County fairs are in full swing now. The Riley County fair is July 25 through July 29. Open class events are available to anyone in Riley County and adjoining counties. Gardening, flowers and the honey section exhibits need to be brought to Pottorf Hall in CiCo Park between 8 a.m. and noon on July 25. Exhibits are released after 5 p.m. on July 29.

Come to the fair anytime and see the longest yard-long bean. See which 4-H youth gets closest to 36 inches.

Stop by and visit with the K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners of Riley County. They will be visiting with guests each night beginning at 5 p.m. Their booth will have gardening information. The booth is located near the Wells Arena and carnival.

On Saturday, you can try your hand at identifying plants and some judging. The activity is set up in the air-conditioned Pottorf Hall for 4-H youth and others to participate in. This activity is from 10 a.m. to noon to match up 30 plants and pick the best to worst specimens on display.

Judging horticulture exhibits is mostly common sense. You are looking for the best quality and condition. The specimen should be clean, healthy and attractive in color and appearance.

Biggest is only best when in a particular class for that designation. Large produce is often over-mature. It is likely not as tender or flavorful as medium-sized specimens. The size selected to be judged should conform to market demands or the size most commonly found at a market.

I hope you can make it to the county fair. If you would like some information on exhibiting and harvesting the best produce, contact the Extension office. The newly-revised publication “Exhibiting Fruits and Vegetables,” which includes herbs, “Preparing Cut Flowers for Exhibit” and “Harvest and Storage of Fruits and Vegetables” are available at the office or online at www.ksre.ksu.edu.

You can find out more on gardening by going to Riley County’s K-State Research and Extension website at www.riley.ksu.edu.

You may contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: geyestone@ksu.edu.

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