Rowan County 4-H selling small fruit plants for fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2013

SALISBURY — The Rowan County 4-H Program is selling small fruit plants to support 4-H activities throughout the year. One type of small fruit they are selling is blueberries. Varieties of blueberries available include Baldwin, Delite and Tifblue. It is recommended that two or more varieties be planted together to assure higher yields and better quality fruit from cross-pollination.
The blueberries are Southern varieties developed for our growing environment. You should plant your blueberries approximately 3 to 6 feet apart. The closer you plant them, the higher density hedge you will have. Water your plants regularly and keep the roots moist. Only use fertilizer with small amounts of nitrogen, such as ones formulated for use on azaleas and rhododendrons. Blueberry plants are well adapted to full sun, which is desirable. The plants can also survive with up to 50 percent shade. However, yield is reduced with increasing shade.
The Baldwin blueberry is a late ripening berry, which means it will ripen early July to early August. It has large, dark blue fruit. Growth is moderately vigorous and upright. The Delite blueberry, which ripens mid- to late July, produces medium-size berries with good flavor. Growth is upright with average vigor. The Tifblue blueberry ripens mid- to late season. The berries are medium in size and have good flavor. Plant growth is upright.
All blueberries are two years old and are sold in one-gallon containers. Cost for the plants is $9 each or $8 if five or more blueberry plants are ordered.
Blueberry plants are a great addition to any landscape. They have white or pink flowers in the spring, blue fruit in the summer, and the foliage adds red and yellow colors in the fall.
In addition to blueberries, Rowan County 4-H is also selling strawberries — Allstar; blackberries – Natchez and Ouachita; raspberries – Dorman Red; Muscadines – Southland and Tara; and figs – Brown Turkey and Celeste. Strawberries are sold in bundles of 25 for $10, 50 for $15, or 100 for $20. Blackberries, raspberries, muscadines and figs are sold in one-gallon containers and cost $9 each, or $8 each if five or more of one variety is ordered.
Whether you order blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, muscadines or figs, you will enjoy the sweet yields for many years to come. When you receive your orders, you will also receive a brochure for further information on caring for your plants. To order plants, please call the Rowan County Cooperative Extension office at 704-216-8970 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The deadline to place your order is Thursday, Feb. 28. Not only will these plants beautify your landscape, your purchase helps support the 4-H program and the youth who are striving to make the best better.

Sara Drake is an Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, with the NC Cooperative Extension, Rowan County Center. 704-216-8970