Other Services and Publications
Our practical education and research supports agriculture, natural resources, youth, families, communities and the environment.
These resources reach beyond our county. Contact us to tap into the vast knowledge of UI Extension professionals across the state.
Gardening and Horticulture
UI Extension, Clearwater County offers access to on-campus resources, expertise and unbiased advice on gardening and horticulture topics.
Accurate identification, diagnosis, and recommendations depend on many factors. The more information you provide about your sample, the better we can assist.
- Download and complete as much of the diagnostic form (Word) (PDF) as possible and submit with the samples.
- Gather samples, several specimens if possible. Samples should include flowers, fruit (if applicable), leaves and stems.
- Take photographs. This is optional but always helpful in addition to a physical sample.
- Wrap plants in a dry paper towel and place in a large zip lock bag. Please do not add water to any sample; water causes deterioration and mold.
- Mail to the address on the form.
- Download and complete as much of the diagnostic form (Word) (PDF) as possible to submit with the photos.
- Include a whole plant image as well as close-ups of the plant parts. Include as many features of the plant as possible (flowers, leaves, stems, roots, etc.). When possible, include size reference such as a ruler or coin.
- Use a flash on your digital camera in daylight photos to fill in detail and contrast. Use a macro function when taking close shots so that they can be in focus.
- Look at the photo images before sending them. If they look out of focus to you or if you can’t see the problem in your picture, they will not be helpful to us. Images taken with a cell phone are often not of high enough quality for diagnosis.
- Email files as attachments
Plant features for identification:
- Entire plant to give the diagnostician a general overview of the plant.
- Leaf arrangement on the plant stem (alternate, opposite, whorled)
- Leaf attachment to the plant stem (sessile or petiole)
- Leaf blade shape (simple, compound, heart-shaped, etc.) Multiple leaf shapes may be found on the same plant)
- Leaf margin (dissected, toothed or entire)
- Root system (rhizomes, taproot, fibrous, etc.)
- Inflorescence (solitary or cluster of heads)
- Special characteristics of some species (leaves, sheathing stipules, spines or thorns, milky juice, etc.)
We offer soil testing through our office. Call us for details.
Soil Fertility Test
The standard soil fertility test includes pH, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and organic matter and costs $45.
Call us at 208-476-4434 to check the availability of the soil probe and receive a collection bag and submission form at no charge.
How to Take a Soil Sample
- Assemble a clean plastic bucket and a shovel or soil probe. Tools should be stainless steel or aluminum alloy. No iron.
- Take eight to 12 randomly spaced soil samples at a depth of 8-12 inches.
- Mix samples thoroughly and fill collection bag with two cups of composite soil.
- Fill out the submission form (PDF) with name, address and phone. Indicate what you are sampling in the “Submitter ID” column.
- Mail sample, a $45 check payable to “Bursar, University of Idaho” and submission form to our lab:
Analytical Sciences Laboratory
Holm Research Center
2222 W 6th Street
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 2203
Moscow, ID 83844-2203
Or bring it to our office in Orofino for mailing (a small fee applies).
Results will be available in approximately ten days.
Contact the UI Extension, Latah County office for help interpreting results.
Check out the following publications for more information on soil sampling and testing:
Rising food costs have persuaded many people to plant gardens. You may be thinking about preserving your harvest for the first time — or dusting off old canning equipment. Food preservation has evolved over the years. With the knowledge of what foodborne illnesses can occur, it is important to use proper procedures and tested recipes to prepare safe preserved foods.
Canning, freezing and drying food are the most common methods for preserving foods at home today.
Canning is the process of applying heat to food that’s sealed in a jar in order to destroy any microorganisms that can cause food spoilage. Proper canning techniques stop this spoilage by heating the food for a specific period of time and killing these unwanted microorganisms. During the canning process, air is driven from the jar and a vacuum is formed as the jar cools and seals.
Pressure canning uses a large kettle that produces steam in a locked compartment. The filled jars in the kettle reach an internal temperature of 240 degrees under a specific pressure (stated in pounds) that’s measured with a dial gauge or weighted gauge on the pressure-canner cover. Use a pressure canner for processing vegetables and other low-acid foods, such as meat, poultry and fish.
Have your pressure canner dial gauge tested at least once a year. Contact us for details.
Water-bath canning, sometimes referred to as hot water canning, uses a large kettle of boiling water. Filled jars are submerged in the water and heated to an internal temperature of 212 degrees for a specific period of time. Use this method for processing high-acid foods, such as fruit, items made from fruit, pickles, pickled food, and tomatoes.
Freezing foods is the art of preparing, packaging, and freezing foods at their peak of freshness. You can freeze most fresh vegetables and fruits, meats and fish, breads and cakes, and clear soups and casseroles. The keys to freezing food are to make sure it’s absolutely fresh, that you freeze it as quickly as possible and that you keep it at a proper frozen temperature (0 degrees).
Drying is the oldest method known for preserving food. When you dry food, you expose the food to a temperature that’s high enough to remove the moisture but low enough that it doesn’t cook. Good air circulation assists in evenly drying the food.