a porch or balcony of an apartment and are perfect for gardeners of any age, size and ability.”

Research shows that kids are more likely to eat vegetables they help grow.

2 | Live Well Utah

The basic steps

• Build a Salad TableTM or Salad BoxTM . Directions and plant recommendations are on the website referenced below.

• Water regularly to keep the growing medium moist. • Sprinkle with fertilizer after seedlings emerge. • Remove extra seedlings so that plants are 1 to 2 inches apart.

• Place it on a level, convenient spot.

• Harvest salad greens with scissors.

• Select the greens you want to grow.

• Plants will re-grow for a second cutting. After the second

• Fill the box with a growing medium.

cutting, remove the spent plants and sow another crop.

• Plant the seeds.

From the University of Maryland website at

The Salad TableTM is a shallow,

support. The table can be moved

The Salad BoxTM is a smaller

wooden frame with a large

to capture sunlight in spring and

version of the Salad TableTM and it

surface area and a mesh

fall and to avoid the sun and high

works especially well for children

bottom that allows water

heat of summer. The height makes

and those who have limited

to drain. Legs of any length

gardening comfortable at waist

growing spaces.

can be attached or it can be

level and helps avoid problems

set on a saw horse or other

with animals.

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Gardening is homegrown security Since the downturn in

time caring for the garden or

and European plums are often

the economy, many people

preserving food for future use.

self-fruitful. Japanese plums

have become more mindful

One thing my grandparents

and cherries generally are

of preparing for the future.

had in order to do this, that

not, but with some research,

One way to do this is through

most of us do not have today,

varieties can be found that

home gardening. Over the

is plenty of land. However, with

are. Apples are not self-fruitful

last few years, many garden

some creativity, much can still

with the exception of Golden

centers have seen an increased

be produced in today’s smaller

Delicious. Fortunately, there are

demand for food-producing


so many apple trees around that homeowners can often get away

plants as people have For those who want to grow

with planting just one in their

fruit trees, look for semi-dwarf

yard because it will be pollinated

Though it is more unusual now,

or dwarf varieties, Beddes said.

by a neighbor’s tree.

historically, raising a garden

In many instances, varieties

and livestock to meet a family’s

can be found that are self-

food needs was commonplace,

pollinating so that a second

said Taun Beddes, Utah

tree of the same species is

State University Extension

not needed. Peaches, apricots

begun gardening.

horticulturist for Cache County. “My grandmother’s vegetable garden was nearly a half-acre in size and she also grew fruit trees, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, currants and other crops,” he said. “For much of the year, she spent the bulk of her

4 | Live Well Utah

As far as vegetables are concerned, Beddes said cool season crops such as lettuce, radishes, peas, broccoli, onions, chard, cabbage and other cabbage-family crops can be planted outdoors in most areas of the state starting the first few weeks of April, especially with warmer weather. These can then be replaced, after they have been harvested, by warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers and squash after danger of frost has diminished. In late summer, cool season crops can be planted again for a fall harvest. For more information about when to plant, visit The information is primarily for the Wasatch Front but can easily be adjusted for other locations. Most county Extension offices offer free or low-cost food preservation classes on how to preserve and use the food so that gardeners can be efficient with what they have worked hard to grow. Local Extension office information is available at Otherwise, if gardeners have extra, many local food banks accept fresh produce donations. Extra produce can also be composted to improve the soil for next year.

5 | Live 5 | Well Live Utah Well Utah

Tips for selecting fresh produce






Choose plump tomatoes with smooth skins that are free from bruises, cracks or blemishes. Depending on the variety, ripe tomatoes should be completely red or reddish-orange.

Look for fruit free of blemishes and breaks in the skin since these can bring on spoilage and decay. For optimal quality, purchase apples in season. Most ripen in September and October, so if you buy them during the summer, chances are they are last year’s stock. While they will be edible, they will not be as crisp and may be better cooked than fresh.

For best quality, select bananas that are evenly colored, are slightly green at the tips and are free of bruises and soft brown spots.

Select round, well-shaped fruit free of bruising or discoloration. It is okay if there is a “bleached” side. Look for fruit with evenly distributed, corky “netting,” which will be buff or light tan on either a green, yellow or grey background. Look for a clean, smooth break at the stem. It should be slightly soft to the touch but not spongy.

When selecting corn, look for green husks that are tight and fresh looking. Pull the husk open to make sure the ear contains tightly packed rows of plump kernels. If you pinch a kernel of corn, milky juice should squirt out.

