Knowledge for Life

February 2024

Research-based information you can trust.

4-H Youth Development

The “Heart” of 4-H

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s in 4‑H and are solidified in the 4-H Pledge. This pledge is recited at all 4-H meetings as a way to set the tone, expectations and to invite everyone to come together as a group. 

“I pledge my head to clearer thinking,

my heart to greater loyalty,

my hands to larger service, and

my health to better living,

for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

As we begin February, it's fitting to focus on the “H” for “Heart.” Volunteers and club members in 4-H show a lot of heart in many different ways!

Learn more

Lawn and Garden

It's nearly time to start those seeds!

Growing your own plants from seed is rewarding and saves you money. We have resources to help you.

Beat the spring rush: Get your free soil test

A soil test measures pH and available nutrients. These results will determine the type and amount of fertilizer or amendment to apply to your soil to maintain good plant health. This helps protect the environment, and saves you money and time.

Johnson County residents: You get one free soil test per year!

Dig Your Dinner webinar series returns for 2024

Extension Agents Anthony Reardon (Horticulture-Small Farms) and Chelsea Reinberg (Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health) discuss the connections between growing and serving foods, suitable to the seasons. 

Wednesday, February 21:

Cool Cabbage & Crisp Kale (register here)

Learn more about Dig Your Dinner and watch past episodes on topics like garlic, apples, and herbs.

February Gardening Calendar

We rounded up a list of tasks you can do this month.

Dormant Pruning and Sprays for Fruit Trees

Late February through March is the ideal time to tackle annual pruning on fruit trees in Johnson County— as long as the wood isn’t frozen. Learn more

Olathe Local Food Producers Workshop on Feb. 9

Attention, farmers, gardeners, and food business owners: We are hosting an all-day workshop that may interest you on Friday, February 9. Learn marketing tips; regulations for meat, poultry, and eggs; food safety resources; and an interactive training session for the Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Spanish language interpretation is available. Learn more

Planting the Plains

You can hear Anthony every week on Planting the Plains, a horticulture podcast produced by High Plains Public Radio.

The Gardening Hotline has answers to your questions.

call: (913) 715-7050 | email: [email protected]

Hotline hours: Monday - Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM

Community Vitality

Building Effective Community Board Leadership Skills

At some point in life, most of us will find ourselves serving on some community board. Regardless of the type of board, it is vital to have informed and committed board members.

The Welcome A-Board Leadership Series provides basic training in skills for members of community-based boards. The four classes will be held at the Extension Office February 15, 22, 29, and March 7, 2024.

Learn more

New model aims to reduce food waste

Food waste makes up roughly 26 percent of what is going into our trash bins here in Johnson County. There are many solutions to reduce, repurpose or eliminate food waste. Last October, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out a new Wasted Food Scale to help the consumer prevent and divert food waste from the landfill, incinerator, or the drain. 

Learn more

Family and Community Wellness

Don’t Pay the IRS Scam Tax

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters, phishing emails, fake text messages, or in-person imposters.

Here are the warning signs and resources for when you need to report a scam.

Learn more

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program starts February 7

The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals who make $64,000 a year or less.

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension is a VITA site, with our community partners El Centro, Inc., and Kansas City Metropolitan Tax Coalition. We offer walk-in and drop off tax assistance, and we have volunteers who speak Spanish. Learn more

Natural Resources

Liquid Trees: An Urban Solution?

The liquid tree, developed by Dr. Ivan Spasojevic, is a 160-gallon clear tank filled with water and microalgae. The tank behaves the same as a tree, converting carbon dioxide to oxygen.

For areas with little greenery and air pollution, could liquid trees be a solution?

Learn more

Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health

Three Myths About Fat

In case you have not heard the news yet, a low-fat diet is NOT the answer for preventing heart disease. It is true that consumption of fat can lead to heart disease, but there is a very specific type of fat and other factors that need to be considered.

Let’s review the types of fats and look at some common myths.

Learn more

Have nutrition, food safety, or health questions?


Contact us for answers. Call (913) 715-7000 or email [email protected]

Johnson County Extension Education Foundation

Join us in our mission!

We need your support as a member to continue to create awareness and provide financial support for Extension programs. Together, we can work to improve the lives of our Johnson County neighbors. Join now

Silver Clovers

WITS Workout: Take a Number! (two identical sessions)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Online via Zoom

You are never too young or old to start training your brain. As part of this course, participants will engage in 'pen and paper' activities designed to maintain and enhance cognitive function and memory. The activity themes of this session focus on numbers and the training component covers intellectual challenge.

Register for Class 1

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Register for Class 2

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Silver Clovers from Johnson County Extension offers special opportunities for adults ages 50 and older.

Upcoming Events | view complete list here

Lawn & Garden Events

February 6: Extension Master Gardeners: Pollinator Plants for Shade (virtual)

February 7: K-State Garden Hour Webinar Series: Gardening for a Changing Climate

February 9: Olathe Local Food Producers Workshop

February 21: Dig Your Dinner: Cool Cabbage & Crisp Kale (virtual)

Family and Community Wellness Events

February 7: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) starts! (ends April 13)

February 12: WITS Workout

February 14: Living Well Wednesday: Women's Health & Functional Medicine

February 26: Keys to Embracing Aging

February 27 start: Aging Mastery Program (AMP) - 10 sessions

February 27, March 5, March 12: Retirement Planning Today (3-part series)

Natural Resources Events

February 1: Wild Research: Flying Squirrels (virtual)

February 13: Wild Research: Dominique Byrd - Space-to-Event models used to estimate elk and deer abundance and elk occupancy models on Fort Riley, KS (virtual)

February 27: Wild Research: An Examination of Proximity to Water and Minimum Woody Cover Requirements for Northern Raccoon Occupancy and Abundance in Kansas (virtual)

Nutrition, Health, and Food Events

February 12: Four-Course Living (class is full!)

February 16: Date Night Cooking (class is full!)

February 17: Kids in the Kitchen: Bread Making Fun

February 22: Four-Course Living

Community Vitality

February 15 to March 7: Community Board Leadership Series: You are serving on a board -- now what? (4-class series)

February 29: Grant Writing 101 Workshop

4-H Youth Development

February 24: Club Day

View all Events
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We are dedicated to a safe, sustainable, competitive food and fiber system and to strong healthy communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education.

Local Mission

K-State Extension, Johnson County is an organization of dedicated, passionate, hardworking staff who collaborate and connect people with university supported education, resources, and services – through volunteers, community, and partner organizations.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. ​

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