Finney County Extension agents

Plan on attending the program "Food Allergy Facts of Life" at noon Thursday at the Finney County Extension Office, 501 S. Ninth St. Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch.

Living with food allergies is challenging and difficult. For adults, it means learning how to identify food triggers and manage your health. As a parent of a child with a food allergy, it means learning to recognize symptoms and finding resources and professionals who can help your child. It also means finding ways to manage you or your child's health and well-being without hardship, stress or illness. Learning how to recognize food allergy or food sensitivity is important. Sheryl Carson, Kearny County Extension agent, will be the program presenter.

Please RSVP by noon Wednesday by calling the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670 or by email at

4-H program

Parents have a significant role in 4-H. They are vital to a successful 4-H experience for their children. Parents provide encouragement and support for members to complete their 4-H club work, including project work.

Parents of 4-H members need to always know when their 4-H club meets and make sure the 4-H members get to the meetings.

Parents can help their children select, finance and manage their projects. They also help by providing the equipment and materials their child needs for their projects. As parents, they help their children learn the requirements for the project and complete those requirements. Parents also know children learn most when they are the ones doing the project, so parents provide "shadow helpership" and let the members do their own 4-H project work.

4-H parents provide support and assistance to the total club. Parents help the leader. (Leaders need and rely on parents' help to make 4-H successful). Parents should attend the club meetings and events whenever possible and help out as needed. They often have skills or other resources needed in the club and/or can share their special talents. Many leaders are also parents of members. They have become leaders to help their and others' children.

Parents can gain satisfaction when they make a meaningful contribution to a program in which their children are participating. A parent who is significantly involved in the 4-H program will have a better understanding of how the program works. They then will be better able to assist their children in having a positive experience.

Some specific responsibilities of parents (or home helpers) include:

* Learn and support the goals and objectives of 4-H.

* Provide or arrange for transportation for your children.

* Provide any materials and equipment your child may need.

* Show interest in what your children are doing and give them encouragement.

* Help out the club and leader when asked. Don't wait to be asked, volunteer.

* See that your child finishes, as well as starts their projects(s).

* Be a "shadow helper" guide, advise, help but let the child do his or her own work.

* Encourage your child when he succeeds and even more when he fails.

* Encourage and reward effort and progress, as well as the end results.

* Help your 4-H'er be a good sport and appreciate the success of others.

* Make 4-H a family affair, get the whole family involved in 4-H activities.

* Remember, the development of the youth is the mission of 4-H.

* Know that you are building for the future.

* Know that today's 4-H activities build the citizens and leaders of tomorrow.

* Support the 4-H leaders.

* Let the leaders know you appreciate them.

* Know and support the Kansas 4-H Life Skills: A positive self-concept; an inquiring mind; a concern for the community; healthy interpersonal relationships; and sound decision making.

Fall planting

The fall planting season has arrived. Temperatures finally cooled, and the time has come to think about adding a new tree, or a grouping of shrubs or perennials to the landscape. Or, perhaps you have an area in your landscape that needs "remodeling" or rejuvenating. Fall is an excellent time to get to work!

Many people prefer spring planting, but the fall months have distinct advantages. Fall planting follows the heat of summer and precedes a cold winter season. Trees, shrubs and perennials planted now use this to their best advantage. The roots of plants grow anytime the soil temperature is 40 degrees F or higher. Oftentimes, plants planted in the fall will outgrow and even pass plants planted in the spring.

Of course, there are exceptions to fall planting. All bare root plants, including roses and fruit trees, should not be planted now. In fact, it is doubtful that you will be able to find them available until next year. A few species of trees do not do well with fall planting, but they are in the minority.

Perennials often need to be transplanted for various reasons. Some have overgrown their spot in the garden, or the gardener is opting for a newer variety or different plant in place of the one occupying the space. The sun exposure may have changed because of growth of trees near the garden, or weeds may have infiltrated the area, and the garden needs to be renovated and re-established.

For whatever reason, it is an opportunity to amend the perennial bed by adding organic matter for good drainage, get a soil test done and begin again. Transplanting should be done in early autumn, allowing enough time for the plants to re-establish root systems before winter.

Plants you purchase in the fall need to be checked closely for root-bound characteristics. Root-bound plants have been in containers a long time and need special care when planting. Be sure and untangle roots by pulling them apart or maybe even vertically cutting root-bound plants.

Whether you are planting a single plant or an entire landscape, plan first, then plant. Good planning is a worthwhile investment of time that will pay off in greater enjoyment through a more attractive and useful home landscape. It also will increase the value of your home. It's much easier to move plants on paper than to dig them up after planting in the wrong place. An organized plan saves many planting mistakes.

"Landscape Strategies: Fall Plans for Spring Potential" offering more information about fall planting will be covered at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fairgrounds Grandstand Meeting Room. Please pre-register for the meeting by contacting the Finney County Extension Office.

If you have any questions about fall planting or other concerns, contact Finney County Extension Agent David Coltrain at 272-3670 or email