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Summer 2022

Welcome to the quarterly WSU San Juan County Extension Newsletter. Please read on for updates from individual programs and upcoming events. To receive future newsletters, please subscribe or visit our website.

Featured Noxious Weed

Tansy Ragwort

(Jacobaea vulgaris) is believed to be the cause of death for several head of cattle on Orcas Island back in the 1990s. It is a readily recognizable flowering plant in the summer and early fall, with its bright yellow flowers that are daisy-like in arrangement. Read more...

Poison hemlock 
(Conium maculatum), as the name suggests, is also poisonous. If enough is consumed, it can be fatal. Given the similarity to wild carrot (Daucus carota), poison hemlock taproots are occasionally consumed by accident, with potentially tragic results. Read more... 

Also read about Common Teasel here

WSU Extension at San Juan County Fair

This year at San Juan County Fair we set up a booth to show case our programs, hosted interactive activities, and provided resource materials for visitors. Our Master Gardener volunteers and Noxious Weed Program staff attended every day to help people with gardening and plant questions. Carrot-pull and vegetable scavenger hunt games were a popular way to encourage gardening interests among kids. The 4-H program had a great year participating in the fair with 438 entries from 37 youth members, along with animal shows, serving breakfast at the Rambler’s Booth, still-life and livestock auctions. It was our pleasure to meet and connect with so many of you! See you next year!

Upcoming Events

Agriculture Program

  • Cultivating Success™: Whole Farm Planning classes will meet weekly through Zoom from September to December. This course will walk you through a step-by-step process, to help you prepare a well thought out plan for your land, life, and farm business. Learn how to use a whole system lens to create a living plan for your small farm future. With an online classroom environment, you will be able to connect with a statewide community of other aspiring farm planners. Includes many opportunities for networking and community building in smaller breakout groups too! Come build a solid plan for a farm or food business that suits you. Find more information and registration here.
  • In June, the San Juan Islands Ag Guild and WSU Extension Ag Program teamed up to offer Preventive Controls for Human Foods training at the Grange in Friday Harbor. This training provided critical certification for value-added food producers and processors, equipping them with the tools to develop food safety plans and skills to identify and manage potential food safety hazards. Trainees represented a wide range of players in our local food system, from farmers to food hub representatives. Following the training, one participant reported, “This was very beneficial for my business as we move forward to ensure that we remain compliant and produce products that are safe for our customers.”  
  • Research into improving local forage quality and quantities continues. We collected 198 forage samples in June and early July from seven on farm research trials located on three islands. As the picture on the right shows, all the samples were dried before packing and sending off for quality testing. Each bag is a point of information helping inform how management like organic fertilizer, no-till seeding, and aeration impact local forage quantity and quality. Trial reports from previous years are available here.

Master Gardener Program

  • 2022 San Juan County WSU Master Gardeners Gardening Workshop Series will be held in October. We are offering eight one-hour presentations with additional time after each for questions and discussion. Our speakers are University professors, Extension educators, professional gardeners and accomplished Master Gardeners who will share their knowledge, experience and beautiful photographs of plants, flowers, and garden insects.
  • Have a Garden or Horticulture Question? Leave a plant or insect sample (in zip lock bag) with a completed diagnostic form outside in a cooler at the WSU Extension office in Friday Harbor, at the help desk at the Orcas library, or at Sunset Builders on Lopez. MG diagnostics clinics will be held twice a month May-September to review samples and make recommendations. 

4-H Program

  • Congratulations San Juan County 4-H members, volunteers and parents on another successful Fair! You all did an amazing job! Thanks for sharing your skills and learning with each other and the community. A total of 37 youth from Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Island entered 438 projects to be judged at this year’s Fair. 
  • It is almost a new 4-H year! Enrollment opens 10/1 with the opportunity to join a variety of clubs and projects, and if we do not have a project for you, we can help you get one started. Learn more about joining 4-H here.  

Noxious Weed Program

  • In July, Noxious Weed Program Coordinator Jason Ontjes, and Field Specialist, Michele Smith, collaborated with the Youth Conservation Corps, addressing noxious weeds in natural settings, including Moran State Park and Zylstra Lake Preserve (San Juan County Conservation Land Bank). The YCC youth participants and adult staff members were hands on and did excellent work removing Common Fennel, Common Teasle, Blackberry, Scot’s Broom, and more! Great job, everyone!
Subscribe to the WSU San Juan County Extension Quarterly Newsletter!
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221 Weber Way, Suite LL, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

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