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Recent Blog Posts

  • Storing Power Equipment for the Winter


    ​Late fall or early winter is a good time to service power equipment such as mowers, tillers and garden tractors. Run the equipment out of gas or treat the existing gas with a stabilizer as untreated gas can deteriorate over time. If using a stabilizer, run the engine long enough for untreated gas in the carburetor bowl to be burned and replaced. This is also a good time to replace the oil (and filter, if present) since the engine is warm. Check and replace the spark plug if necessary. Some gardeners will also apply a light, sprayable oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole. Check and clean air filters and replace if necessary.

    Many mowers and tillers will have a foam prefilter that can become filthy with use. If allowed to become too dirty, engines will run poorly or may not run at all. Sharpen blades, clean tines, tighten screws, replace broken parts and do all the other things needed to keep equipment in good shape. Though such maintenance takes some time and effort, it pays for itself by reducing frustration and lost time due to poorly performing equipment during a hectic spring.

    (Ward Upham) Storing Power Equipment for the Winter

  • Garden Soil Preparation – It’s Not Too Late

    Autumn is an excellent time to add organic materials and till garden soils. Winter can still be a good time to take care of this chore as long as the soil isn’t frozen. It is far wiser to till now than to wait until spring when cold, wet conditions...

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  • Draining Hoses and Irrigation Lines

      Hoses and shallow irrigation lines may be damaged over the winter if water is not drained. If there is a main shut-off valve for the system, close it and then run through the zones to make sure any pressure has a chance to bleed off. Lawn irrigation...

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  • Protect Our Pollinators

    It’s Easy Being Green, Just Say No   By Dennis L. Patton, M.S., County Horticulture Agent, K-State Research and Extension/Johnson County “Protect our pollinators!” has become a mantra in the gardening world. Lead by the work of Monarch...

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  • Organic Does Not Mean Pesticide-free

    By Dennis L. Patton, M.S., County Horticulture Agent, K-State Research and Extension/Johnson County I was flying home after attending a recent conference. Seated next to me was a very pleasant person. We struck up a typical causal airplane conversation....

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  • Fall Colors of Trees

      Part of the allure of fall foliage is color variation. There are trees that turn red, purple, yellow, orange and brown.  Specific plant pigments determine individual colors. Foliage derives its normal green color from chlorophyll, the substance...

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  • Fall Planting of Asparagus and Rhubarb

      We sometimes receive questions as to whether asparagus or rhubarb can be moved in the fall. Though these crops are traditionally transplanted in the spring (mid-March to mid-April), a fall move can be successful. Wait until the top has...

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  • Gardeners’ Gathering Thursday, August 17, 2017 “Gardening for Bees and Butterflies”

    The Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City present “Gardening for Bees and Butterflies “ by our special guest, Heather Holm. She is the author of “Pollinators of Native Plants” and “ BEES: An identification and Native Plan Forage Guide”....

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  • Harvesting and Roasting Sunflower Seed

    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...

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  • September Gardening Calendar

    Ornamentals Weeks 1-4: Continue planting evergreens now. Weeks 1-3: Cuttings of annuals can be taken now to provide vigorous plants for overwintering. Weeks 1-3: Herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme and marjoram can be dug from the garden...

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  • Pear Harvest

    Most pear cultivars should not be allowed to ripen on the tree. They should be picked while still firm and ripened after harvest. Tree-ripened fruits are often of poor quality because of the development of grit cells and the browning and...

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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program