Nebraska Extension-Gage County

September 2022 Newsletter

In This Issue


Office closed for Labor Day

Upcoming Events

Big Give Gage Co. Sept 8, 2022

Horticulture - Nicole Stoner

Fall Lawncare

Fall Garden Cleanup

Water and Integrated Cropping Systems- Nathan Mueller

2022 Survey Results for Farm Custom Rates and Cash Rent

Defoliating Insects in Soybeans

Food, Nutrition & Health - Tara Dunker

Take the stress out of family meals

My budget-friendly approach to health

4-H & Youth Development - Jacie Milius

State Fair Results

Big picture

Horticulture - Nicole Stoner

Now that the kids are back in school and football is starting, we are moving towards fall. That means we can start looking at fall lawncare practices to improve our lawns this for next season.

Overseeding the Lawn

If you lost patches due to winterkill last winter or maybe to the drought this year or need to thicken your lawn up, late August through early September is best for seeding turf. Kentucky bluegrass and turf-type tall fescue are both great cool season turfgrass choices for southeast Nebraska. If you are looking for a warm season grass, Buffalograss is a great choice. Whatever grass variety you choose, make sure that it is blue tag certified grass seed for highest quality and least weed issues.

Garden Clean up!

In the fall you should clean up your vegetable garden when you are finished with the plants or when they have died back due to frost. Removing plants and cleaning up the garden helps reduce insect and disease issues in the following year.
  • Remove the plants and compost them. If your plants had a disease issue this year, do not compost them, throw those in the garbage so that the disease doesn’t come through the compost.
  • After plant removal, add manure or other fertilizer if necessary then till the garden. Tilling the garden in the fall exposes insect eggs and weed seeds to winter temperatures, killing them for the following year.
  • A thin layer of straw mulch or grass clippings will help hold your topsoil in place through strong winter winds.

Flower gardens can be cleaned up in the fall as well, or they can be left to be cleaned up in the spring. Leaving the plant material over the winter can add winter interest. Plants with hollow stems should be left as egg laying locations for many pollinators including many of our solitary bees. Also, plants with hollow stems should not be pruned off in the fall because moisture can get in the hollow stems and freeze and thaw through the winter damaging the crown of the plant. This includes plants like roses and butterfly bushes.

  • If you clean up your garden in the fall wait until after a killing frost to do so.
  • Iris and peony plants should not be pruned back until after the leaves have turned brown in the fall.

Water and Integrated Cropping Systems- Nathan Mueller

Extension Publications for Pasture and Grass Hay

If you own or rent pasture or grass hay ground, there are four Extension publications that you should own a copy of.

At the top of my list is the 2022 Extension Circular 130: Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska. This is an over 300-page annual publication, so you can get an updated version each year. There are several sections that you will find useful including weed control in non-crop areas, noxious weeds, and troublesome weeds and woody plants, and grazing restrictions for pasture and range herbicides. A 2022 digital copy is $15 or print copy is $25, both can be purchased online (additional tax and postage applies). Additionally, we have some digital copies on a flash drive for free still available in the Saline, Jefferson, or Gage County Extension office.

Second on my list is Extension Circular 118: Common Forbs and Shrubs of Nebraska Rangeland, Prairie, and Pasture published in 2017. This extension publication is not small either at 263 pages, but it helps you identify all the common broadleaf plants. The publication provides key information about each species including a distribution map of the plant in Nebraska, when it flowers, how tall it gets, where it prefers to grow, uses and values, and other important information. The publication is free to download as a pdf to be stored on your computer or a print copy can be ordered for $12.00 plus applicable tax and shipping.

Third on my list is Extension Circular 170: Common Grasses of Nebraska Rangeland, Prairie, and Pasture published in 2016. This 178-page extension publication helps you identify all the common grasses and grass-like plants in your pasture or grass hay field. This illustrated identification guide includes descriptions of inflorescence and vegetative characteristics, distribution and habitat, uses, and values for 125 grass and grass-like plants. The publication is free to download as a pdf to be stored on your computer or a print copy can be ordered for $5.00 plus applicable tax and shipping.

To round out my top four pasture management publications is Extension Circular 3037: Nebraska Plants Toxic to Livestock including bloat-causing plants. Published in 2018, this resource categorizes plants into toxic, occasionally toxic, potentially toxic, and crops potentially toxic to livestock. The circular helps with plant identification, known distribution in Nebraska, and known toxicology of each plant species. The publication is 196-pages and is free to download as a pdf to be stored on your computer or a print copy can be ordered for $12.00 plus applicable tax and shipping.

All four of these extension publications can be downloaded or print copies ordered online at For more information about how you can order print copies of these publications over the phone, contact Nebraska Extension on East Campus in Lincoln at 402-472-2966. For inquiries about these and other agronomic resources from Nebraska Extension, contact me at or 402-821-1722. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line.

