Johnson County Extension is part of the National Cooperative Extension System, a valuable resource distributing university-driven, science-based information to the public.
Knowledge for Life
February 2019

Boy, it's been a rough winter. Brutal cold with lots of rain, snow and ice. Will the sun ever come out? Never fear, the days are continuing to get longer and brighter. The birds are starting to practice their song. And for many of us, our minds are turning to our gardens as we lust over the garden and seed catalogs.

Our office is now in full throttle:
  • Free income tax preparation starts Feb. 6. If you're eligible take advantage.
  • February brings us Valentine's Day. If celebrating with that special someone includes flowers and baking we have tips to make the day a success.
  • Trees damaged by winter storms should be pruned. Now's the time to contract with a reputable tree service and get on their schedule.
  • Join us as we welcome Zac Hoppenstedt to our Extension team.

We have a ton of fun and interesting classes lined up this February and March. It's all here, and more, in the February edition of Knowledge for Life. Enjoy!

Questions? Call 913.715.7000, or visit us at
Health, Nutrition, Home, Family and Youth Development News
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
Free Income Tax Preparation With VITA
Our volunteers are trained and ready to go. If your household earned $66,000 or less in 2018, you are eligible to have your federal and state income tax returns prepared for FREE by a trained VITA volunteer. This service starts Feb. 6 and runs through April 13. There were major changes to the tax laws last year that may impact your return. Volunteers are trained to save you as much money as possible. Learn what you will need to bring, and dates and times.
Where Did My Money Go?
Tracking your spending, developing a budget and learning to save are skills that do not come naturally for most people. The first step in being money savvy is to learn how to track your expenses. We list these steps for getting a handle on your spending.
Where Did My Money Go Part 2: Income Interruption
Sudden interruptions to income can have devastating effects on American families. At the time of this posting, 800,000 federal workers are on furlough due to the government shutdown. If you, your family or friends are not receiving a paycheck, we list some resources that might be of assistance.
Youth Ages 14 – 24
Congressional Award
The 4-H Youth Development program is about volunteer public service and personal development. 4-H youth learn by doing. So it seems like a natural fit that 4-H youth should consider applying for the Congressional Award, the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. Learn more whether this wonderful opportunity is right for your child.
3 Key Chemical Leavening Agents in Baking
Leavening agents cause the expansion of batters by releasing gases. They produce baked products with porous structure. But they are not interchangeable. Are you in search of the ultimate fluffy cake? Find out these 3 key ingredients for successful baking.
Save the date: Feb. 9
Dine, Bid, Win! JCEEF Dinner and Auction
The Johnson County Extension Education Foundation (JCEEF) supports a wide variety of Extension programs to enhance the quality of programs and services expected by our Johnson County residents. You are invited to join us for a fun evening at our annual benefit and Dine, Bid, Win!
Tuesdays, Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26
Board Leadership Series
There's still time to register! This series provides basic training for members of community based boards. Registration includes refreshments and reference handouts.
Lawn, Garden, AG and Environmental News
Zac Hoppenstedt: Horticulture ⁄ Vegetable ⁄ Fruit Production Agent
Second Horticulture Agent Joins Johnson County Extension Staff
We’re excited to welcome a new horticulture agent to our team. Zac brings with him several years of experience in fruit and vegetable production. He’s excited to advance Johnson County’s support for edible crops and farming. Please help us welcome Zac to the office!
Care for Valentine's Flowers
Your love muffin spent a lot of money on those flowers. Here's how you can make them last as long as possible. We list tips for extending the life of fresh flower arrangements and potted plants.
Starting Your Own Seeds
Maybe you're a garden connoisseur and paint with living color. Or maybe you're a science geek. Or maybe, just maybe you want to dive into the world of vegetables. Whatever the reason, growing your own plants from seed can be rewarding and save you money. Whether it's vegetables or colorful annuals, following these instructions will help you get growing.
How to set up your lights
Growing Transplant From Seeds
Growing transplants requires bright light which is not available naturally in the home. The secret is to provide artificial light. It's not hard. And you don't need some fancy, expensive set up. Once you know the trick you can grow a wide range of stocky, garden plants with just a little care.
Time to Apply Fertilizer to Cool-season Pasture Grasses
Cool season pasture and hay fields like brome and fescue respond very well to added nitrogen. They can also respond to phosphorus and potassium if a soil test indicates the need. Fertilizing can increase yield and profits. Find out how to apply your spring cool season grass fertilizer and get free soil testing for your pasture lands.
Pruning Storm Damaged Trees
Late winter - early spring is the time to prune most tree species here in Kansas City. Tree pruning is DANGEROUS. We highly recommend you work with firms that have certified arborists on staff. Now's the time to get estimates and contract with a reputable service. If your trees suffered during the heavy snows this winter, or you've been ignoring their maintenance here's what you need to know about pruning trees.
Help Evergreens Recover From Heavy Snow
Garden Calendar
It's been a cold and wet winter. By now gardeners are starting to champ at the bit. Great gardens don't just happen. They take careful planning. February's Garden Calendar can satisfy those pent-up desires and help with your planning process.
1) Free soil tests
2) Gardening Hotline is open
1) Johnson County residents get one FREE soil test per household per year. Whether it's lawns, vegetables, flowers, or trees and shrubs, soil fertility is key to good plant health. Get your free soil test.

2) Our FREE Garden Hotline is available year round. Call, email or stop by with your lawn and garden questions.

Classes & Events
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