Gardening in raised beds instead of conventional rows is becoming more and morepopular. It’s easy to see why.Raised beds offer earlier crops in the spring, later crops in the fall and better rootcrops. They require less fertilizer and no costly machinery. They have better drainage,fewer weeds and almost no soil problems and yield more produce in less space.Gardeners who have tried raised beds discover that the soil is loose, allowing air,moisture, warmth, nutrients and roots to penetrate more easily. Raised-bed gardening helpscorrect the problems of poor, rocky or compacted soil and extends short growing seasons.There is no best time of the year to make raised beds. Here are three possibilities.Winter. Gardeners have the most time on their hands. This is the mostpopular time for creating beds because it enables the gardener to plant extra early in thespring.Get the frame made up and mix the soil. However, make sure you dig into the existingsoil before putting the mix into the bed. This is called “interfacing” and isvital for plant growth. If you don’t dig before mixing, the plant roots will hit the hardarea and won’t penetrate for maximum root growth and uptake of nutrients and water.With raised beds, too, you can cover that small area with plastic and not worry aboutwet soil and late planting. Raised beds drain well. They get more sunlight from both thetop and sides, too, so they warm up quicker in the spring.Spring. If you can work the soil in early spring, raised beds allowyou to plant earlier and to protect plants against too much rain, lengthy wet spells andother bad weather.Summer or Fall. Planting in raised beds helps fall crops producelonger. Remember, working in the late fall is much cooler and easier than trying to put ina raised bed in the summer.
by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” For Vanessa Sawyer, a third grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary, being recognized as a teacher of the year is just one of the many, many events in this young womanâ€™s life.Sawyer was presented â€œthe USD 353 Excellence in Teachingâ€ Award by David Carr, USD 353 School Foundation, Inc. at the 2013-14 Teacher and Staff Appreciation Program held at the Wellington High School auditorium Tuesday afternoon. She was presented the award that included 17 other nominees. The program is a year-end program exclusively for teachers and USD staff that included recognition of retirements, longevity of service and other special recognitions.Sawyer is a unique teacher. And she has a website to prove it. Her personal blog: http://seesawyer.org/ is packed full of activities. Itâ€™s not just a blog she updates once a month about her personal life. Itâ€™s a story of her Eisenhower classroom updated daily.â€œMy goal is to increase parent involvement and teacher/parent communication,â€ Sawyer says right at the top of her website.She most certainly has done that.Of all of Sawyerâ€™s accomplishments this year, she might have pulled off the ultimate fundraising project: the color run.The Eisenhower Elementary PTA held a fundraiser, but instead of doing the standard Red Wheel cookie dough campaign, Sawyer decided to do something different.â€œI saw this â€˜color runâ€™ in Kansas City where people were running and ever so often they would have this color powder thrown on them by the organizers,â€ Sawyer said. â€œI was thinking we could do something like that here. Let the students run around Eisenhower for 30 minutes and have teachers throw color powder on them that sticks to their shirts, and their face, and their legs. It would be a lot of fun.â€The students were asked to go out and get pledges. Boy, did they ever. The Eisenhower PTA raised just under $17,000 and after expenses put in $13,000 into its coffers.â€œWe budgeted the fundraiser to make around $5,000,â€ Sawyer said. â€œBut the students were ecstatic in doing it. I think it was because it was something they were able to participate in.â€The run also included prizes. Winning students were rewarded based on the number of laps they run. Those getting a prize received a gift certificate for a pair of shoes (staying in the run theme). Those students winning included Corbin Jones, Jack Wright, Britt Zeka and Kate Haines.â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢But that wasnâ€™t all Sawyerâ€™s class did. Recently her class made a 3 minute and 25 second music video about dental hygiene called â€œItâ€™s Going Down, Iâ€™m Yelling Brushâ€ which was part of a Kansas Dental Association contest.That video was presented to KDA in which the winning Kansas classroom who best demonstrated what they were doing to promote dental health would receive $500. A panel of judges then voted on it and the Eisenhower third graders were the winners! (see story here: http://www.ksdental.org/cdhm-class-project-contest-winner-announced/)That entry beat the second place music video presented to Woodlawn Health and Wellness Magnet Elementary in Wichita.Sawyer doesnâ€™t just teach in the confines of four walls, but has a number of activities for the students to do outside the classroom. For instance there was the creation of the Character Living Museum where students are dressed up and acted like a character from a book. One day students took a trip out to Zeka Farms to learn about the great outdoors.The students are always â€œwalkingâ€ whether to a Dillons Bakery to learn how to make donuts, or eating another set of donuts at the Daylight Donut Shop.Sawyer grew up in Jetmore, Kans. just north of Dodge City. After going to college and receiving her teacherâ€™s certificate, she started teaching in USD 353 five years ago.Interestingly, Sawyer is making a move at the end of this year, transferring from Eisenhower to Washington Elementary where she will be teaching the fifth grade. It most certainly will be a loss for Eisenhower and a gain for Washington.â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢Special awardJill Kiker, a third grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary, was presented a special recognition award. Recently, Sumner Newscow featured a letter written by Mason Lough, a sixth-grade teacher, for the help Kiker gave him at Kennedy Elementary. See story here: http://www.sumnernewscow.com/sunday-blog-a-student-expresses-his-love-for-his-third-grade-teacher/â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢Longevity/Retirement awardsUniversity of Kansas 25-year teaching certificates:Katherine DwyerKimberly HefleyPam Renn.10 years of service:Adam HatfieldAnne BilesBonnie BoorRenee FergusonPeggy GilmoreHelen JonesTroy JonesJennifer LewellenSonja RobinsonKristin White15 years of service:Amy WestLinda BallardNeida DunnJerri FikeTimothy GonzalesMargaret HendericksSarah HouseMarilyn SearsElizabeth Vaughn20 years of service:Janet BrownSharon Hoffman.25 years of service:Katherin DwyerPamela RennJames YbarraDarla Carroll.30 years of service:Peggy Lawrence35 years of service:Phyllis Anderson.Retirement:Peggy Lawrence – 30 years.Nancy Strader – 27 years.Jayne Cook – 15 years.Debra Kimball – 25 years.Judith Leitch – 26 years.Marylyn Weber – 8 years.â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢â€¢Excellence in Teaching Award nominees:Daphne Adams – Kennedy.Darla Carroll – WHSJamie Dodds – Lincoln.Damien Hays – WHSJill Kiker – KennedySawyerLuke Smith – WHS.Amy West – Washington.Timothy Green – WHS.Kristee Bernd – Kennedy.Karla Defore – WHS.Ryan Elder- WHS.Katie Hollas – WHS.Beverly Sellers – Kennedy.Cathy Shuck – Lincoln.Bridget Vaughn – WHS.Robert Escandon- WHS.Dorathea Kelly – WHS.Follow us on Twitter. 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Thank you for your input. +1 Vote up Vote down whsfan · 325 weeks ago Great list of names, Congrats to Sawyer and the rest of these teachers that were recognized for their dedicated effort of teaching our youth. Thumbs up to all! Report Reply 0 replies · active 325 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. 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