Two local farms team up to bring organic farming to high schools

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Leafy Green Farms and Community Green Farms are joining together to bring vertical hydroponic farms to 10 high schools to Southeast Kansas.

“We hope that by working through the schools we can help achieve our goal of moving the nutritional needle and fulfill the objective that access to quality food should not be dictated by income levels,” said the two in a joint statement.

Each vertical farm can grow up to two acres of produce a year, giving the schools and surrounding communities fresh produce throughout the year.


For more information on the organizations click here.

Missouri armadillo populations pop, here are some theories why


JOPLIN, MO.- Armadillos are becoming a staple in Missouri as populations migrate to northern habitats.

Experts theorize that climate change is the reason why. “There’s a couple of theories about why they’re moving north,” said Francis Skalicky, Missouri Department of Conservation media specialist. “One is maybe it’s connected with climate change with another one. Two is just that fields got tilled, as gardens got tilled, it gave them a lot more habitat because what they eat is grubs that are in the soil.”

Armadillos dig in farmland, yards, and pastures searching for insects to eat. Although their digging is a headache for homeowners, farmers, and others; their digging could be beneficial.

“While they’re digging, it can be problematic if it’s around a building or in your garden,” said Skalicky, “In other instances, digging can actually be beneficial because it’s helping to get rid of some grubs that could be garden pests.”

Most of the armadillos in Missouri are the Nine-banded armadillo. The Nine-banded armadillo population is growing due to their adjustment to Missouri’s creeks and wooded areas.

The Wildlife Code of Missouri does allow Missourians to trap or kill nuisance armadillos on their property.

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Japanese beetles add to drought impact on gardens

PITTSBURG, Kan. – More 4-State residents are noticing the impact of Japanese beetles this summer.

Weather caused them to emerge later than normal, according to Horticulture Agent Jesse Gilmore. He’s with the K-State Research and Extension based in Girard. They’ll do most of their feeding from June to September, depending on when the adults emerge.

This summer, they’re emerging as the drought continues. This is making the pests more prevalent for gardeners, damaging their already thirsty plants.

Gilmore tells KOAM’s Keri Worthen that Japanese beetle adults are one of the most destructive insect pests of horticultural plants. This is in both landscapes and gardens. They are generally in large populations. He says they move around the shrub and consume the plant tissue leaving behind skeletonized leaves.

Gilmore says the most effective way to get rid of these bugs is by using contact pesticides.

You can learn more from Gilmore by watching the video above.

Local Business Impact of Japanese Beetles

One local business owner tells Worthen the bugs are eating the foliage and blooms of all their plants, especially zinnias.

Soulful Stems Flower Farm is located in Miami, Oklahoma. Owner Holly Morgan says the beetles are also highly attracted to rose bushes. She catches them most in the early morning or evening hours. “I pick them off the plants and drop them into water (with or without soap),” Morgan tells Worthen. “In only a few days worth of collecting them off my plants, I started seeing less and less. Now I only find 1 or 2 every couple days.”

Morgan says she’s seen a person in Colorado with a larger flower farm use a cordless vacuum to suck them off her plants and then dispose of them. “Some people use traps, but the problem with those is that it attracts more beetles to your garden and not all of them end up in the trap,” states Morgan.

The K-State Department of Entomology agrees: “The use of Japanese beetle traps is not recommended since the floral lure and synthetically-derived sex pheromone may attract more adults into an area than would “normally” occur. Japanese beetle adults may also feed on roses before reaching the traps, which increases potential damage.”

The bigger issue Morgan says she has is the striped blister beetles. “They have come in by the hundreds and devoured my plants in only a few hours. I finally got rid of them, but had to use pesticides.”

You can learn more about Japanese beetles from the K-State University Extension Entomology blog here.



Local organization offers gardening class to people of all abilities

NEVADA, Mo. – ‘On My Own’ in Nevada offers a weekly gardening class tailored for people of all abilities.

The class features lower flower beds to make them more accessible to those in wheelchairs.

While learning about plants, the participants also learned social skills and how to live more independently.

“Gardening is a great way to improve your health and it’s not just by eating healthy foods,” said Kelly Day, Independent Living Specialist. “It is just perfect for your mental health and your physical health to be outside in the green and to put your hands in the dirt. So it’s very therapeutic and I highly recommend it”.

Officials say On My Own offers other classes that teach other household living skills.

To learn more, click here.

“Overcoming fear with education promotes understanding”

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – The Newton County Sheriff’s Office released a PSA informing residents to stay cool when dealing with our cold-blood buddies in the wild.

As the weather warms up, our local reptile population will become active once again, the NCSO states.

“Although it’s always a controversial topic, leaving our native snakes, lizards and turtles to play their role in our ecosystem is the best policy. Snakes are the subject of a lot of phobias, but overcoming fear with education promotes understanding.”

-Deputy Kruse

Snakes like this Western Rat Snake help to balance the population of rodents and are beneficial to have around, so be sure to let them live in peace.


Joplin Chamber Members volunteered today to help those in need

JOPLIN, Mo. – Members of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce volunteered with the Joplin Garden Club today, April 12.

Chamber members assisted in seed planting and mulch spreading in the community garden at the Crosslines Food Pantry.

Chair Member Dana Pim stated:

“I love volunteering and I love bringing awareness to these non-profits that do such good in our community and being able to be a part of it. We’ve made a lot of friends because other people who like volunteering come out and join us so we’ve got quite the network now.”

Officials say the Crosslines Food Pantry is located at 320 School Ave. in Joplin.

Master gardening classes return to the four states area

JOPLIN, Mo. – Master Gardener offers a series of gardening classes for beginners in the four states area.

Eric Osen, a Master Gardener with the University of Missouri Extention Office offers a class that covers many different aspects of gardening. Throughout the class, students will learn the best ways to grow their own produce.

“There’s always concerns about food, food security, and being able to, you know, feed your family,” said Master Garden Volunteer Eric Osen.  “This is a healthy outdoor family activity. This is something that you could do with your kids, your grandkids to spend time with them.”

The classes will take place at the Web City Farmers Market, the Joplin Empire Market, and the Joplin Public Library.

For more information, click here.



Grant allows Rocky Comfort Elementary students to seed 10,000 plants

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – Agriculture students at Rocky Comfort Elementary will seed 10,000 plants thanks to a grant from Walmart.

Agricultural Teacher Elizabeth Wilkinson said the following about the annual event:

“The big shipment [of seeds] is quite a sight to see.” Wilkinson said. “My kids are hard-working and really good at what they do. It is really loud and chaotic while planting all these seeds, but we have a blast.”

Wilkinson says students will look over the seedlings for a few weeks until they are available for purchase at the school’s annual plant sale. Money raised from the sale goes to help with school improvement projects.

Click here for more information.

Craft Expo On It’s Way To NEO A&M

Keeley Adams, NEO A&M Honors Program Director. stopped by the KOAM studio to talk about the upcoming Craft Expo. This event is open to the public and anyone interested should come out:

  • March 26
  • 10 am to 3 pm
  • 200 I St NE, Miami, OK 74354 (NEO STUDENT ACTIVITY CENTER)
  • Over 50 vendors will take part

Shop a wide variety of vendors for quality crafts and merchandise including Jewelry, Home Decor, and more!

Call 918-542-8441 for more information.

This event is hosted by NEO Women and Friends.


Jesse Gilmore talks cutting and caring for fresh flowers

Jesse Gilmore, an agent from the K-State Extension Office, talks to Michael Hayslip about cutting and caring for fresh flowers. Jesse is in charge of horticulture and you can reach him at