Department of Crop and Soil Science News

Dig to ID your soil before you plant: Gardening basics

If you want to grow better plants, you first need to understand the texture of your soil.

"The texture of a soil is its proportion of sand, silt and clay," said James Cassidy, a soils instructor at Oregon State University. “Texture determines all kinds of things like drainage, aeration, the amount of water the soil can hold, erosion potential and even the amount of nutrients that can be stored.”

Read more in the Oregonian »

Hoo Haa returns for Earth Day

If it’s Earth Day, it must be time for the Hoo Haa.

The Oregon State University Organic Growers Club will mark the environmental movement’s signature holiday on Tuesday with its annual celebration for all who love to play in the dirt.

Read more in the Gazette Times »

Digging Deep Within the Soil

Raised in the rugged state of Nevada, Gabriella Coughlin, a senior graduating this spring with a degree in soil resource management in the department of crop and soil science at Oregon State University, witnessed early on that there were many land use issues in and around her home.

She knew something needed to be done about how to remediate certain problems such as mine use tailings, which are the spoiled soils that are refused after mining.

Read more in the Barometer »

Oregon grass, legume seed production bounced back in 2012-13

Oregon’s grass and legume seed industry continued its recovery in 2012-13, reaching a value of nearly $462 million, according to a report from Oregon State University.

The 13.6 percent increase in production value over the previous year came despite only a 2 percent increase in grass seed acreage, which accounts for 90 percent of the combined crop value. That indicates strong seed prices, said William C. Young III, professor emeritus at OSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Science.

Read more at Capital Press »

Fungus-free hops for better beer: Gardening basics

If you're growing hops to brew your own beer, you may notice silvery or pale green, brittle spikes rising from the crown of the plant or brown spots on the leaves this spring.

"Hop plants have problems with downy mildew, a fungus that attacks plants primarily in April and May," said Shaun Townsend, the hops breeder for Oregon State University.

But don't worry, he added, just cut back the bines (some erroneously call them vines) to the soil with a knife. The plants will start new bines, which will grow quite rapidly. Though wet, foggy weather encourages downy mildew, pruning helps keep the fungus at bay.

Read more in the Oregonian »