Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Crop Production and Soils

Crops

Visit the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources Crops Pages below for comprehensive resources and publications on specific topics.


Pests & Plant Disease

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.  This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM, but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

Additional Resources:

Where to Send Plant & Insect Samples For Commercial Farmers

The Washington State University Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory is committed to helping the citizens of Washington State resolve their troubles with plants and insects through accurate problem diagnoses. We also provide applicable management options to a numerous state clientele like commercial growers, pest control operators, home gardeners, consultants, county agents, Master Gardeners, and research personnel.

The laboratory is currently equipped to handle samples from Washington State, particularly western Washington State, and not from other areas of the country. To achieve an accurate diagnosis of the problems, samples should be accompanied by detailed information about the problem. Go to “Submit a Sample” for additional information. Please note that services will not be provided without payment of diagnostic fees.

Need help diagnosing a crop problem or identifying a pest issue in Clallam, Jefferson, or Kitsap?

 

Contact us


 

WSU Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory:

The WSU Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory serves the western portion of the state and also evaluates turf-grass statewide.

Please Note: They cannot accept cannabis samples due to WSU compliance with federal policy.

Contact: Jenny Glass, Diagnostic Plant Pathologist
WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center
2606 West Pioneer
Puyallup, WA 98371-4998
Tel: (253) 445-4582.

Get Map and Directions


Soil Health

Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. We are here to help farmers access tools to help them manage their  soils for future generations.

By farming using soil health principles and systems (including no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations) farmers actually increase their soil’s organic matter and improve their soils microbial activity. As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often times better yields.

The Regional Small Farms Program strives to bring quality curriculum and education to our area farmers to aid in the conservation of their most valuable resource: Soil. For more information or to request a specific class be brought to your area, contact your local extension agent.

Soil Survey Tool:
Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.

How to use:

  • Go to USDA Web Soil Survey.
  • Hit green button, type in your address of your farm on the left. The map will show an aerial view.
  • Using the red AOI (area of interest) buttons, draw out the boundaries of your farm. Double click once you are at your last point. Your area of interest should be mapped out.
  • Navigate to top tabs and go to soil map. The map unit legend on the left will tell you your soil type(s). If you click on the hyperlinked soil types, a chart will pop up and tell you more about your soils.

Soil Sampling:

Check with your local Conservation District office for soil sampling services. Otherwise, you can send soil samples to the following labs:

A&L Soil Lab Soiltest Farm Consultants Cascade Analytical Kuo Testing Labs
Learn how to collect soil samples:

Methods to Build up Your Soils Organic Matter:

Cover Crops

A cover crop is a plant that is used primarily to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases, increase biodiversity and bring a host of other benefits to your farm.

WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources hosts an extensive publications library including cover cropping topics open to the public.

Additional Resources:

Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management

WSU Publications

screen shot of understanding and measuring organic matter in the soil WSU publication
Understanding and Measuring Organic Matter in Soil
soil fertility in organic systems
Soil Fertility in Organic Systems
soil testing for farms with diversified vegetable crops
Soil Testing: A Guide for Farms with Diverse Vegetable Crops
Other Recommended Soil Resources:

WSU Department of Crop & Soil Sciences – conducts fundamental and applied plant and soil research.

WSU Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management Soils & Laboratory Testing resources.

Natural Resource Conservation Service – Soil Resources & Publications

Tillage Alternatives

Tillage has long been used to incorporate crop residues, prepare a seedbed, control weeds, and loosen the soil. However, in accomplishing these goals, tillage also reduces soil organic matter, disrupts soil structure, and leaves the soil surface prone to wind and water erosion. Systems that reduce or even eliminate tillage, while maintaining yields, have been developed for some crops and regions. These systems have the potential to build soil health and reduce erosion.

Diverse Rotations

The diverse rotation system works by keeping soil covered and undisturbed year-round. This minimizes soil erosion and reduces the need for fertilizers and herbicides.

Additional Resources:

WSU Tillage Alternatives Publications

Composting

Composting harnesses the natural process of decomposition to return organic materials like food and yard waste back to the soil as an amendment. In addition, adding beneficial organic material helps filter water, supports millions of organisms to thrive and anchors plants for optimal growth.

Composting on the Farm:
Visit the Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management page for online WSU resources and publications for composting and nutrient management.

Backyard and garden composting:
Many residents, schools and organizations are reducing the amount of food waste they dispose of by choosing to compost on site. It is easy to do and rewarding! Are you ready to get started?

View or print Clallam Counties brochure on Composting Basics for information on the benefits and how to’s. Contact the Clallam County Extension Waste Reduction Coordinator to request local composting experts for community events, presentations and composting projects.

WSU Compost Project
The WSU Compost Project, through Snohomish County Extension, is closing the loop, returning compost made from food and yard waste, back to local farms to build soil quality. Visit the WSU Compost Outreach Project for more information and full resources.

For more information on soils, compost and mulch visit: WSU publications

View the WSU Compost Outreach Project video series: