Archive for December 21st, 2016

7 Stock Show Season Tips

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

winners-circle-1With the Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Houston Stock Show’s around the corner, many student’s are working on with their animals as they prepare for the stock show season. Here are seven stock show preparation tips to consider as you work with your animal.

Diet: Watch and control your animals diet. Inconsistent feeding can lead to problems in consumption and growth.

Always watch your animals diet.  45-30 days out from the show, look to see if your animal on track. Do they  need to gain more weight, loose weight or do you need to hold them? The answers to these questions will help you determine if it’s time to cut back on feed, increase it or introduce supplements to their diet.

Coat Care: Your animals coat and skin condition are an important part of their show ring success. Know what the requirements are your animal and make sure they are clipped correctly.

Organization is key!  Be prepared to answer questions the judges may ask you. Know your animal’s weight, breed & feed. Once at the show, know your schedule and class.

Showmanship: The time you spend working with your animal now will pay off in the show ring. Be prepared to answer questions on animal care, feeding strategies, weight, and breed. Dress appropriately and neat!  Judges look at you as well as the animal. Nice shirts, clean jeans, and belts to hold up those pants. Be polite and respectful.

Judges: Each judge is different. Find out who the judge is, the information is available to you via the county extension office or the show rule book. Learn what is important to them. Understand their preferences, do your homework.

Be prepared:  If you are traveling to an event consider putting together a check list for you and your animal. What do you need to bring with you and what should you do to get ready? When at the show, make a list of what you should do to prepare you and your animal. Keep all your equipment and show supplies together. A little preparation goes a long way in easing the stress for you and your animal.

Ask questions:  The road to show ring success is long and requires discipline. You are bound to have a question along the way regarding care and feeding of your animal. Ask questions, it’s the best way to learn. Talk to your Ag teacher, local feed store or county agent, they are wealth of information and are happy to help.

Planting Potatoes, Onions and Other Cool Weather Vegetables

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

PotatoesInDirtSeed Potatoes and onion set arrive mid-January at J&N Feed and Seed. Planting potatoes and onions are at the top of everyone’s gardening list this time of year. As everyone in North Texas knows, our late January and February weather can be a gamble— temps can be spring-like one day and fall below freezing the next.  But, the weather extremes should not deter gardeners from planting during these months.  Potatoes are top of the list for planting this time of year.

Other good go-to cold weather vegetables are root produce such as turnips, beets, and carrots as well as hardy leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, kale, and chard. Bulb veggies (onions and garlic), as well as asparagus crowns, can also be planted at this time.

Preparing and Planting Potatoes 

When purchasing seed potatoes, look for certified seed potatoes. These are seeding potatoes which have not been treated with growth retardants to prevent sprouting. Conventional potatoes in grocery markets are typically treated with retardants.

After you have planned and prepared a garden spot with well-drained, loose soil, the seed potatoes can be prepped for planting:

Cut each seed potato into quarters (sulfur dust can be applied to the fresh cut ends) and let the potato quarters set out overnight or longer until cut sides callus over.  Seed potato quarters are then ready to plant— for a good rule of thumb, potato quarters should be planted 3” to 4” deep and spaced 12” to 15” apart. To provide plants plenty of growing room, make sure rows are spaced 24” to 36” apart.

Caring for Potato Plants

Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form.  Before the potato plants bloom, hilling should be done when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury the plant base in loose soil. Hilling will keep the potato plants from getting sunburned, in which case they turn green and will taste bitter.  You will need to hill potatoes every couple of weeks to protect your crop.

When the potato plants have bloomed, new potatoes are ready for harvest.  For larger potatoes, harvest only after plant tops have fallen over. For more information on planting seed potatoes, visit the Texas A&M website.

Other Cool Weather Vegetable Plantings

Lettuce, spinach, and cabbage can be planted at this time either by seeds or plant starts. For reference, these vegetables can be planted in February with seed or starter plants.

Stop by J&N for your seed potatoes, onion sets, and other cool weather vegetables.

 

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