Harvey County

Successful Vegetable Garden

If you were to ask a farmers’ market grower what it takes to have a successful vegetable garden he or she may say it takes a lot of work!  A lot of effort goes into producing a successful garden be it for the farmers’ market or in the back yard. There are many things to do between planting time and harvest. Consider each of the following cultural practices. Thinning many small seeded crops need to be thinned. For crops such as beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, and direct-seeded tomatoes or onions, it is necessary to thin some young plants from the thickly seeded row. An advantage of this process is that you can select the best of several plants and remove the poorer ones. This should be done 1-2 weeks after emergence of the seedlings. Weeding and cultivating Weeds are a natural garden competitor. They compete with vegetable plants for water, nutrients, and space. The use of mulches and cultivation will help control weeds. Don’t allow weeds to get a start. Control them when they are small. Mulching can reduce the time spent in cultivating.

Loosening the soil with a tiller or hoe accomplishes several things: Continue reading “Successful Vegetable Garden”

Kansas State Fair Agriculture Challenge

Agriculture is an important piece of our past and a critical part of our future. According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, there are more than 60,000 farms in Kansas which generate more than $18.5 billion in Agriculture output. On average, Kansas is the largest wheat producing state, producing 333,600,000 bushels of wheat in 2017. Nearly one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States is grown in Kansas. Additionally, one 60-pound bushel of wheat provides about 42 pounds of white flour, enough for about 70, one pound loaves of white bread.

The Kansas State Fair wants to encourage students to learn more about Kansas agriculture. Farmers feed and clothe the world. Farmers today are raising more food with fewer resources. It is estimated that by 2050, we’ll need to feed two billion more people. Understanding how and where your food comes from is important. The Fair wants to help students connect with the people who grow their food.

There are 12 agriculture adventure stops listed at this link https://www.kansasstatefair.com/p.aspx?pID=fair/education/669& . You choose 6 of these stops to visit between May 1 and August 15, 2018. You can mail, email or bring your completed adventure sheet to the Kansas State Fair. All adventure sheets turned in by August 15 will receive a KSF Agriculture Fun Pack. Your name will also be put into a drawing for a free Kids Club ticket package to attend the 2018 Kansas State Fair.

Harvey County Wheat Options

The dry conditions that have prevailed over much of Kansas since the fall of 2017 have left some wheat growers with relatively dim prospects for grain production for the summer 2018 harvest. An alternative use for that wheat is as a forage crop – silage or hay – which may still have considerable value at a time when pasture grazing prospects and hay supplies may be uncertain.

Wheat silage and hay can both be valuable feedstuffs for cattle producers. Wheat harvested at the dough stage should contain approximately 56-62 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 8-11 percent crude protein, on a dry matter (DM) basis. Wheat silage and hay may be used in the diets of feeder cattle, calves, replacement heifers, and beef cows. However, if the wheat is harvested post-heading, producers should grind the wheat hay if the variety has awns, since awns can cause health problems if fed unground.

Producers looking at these alternative uses for their wheat crops should also consider their options for marketing each type of feedstuff. For those who do not have their own cattle to feed, prospective demand for either silage or hay from nearby livestock producers could play an important role in their decision. Hay is more flexible in that it can be hauled farther and may be of use to a wider potential clientele.

Finally, insured wheat growers should check first with their crop insurance agent regarding insurance requirements to document potential grain yield losses before harvesting a forage crop. If producers believe they would have low grain yields and otherwise be entitled to an insurance indemnity, they may be required to leave small areas of uncut wheat to provide a way to estimate grain yields for the insurance loss calculation. Insurance agents can also inform producers of any other restrictions which may apply.

Small Predator Control

Small predator control can be a big deal for people that raise small farm animals like poultry, goats, and sheep.  Predators like coyotes and bob cats can cause a lot of dollars in damage very quickly if they are not held in check. The two best ways to keep predators out is a good fence or a good guard dog. If you have both of them it is even better.

For protecting goats and sheep the best way to keep them safe is having a good guard dog that lives in the pasture with the animals. Since the pastures the goats and sheep are in are usually fairly good sized it is not economical to build a tight enough fence that would keep a coyote out. So I would suggest getting a large breed guard dog like a Great Pyrenees, Komodor, or Ackbash.  The rule of thumb is it the guard dog needs to be two years old to be mature enough to its job successfully.

A lot of people raise chickens and enjoy having them run around the yard. Chickens are also liked by every small predator in the state and even some dogs. Having a very good fence for you poultry is the best way to go for keeping your birds safe. I think chicken wire is the best type of fence that keeps critters out of the chicken coop. It is also a good idea to burry a panel like a hog panel about a foot in the ground around the chicken coop to keep animals from digging under the fence. I would put a cover over the top of the outdoor chicken fence because raccoons and opossums are very good and climbing and will very easily get into a pen that doesn’t have a good protection over it.

If you have any questions about small predator control please call me at me office at 316-283-6930 and I will be happy to help.

Care and Management for Established Lawns

The fescue lawns in Harvey County have greened up in the cooler temperatures of spring!  Lots of lawn mowers humming and edgers buzzing let us know its lawn maintenance season too.

Mowing: Turf-types: 2 to 3 inches. K-31: 2 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄2 inches. Raise height to the upper end of the range during the summer.

Fertilizing:  September, November, May.

Watering:   In the Spring water minimally.  Summer: 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches per week. Fall: only as needed to prevent wilting.

Planting:  September or March through April, using 6 to 8 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

Dandelions:  Herbicides are most effective in the fall.

Crabgrass Preemergence herbicide:  Apply before redbud trees reach full bloom.

Grubs:  Treat May through July depending on when grubs are present.

Aerating:  Early spring or fall, as needed

Doing these chores at the correct time and correct way will save you money and time and help create a healthy, beautiful lawn.

Summer Fun Activities

School is almost over and that means you have to find something for your children to do. If they can go to camps and/or day care that is great, but not everyone can do that. If you have to leave them at home while you work, there are a few things you can do to keep them busy.

  • Make a chore chart for them based on their ages. Older kids can do a lot of things to help you around the house and younger kids can do simple tasks like folding laundry.
  • Find some free camps for them to go to, to help break up the summer.
  • Plan some fun activities that will take them a few days to complete. Pinterest has a ton of STEM activities for children to do.
  • Our local libraries have activities going on this summer, might be a fun way to make new friends.
  • Boredom. Sounds weird, but it can be a good thing for kids to experience.
  • Make a bucket list for the summer!

These are just a few, but be creative!

Sunny Days

Waking up to the sun shining brings happiness to me and an eagerness to soak up as much of the sun’s rays as possible.  Now that Spring has arrived, I’m sure bright sunshiny days are in my future.  When the weather is nice it provides the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.  Although I spend a great deal of time outside, I am aware of the fact that I need to protect myself against too much sun exposure.

Did you know that as little as 15 minutes of unprotected ultraviolet UV exposure can be harmful to your body?   Eye damage, premature wrinkles, and sun burns are results of overexposure to the sun.  If you experience just one bad sunburn as a child it doubles your risk of skin cancer later in life.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year nearly 5 million people in the United States are treated for skin cancer.  The American Cancer Society identifies Ultraviolet rays, from the sun and/or tanning beds, as the #1 cause of skin cancer. Continue reading “Sunny Days”

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