Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Garden Calendar

Cassie Homan, Horticulture Agent

Spring is finally here! Most gardeners have been waiting for it all winter, but with warmer weather comes many outdoors chores. It can be easy to get swept away in all the tasks. Creating a garden calendar is an easy way to remind you what needs to be done outdoors. It also gives you a good reference to look back at for next year, to remember when you planted those perfect potatoes, so you can do it again. Here are some important things to do in April.

Vegetables and Fruits
·        Plant carrots, onions, beets and other salad crops in early April
·        Thin radishes, beets and carrots as needed
·        Plant asparagus and rhubarb
·        Prune raspberry and blackberry plantings
·        Do not spray insecticides while fruits flower in order to protect the honeybees
·        Plant beans, corn, vine crops in late April
·        Turn the compost pile after a long winter rest
·        Transplant broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in the garden
·        Fertilize vegetable garden before planting and incorporate

·        Cut back last year's growth from perennials
·        Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs as growth is needed for next year's flowers
·        Fertilize spring flowering bulbs
·        Add organic matter such as compost before planting new flowers
·        Divide perennials
·        Plant new roses 
·        Prune rose bushes
·        Fertilize rose bushes for spring growth
·        Plant annuals from seed and transplants

Trees and Shrubs
·        Prune spring flowering shrubs such forsythia & lilac after flowering
·        Prune trees as needed, and repair winter storm damage
·        Plant new trees and shrubs
·        Remove grass from base of young trees and shrubs to prevent lawn mower and line trimmer damage
·        Apply mulch layer around plants
·        Keep new trees and shrubs watered
·        Fertilize young trees to promote growth

For further information on April gardening tasks, contact Cassie at any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center, or email choman@ksu For further information on April gardening tasks, contact Cassie at any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center, or email choman@ksu.edu                                                   

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Money That You Keep

Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

For far too many of us, the money we earn is spent almost as soon as we make it. For those managing burdens of debt, it could be argued that the money we earn is already spent before we earn it.

However, what if you could pay yourself first, and keep some of those earnings for things you need today, or might need tomorrow?

“We know that Americans for several years — actually some decades, probably — have not saved as much as Americans in the past,” said Elizabeth Kiss, a family resource management specialist for K-State Research and Extension. America Saves (americasaves.org) provides strategies to help individuals and families grow their nest egg, rather than scramble their finances.

  • Start With A PlanThe old adage is true: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Saving money requires some thought, and a plan of action. “Looking at your goals, think about how much money you need, how much you can realistically put aside on a regular basis, and that's the plan part,” Kiss says. “Without a plan we're just kind of maneuvering without full information, without direction.”

  • Automate The ProcessMost wage earners are paid by direct deposit. It might be possible to have your paycheck deposited into two or more different accounts, designating one of those accounts for savings. “If you don’t see that money in your checking account, it was never really there, you don’t miss it. And hopefully you’ll think twice before taking it out of savings,” says Kiss.  These things take practice, so don’t be surprised if it takes two or more attempts at finding just the right amount to be set aside — an amount that will still leave you enough for regular expenses.

  • Expect the UnexpectedThings happen. The car needs a repair, the dishwasher breaks down, your kid knocks a glass of water onto your phone. Saving for those “rainy day” eventualities takes some of the sting out of those surprises when (not “if”) they happen. Kiss advises that health expenses should probably have their own separate column or account, away from the Rainy Day Fund. “Health expenses are a little bit different, so money for deductibles and co-pays should probably keep that money separate from the Rainy Day Fund,” she says.

  • Saving Shouldn’t Be BoringWe all need to unwind, whether it’s a night at the movies or a weekend at the beach. A good savings plan should have some fun, some discretionary money built into it. “If you're meeting your basic needs and all of your financial responsibilities, and putting some aside for the future, there's no reason not to have some fun money, too,” says Kiss.

  • Saving to Stop WorkingThings like Social Security and pension plans can only cover so much. If you plan to stop working in your later years, you’ll need to plan today, for tomorrow. Some employers match contributions to a retirement plan, Kiss says, and that could be the biggest wrench in your toolkit. “If you need to put in a certain amount to get the maximum match from your employer, that's the ‘free money’ — that’s the no brainer. Do everything you can to put in what you need to, to get the maximum amount of matching funds.”

  • Save The ExtrasNot all of life’s surprises are unpleasant: things like raises at work, tax refunds, gifts and inheritances. Those things don’t necessarily have to be an excuse to splurge. The recent tax reforms signed into law are a good opportunity for savings. “If you see an increase in your actual take home pay, think about putting at least some of that aside for whatever your financial goals are,” Kiss suggests. “Also, consider knocking down any debt you may have, whether its student loans, mortgages, or credit cards.”