Food, Nutrition & Health - Tara Dunker, Extension Educator

Taking the stress out of family meals

Feeling the pressure of back-to-school schedules yet?

I ran a version of this article before, but boy does it feel relevant now that I have a kindergartener myself. Give your mealtime motivation a boost by trying the following tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Keep it simple. On extra busy nights, prioritize recipes with fewer ingredients. With input from your children, create a small collection of family favorites to help you get in and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes. Cycle through these recipes regularly, and pretty soon both grocery shopping and meal prep will be a snap.

Choose ingredients that do double duty. Save shopping time by stocking up on ingredients you can use for more than one meal throughout the week. Cook two pounds of lean ground beef, instead of one. Use half for Sloppy Joes on whole grain buns one night, and reheat the other half to throw in a casserole the next night.

My budget-friendly approach to health

Being an adult is a lot of things, but the word that comes to mind lately is: expensive.

I’m feeling the financial squeeze like everyone else. This got me thinking about the ways I prioritize health by embracing foods, drinks, and cooking methods that tend to get a bad rap. People often write these things off as unhealthy, or at the very least unfancy, and therefore unworthy of being touted for their health benefits.

As a dietitian, I know better. The vast majority of the time, foods are not more expensive because they are better for your health. They’re more expensive because they either cost more to produce or they cost more to advertise.

Here’s how I support my health without breaking the bank:

-Store brands: I’m not a couponer. Instead, I often choose the store brand over the more expensive name brand item for my kitchen staples–things like condiments, spices, canned goods, and frozen produce. While I prefer the name brand version for certain things–like the snack crackers I buy–trial and error has shown me that most store brands are of comparable quality to their name brand counterparts. Because they don’t require big product development or advertising budgets, store brands are 30% less expensive on average–that’s a savings I can get behind.

Vegetable and canola oils: Because the majority of my cooking doesn’t go much above medium heat when I’m sautéing in oil, I feel perfectly good buying the less expensive vegetable or canola oils when I need to stock up. Olive oil often gets credit for being the healthiest of the oils, but these other ones offer the same amount of calories, are just as low in unhealthy fats and just as high in healthy fats. So, when I’m looking for a less expensive oil, I grab vegetable or canola off the shelf and feel great about the health benefits of each.

-Frozen fruits and vegetables: I’ve written entire articles about this in the past, but it can’t be overstated how great of a resource frozen fruits and vegetables are to busy households on a budget. They are packaged at peak quality, maintaining their nutritional value, and if I stick to ones without added sugars or sauces, I’m getting products that are just as healthy as their fresh versions. Bonus: I don’t need to worry about these items going bad before I have a chance to eat them.

-Canned fruits, vegetables and beans: Like with frozen, the only thing I’m looking for here is a product that’s packed in its own juices and lower in sodium. I sometimes also rinse canned items before use to get rid of excess sodium–when I have the time and energy to do so. Being a Midwesterner, I also capitalize on the stretch in my food dollar by adding canned vegetables and beans to our favorite casseroles and one-pot dinners. This adds volume to any meal, without requiring me to add more protein–often the most expensive ingredient in a dish.

Microwaving: While I do own my share of “fancy” appliances, I harbor no ill feelings toward my handy dandy microwave. As long as I’m using a microwave safe dish, I feel confident knowing this appliance will help me make a healthy dinner fast–with the bonus of not heating up my house during months when I’m also trying to watch my energy bill. It’s helped me do things like safely thaw that chicken breast I forgot to take out the freezer, cook an egg for my toddler to enjoy and heat up frozen peas for a healthy side dish.

-Tap water: Last but not least, walking into any convenience store or grocery store would have me believing hydration needs to be complicated. Not true. Whenever I’m looking to save a couple bucks, I stick to tap water and feel great about its ability to hydrate me effectively. Not only is it good-for-you H2O, it also has its own naturally occurring combo of essential minerals (ie electrolytes). Move over sports drinks.

4-H & Youth Development - Jacie Milius

State Fair Results

The 2022 Nebraska State Fair featured over 4500 4-H exhibitors and nearly 11,000 exhibits. Congratulations to all Gage County 4-H exhibitors. Proud of you for representing Gage County youth with pride, dignity, character, and kindness. Special award recognition goes to:

Isabelle Barkoudah: Fashion Show

Lydia Dominy: My Financial Future

Hannah Parde: Reserve Champion Dog Agility Level 2 & Level 4

Emily Rempel: Food Preservation

Mallory Schwab: Food Preservation

Lily Sobotka: Food & Nutrition Poster, Scrapbook or Photo Display

Jeffrey Lohse: Champion Horticulture Judging Contest, 4th Place Insect ID contest

Andrew Jensen: Plant Science

Mackenzie Person: Woodworking Article

Parker Person: Woodworking Article

Jordan Musil: 3rd Senior Sheep Showman, Reserve Hampshire Market Lambs

Cooper Lovitt: Champion Division 1 Market Gilt