Spring is just around the corner, and many people I know are experiencing cabin fever. Just as many people want to get out and stretch after a long cold winter, your potted plants are also beginning to respond to the longer days by starting to grow. This means that it may be time to repot your house plants to give them more room. I found an article from K-State Research and Extension's Horticulture department on how to repot your houseplants. This will give them more room and allow them to be a healthier plant, and give you something to ...
When most people think of soils in terms of plant growth, they consider soil moisture, how hard or loose the soil is for plants to grow through and the nutrient status of the soil. Too often, whether in production agriculture or not, one factor is often overlooked. This factor plays a role in all aspects of the soil environment. That factor is soil acidity which plays a huge role directly and indirectly in plant growth. This week's column starts the examination of what soil acidity is with following columns devoted to its effects on the soil as a plant ...
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, met with United States Department of Agriculture Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about priorities for the 114th Congress.
The latest Drought Monitor Update (February 17) indicates almost the entire state is at least abnormally dry. Most of Barton County falls in this category except for the extreme southern section. South into Stafford and west into Pawnee Counties the shortage increases to moderate drought. As you move south towards the border and to Southwest and West Central Kansas the severity increases to severe with a small area rated as extreme drought. This is in spite of slightly above average precipitation experienced in the Barton area over the last several weeks.
February 22, 2015|
Dr. Victor L. Martin
A recent study involving Kansas State University researchers finds that in the coming decades at least one-quarter of the world's wheat production will be lost to extreme weather from climate change if no adaptive measures are taken.
If you're pondering buying a fruit tree, here are some comments from the K-State Research and Extension's Horticulture department on ones that are commonly grown in Kansas. Fruit trees are a long-term investment requiring careful thought before purchase. Begin by choosing fruit you will eat, not fruit that appears attractive in the catalog. Other considerations are outlined below. For more choices, go to the publication "Small- and Tree-Fruit Cultivars" at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF1028.pdf. You may also request this publication from me at the Barton County K-State Research and Extension office.
Registration is open for the first in a series of four "women only" Women in Farming Risk Management Education workshops to be hosted by the Kansas Rural Center during the spring and summer of 2015. All four of the workshops in KRC's "Women in Farming" series will highlight the opportunities and the challenges women face as they implement new enterprises on existing farms, begin farming or take over family operations, or just try to adopt new practices and enterprises with their families.
We are told we live in the age of information and have for at least several decades. Information, specifically access to information, is an asset as valuable as money. "Knowledge is power" is a slogan used in advertising and is first attributed to Sir Francis Bacon in 1597. Governments spend billions of dollars annually gathering information on almost everything imaginable. Information, or lack thereof, has decided the fates of nations, the success of companies, and having necessary information is vital to all of us in our everyday lives. Through formal education, on the job training, connections with others, or trial ...
February 15, 2015|
Dr. Victor L. Martin
Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist with U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces five national initiatives being offered in Kansas through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative, On-Farm Energy Initiative, Organic Initiative, and Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. While NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis, NRCS has set a deadline of March 20, to apply for 2015 initiatives funding.
Though soil tests are useful for identifying nutrient deficiencies as well as soil pH, they do not tell the whole story. The KSRE Soils Lab often receive soils from gardeners that are having a difficult time growing crops even though the soil test shows the pH is fine and nutrients are not deficient. Here are some factors that can affect plant growth that are not due to nutrient deficiencies or pH.
The egg is in hot water again thanks to recent reports of high cholesterol levels in the U.S. population. With this linkage between high serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease (CHD), these studies and others have led people to believe CHD is the fault of "those dirty rotten eggs."
February 15, 2015|
John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
K-State Research and Extension is offering family and youth events, available to all interested persons. For more information about these, as well as more localized events, check with your local K-State Research and Extension office.
Stripe rust has been found in several fields of wheat in south central Kansas, including Barton County. At the time it was found, it was still at low levels and in trace amounts. With the cool wet weather we have been experiencing, it is something that producers should be on the watch for, and scouting their fields to identify and monitor.
Picture transitioning from a rural setting that includes woodlands, wildlife habitat and farms, to urban areas that consist of concrete, parking lots, streets and buildings. Rural land in a more natural state has the ability to soak up water in the soil more efficiently than urban areas with impervious surfaces that can lead to more runoff.
The last several columns provided general background on the rapidly expanding organic foods market. Today's column briefly outlines conventionally produced foods to highlight the differences between the two. Perhaps the first question to deal with is "Are conventionally produced foods inorganic?"
Lately, I have been getting many calls with people concerned with small mounds in their turf, making it difficult to mow, work or play in their yard. Most of the time, the issue is earthworms that are very active at this time of year. In my research, I came across this short piece of information on nightcrawlers, from the K-State Entomology department. I thought I would share this to give more infomation about these beneficial but sometimes annoying worms.
This week wraps up the discussion of "organic" foods before comparing them to "conventionally" produced foods. Last week's column briefly described what organic means in general terms. When you purchase a product "Certified Organic" what does that really mean?
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $73 million to rehabilitate dams across the nation in an effort to protect public health and safety and evaluate the expansion of water supply in drought stricken areas. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing in approximately 150 projects and assessments in 23 states. "Millions of people depend on watersheds and dams for protection from floods and providing clean drinking water," Vilsack said. "By investing in this critical infrastructure, we are helping to ensure a safe, resilient environment for rural America."
At this time of year, many gardeners are starting vegetables indoors, or preparing to buy small plants to transplant into their garden when the soil temperature is warm enough. To help with this process, it is sometimes a good idea to give the small plants a little extra fertilizer to help them get a good start. I found a column from the K-State Research and Extension's horticulture department that gives some good advice on transplant solutions and sidedressing to help you give your garden the best start possible.
The Kansas Flint Hills have served as a home and food source for stocker cattle since the mid-1800s, when cowboys drove longhorns up the Chisholm Trail from the southwestern United States to Kansas railways. Flash forward to today: research from Kansas State University on this staple resource could help ensure profitable years ahead for stocker producers.
K-State Research and Extension is offering 4-H Leadership Boot Camp on April 25 in Hoisington, available to all interested persons. Call 785-483-3157 to register. For more information about this, as well as more localized events, check with the local K-State Research and Extension office.
Last week's column explored in general terms what organic means to chemists and the scientific community and what it means to the "natural" foods community. This series of articles isn't intended to take sides but to provide information to help in making informed decisions. Now let's briefly attempt to get a handle on what exactly "organic" foods are. This involves several parts and it is important to note there are foodstuffs claiming to be organic and foodstuffs that have followed certain strict requirements and are certified as organic.