No Plant Question is Too Challenging

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District.

Nineteen years – that’s how long I have been a K-State Extension agent and it has been a very good career for me! I thoroughly enjoy visiting with people and helping whenever I can.

When I began as an agent, I was amazed by the fact that not everyone knew what the Extension service was. I always heard the phrase “Extension is the best-kept secret” and I thought to myself….I’m going to change that!

Unfortunately, nineteen years later, I still frequently visit with folks that have absolutely no idea of the services the Extension office can provide. So many services in fact, it’s too numerous to list. But one of those that I want to draw your attention to is our horticulture services.

Anyone that has a lawn or landscape can benefit from the local Extension office. The weeds you try to keep from growing in your lawn, or the tree that has holes in the trunk, or the spots on your tomato leaves are all areas the Extension office can help you.

We offer you that one-on-one personal service that you cannot get from Google.

From the Extension office, you can obtain information on trees, turf, flowers, insects, gardens, soils and other related topics specific to Kansas. The key point here is – specific to KANSAS.

It is so easy to just turn to the internet to find information. However, many times the information you find is from another state and it is not relevant to our area. Or worse, it is inaccurate.

The Extension office can assist you with any specific plant or insect problem you may encounter – free of charge. Home visits are also available.

There are never any dumb questions when you call the Extension office. My job is to help the public with whatever question or issue they may have and to try to educate them. I may not always have the answer they are looking for immediately, but 99% of the time I can find an answer. We also have access to K-State specialists and laboratory diagnostic services.

This summer, there are three demonstration gardens in the Southwind District for people to view and take notes of plant performance.

Pepper plants are being trialed at the Elm Creek Community Garden in Iola, tomato plants at the Cherry Street Youth Center and squash at the community garden in Fort Scott. The plots are labeled so feel free to stop by and take a look.

I am most excited about the tomato trials at Cherry Street. This is a great learning opportunity for the youth! They are working under the direction of Denise Hastings who is an Extension Master Gardener. The youth will record data and make careful observations of the varieties. At the end of the season, results will be reported to K-State and combined with other data from other trials across the state. All of this data will be used to help update the list of K-State recommended vegetable cultivars.

During the growing season, I am in the Erie office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Iola on Tuesday and Fort Scott on Thursday.

However, you can always reach me by e-mailing kharding@ksu.edu or call 620-244-3826.

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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