Harvey County

Watering Houseplants

How do you water your houseplants?  Every day?  Each Tuesday?  Fill a coffee cup and give it to your plants every once in a while?  Houseplants are probably killed or injured more often by improper watering than by any other single factor. No general schedule can be used for watering all houseplants. Size of plant, pot, light, temperature, humidity and other conditions influence the speed with which the soil mass dries out. Continue reading “Watering Houseplants”


I hope your parents told you that one of the toughest challenges you might face is maintaining a long-term relationship. With that information you might better realize that the pathway of a relationship may have well-paved sections, but it may be littered with potholes and obstacles, as well. I borrow and adapt a portion of the opening line of Charles Dickens’ (1867) A Tale of Two Cities to complete the phrase, What I know about a long-term relationship… “It [is] the best of times, it [is] the worst of times.” My intention is neither to discourage nor scare you from committing to such a relationship, but I hope to encourage you to be ready for the work it takes to make such a relationship work.


Conflict is one thing that may be occurring during some of those worst of times. The American Heritage Dictionary defines conflict: “A state of disagreement or disharmony between persons or ideas.” Put two people in a room, even BFFs, and there is likely to be disagreement or disharmony, i.e., conflict. Continue reading “Conflict”

How to Store Documents

Most households accumulate papers and records that are important to them but many people do not know the best way to store them. There are two common types of household record storage: at home and a safe deposit box.

At Home:

Most of your records will be kept at home. Paper documentation remains the comfortable choice for many people. If you store information electronically, it is important to ensure that your laptop or external hard drive is secure.  The Federal Trade Commission has additional information on security.

Many people receive bank and billing statements via email. The email will provide a link to your password protected online account. If you chose to go paperless in this way, be certain you download the documents to your computer or to a flash drive so you have a copy of them. Continue reading “How to Store Documents”

A Heartfelt Farewell

For those who regularly read this column, you will know it was the beginning of May in 2016 that began working as the Harvey County 4-H Agent. Moving back to this county where I grew up and being able to work with a program that believes in the power of young people has been a dream come true. After a year and half of learning, growing as a professional, and serving our community, I have decided to leave KSRE Harvey County to pursue other career goals. I will be resigning as Harvey County 4-H Youth Development Agent effective December 27th, 2017.

This was not an easy decision to make. I have enjoyed working as the Harvey County 4-H Agent, and I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to serve youth, families, volunteers and our community in this role. I owe a special thank you to those who have shown me grace while I was learning, those who have supported me as I tried new things, and to a community who believes in the Harvey County 4-H program.

I will be stepping into a new role as a regionally based K-State Admissions Representative for the greater Wichita area and I look forward to continuing to work locally and with youth in Harvey County who are interested in attending K-State.



Hannah Reynolds

Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development

K-State Research and Extension Harvey County

Deep Tillage

Now that row crop harvest is over in Kansas, producers might be considering deep tillage for the purpose of alleviating compaction. Here are a few things to consider:

How deep should the tillage operation occur?

That is best answered by taking a spade or soil probe out in your field and digging a few holes. Ideally, you should dig down to about 18 inches. You are looking for dense layers that are restricting plant roots. If you see “platy” soil structure, which looks like many horizontal layers of soil about ¼ to ½ thick in diameter, look to see if the roots have penetrated through this zone in the soil. If the roots have predominantly penetrated this zone, the layer probably isn’t really root-limiting. If you see a lot of roots that are growing horizontally, or if they appear stubby and gnarled, lacking many root hairs, that can also be a sign that the roots are having trouble making it through this layer.

If you see a dense zone that ends, at say, 8 inches, you’d only want to go about 9 inches deep with the tillage operation. As you double the depth of the tillage operation, you quadruple the power requirement, so going too deep is a waste of time and energy. Also, there is no point in going deeper and potentially damaging the soil profile even further (risks are explained below). Continue reading “Deep Tillage”

Christmas Tree Fun Facts

I like talking and writing about trees! I hope you find this column both educational and interesting.

Great Moments in Christmas Tree History:

  • The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
  • The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.
  • The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
  • Besides evergreens, other types of trees such as cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas trees in the past.
  • Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
  • Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
  • In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees.
  • The tradition of an official Chicago Christmas tree was initiated in 1913 when one was first lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park.
  • The official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933. Since 2004 the tree has been topped with a 550-pound Swarovski Crystal star. And since 2007, the tree has been lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LED’s which are powered by solar panels.
  • Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway during World War II.

Continue reading “Christmas Tree Fun Facts”

Keeping up your Lawn this Winter

If you have every visited with me and we have talked about watering lawns, or trees you know I have a philosophy of not wasting water and watering when plants need it not when it’s Tuesday.

Well here we are in winter, no snow has fallen or any moisture for that matter for some time.  As of this column I have not seen any predicted rainfall or precipitation in the near future.  While we don’t often think about watering plants in the winter during dry spells it may be necessary.

Be sure to thoroughly soak the soil around established trees and shrubs before the ground freezes in the fall. And, in the case of a dry winter, water during a mid-winter thaw when the ground isn’t frozen and a few days of mild weather are predicted (especially evergreens). Evergreens like pine and cedar have much smaller root systems compared to deciduous trees like oak and maple.

Be sure to disconnect and drain the hose when done watering to prevent freeze and cracking of lines. This may mean dragging out garden hoses in the cold and this is an inconvenience to you.  However, hydrated trees will survive winter better and come out of winter undamaged from dry winter conditions if they have periodic irrigation in a dry winter.


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