When shopping for friends and family this Christmas, don’t forget there are many selections for both children and adults at the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore.
Surprise your budding scientist or nature enthusiast with a field guide written by MSU experts. “Michigan Snakes (E2000)” portrays Michigan’s 18 species of snakes with large color photos. Filled with useful information, it will even tell you how to treat a snakebite.
“Michigan Butterflies & Skippers (E2675)” includes every butterfly ever recorded in the state.
For the hunter or for the hunter’s cook, try “Michigan Venison (E0657).” If you’d like your resident cook to perfect his or her cooking skills, order the “Eating Right is Basic Recipe Set (CYFC021).” It’s a flip-up cookbook with very simple yet nutritious recipes.
A great coffee table book is “Pursuing What’s Best for the World: 150 years of Teaching, Research and Extension of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR400).” From the formation of Michigan Agricultural College to the development of Extension and AgBioResearch to the CANR’s linkage to other colleges in the university, the book covers the efforts, trials and accomplishments of the people who went before us.
For the avid gardener, I suggest combining several items in a gift bundle. “Growing Plants Indoors: An Introduction on How to Care for Common Indoor Plants (E3142),” “Planting Techniques: A Guide for Successful Plant Establishment (E3111)” and the Soil Test Kit Self-Mailer (E3154) make a great combination.
Shopping online is easy and convenient at bookstore.msue.msu.edu. To be in time for Christmas giving, please order by Dec. 16.
I was impressed to see the rollout of the new soil test self-mailers during this week’s MSUE Redesign call. The idea is to simplify the process by which consumers can submit samples of their soil for testing to get an accurate assessment of soil quality from their lawns or gardens. Currently, a consumer needs to pick up a soil test envelope from the county office, place a soil sample into the envelope and then drop it off at the county office along with payment for the test. We have not had a standardized price for soil tests, so some consumers with a load of soil tests to submit would shop around among our county offices to find the ones that charged the least amount for their tests.
Now, thanks to the Consumer Horticulture Team in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, we have a standardized soil test envelope that can be purchased for a standard price of $20 either from the county offices or online from the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore or from retailers that choose to market the test envelopes. The envelope is already addressed and has postage applied that will ensure shipment directly to the MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab on campus. Then the results will be made available to the consumer either through an email with the specific results, or if he or she wishes, through the county office. The emailed results will link to a website that gives more information on products the consumer may want to use and application rates for their situation.
The Consumer Horticulture Team also previewed a new 1-800 hotline that will be staffed as a call center to address questions that consumers have about gardening, lawn care and other horticultural matters. The hotline will also address questions that come via email to a central email address or through the Ask an Expert application on our website.
It’s great to see our colleagues challenging themselves to develop a statewide system for addressing horticultural information needs of consumers, and the results are very impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing the other innovations they develop as they meet the challenge of helping us to create the Cooperative Extension system that Michigan needs in the 21st century and doing so with limited resources. Thanks to the entire team for their leadership and drive to innovate!