  • Funds For the Whole Family!Good habits start at home, and they start young. America Saves can help you teach younger members of the family about the importance of saving money and planning ahead. Some might balk at the idea of showing children where all Dad’s money goes, but Kiss says it’s a golden opportunity. “Talking to your children about your savings goals helps them to understand that you can't always have everything right away. It’s the concepts of deferment, planning and making tradeoffs,” she says. “If the family wants to go on a vacation, ask the kids for ideas to help save money for that. Kids have great ideas and they just might surprise you.”

“If you’re realistic, and start with a small goal, that success can build up,” Kiss says. “One of the organizing principles of America Saves is that when you write it down and then share it with someone, you're more likely to continue to work toward your goal and to have better success at achieving it.”

The Post Rock District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith Counties. Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent, may be contacted at nrhoades@ksu.edu or by calling the office in Osborne 346-2521, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Smith Center 282-6823. Stay connected with “Post Rock Extension” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Our website is www.postrock.ksu.edu.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What are the components of weed management in your wheat?

Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent

You might think it is a bit early to start thinking about those weeds that can magically appear in your wheat fields. But now is the time to start planning and scouting! Weeds compete with wheat for light, water, nutrients, and space. Uncontrolled weeds in wheat decrease yields, lower quality and interfere with harvest.

It is important to scout fields and properly identify young weed seedlings early in the season to develop an effective weed management strategy. Understanding the life cycle of the weeds will also help with identification and control. Basically weeds are divided into different categories depending on their emergence and growth pattern. There are winter annuals, summer annuals and perennials. Winter annual weeds generally emerge in the fall of the year, go dormant over winter, resume active growth in the spring, and then flower and set seed before dying in the summer. Winter annual weeds are generally most susceptible to herbicides in the fall or before they have begun to bolt or joint in the spring. These include grasses and broadleaves such as cheat grasses, jointed goat grass, mustards, field pennycress or henbit. Winter annual weeds are usually the most abundant type of weeds in winter wheat because they have a similar life cycle.

There are several herbicide options for controlling winter annual broadleaf weeds in wheat. Generally, fall applications will provide the best control of winter annual weeds with any herbicide, as long as the weeds have emerged. The majority of winter annual weeds usually will emerge in the fall, although you can still have some emergence in the spring, especially if precipitation after planting is limited in the fall. However, winter annual weeds that emerge in the spring often are not very competitive with the crop, at least in years when there is a good crop stand. This year, may be a different story with the limited growth of the wheat crop.

Some herbicides can work well even when applied during the dormant part of the season, while others perform best if the crop and weeds are actively growing. The key difference relates to the degree of soil activity provided by the herbicide. Herbicides that have good residual activity, such as Glean, Finesse, Amber, and Rave can generally be applied in February when plants aren’t actively growing and still provide good weed control, assuming you have proper conditions for the application. Most other herbicides, which depend more on foliar uptake, will not work nearly as well during the mid-winter months, when the wheat and weeds aren’t actively growing, as compared to a fall or early spring application. This may be especially true this year due to the colder temperatures and dieback of foliage this winter.

Spring herbicide applications can be effective for winter annual broadleaf weed control as well, but timing and weather conditions are critical to achieve good control. Spring applications generally are most effective on winter annual broadleaf weeds soon after green-up when weeds are still in the rosette stage of growth, and during periods of mild weather. Once weeds begin to bolt and wheat starts to develop more canopy, herbicide performance often decreases dramatically.

The “2018 K-State Research and Extension Chemical Weed Control” publication is available online at http://bit.ly/2yqhFWZ. The publication is also available, in print at NO COST, at any of our Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center. The publication is an excellent resource that provides the effectiveness of different herbicides for each of our major crops.

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Sandra may be contacted at swick@ksu.edu or by calling Smith Center, 282-6823, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Osborne 346-2521. Join us on Facebook at “Post Rock Extension” along with our blog site at “postrockextension.blogspot.com. Also remember our website is www.postrock.ksu.edu and my twitter account is @PRDcrops.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Explore Tools to Leave a Legacy with Estate Planning

Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Leaving a legacy is an important goal for many families and individuals. Estate planning can provide valuable tools to help leave a legacy connected to what you are most passionate about. You can fight disease, inspire children, promote the arts, save the environment, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, or strengthen your community. You can stand up for causes you believe in and make an impact forever.

Community members are invited to participate in “Estate Planning ─ Leaving a Legacy” on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Veteran’s Building in Osborne.

