Fall Soil Sampling

Check out this video and understand why fall soil sampling is the best time to take a soil sample and have your soil analyzed. In addition, check out the Midwest Laboratories Library which contains many resources regarding soil testing and soil sampling.

If you are looking at an app to help you with your soil sampling, check out this app.

If you are considering soil testing this fall, also check out the following document.

Finally, if you are looking at supplies, check out this article, Fall Soil Sampling Supplies.

Chicken McNuggets Process Line

Where do Chicken McNuggets come from?

The following video looks at the process from start to finish. It really is a very simple process. Many false accusations have claimed that Chicken McNuggets come from some sort of pink goop.

This could not be farther from the truth as you will see in this video presentation.

Urban Farming

Urban GardenCheck out this story out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

See what could be the first urban farm of its kind. As you watch this story, think to yourself, do you see this type of farming developing in other urban settings.

It may be a glimpse of what urban farming might look like in the future.

Picture Source | hyperponic.com

Stalk Nitrate Sampling Tips

As we get closer to black layered corn, many people like to do one final analysis before harvest. “Stalk Nitrate Test

Black Layered Corn

Source msucares.com

Here is a good video to watch with respect to pulling a stalk nitrate sample

Important Tips when sending your samples

Once you have collected your stalks, place them in a breathable bag, (bag with air -holes). Plant tissue bags work well.

Next, consider using a sticky label with your sample identification information on it. (Example Field 1)  - Most of the time stalk nitrate samples have so much moisture, the bags break easily when shipped.

Finally, consider wrapping your stalk nitrates with a rubber band, heavy string or duct tape. – This will prevent samples from tearing out of bags and getting mixed up with other samples.


If you have questions, about stalk nitrate testing, call and talk to a Midwest Laboratories Representative.

If you want more information about the stalk nitrate testing, check out this link.




Enteric Bacteria in Lakes and Beaches

Enteric BacteriaEvery year, toward the end of summer, numerous lake properties and beaches are closed for a short period of time because of an enteric bacteria issue.

The source of enteric bacteria is typically fecal matter from run-off or pet waste. It is something that should be taken with caution and typically there is some type of odor. Typically state and national health departments monitor lakes and bodies of water on a regular basis and use approved disinfectants to remove enteric bacteria.

Below is one such example of a beach property in the Tampa, Florida area.

If you suspect bacteria in your local lake or pond, or experience an unusual odor, have your water checked out. Call your local health department or collect a sample and take it to your local environmental laboratory for analysis.

photo credit: themepap via photopin cc

Plan Now For Fall Lawn Seeding

Fall Lawn SeedingAs we get closer and closer to September, it is a good idea to start planning for a fall seeding treatment.

Typically, I like to seed in May and September, the 5th and 10th month of the year.  It is during this time frame that the soil temperature is typically 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit and the air temperature is 60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can read all kinds of information regarding the type and quality of seed to use. Lots of information can be found online.

You will need some type of spreader for the seed. You can use your fertilizer spreader, but some people prefer to seed by hand to really catch those under performing areas.

The real key to a successful seeding is the following:

  1. Make sure you cut the lawn a little shorter than you normally do so the seed can penetrate the soil faster.
  2. The next step is to make sure your lawn soil is as soft as possible. Now is a good time to do some extra watering, especially on cooler summer days to make sure the soil isn’t rock hard when seeding.
  3. Finally, water your seed in to insure a strong root system. You will see faster results if you can keep your soil well-watered right after seeding your lawn. Typically 7- 10 days of watering.  As noted in other articles, I prefer watering for longer periods on fewer days. If have found much better results with this method when applying seed and fertilizer.

Start planning now for seeding your lawn in the fall. It is not that far away.

photo credit: Matt Lowden via photopin cc

Start of School and Mold

Mold on WallsCheck out this story and see how one school location finally dealt with the issues of standing water and mold spores.

Stories like this should be a wake-up call to all of us to be aware of our surroundings and make sure our children, teachers and staff are placed in environments conducive to good health and a good learning environment.

photo credit: xdjio via photopin cc

Some Barbecue Food Safety Tips

Barbecue Food Safety
Follow these tips to insure a fun and safe barbecue experience:

  • Make sure meat is not under cooked.
  • Make sure your hands are washed or a bottle  of sanitizer is available.
  • Use utensils and not your hands
  • Also, bring additional pans to make sure cross-contamination does not occur.
  • Use a food thermometer. (This item has saved me a lot of undercooking or guessing)
  • Make sure food is consumed within 4 hours of cooking to cut down on bacterial growth

With football season just around the corner, it is always a good idea to be reminded about food safety and grilling.

photo credit: Nicholas Erwin via photopin cc