• A garden pesticide alternative that Wayne Nelson-Stastny of Yankton uses in his country garden is four chickens. By their behavior, the hens may be garden pets with benefits. When Wayne talked near the garden entrance gate, the hens stayed close to him and the gate, attentive to Wayne’s voice. The hens make chicken sounds among themselves, maybe conjecturing if Wayne would allow them inside the garden today. “I grow squash, zucchini and pumpkins, so they keep the bugs at bay. They also bring eggs and have manure for the garden. They do peck tomatoes, but I forego that for what they do for the garden,” Wayne said. Chickens have a coop when eagles fly overhead, insect delicacies besides other food, freedom of a large fenced backyard and a family that enjoys their company.

• “Preserving the Harvest with Marlys Hauck-Fenner” is the Yankton Seed Library presentation for Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 2-3 p.m. or 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Yankton Community Library, 515 Walnut Street. Missouri Valley Master Gardeners will assist as Marlys discusses selection of equipment, food safety, water bath canning (including pickles and jellies), pressure canning and dehydrating. Without a kitchen, she will not demonstrate these procedures, but will use PowerPoint visuals to show steps.

• Donna Adrian will present “Gardening Made Easier” for the Fall Fling on Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Yankton Community Library, 515 Walnut St. at 1-2:30 p.m. The same talk will also be held at the Pavilion Auditorium of the Avera Campus, 501 Summit St, Yankton that night at 7-8:30 p.m. Sponsors are Missouri Valley Master Gardeners. Adrian is a master gardener and a South Dakota Extension garden coordinator at Mission for the Rosebud Extension. She will show how to garden with less weeds, less work, and less water. Adrian uses garden soil practices that help build organic matter and reduce erosion, decrease water loss and require little equipment. It’s time to get the garden ready for next season.

• Garden Soil Health Demonstrations will be held outdoors before each Fall Fling on Sept. 24. Kent Vlieger, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil conservationist of Huron, will use soil plots and a rain simulator to show contrasts in soil health. Demos will be conducted outdoors at the Yankton Community Library and at the Avera Pavilion entrance before the talks. Demos will show differences in soil infiltration and soil run off, using soil samples with contrasting garden practices such as no-till, cover crops, and soil amended with organic matter. Twenty-minute, come and go demos will occur within 11:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. at the library lawn and 5:30-6:45 p.m. at the Pavilion entrance. Bring a lawn chair if you wish. See for yourself, some garden practices that matter for soil health.

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