Short Rows

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Bee Berry Good

Early spring is the best time to plant matted row strawberry plants, says John Strang, extension fruit and vegetable specialist. Though in the first year, growers must remove all blossoms to promote runners, older plants need to be pollinated to produce berries, so a good colony of honeybees at the field’s edge will do wonders for an acre of strawberries.


Mother's Milk

Colostrum provides newborns with the ability to fight disease while their own immune systems develop, a process that can take many weeks. Calves, foals, in fact, all mammals get nutrients and the antibodies they need from their mother’s first milk, says Donna Amaral-Phillips, extension professor in Animal and Food Sciences. The baby absorbs the most antibodies in the first six to eight hours of life. After that, its gut gradually absorbs fewer and fewer of these immune system stimulators, with absorption ending at 24 hours.

Standing Up to Falling

A third of those 65 and older fall each year, often suffering physical injuries or injury-related death. Falls or the fear of doing so can reduce activity and mobility, which then increases the risk of falling. It‘s a vicious cycle. Regular strength, flexibility, and balance exercises can help prevent falls, says Amy Hosier, family life extension specialist. Also have your health care provider review your medications, have your eyes checked at least once a year, and make your home safer. Turn up the lights and tape down those throw rugs for a start.

Storm Savvy

A family plan and an emergency kit can help you survive spring’s tumultuous weather, such as tornadoes and floods, says Andrea Higdon, agrosecurity program coordinator. Having a well-stocked and easily transportable disaster kit on hand can make a big difference. Stock the kit—which could be a backpack—with water, nonperishable food, first aid supplies, tools, and prescription medicines and store it where you’ll take cover.

De-myth-tifying Mulch

Termites aren’t drawn to mulch. Nor does mulch extract nitrogen from the soil. And more isn’t better. So forget about those old tales to the contrary, says William Fountain, horticulture professor. It turns out, typical mulches don’t contain the good wood that termites like; they prefer construction debris and wood siding. Over time, mulch will actually release nitrogen into the soil, for which your plants will thank you. And don’t pile it on. Any more than 3 inches deep will prevent oxygen and water from reaching the roots.