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Sara Drake: Time to order plants from 4-H

Rowan County 4-H is now taking orders for their annual Spring Plant Sale. Varieties available include: strawberries — Allstar; blueberries — Brightwell, Climax, Premier and Pink Lemonade; blackberries — Arapaho and Navaho; raspberries — Heritage and Nova; muscadines — Cowart and Triumph; and figs — Brown Turkey and Celeste.

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, muscadines and figs are in one-gallon containers and are well adapted to the Piedmont growing conditions.  The cost for each plant is $10.

Allstar strawberries produce large, sweet fruit. The plants ripen mid-season. The cost for strawberry plants is 25 for $10, 50 for $15, and 100 for $20. Supplies are limited.

When planting blueberries, it is recommended to plant at least two varieties to ensure cross-pollination. Brightwell has large fruit and ripens mid-season over a long period. The plants are very productive.  Climax ripens early over a short period and produce medium size berries with a sweet flavor. Premier is very productive, ripens early to mid-season, and produces large fruit. Pink lemonade produces a sweet fruit that is bright pink when ripe. Bushes have pink-white flowers in the spring, bright pink fruit in late summer, and orange-red leaves in the fall.

Both blackberry plants are a thornless variety. The Apache blackberry ripens over a five-week period. It is an erect growing plant that produces a large fruit with good flavor. Navaho ripens late and produces a medium fruit of superior quality.

Heritage raspberry plants produce a fruit that is large, dark red and very sweet. Growth is vigorous and upright. It adapts well in most well drained soils. The Nova raspberry produces an early ripening, medium to large berry with good flavor. The plant has good disease resistance.

Cowart muscadines produce large black fruit in large clusters with good flavor. They are good for eating, making juice, jelly and wine.  Cowart ripens early to mid-season. The Triumph muscadine has large, thin skinned, greenish-bronze fruit with high sugar content.  The plants are winter hardy and productive. The fruit ripens early to mid-season and are good for eating and making wine.

The Brown Turkey fig bears twice a year (early and late summer) with the flesh of the fruit turning from various shades of amber to pink. The skin is copper-brown. The plant is very hardy. The Celeste fig produces fruit that is small to medium in size with a light brown to violet skin and a whitish-pink colored flesh. It contains very few seeds and ripens early summer.

If you would like to help support the Rowan County 4-H program, please call the Extension Office at 704-216-8970 to place your order today. Orders must be received by Feb.. 25.

Sara Drake is the Extension agent in 4-H Youth Development.

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