KSU EXTENSION: Cold-like symptoms in the winter nothing to sneeze at





During this time of year when climate changes are variable, many people develop health problems such as coughs, colds, sore throats and runny noses, which are common and usually are no cause for alarm. Sometimes we even do not pay enough attention because we think that it is a single or common cold typical during this time of the year, but in some cases, coughs are danger signs of more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis.

If you develop any of these symptoms, have them checked by a doctor before they become serious. Anyone has the right to quality health care to make sure that respiratory infections and other illnesses are accurately diagnosed and treated before it is too late.

Do not treat yourself; seek medical diagnosis to have the appropriate treatment for your disease. Not everyone reacts the same way to drugs, not even to the over-the-counter ones, and maybe what works for you sometimes does not work for somebody else and may cause serious health problems.

Knowledge at Noon

On Thursday, the "Knowledge at Noon" sponsored by the Finney County Extension Office is presenting "A Potpourri of Photography." The program will offer photography tips and techniques from Vivian Fankhauser, from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. at the Finney County Public Library, 605 E. Walnut St.

The public is invited to attend. Bring a lunch if you wish; coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information on Extension programs, call Léhisa de Fornoza at the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670.

Winter interest landscapes

Landscapes tend to be dark and gray this time of year, but careful planning can result in more colorful and interesting winter gardens. The key is selection of plant material and use of good design. Be sure and choose the vantage point from which the garden will be most enjoyed.

Green is the easiest color to add to a winter landscape with the use of broad-leaved evergreens, cedars, spruces and pines. With Blue Spruce, a single specimen plant works best as the blue foliage can catch the eye. Of course, plant parts other than foliage can be colorful or interesting. Even trees with horizontal branching patterns are interesting if there is snow adding white to the bark color.

Here are some plants to consider for winter landscapes. Red Osier Dogwood has bright red young stems during winter and Yellow Twig Dogwood has bright yellow twigs. Lacebark Elm displays interesting bark with mottled combinations of gray, green, orange and brown. River Birch also has appealing winter bark that is flakey and reddish-brown and contrasts nicely with snow. Surprisingly, River Birch can tolerate both wet and dry sites.

Seed catalogs arriving

January arrived and so are an abundance of seed catalogs. I enjoy thinking about spring time while thumbing through the pages, but drooling is not usually a problem, even if my wife thinks different.

Before ordering seeds this year, be sure and check on seeds leftover from last year. See if the seed is viable and assuming you liked the results from last year, you might not have to buy new seed this year.

When you are ready to order seeds, a good place to start to look is the Kansas State University publication "Recommended Vegetable Varieties." Varieties listed have proven performance across the state. Another list to check out for annual flowers can be found at www.prairiestarflowers.com. This collection consists of annual flowers of great vigor and spectacular bloom throughout the entire growing season in the soils and climate of the prairie. These annual flowers have performed well in trials conducted by K-State.

Even with these proven winners, it is still fun to try a few new varieties. Now don't go overboard and try all new things, but try a few, it's fun and exciting and you might find a good one.

Master Gardener

Here is another reminder about the Master Gardener Program. Master Gardener training will be in Liberal at the Seward County Extension Office. Training begins on Feb. 5 and continues for eight sessions every Wednesday through March 26. Anyone with an interest in horticulture can apply. If you are interested, application forms are available at the Finney County Extension Office. An enrollment fee of $80 covers the cost of all educational materials.

If you have any questions about Master Gardener training or any other concerns, call David Coltrain at 272-3670 or email coltrain@ksu.edu.

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