Soil Fertility 101
By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension agent, crops and soils/horticulture
This year's winter meeting season in the Meadowlark Extension District will kick off Dec. 8 with emphasis on the very important topic of soil fertility. Soil Fertility 101 will start at 9 a.m., at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Nortonville. Professors of Agronomy Dr. David Mengel and Dr. Dorivar Ruiz Diaz will tag team to hit on the subjects of soil properties and fertility, soil sampling, pH and liming, Phosphorous, Potassium, Nitrogen, and Micronutrients. It's a full day but one well worth the time with the emphasis on soil fertility that our crop production requires.
Registration is free to the first 20 that RSVP by Dec. 4. At the door or after the first 20 spots, registration is $10/person. Contact the Atchison County Extension Office at 913-833-5450 or Meadowlark Extension District Office at 785-863-2212 to sign up.
Continuing Education Units for CCA's have been applied for. Free registrations compliments of an Atchison County/Meadowlark Extension District Soil Testing Grant. For further information, check out the flyer online at www.meadowlark.ksu.edu under the Crops & Soils tab, or e-mail Ray Ladd at email@example.com or David Hallauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crop Performance Test data available
Data from the 2009 Kansas Crop Performance Tests for corn and sorghum are now available. Some sites have yet to be harvested, so book has not been sent to print. Individual location results are available on the web at www.agronomy.ksu.edu/extension/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=91.
Plot results from the Meadowlark Extension District will be available in early December.
Winterizing time is here
Even with some persistent nice weather, the handwriting is on the wall and winter will soon be here. Now is the time for winterizing two of or more popular plants--strawberries and roses.
With an warmer than typical fall, there is some concern that strawberry plants haven't adjusted for winter, a process know as hardening. With that in mind, if a sudden drop in temperatures in to the 20s or below is forecast, it may be a good idea to mulch plants like you would for winter. After the cold snap, uncover so hardening can continue.
Keep in mind as well that the warmer temperatures may well delay winter mulching. It may be good to wait until the first couple of weeks of December to allow plants to become more cold hardy. Straw mulch is a good option for and should be spread to a depth of three inches.
For roses, the difference in types will likely dictate your actions. Shrub roses tend to be hardy here. Others, hybrid teas for example, have ancestry adapted to warmer climates and need protection here.
To provide this protection, mound soil (from another part of the garden) or compost about 8 to 10 inches high around each plant avoiding soil removal from between plants that would expose roots. Do this by Thanksgiving, then add a four inch mulch of straw, leaves or hay for further protection after the ground is frozen (adding before may invite rodents). Top with more soil to hold it in place.
Its also good at this time to prune excessively tall canes to a height of 36 inches and tie them together to prevent whipping by strong winter winds.