Harvey County

Tilling Your Garden


Well the leaves are starting to fall and what a site it is!  As is every year there is the question of what to do with the leaves after falling.  Hopefully you have plans such as adding them to you compost pile or mowing them into your lawn.  However, there is another use for leaves!  Autumn is an excellent time to add organic materials and till garden soils.

Winter can still be a good time to take care of this chore as long as the soil isn’t frozen. It is far wiser to till now than to wait until spring when cold, wet conditions can limit your ability to work soils easily. Working soil when it is wet destroys soil structure and results in hard clods that are very slow to break down. On the other hand, dry soil may need to be watered so it can be more easily tilled. Be sure to wait several days after watering to let soil moisture levels moderate. You want the soil moist, not wet or dry, when tilling. There is a limit to how much organic material such as leaves can be added in one application. Normally, a layer 2 inches deep is adequate with 5 to 6 inches being the maximum that can be added at one time. Shredding the material before application encourages faster and more complete decomposition due to increased surface area. Remember, soil preparation is an important key to a successful garden.

When to Prune Shrubs

 When do I prune my shrubs?  Great question! Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are fine this time of year, severe pruning should be left until spring. Keep in mind that even light pruning of spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac and forsythia will reduce flowers for next year. We normally recommend that spring-bloomers be pruned after flowering. Shrubs differ in how severely they can be cut back. Junipers do not break bud from within the plant and therefore should be trimmed lightly if you wish to keep the full shape. Overgrown junipers should be removed. 

 On the other hand, there are certain shrubs that can be pruned back severely during the spring. Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3- to 5-inch stubs. This works well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, little leaf mock orange, shrub roses, and flowering quince. Just remember that spring is the correct time to do this, not now.

Livestock Wind Blocks

Providing animals with ways to get out of the wind during cold temperatures during the winter will cut down not only your feed cost but will help minimize weight loss and decreasing milk production. Building wind rows is a very good way to do this and it can be used for many years down the road.

Continue reading “Livestock Wind Blocks”

4-H Shooting Sports

The Kansas 4-H Shooting Sports Program is a part of the 4-H Natural Resources area that focuses on using shooting sports as an approach for teaching life skills to participating youth members. This youth program is founded upon the National 4-H Shooting Sports curriculum. Throughout the 4-H Shooting Sports program, risk management and safety procedures are of upmost importance. In Harvey County 4-H, two certified programs are available for youth, the archery and shotgun projects.

These projects teach gun and bow safety, hunting practices and give participants the opportunity to test their skills at local, district and state matches and events. National policy regarding age states that 4-H Shooting Sports Programs are open to all youth 8 years of age or older (as of Jan. 1 of current year). Local certified shooting sports coordinator Gail Lanier and instructors Tony Koehn and Kevin Duerksen lead these local programs. These instructors have completed training at the Statewide 4-H Shooting Training and have completed the 4-H Volunteer Screening Process.

Practices for these projects typically begin in late spring and continue weekly throughout the summer and into the fall months. Youth that have an interest in guns and/or hunting are encouraged check out the Harvey County 4-H Shooting Sports project! Enrollment for Harvey County 4-H projects, like Shooting Sports, is now open at https://ks.4honline.com.

Domestic Violence and Males

With all this talk of domestic violence in the news and media these days, I wanted to make sure we talked about victims. Typically, we assume that all victims are female and that is not the case. 1 in 4 men have been physically abused and 1 in 7 men have been severely abused in a relationship. That is a high percentage that we tend to brush off and not focus on.

Reasons why we might not know men being abused by their dating partner is the stigma we put on men to be macho or manly, they tend to be stereotyped as the person who should not show emotion, when it is discussed it is treated as a joke and for those who have told someone the reply is, “Be a man,” or something that discourages them to speak up about it again. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Males”

New 4-H Family Orientation Meeting


Thinking of joining 4-H? Have a few questions about the program? Interested families are invited to attend the 4-H Family Orientation Meeting to meet 4-H leaders and get questions answered.

The meeting will be held Sunday, November 5th from 6:30-7:30 PM at the 4-H Building in Athletic Park, 800 W. 1st St. in Newton.

Local 4-H Club leaders and K-State Research and Extension Staff will be discussing general 4-H information, 4-H Clubs, 4-H Projects, 4-H Camping, and the Harvey County Fair. Families will receive a 4-H Family Handbook, information about enrollment and upcoming events, and new 4-H members will receive a free 4-H t-shirt!

It doesn’t matter where you live, what your kids want to be when they grow up, or your level of experience. 4-H is a club of kids and their families who take part in fun, practical projects from woodworking to rocketry, and everything in between. 4-H is for youth ages 5 to 18 as of January 1st and is $10 a year per member, with the exception of Cloverbud members ages 5 and 6 for whom there is no fees. Thanks to a Harvey County sponsor, all first year 4-H members are reimbursed their program fee, making it free to join.

Our promise to you is that with your continued involvement, 4-H will empower kids with skills to lead for a lifetime. 4-H stands apart from all other programs by fostering true leadership through its emphasis on critical building blocks: Respect, confidence, responsibility, and compassion.

RSVP to Hannah Reynolds at hannaha@ksu.edu or 316-284-6930 to attend the meeting.

Fall Tree Color Variation

 Football and leaf fall make this time of year great!  Part of the allure of fall foliage is color variation. There are trees that turn red, purple, yellow, orange and brown. Specific plant pigments determine individual colors. Foliage derives its normal green color from chlorophyll, the substance that captures the energy of the sun. Other pigments produce fall colors. Reds and purples are caused by anthocyanins, yellows by xanthophylls, and oranges by a combination of carotenes and xanthophylls. Browns are the result of tannins present in the leaf.

 Most of these substances are present throughout the growing season but are masked by the green color produced by chlorophyll. Anthocyanins are the exception and are produced after the chlorophyll is destroyed in the fall.

 If you have ever seen pictures of New England in the fall, you have probably wondered why trees in Kansas usually do not color as well. This difference is partly because of the tree species prevalent in New England. Certain oaks and maples naturally produce good color. Coloring also is influenced by the weather. Warm, sunny days and cool nights are ideal for good color. The sunny days encourage photosynthesis and, thus, sugar accumulation in the leaves. As fall progresses, each leaf develops an abscission layer at the base of the petiole, or leaf stem, that prevents these sugars from being transported down the trunk to the roots for storage. This high sugar content in the leaves produces more intense colors. Cloudy days and warm nights prevent some of the sugar accumulation in the leaves and results in less vibrant colors.

 Weather during other parts of the growing season also can have an effect. Heavy rains in the early spring or hot, dry weather during the summer can both have a deleterious effect on fall color. The length of time a tree maintains fall color also depends on weather. Reds, yellows and oranges are short-lived when trees undergo frosts and freezes.



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