Harvey County

Beet/Swiss Chard

Beets, beets, beets!  We ate lots of beets growing up because dad grew them and mom canned them!  I still do like them and grow them each year mainly to eat in salads.  Beets are a popular vegetable and can be grown as a spring or fall crop in Kansas.

Tops can be used as a cooked green rich in vitamin A, and roots are a good source of vitamin C. Roots may be canned or pickled and are served diced, sliced, whole, and in strips. Beet juice is the basic ingredient of borscht. Swiss chard is a close relative of the beet and produces foliage rather than an enlarged root. Nutritional value and uses are similar to those for beets. Continue reading “Beet/Swiss Chard”

Wheat Survey

The Wheat Production Group at Kansas State University has joined forces with the Kansas Wheat Commission to learn from wheat producers around Kansas. We are conducting a wheat management survey across several fields around the state so we can analyze and evaluate the collected data later in order to develop best management practices for different regions around the state.

On-farm research surveys are different than a typical controlled research experiment as they collect management strategies which a producer has adopted on their individual fields. The main objective of this project is to collect field-level information about wheat management for hundreds of wheat fields around Kansas so we can learn about the most successful management practices adopted for each region. We are currently collecting data from the past two growing seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), and from 2017-18 in the near future. Continue reading “Wheat Survey”

Track Your Baby’s Milestones with CDC app


From two months to fine years of age, children typically develop in predictable ways. physically for example, most babies can sit up unassisted by six months. By 12 months, they can pull up to standing. By 18 months, they can walk along. By two years, they can kick a ball. Overall, babies and toddlers have lots of new physical, social, cognitive and language skills to learn by the time they enter kindergarten.
Continue reading “Track Your Baby’s Milestones with CDC app”

Just Breathe

When the word just is used as an adverb it means simply or only. Sometimes just is used to indicate lesser importance.  The phrase “just breathe” might seem simple or inconsequential but the message of just breathe or simply breathe can benefit most people.

Breathing is a wonderfully complex and essential human function. We are not required to think about breathing because our brain and body take care of it.  On the other hand, breathing is one the few physical processes that functions both voluntarily and involuntarily.  When’s the last time you thought about your breathing?

In a society where a flat stomach is often considered attractive, it is not uncommon for adults to habitually hold in their stomach. This position restricts deep breathing and doesn’t take advantage of completely filling the lungs with air.  This shallow breathing or chest breathing limits the use of the diaphragm and relies on secondary breathing muscles in the upper chest. Chest breathing is useful in situations like a sprint or race but it is not the best ongoing style of breathing as it can lead to tight and uncomfortable muscles in the neck, shoulders and chest. Continue reading “Just Breathe”


There is nothing like fresh fruit from your own backyard!  If you have a little bit of space, you should try to raise strawberries to eat yourself and share with the neighbors.  Of course, if you are growing them your will have to take care of them.  This includes fertilizing at the right time for optimum production.   I have written many soil test recommendations over the years and have found that basically most garden soils in Harvey County have adequate levels of all nutrients other than nitrogen IF the area has been fertilized in the past.

However, it is recommended that a soil test be done to be sure of the nutrient needs of your fruit planting. If the soil test recommends phosphorus and potassium, use a 10-10-10 fertilizer instead of what is recommended below but triple the rate. For example, instead of ½ cup per 10 feet of row, use 1.5 cups per 10 feet of row. Continue reading “Strawberries”

Buckbrush Control

Buckbrush (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus), also known as coralberry, is a native perennial shrub found in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas. The plant grows in open pastures and woodlands. It sends out “runners” and produces a red fruit in the fall. A related species, western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), is found primarily in northcentral and northwest Kansas, and produces a white fruit.

Buckbrush is generally considered an undesirable plant in areas being grazed by cattle. Some birds and small mammals use buckbrush patches for cover and nesting. Buckbrush can form dense patches or colonies that shade out more desirable species used for grazing. Top growth removal of buckbrush after the plants have leafed out and the nonstructural carbohydrates stored in the roots are at a low level can be an effective control. One way to accomplish top growth removal is with prescribed burning. Fire can be an effective control technique if burning is done in the late spring. It may take 2 or 3 years of consecutive burning to reduce buckbrush stands. If you missed the opportunity to burn this year or are located in areas where burning wasn’t possible, mowing is an option. Again, it may take 2 or 3 years of consecutive mowing at the proper time (generally early to mid-May) to reduce stands.

Herbicides can also be used to control buckbrush. The best time to spray occurs just as the leaves are starting to change from a light to dark green color. This timing corresponds with the low point in the nonstructural carbohydrate cycle. A number of herbicides can be used to spray buckbrush, but 2,4-D low-volatile ester formulations at 1.5 to 2 lbs./acre are usually quite effective. If you are simultaneously trying to control other species, such as musk thistle, consider Chaparral (aminopyralid + metsulfuron) or Grazon P+D (picloram + 2,4-D). Chaparral can be used alone at 2 to 3 oz./acre for buckbrush control, but I prefer adding 2 pint/acre of 2,4-D to 2 oz./acre Chaparral. Grazon P+D applied at 2-3 pints/acre will provide acceptable control of both buckbrush and musk thistle. Caution should be used if treating cool-season grasses with Chaparral. Grazon P+D is a restricted use pesticide. Always read the label when considering the use of herbicides.

Trees and Drought

I hope to never see summers like 2011 and 2012.  Dry and hot!  These conditions are not good for any living plant of any kind.  Drought is a common occurrence affecting the health of trees in south-central Kansas. Property owners who notice wilting and scorched leaves (below) may wonder if trees will survive. Drought alone rarely kills well-established trees. But effects of extended drought, combined with other stressors, can be serious and irreversible. Lack of water limits a tree’s ability to absorb nutrients, weakens natural defenses and leaves it vulnerable to heat, cold, insects, and pathogens. In some cases, the tree may die.

All trees have natural protection from ordinary seasonal drought, and some species are known for their ability to withstand severe, prolonged drought conditions. Even for trees that are not particularly drought-tolerant, a healthy and robust root system is remarkably efficient at extracting soil moisture for survival. Problems arise when the root system is compromised by poor soil quality, inadequate soil volume or compaction, or paved surfaces. Poor horticultural practices render even the most drought-tolerant tree helpless when soil moisture is insufficient. It is impossible to control the weather, but you can drought-proof your landscape by following good horticultural practices when selecting your next tree. Continue reading “Trees and Drought”


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