County Extension agents

The 121st Finney County Fair will be held July 23 to 27, with lots of static exhibits and livestock exhibits, a variety of food vendors, daily children's entertainment, Hedricks Petting Zoo and affordable nightly entertainment for all families. For family fun at the fair, check out the Fair Book online at Open class division is open to any person in Kansas. There are no pre-entries for open class, except for livestock, horse, poultry and rabbits. Entries are due the day the division entries are listed to be received.

The Exhibit Building and 4-H Building will display a large variety of 4-H and Open exhibits, products and service booths from area merchants and organizations.

Outside exhibitors include a large variety of food vendors and novelties of all types. Beef, sheep, swine, goats, rabbits, poultry and horses will be on display in the Livestock Pavilion area. Judging begins on July 25 and continues through July 27.

Daily and nightly entertainment includes the Hedricks Petting Zoo, mutton bustin', horse show, monster tractor pull, demolition derby, kids pedal pull, turtle races, Farmer for A Day and much more. The carnival will present this year's midway and will include some of the most popular carnival rides.

Fair books are available online at or at the Finney County Extension Office, 501 S. Ninth St., 272-3670. See you at the Finney County Fair in Garden City.

4-H pre-fair events

With the Finney County Fair date being July 23 to 27, 4-H and open class have several pre-fair events which entail judging of entries. The first events will be held this week.

* 4-H Clothing Construction & Fashion Revue Judging: 8 a.m. today at the Fairgrounds 4-H Building.

* 4-H Public Fashion Revue: 7 p.m. today at the Clarion Inn/Samy's Spirits & Steakhouse Ballroom.

* 4-H Home Environment, Home Judging: 9 a.m. Thursday.

* 4-H Talk & Demonstration Judging Contest: 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Fairgrounds 4-H Building.

* 4-H Pet Show: 8:30 a.m. check-in Saturday, 9 a.m. judging at the Fairgrounds 4-H Building.

* Open Class Youth & Adult Pet Show: 10 a.m. check-in Saturday, judging following the 4-H Pet Show judging at the Fairgrounds 4-H Building.

* Finney County Fair set-up: Monday, immediately after the 6 p.m. workers' meal.

Thank you

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the warm welcome reception and to all the people who made an aside in their efforts to share some time with me. There just aren't words to express my thanks for the overwhelming support, encouragement and comfort that all of you and Kansas State family extended to me. I am very fortunate to work with extremely talented individuals and honored to be a part of the community here at K-State Research Extension in Finney County. Thanks for all of your support and kindness! -- Léhisa de Fornoza, Finney County Extension agent.

Disasters without warning

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. Families can and do cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team.

Follow the steps listed to create your family's disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.

Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be anywhere at work, at school or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe?

Four steps to safety: 1) Find out what could happen to you; 2) create a disaster plan; 3) complete a post-emergency checklist; 4) practice and maintain your plan.

In the next few weeks, important tips to remember concerning these topics will be addressed in more detail.

K-State Beef Conference

This year's K-State Beef Conference will cover "Strategic Cow Herd Management: Surviving and Rebuilding After Persistent Drought." The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 6 in Frick Auditorium of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine in Manhattan. For the convenience of those who are not able to travel to Manhattan in person, the conference will be broadcast remotely to Pratt and WaKeeney. For more information on the schedule and registration, visit, or call the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670.

Tomato problems

Tomatoes are often a favorite vegetable plant for gardeners. Growing tomatoes can often be challenging because of all the problems that often occur. I have literally grown more than 20,000 tomato plants over the years and the following problems are some of the most common.

If you have any questions about tomatoes or other garden vegetables, contact Finney County Extension Agent David Coltrain at 272-3670, or email

If you have tomatoes with a sunken, brown leathery patch on the bottom of the fruit, you probably have blossom-end rot.

Not a disease, this condition is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. It is often assumed that this means there is a corresponding lack of calcium in the soil, but most Kansas soils are derived from limestone, which is partially made up of calcium. So what causes blossom-end rot?

Tomato tops often outgrow the root system during cooler spring weather. As long as it is cool, the root system can keep up. When it turns hot and dry, the plant has a problem, and water, with the calcium it carries, goes to the leaves and the fruit is bypassed. The plant responds with new root growth and the condition corrects itself after a couple of weeks.

Heavy fertilization, especially with ammonium forms of nitrogen, can encourage this condition. Anything that disturbs roots, such as hoeing too deep, can encourage blossom-end rot. Inconsistent watering can be a factor. Mulching helps because it keeps the soil surface cooler and therefore a better environment for root growth.

So what can we do to help? Do a good job of watering, mulch, avoid damaging roots and watch fertilization. However, there are some years that you can do everything right and still have the condition show up due to the weather. Remember, blossom-end rot is a temporary condition and the plants should come out of it in a couple of weeks.

Heat stops tomatoes from setting fruit.

Temperatures that remain above 75 degrees F at night and day temperatures above 95 degrees F with dry, hot winds will cause poor fruit set on tomatoes. High temperatures interfere with pollen viability and/or cause excessive style growth leading to a lack of pollination. Cooler temperatures will allow flowers to resume fruit set.

Tomato catfacing is a physiological problem that is thought to be caused by growth disturbances during the blossoming phase.

The problem shows as malformed and misshapen fruit on the blossom end including scars and holes. Possible causes are cold weather with night temperatures 58 F or lower at flowering time, high nitrogen levels and herbicide injury. Tomato varieties with very large fruits are more susceptible to catfacing. Similar to blossom-end rot, tomatoes will usually stop producing catfaces after the initial tomato set.