Category: September 2017

Prepare Kansas Begins September 1st

Nora Rhoades
Family and Youth
Development Agent

We’ve had drought, wildfires, a spring blizzard and flooding in Kansas this year and it’s only August. If your home or office was affected by a disaster, would you have an accurate record of what you lost? Would you easily know who to report it to and how to reach them?

Prepare Kansas begins September 1. The annual online challenge will run through September to coincide with National Preparedness Month, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Prepare Kansas is an online challenge for all Kansans and others available through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page and the #prepareKansas blog.

This year, Prepare Kansas will help you take steps to be more financially prepared to weather any challenges, plus it’s a good way to stay organized.

  • Week 1: You don’t know where to get back to if you don’t know where you started, right? This week’s challenge takes you step-by-step through preparing a household inventory.
  • Week 2: Things change. Circumstances change. Know the right questions to ask as you review homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, plus auto insurance coverage.
  • Week 3: If you had a few precious minutes to leave your home or office, what would you take? Learn the basics about what to include in a grab-and-go kit to help get you back on firm financial footing more quickly.
  • Week 4: Communication is key. This week’s challenge is to develop and practice a family communication plan.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Planting a Fall Garden

Cassie Homan
Horticulture Agent

Do you need a second chance with your garden this year? Lucky for you, fall is an excellent time for gardening in Kansas. Growing conditions are cooler in fall than spring, resulting in higher yields and better flavor. Some plants actually prefer the cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall.

Planting a fall garden is just like planting a spring garden with some big advantages. You will find the weed pressure to be much less and insect problems may be far fewer than in a spring garden. Seeds will germinate rapidly, so you will have crops up and growing in just a few days, compared to several weeks in the spring.

Here’s some tips to planning your fall garden: Fall Vegetable Garden

By: Cassie Homan

Remember MyPlate When Packing Your Child’s Lunch

  • Ashley Svaty
    Nutrition, Food Safety
    and Health Agent

    Focus on colorful veggies. Pack more dark green, red, and orange vegetables for your child to enjoy.

  • Fuel up with fruits! Oranges, pears, berries, peaches, and unsweetened applesauce are a few great choices and will easily fit into a lunch box!
  • Pack calcium-rich foods! Choose low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese for your child. Dairy foods contain calcium for strong bones and healthy teeth. Keep dairy foods cold with an ice pack.
  • Vary the protein you pack. Peanut butter, tuna, or a lean turkey sandwich are great options easy to pack for a lunch. Nuts or a chilled hard-boiled egg are also great options.
  • Shoot for whole grains. Choose whole grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread and whole wheat tortillas instead of white.
  • Don’t forget the water! Encourage your child to drink plenty of water during the day, especially after P.E. and recess. Pack a small water bottle in lunches.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Fall Lawn Care

The month of September signals the prime time to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release. Usually only lawn fertilizers recommended for summer use contain slow-release nitrogen. Any of the others should be quick-release.

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

By: Cassie Homan

Be a Role Model for your Child

Research shows that when parents increase their physical activity, their children will do the same.  This also rings true for Fruit and vegetable intake. Your children look up to you, so be positive about how your decisions to eat healthier and move more make you feel better. Feel free to follow these links for more information to becoming a healthier role model for your children.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Dolly Parton Imagination Library available to Local Children

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a literacy program for preschool children ages birth to five who are residents of a county with an active program. All counties in the Post Rock Extension District have an active program. These counties include Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith. Books received through the program are a free gift! There is no cost or obligation to your family. The Dane G. Hansen Foundation graciously provides financial support for the local programs.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a 60 volume set of books. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed, in your child’s name, directly to your home. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to a child’s home, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library encourages children and their families to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Reading is a valuable experience for young learners as it promotes positive brain development, helps a child understand the world around them, and enhances positive relationships with the caring adults they rely on.

Information about the program and steps to enroll are outlined on the Post Rock District’s website under Home and Family.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are usually ready to be harvested beginning in mid-September and into October. Seed heads can ripen on the plant, but they will need protection from birds. Try covering the heads with a paper sack or cheesecloth once the petals start turning brown. Use a twist tie or rubber band to secure the covering. This will not only help keep birds out but will prevent ripened seeds from dropping out of the head. Check for maturity by looking for the following signs:

– Florets in the brown center of the flower disk should be shriveled.

– Heads should have turned down.

– The backside of the head should be lemon yellow.

The ultimate check, of course, is to pull a few seeds to see if they have turned black with white stripes, the typical color. Empty shells usually indicate a lack of pollination earlier in the year. If heads are to remain uncovered, harvest when a few seeds start turning black and white. The flavor will not be good as when seeds are allowed to ripen on the plants, but fewer seeds will be lost.

Cut the heads and place in a paper sack. Some people prefer to cut the heads with about a foot of stem attached and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area. A paper bag or cheesecloth can be placed over the heads to prevent seeds from dropping as they dry. Seeds can be easily removed from dry heads by rubbing gently.

By: Cassie Homan

Drying Meat Safely

As fall hunting season approaches, there are many ways to preserve the meat. One of those is dehydrating meat jerky.

Optimum drying temperature is 140°F. But, meat must be heated to 160°F to eliminate possible E. coli bacteria. Pick one of these methods for safe jerky.

  • Prior to drying, heat the strips of meat in the marinade by boiling them for 5 minutes, drain, and pat dry. Proceed with dehydrating the meat.
  • After dehydrating the meat, place the jerky on a baking sheet and put into a 275°F oven for 10 minutes.

Learn more at:  www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3173.pdf

By:  Ashley Svaty