6 | Live Well Utah

For more information on these produce varieties and more, please visit





Select grapefruits that are heavy for their size and are free of squishy brown spots. Avoid those with dull or wrinkled skin. Make sure the poles (sides of the grapefruit with the holes) are flat. White, Pink/Red and Star Ruby/Rio Red are the three major varieties. All are similar in taste, but pink and red grapefruits contain the highest vitamin amounts.

Select mushrooms that look firm, moisture-free (but not dry), have unblemished caps and are free of mold. For best results, place purchased loose mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator, as airtight plastic bags tend to retain moisture and will accelerate spoilage. Properly stored mushrooms will last for about 5 days.

When selecting fresh potatoes, select smooth, firm potatoes free of soft or green spots. Varieties include white, yellow, purple and red. Each variety may have a slightly different flavor or texture, but can be used interchangeably.

For best quality, select peaches that are firm to slightly soft and free from bruises. The best sign of ripeness is a creamy or golden undertone, called “ground color.� Fresh peach fragrance also indicates ripeness. Avoid peaches with a green ground color, as they lack flavor and usually shrivel and become tough rather than ripen. 7 | Live Well Utah


“A Guide to Common Gardening Questions�


Wormy apples and pears are caused by the codling moth larvae.


Pears (other than Asian) do not ripen properly on the tree. Harvest

They feed in fruit, usually near the core. Fruit

while fruit is still firm, fully sized and has

must be protected to harvest a quality crop.

started to color. Fruit that is ready to be picked

Insecticides are the main control tactic, and

will easily separate from the branch when

correct timing is essential.

lifted and twisted. Creamy white inside flesh


and dark brown seeds indicate maturity. After picking, let fruit ripen in a cool place.

Winter squash and pumpkins

take 45-55 days to mature from

flowering. Harvest before a heavy frost, when

fruit is fully colored and vines begin to die

back. Mature fruits are harvested with the

stem attached.


Blossom-end rot is occurring in tomatoes or peppers when a

leathery tan, brown or black spot appears on the blossom end. Ensure uniform soil moisture

in the root zone by monitoring water. Mulch

plants to help conserve soil moisture. Fertilize with moderation. Give additional water to plants during excessive heat.

Now available for purchase for $14 at

8 | Live Well Utah

When the Lights go out! By Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension family and consumer sciences agent

Losing power is likely the most common and widespread emergency Utahns will face. Weather-related power outages are the most common. Keep these things in mind:

• Call the utility company to report a power outage and ask

about the estimated time of restoration.

• Dress to stay warm in cold weather. If necessary wear coats,

hats and gloves indoors.

• Avoid opening your refrigerator.

• Unplug major appliances and electronics. When power comes

back on, it could cause a power surge and damage equipment.

• Do not use kerosene heaters or barbecue grills inside your home.

They create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide that could be deadly.

• Avoid downed power lines in your vicinity.

• Learn how to manually override your electric garage door opener.

• Close all curtains, shutters and blinds to help hold in heat in cold weather.

• Have easy-to-prepare foods on hand that require minimal preparation and fuel such as canned

meats, instant foods, foil pouch products and freeze-dried foods. • Be sure to also have a manual can opener, disposable plates, cups, eating utensils and some kind of

portable camp stove such as propane or butane for short-term meal preparation. • If you have a backup generator, store the gasoline carefully and correctly so it will be ready when you

need it. • To minimize the risk of fire during a power outage, battery-powered flashlights and lanterns are

recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rather than candles, gas lanterns or torches. • CDC also recommends that people make an emergency plan as well as a disaster supply kit. This kit should include enough water, dried and canned food and emergency supplies (flashlights,

batteries, first-aid supplies, prescription medicines and a digital thermometer) to last at least 3 days.

9 | Live Well Utah

Gardening Resources USU Extension offers a plethora of gardening information through classes, advisories, newsletters, manuals, websites, a hotline and testing and diagnostic services. * To subscribe to the Utah Integrated Pest Management pest advisories and the Utah Pests News quarterly newsletter, visit

• Tree Fruit, Small Fruits & Vegetable and Landscape IPM pest advisories are published weekly or

biweekly during the growing season.

• Turf IPM pest advisories are published in the spring, summer and fall.

• Utah Pests News is published four times a year.

* Visit for gardening tips, fact sheets and information on classes and events.

