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The Bent County Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

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SOUTHEAST AREA EXTENSION SAYS                                                              

Growing Tomato Plants from Slices

Article by: Ariel Eddings, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer

Spring is right around the corner, and many of us are planning our summer gardens! Home gardeners plant a variety of delicious and nutrient dense fruits and vegetables every year. The most popular fruit to grow in backyard gardens is tomatoes. Annually, 93% of households in America grow tomatoes! Tomatoes are a great crop to plant at home as they are not only delicious and versatile, but they are also easy to grow.

This year, instead of purchasing a tomato plant or tomato seeds, start your tomato plant right at home with store bought tomatoes. This process is easy and something everyone in the family can be a part of!


  • Pot or container (whatever you have at home)
  • Soil
  • Tomatoes (romas, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes) – this is also great for tomatoes that you already have at home that might be getting too soft to use. Tomatoes from our grocery stores are typically hybrids and may be sterile. This would allow your plant to grow, but it might not produce fruit.
  • Spray bottle


  • To start, fill your pot or container with potting soil. The pot should be filled just about to the top.
  • Slice your tomato into ¼ inch slices (if using cherry tomatoes slice in half). If you’re using a smaller container use one to two slices, and three to four slices if you’re using something closer to gallon size.
  • Next, lay the tomato slices down in a circle around the pot. Evenly cover the tomato slices with a bit more soil. Once you have your tomatoes and soil all ready, mist the top with water. It is better to use a spray bottle to wet down the top of the soil, so it doesn’t run off the tomato slice.  
  • Make sure to keep the top of the soil moist during the entire process.
  • After 7-14 days the seeds should start to germinate. Don’t be worried if you see mold during this stage!
  • You should end up with 30-50 tomato seedlings! Choose the strongest ones and transplant them into larger pots.
  • Now you have successfully grown your own tomato plants!

Try this family friendly recipe with your home grown tomatoes this summer!

The Mindful Hobby: Unveiling the Benefits of Working Puzzles

Article by: Abby Weber, Southeast Area FCS Specialist

January 29, 2024 – National Puzzle Day

In a fast-paced world filled with screens and digital distractions, it’s often refreshing to step back and engage in activities that stimulate the mind and promote relaxation. Puzzles have been a beloved pastime for centuries, and they offer a plethora of benefits that go beyond mere entertainment. Let’s explore the numerous advantages of working puzzles and why you should consider making them a part of your routine.

There are numerous reasons why puzzles contribute to long-term health but let’s start by exploring cognitive exercise. Puzzles are like a mental gym for your brain. They challenge your cognitive abilities, including problem solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku or a crossword, working on puzzles exercises your mind and keeps it sharp. It’s a fun way to improve your memory and boost your intellectual prowess.

Stress reduction is another benefit of Working puzzles. In our hectic lives, stress is an ever-present companion. Puzzles offer a soothing escape from the chaos of the day. When you immerse yourself in a puzzle, your focus shifts away from worries and anxieties. This mindful engagement can lead to reduced stress levels and an overall sense of calm. The repetitive nature of puzzle solving can be a form of meditation, promoting relaxation and tranquility.

Not only can puzzles help improve patience and persistence, but they can also enhance spatial awareness. Puzzles can be challenging, and it’s not uncommon to encounter moments of frustration. However, the act of working through these difficulties can teach patience and persistence. Overcoming obstacles in a puzzle teaches you that with determination and a methodical approach, even the most complex problems can be solved. This valuable life skill can be applied to various aspects of your personal and professional life. One example of this is working a Jigsaw puzzle which is excellent for improving spatial awareness. When assembling pieces into a coherent image, you’re consistently assessing shapes, sizes and how they fit together. This enhances your spatial reasoning skills, which can have real world applications such as improved navigation and a better understanding of spatial relationships.

While solving puzzles may seem like a structured activity, it can also enhance Our creativity. As you work on a puzzle, you develop a sense of pattern recognition and artistic appreciation. This can translate into improved creative problem-solving skills in other areas of your life. Not only are problem-solving and enhanced creativity important benefits of working puzzles, so is a sense of accomplishment. Completing a puzzle is incredibly rewarding, whether it’s a 500-piece puzzle or a challenging Sudoku, that moment when the final piece clicks into place or that last number is filled can boost your self-esteem and confidence. This sense of achievement can spill over into other areas of your life, motivating you to tackle bigger challenges.

Puzzles can be a fantastic social activity. Gathering around a table with friends or family to work a puzzle can lead to meaningful conversations and shared experiences. It’s an opportunity to connect with loved ones in a way that’s screen-friendly and genuinely engaging. Working puzzles is more than just a pastime. It’s a meaningful hobby with numerous benefits for your mind, body, and soul. It’s an accessible and enjoyable way to exercise your brain, reduce stress, develop patience, and improve various cognitive skills. So, the next time you have a spare moment, consider picking up a puzzle and reap the many advantages it has to offer. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced puzzle enthusiast, you’ll find that this age-old hobby is a timeless treasure waiting to be unlocked piece by piece.