Category: June 2018

Why Your Vegetables Aren’t Fruiting

If you have vegetables that are blooming but not setting fruit, you may have a problem with flower pollination. There are several possible reasons for this that usually vary by species. One condition that can affect several species at the same time is overfertilization. Too much nitrogen causes the plant to emphasize vegetative growth, often to the detriment of fruit production. Overfertilization can lead to a delay in flower production and a decrease in fruit set among the flowers produced.

Squash, cucumbers, watermelon, and muskmelon can have a couple of other problems. First, the early flowers on these plants are usually all male. The production of both male and female flowers becomes more balanced as time passes. You can easily tell the difference between the two because only the female flower has a tiny fruit behind the blossom. If you have both, have not over-fertilized, and still have a problem, make sure you have pollinators. Look for the presence of bees visiting the plants. If you don’t see any, try hand-pollinating several flowers.

Use a painter’s brush to transfer pollen from the anther of the male flower to the stigma of the female flower. If you get fruit on only those flowers you pollinated, you need more pollinators.  Make sure you aren’t killing them with overuse of insecticides.

Tomatoes are wind pollinated and therefore not dependent on pollinators. But they have another possible problem, which is temperature. Tomatoes normally won’t set if the night temperature is below 50 due to sparse pollen production. They also won’t set when nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F and daytime temperatures are above 95 degrees F with dry, hot winds.

By: Cassie Homan

Congratulations Walk Kansas Participants!

Walk Kansas was such a fun, eventful, and definitely healthful 8 weeks this year! We gave away fantastic prizes, had 5 area poker walks, and developed a new facebook group to stay connected and motivate each other, along with much more. Collectively, Post Rock District had 386 walkers and walked 40,090 miles! I would say that this was a great year to be in Walk Kansas.

If you haven’t participated in Walk Kansas, you have been missing out and we hope you join us next year. To find out more about Walk Kansas, please visit our Walk Kansas homepage here.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Dogs, Cats, and Birds, Oh My!

Research backs the claims of the physical, emotional, and mental support pets provide for their families. However, along with the many added benefits of having pets there are the financial expenses for caring for your animal. K-State Research and Extension provides the following fact sheet to help you consider and budget for the expenses surrounding pet ownership.

Dogs, Cats, and Birds, Oh My! ― Factoring Pet Costs into a Family Budget can be accessed online at https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3368.pdf or by visiting your local Post Rock District Office.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Local Foods Survey

The North Central Kansas Food Council is an organization that advocates for enhanced quality of life for all residents through sustainable access to regional produced food options, economic opportunity, and educational resources. In the effort to conduct a food assessment in North Central Kansas, the Council is seeking your input about local foods in your community and the 12-county region. This 20-question survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Your feedback is valuable and we appreciate you taking the time to help support local foods!

www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCKFCSurvey

By:  Ashley Svaty

The Dreaded Squash Bug

Squash bugs are the grey, shield-shaped bugs that feed on squash and pumpkin plants. If you have had problems with these insects in the past, you know that they are almost impossible to control when mature. This is because the squash bugs have a hard body that an insecticide has difficulty penetrating. Thus, spraying when the insects are small is important. We are now seeing the nymphs of the first generation. These nymphs will eventually become adults, which will lay eggs that will become the second generation. The second generation is often huge and devastating. Therefore, it is important to control as many squash bugs now as possible.

Because squash bugs feed by sucking juice from the plant, only insecticides that directly contact the insect will work. General use insecticides such as permethrin (Bug-B-Gon Multi-Purpose Garden Dust, Green Thumb Multipurpose Garden and Pet Dust, Bug-No-More Yard and Garden Insect Spray, Eight Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Concentrate, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control, Lawn & Garden Insect Killer), malathion, and methoxychlor provide control if a direct application is made to young, soft-bodied squash bugs. This means that you MUST spray or dust the underside of the leaves because this is where the insects live.

By: Cassie Homan

Are you Ready for Canning Season?

Dust off your canner, it’s almost canning season! K-State Research and Extension is a trusted and reliable resource for all your food preservation needs.  It is highly recommended that your dial gauge is tested each year at the extension office to be sure you are canning at the right pressure.  Please call or email Ashley at (785) 524-4432 asvaty@ksu.edu to set up a time to bring your dial gauge in to get checked. Before you begin canning make sure you:

  • Call us with any questions
  • Use the correct equipment
  • Adjust for altitude
  • Only use tested recipes
  • Acidify tomatoes
  • Use proper processing times based on trusted resources
  • Get your dial gauge tested annually
  • Leave proper headspace
  • Use the specific size jar a recipe calls for
  • Do not can in an Electric Pressure Cooker

For more information about canning or preserving your own food please contact any of our Post Rock District offices or go to our K-State Research and Extension Rapid Response Food Preservation website here.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Making Career Connections

Young children begin acting out their futures through play with limitless imaginations about their talents and interests. As youth grow, teenagers inherit desires to self-explore while developing a unique definition of individuality. With self-exploration comes an increased expectation of responsibility and a greater understanding of one’s community, culture and society. It is throughout one’s adolescent years when career exploration becomes a decision-making process, which aligns values with talents in order to pursue a career that meets needs while also providing satisfaction.

Summer vacation is a great opportunity for teens to focus on career exploration.

  • Interview people who are employed in an occupation.
  • Job shadow someone in a career appealing to you.
  • Serve an internship or apply for a part-time job with a business or organization.
  • Volunteer with an organization, doing tasks relevant to your possible future career.
  • Attend a career fair or a job fair.

As you go about your exploration, be sure to pay attention to detail and take notes. Career decision-making will require a lot of personal reflection to best determine what opportunities are a good fit. Some things to consider include:

  • What personal characteristics, qualities, skills, and abilities are needed to work in this career?
  • What are two or more characteristics of this position that appeal to me?
  • Describe a typical work day or work week?
  • Would I enjoy doing this every day? Why or why not?
  • What steps must I take to prepare myself to work in this career (such as education, licensing, certification)?
  • What can I learn in school that will help me in this career?
  • What are the working conditions and physical demands of this career?
  • What are the benefits of this career (such as salary, health, and travel)?
  • What are future prospects and outlook for this career?

By:  Nora Rhoades

Enough with the “Blame Game”

We have all dealt with a spouse, friend, child or co-worker who has a behavior or attitude that drives you crazy. Sometimes these behaviors and attitudes break policy or laws while other times they just bring negativity into the environment. Simply ignoring these annoyances is not the answer, especially if they reoccur on a regular basis. Addressing differences can be stressful, but not addressing them can result in unproductive work environments, strained relationships, and many bad moods.

How you address behaviors and attitudes that ‘push your buttons’ is very important in gaining the outcomes you desire. Blaming language brings out defense mechanisms, often steering the conversation away from the concern. Avoid using the word “you”. “You” statements accuse actions, ideas, and people to be in the wrong. Blaming language not only takes longer to reach a resolution, it rarely makes a relationship stronger through the process.

Instead, use “I” statements. “I” statements keep your responses focused on how the concern affects you. Meanwhile, the other party will feel invited to explain how they are affected by the concern. “I” statements seek to understand and respect both party’s opinions and experiences. These types of conversations may provide values clarification, likely pointing towards a compromise that will benefit everyone.

                         Communicate with “I” Statements

I feel: (label your feeling: betrayed, proud, anxious, vulnerable, etc…),
When: (give specific example)      _                                              .
Because: (briefly explain ‘why’)                                                    .
What I want/need is: (describe what would make you feel better)    .

By:  Nora Rhoades