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Danélle Cutting: DIY Home Gardening Series starts April 8

Something different

Submitted photo Try something different in your garden this year, like burgandy okra.

Gardening season is in full swing and the phones, visits and programs have been non-stop. Last year, we had great success with the first ever Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Gardening Series. We received such a huge response that we have decided to continue the series for 2017

This year, we will have new topics that focus on soil, plant tissue, composting, fruits and berries, pest and disease management, how to enter into the fair, and how to get your garden ready for spring.

Kicking off the DIY is, “Does your Garden Pass the Test?” This will help with all gardening levels to improve your gardens and horticulture techniques. This class will be April 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at Rowan County Cooperative Extension (2727 Old Concord Road).

In this free class, participants will learn how to properly take a soil sample, take a compost sample test and learn how to read and interpret each test. All of these tests will help improve soil health, production, disease and pest management skills. Beginning with this course can help set a gardener in the right direction for the rest of the growing season.

The next class will be May 20 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension office. This one is “A Home for Fruits and Berries,” a course that was highly requested by last year’s participants. In this class, students will learn everything there is to know about starting a home orchard. We will discuss planting, variety selection, pruning and pest management. The focus will be on blueberries, blackberries, muscadines, peaches, apples and figs. The class will touch on additional fruits, but these will be the main focus.

July 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. will be the only DIY held in the evening. This DIY is, “What’s that Pest?” This course will cover pest and disease identification, how to control pests and disease and beneficial insects in vegetable gardens. There will be hands-on and interactive activities for participants. To make sure that there are enough materials, all of the DIY courses require registration.

Before the fair season, the DIY course, “How to get the Blue Ribbon,” will be on Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Extension office. Family Consumer Science Agent Toi Degree and the Extension Master Gardeners will help participants learn what it takes to bring home the blue ribbon. There is a science behind entries, and everyone will leave knowing exactly what judges are looking for when selecting the Best of Show.

The last DIY course for 2017 will be, “Is your Garden Ready for Spring?” on Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon. This class will teach participants the ins and outs of composting, how to optimize your compost and using cover crops to improve your soil and get it ready for spring. This class will help teach gardeners the secret tools for a successful gardening season.

There you have it for the 2017 DIY Gardening Series. We will have lots of fun while learning a great deal throughout these classes. Do not forget to RSVP because classes fill up fast. To register, please call 704-216-8970. For more information on the classes, call or email your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danélle Cutting, at 704-216-8970 or danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu.

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