• To subscribe to the Garden View monthly newsletter, visit the subscription link on

Here you will find gardening tips, news, upcoming events and a list of classes at the Utah State

University Botanical Center and Ogden Botanical Gardens.

* Visit to see more than 40 videos that provide gardening tips and information.

Gardening Resources for sale online at:

Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs Book - a compilation of 58 research-based fact sheets

written by USU faculty and students. Each contains recommended varieties, growing details,

pest control information, harvest and storage options and frequently asked questions. $14

Common Weeds of the Yard and Garden guidebook - a 116-page, full-color gardening resource that contains information on 50 plants and helps identify common weeds in the home landscape. $10

Vegetable Garden Wheel - features 16 vegetable varieties with planting and growing

10 | Live Well Utah

information in an easy to read format. $1.20

Gardening Services Soil Testing - The USU Analytical Laboratories (USUAL) services are available at The only soil testing lab in Utah open to the general public, USUAL can assist in solving many gardening, lawn, plant and animal feed problems. Submission forms are available on the website, and testing prices vary. Pest Diagnostics - Just $7 gets your insect identified or plant problem diagnosed. Visit for submission information. Ask a Master Gardener – For answers to gardening questions, email or call 385-468-4828 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. About the Utah Plant Diagnostic Lab The Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory is located in the Biology and Natural Resources building on the USU campus in Logan. Lab diagnosticians provide accurate identification of insects and their relatives, such as spiders and ticks, as well as plant health problems, including pathogenic diseases and environmental stresses. The lab serves all sectors of plant production in the state, including commercial farms, home gardens and landscape care industries. The lab provides current recommendations on pest management focusing on integrated pest management and reduced pesticide options. Numerous resources for pest identification and management are available on the website at

11 | Live Well Utah


EFNEP Program Helps Improve Nutrition and Health For Mercedes Baraja of

change the way I cook,” she

people with limited-resources

Clearfield, the USU Extension

said. “Spanish foods use a lot

to acquire the knowledge, skills,

Expanded Food and Nutrition

of oil and after learning about

attitudes and changed behavior

Education Program (EFNEP)

cholesterol, I use canola oil and

necessary to create nutritionally

has helped bring about positive

olive oil more now.”

sound diets.

nutritional changes for her family, and she feels it has

In addition, she has learned

improved her family’s diet.

how to properly care for meat to avoid the growth of bacteria,

First introduced to the program

how to include more grains

by a friend, Baraja has been

in her cooking and ways to

attending the classes for 6

include citrus fruits such as

months and can already see the

grapefruits and clementines in

benefits to her family.

her family’s diet.

Baraja said her husband, Israel, and their children, Maximiliano, age 7, and Valeria, age 11, have definitely benefitted from the program because of her increased knowledge. “My mom has learned to cook much better for our family,”

“The program is very good,

The USU-sponsored EFNEP

and I feel it has helped me

program is designed to assist

said Valeria.

EFNEP is designed to assist limited-resource audiences in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes and changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sound diets, and to contribute to their personal development and the improvement of the total family diet and nutritional wellbeing. Free nutrition lessons are available to families and youth. For more information on EFNEP visit

12 | Live Well Utah

Baraja said the EFNEP program has also helped them

“The program is very good, and I feel it has helped me change the way i cook.”

learn about proper exercise, and her daughter received a hula-hoop through the program to help encourage physical activity. Elizabeth Tinti, the USU Extension nutrition educator working with Baraja, said it is exciting to see the significant changes Baraja is making.

“Even more exciting is that their children will grow up with these new, healthy habits,” she said. Baraja currently attends the Davis Community Learning Center studying English and volunteers for the Head Start Program, where she hopes to work when she completes her studies.

13 | Live Well Utah

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Utah State University is committed to providing an environment free from harassment and other forms of illegal discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and older), disability, and veteran’s status. USU’s policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and academic related practices and decisions. Utah State University employees and students cannot, because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status, refuse to hire; discharge; promote; demote; terminate; discriminate in compensation; or discriminate regarding terms, privileges, or conditions of employment, against any person otherwise qualified. Employees and students also cannot discriminate in the classroom, residence halls, or in on/off campus, USU-sponsored events and activities. This publication is issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Noelle E. Cockett, Vice President for Extension and Agriculture, Utah State University.

Live Well Utah Vol. 1  

A seasconal magazine produced by Utah State University Extension

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