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Ronnie Budge an OSU Master Gardener and in this segment, she talks about the best time to pick your vegetables to get the best flavor. Nearly all of summertime vegetables that are ready for harvest soon should be picked while still young and not too mature. This includes:

a. Summer squash, e.g. zucchini, yellow squash: Pick while still small. Fruits may even still have flowers attached. (Flowers are edible.) If they grow too big, stuff and bake them or shred for zucchini bread.

b. Tomatoes: Should have deep color, be a little soft, separate easily from the stem. Don’t refrigerate! Some varieties called “determinate” tend to ripen all their fruit at once, and are good for canning. Other varieties called “indeterminate” ripen a few at a time until frost kills them.

c. Corn: Silks should be brown. If you peel back the husk and cut into a kernel with a fingernail, the juice should be milky but not thick.

d. Green beans. Should still be very slender with the beans inside just barely developed.

e. Peppers: If you like them green, pick whenever they reach a usable size. Otherwise let them turn color (red or gold depending on variety) when they’ll be sweeter and even more nutritious. They freeze well.

f. Eggplant: The skin should still be shiny and the fruit not yet full size. The color may be purple, white, orange or green depending on the variety.

g. Potatoes: “New” small potatoes can be dug carefully with the fingers or a trowel to cook right away, leaving the plant to continue growing and developing big potatoes for winter storage.

h. Salad greens: Lettuce, escarole etc. can be harvested by pulling off some of the outside leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to continue growing.

One of the main advantages of growing vegetables in your home garden is being able to harvest them at exactly the right time for best flavor and maximum nutrition. Vegetables for winter storage won’t be ready until fall.

OSU Master Gardeners will be giving a workshop full of harvesting tips for all sorts of vegetables next Tuesday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at the Jackson County Extension Service. There will be a similar workshop at the Josephine County Extension Service the following evening, Wednesday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m.

OR-7 Pups caught on camera, Courtesy ODFW

OR-7 Pups caught on camera, Courtesy ODFW

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — The famous wolf known as OR-7 has puppies, and they are growing. New photos, released by wildlife officials this week, show OR-7 and his puppies. ODFW can confirm the existence of two cubs, and possibly a third cub. They say there might be more.

The cameras took the photos July 12th, but weren’t check until July 17th. ODFW checks the cameras every one to two weeks at sites. Officials have 2-4 cameras that pick up movement, and are placed at checked spots throughout Jackson County to monitor wildlife. ODFW is not releasing the location of the photos for public and wildlife safety.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says they are able to track the location of the cubs with a GPS tracking collar on the male wolf OR-7. He’s been tracked for the past 3 years.

“The wolves are still in Jackson County and we’ll see. They’re mobile. They’ve gone all over before. We’ll see where they go. Who knows where they will be next month,” said ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Mark Vargas.

Our Facebook post about OR-7 got a lot of attention. One criticism some people hold against wolves is that they don’t always kill prey to survive, but for the so-called “thrill”. Vargas says predators like wolves do, in fact, kill to survive, and that the hardest part for a predator eating a prey species is catching that prey and consuming all of it.

“At times there might be more prey items killed than can be consumed, but the ultimate goal is to eat their prey,” Vargas wrote in an e-mail responding to our inquiry. “Sometimes more prey may die than can be consumed in a few days and other scavengers might clean up the remainder.”

ssa hot noteMEDFORD, Ore. – Police suspect that four more arson fires were set between Wednesday night and Thursday morning in areas around south Medford, including a large fire that burned through empty fruit crates.

The most serious of the four fires began at about 3:30 a.m. in the 600 block of South Fir Street. That fire burned through some plastic containers and wooden fruit crates before it was contained. No one was hurt.

Police think three other small fires were deliberately set, including a fire in the doorway of Beavertooth Oak, also on South Fir Street. Witnesses saw someone leave the area shortly before that fire began, and gave a description to police. He is described as a white man, 5-foot-11-inches tall, with dark shoulder-length hair. He was wearing dark pants, a light brown, short-sleeved shirt, and a dark beanie hat. Police believe he is responsible for the fire at the Beavertooth Oak offices.

Neighbors living near the fires said they want to see a suspect caught.

“It’s not just a safety issue for the downtown buildings, it’s a safety issue for people,” said Chris Wapniarski, who owns Rogue Print. He could see the damage from the fruit crate fire from his front office door along Central Avenue. “Someone could be hurt, someone could be killed.”

WHITE CITY, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office found a deceased male Wednesday evening. The male was found on Division Rd. and Avenue H in White City. The cause of death has not been determined yet.