K-State Research and Extension’s Post Rock District is hosting Doug Beech, Kansas 4-H Foundation Planned Giving Officer, to help community members explore how to leave a legacy! Come explore and understand tools –some familiar, some not– that will allow you to preserve and pass on your values through an estate plan. The program will be valuable for those considering making charitable estate gifts as well as for charities and charity board members interested in learning about these options.

A light meal, sponsored by the Osborne County Community Foundation, will be served at 6:00pm. The Osborne County Community Foundation will share a short program about the foundation and exciting work happening around the county. At 7:00pm, “Estate Planning ─ Leaving a Legacy” will be presented by Beech. The event is free to participate and no registration is necessary.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the event please contact the Post Rock Extension District – Osborne Office at 346-2521 or visit www.postrock.ksu.edu.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Walk Kansas Begins March 18th!

Ashley Svaty, Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent

Walk Kansas, a program that’s open to anyone who’s interested in working toward or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, will begin March 18th and run through May 12th. This program is fun, motivating, and for all fitness levels.

Walk Kansas is an 8-week health initiative that encourages individuals and teams to reach health goals. Participants receive a weekly newsletter which includes articles about health, exercises, tips, and nutritious recipes. This year Walk Kansas is specifically focusing on the importance of stretching and will include an optional pre/post fitness assessment for participants to measure their improvement over the 8-weeks. Participants log minutes of moderate or vigorous activity daily and report online or to a team captain. Activities besides walking such as strengthening exercises, yoga, bike riding, team sports and others count toward Walk Kansas minutes. Teammates do not have to walk or exercise together, but are encouraged to connect and support each other, which is made easy through the online Walk Kansas system.

Each team chooses which challenge best suits their goals and they work toward that challenge throughout the 8-weeks.

  • 8 Wonders Challenge: Each team member has a goal to log 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous activity per week. Collectively the team would walk 435 miles over the 8-week program. This trail is featured in Marci Penner’s 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook. 
  • Cross Country Challenge: Each team member logs 4 hours of activity per week which would take the team on a 764 mile trail over the span of the program.
  • Little Balkans to Nicodemus Challenge: 1,200 mile Kansas trail, with each team member logging 6 hours of moderate-to-vigorous activity each week.

Walk Kansas addresses critical issues in our state. Less than half of Kansas adults meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity (150 minutes a week of moderate exercise) and only 19 percent eat enough fruits and vegetables. Chronic disease is responsible for more than 70 percent of health care costs. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease states “If Americans were to stop smoking, exercise regularly and eat well, they could prevent up to 80 percent of heart disease and stroke, 80 percent of type 2 diabetes and 40 percent of cancers.”

For Post Rock District Walk Kansas participants, the program cost begins at $8. T-Shirts can be purchased at an additional cost. Online program registration will begin February 22nd and close on March 12th. Participants can register online at www.walkkansas.org or by visiting any of our offices. This year will have many giveaways including a few 8 Wonders of Kansas books, Walk Kansas ¾ sleeve t-shirts, hoodies, and more! Poker walks will also be happening across the district so be sure to join in on the fun! Join our Post Rock District Walk Kansas group on Facebook to learn more about Walk Kansas. Participants will have the opportunity to earn 4 Health Quest credits upon completion of the program.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Youth Develop Communication Skills

Aliesa Woods, 4-H Youth Development Agent

4-H members have been learning to speak skillfully before an audience for more than 100 years. It is often one of the things 4-H Alumni say they most remember about their 4-H experience. Many will admit before participating in 4-H, they could not speak comfortably in front of an audience.

Recently, 4-H members participated in 4-H Day. This event allows members to give a variety of presentations and receive feedback from a judge. The presentations include demonstrations, project talks, readings, model meetings, skits, dance and vocal, instrumental and piano solos.

Giving presentations in 4-H teaches many members skills that have value later in life such as:

     •  How to organize thoughts in a logical manner
     •  How to express ideas clearly and convincingly
     •  How to listen to the opinions of others and accept feedback
     •  How to prepare visuals and use them to support the presentation
     •  How to teach others
     •  How to manage time
     •  How to manage stress

The real value of the presentation is to the member who prepares and presents it. Poise, confidence and self-assurance grow each time a presentation is given. The video clip below shows the many talents our local Post Rock District youth possess. A big thanks to all our 4-H parents, and volunteer leaders that work with these young youth. I hope watching the video brings a smile to your face and you feel proud that these local 4-H members are living and growing in our local communities.

Ready to join or just looking to learn more about 4 H programs in your area visit http://www.kansas4-h.org/get-involved/clubs.html