However, according to a Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Medical Examiner, the death is not suspicious nor is it considered to be a result of homicidal violence.

The identification of the male is not being released at this time until next of kin is located and notified.


rsc hot note odfMEDFORD, Ore. — NewsWatch 12′s reporter Rob Scott is up in the air with the Oregon Department of Forestry Thursday afternoon.

The crew is working on finding the best way to access a 1/100th of an acre fire burning in the Tolman Creek Drainage.

Tonight on NewsWatch 12 at 6, get a bird’s eye view of the Rogue Valley from a spotter plane.

Ashland Council Wants Ban On GMOPORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Right to Know Initiative officially qualified its Measure 92 for the November Ballot on Wednesday. The Right to Know Initiative requires that genetically engineered foods must be labeled in stores.

The campaign submitted over 156,000 signatures, nearly double the required 87, 213 collected in only six weeks. “The labeling measure passed through the qualification process with ease,” according to a press release sent out by the Right to Know Initiative.


cle hot noteEAGLE POINT, Ore. — Crater Lake Charter Academy in Eagle Point is the newest charter school in Southern Oregon and is enrolling students for fall. As this new school begins enrolling, waiting lists remain lengthy for the existing non-traditional schools in the area. More people reportedly attempt to enroll in local charter schools each year. Some students are behind nearly 40 people in line to attend this fall.

Crater Lake Charter Academy’s Bryan Wood said public education is a great thing that serves a lot of students well, but some have special needs. “This allows us to create that one-on-one plan that is specifically about that child and that individual and that’s tough to accomplish otherwise,” he said.

The school is in Eagle Point and is set to open to anyone in the area, kindergarten through 12th grade. The kindergarten through fifth grade will use a home-schooling approach and the older students will use a virtual approach. But both will work on a blended model.

“If you want to move quicker and be at an advanced pace and things come easy for you, you can just work at home but when you encounter than one problem that’s giving you a road block or keeping you from progressing then you can come down and meet with a teacher work through it together,” said Wood.

While this school opens for enrollment, the other existing public charter schools in the area are just adding to waiting lists.

There are a few dozen spots open in 7-12th grades, but kindergarten through sixth grades are full at Logos Public Charter School. Some students are behind 30 people on the waiting list to get in this fall.

Logos officials are working to hire more teachers to accommodate more students and is considering purchasing a new facility that could be in operation by next fall.

Registration for Crater Lake Charter Academy ends July 31st. Click here for more information.

Police-Lights-22-250x169MORROW COUNTY, Ore. — Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing to investigate the death of a road construction worker Wednesday night. The work site was on Interstate 84 about 7 miles west of Boardman in Morrow County.

Information released today by OSP showed that on Wednesday, July 23 at about 11:15 p.m., OSP, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Boardman Police, Boardman Fire crews, and Boardman Ambulance crews were sent to a reported highway construction work site accident in the westbound lanes of I-84, near milepost 158. Upon arrival, emergency personnel found Glen Warren McCoy, 64, from Sparks, Nv., fatally injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

McCoy was a member of a construction company out of Sparks, Nv. that was contracted with ODOT to install rumble strips at a paving project site. He was working outside of a 1999 Dodge pickup operated by another employee when the pickup, which had a piece of equipment in tow, began to slowly move forward and he was run over by the rear dual tires.

PALM TREE FIREMEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Police and fire crews responded to Hawthorne Park around 7:50 a.m. Thursday morning for a palm tree that caught on fire. Fire officials said this fire is also suspicious, occurring right on the heals of the suspicious fire started on Fir St. earlier Thursday morning.

Officials said they found a box of matches and other materials used to kindle a fire near the tree. The fire started at the bottom of the palm tree, but there was only smoke, no visible flames.

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A quiet day is ahead as high pressure begins building into the West today. A new and cooler air mass will keep temperatures below average today — in the 70′s and 80′s. Thursday will be feeling more like spring than summer! This won’t last long though, so enjoy it for what it’s worth.

Any low lying clouds at the coast throughout the morning should clear out quickly. That will make for even a pleasant day in Curry and Coos County with partly to mostly sunny skies.

By tomorrow, we tack on almost 10 degrees to highs. The warming trend carries into the weekend as triple digits return by Sunday for our valleys. The weather through Sunday will remain inactive with clear skies bringing very hot afternoons.

Early next week some monsoonal moisture from the Desert Southwest looks to creep high enough into our forecast area. This will allow the chance for thunderstorms to return to the forecast for Monday through Wednesday of next week. Right now, this threat only includes Northern California and the Klamath Basin.

For more weather updates head over to my Facebook and/or Twitter!

Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese

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