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Danélle Cutting: Gardening workshops will answer some questions

Everything is in full swing at the Salisbury-Rowan Farmer’s Market, the Do-It-Yourself Program and harvesting our rhubarb. Our office has received lots of calls on the programs that we are offering this year and a few gardening questions along the way. Here are some of the questions we have received:

Question: I am interested in growing my own fruits like peaches and apples. Do you have any classes on how to do that?

Answer: Yes, as a matter of a fact we are hosting our second Do-It-Yourself class on growing your own fruits and berries this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension office, 2727 Old Concord Road.

We will start our program at the outdoor shelter and then visit the home orchard site. During this session, participants will learn everything there is on how to start their own home orchard. Fruits that will be the primary focus will be apples, peaches, blueberries, blackberries and grapes. The Extension Master Gardeners will also host a raffle drawing  afterward.

If you are interested in registering, call our office at 704-216-8970.

Question: I am interested in attending your rhubarb workshop but I would like to know, what will I learn or see?

Answer: The rhubarb workshop will emphasize how to grow and market rhubarb in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The program will be primarily focused toward growers but homeowners may learn a lot along the way.

Topics of the workshop will include fertility and growing rhubarb using plasticulture, insect and disease management and how to harvest and sell locally grown rhubarb. The class is free and it is being held from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road.

If the day is sunny, we will have the program beside the rhubarb field. If it’s rainy that day, the program will continue at the Research Station office. There will also be two hours of pesticide credits for N, O, D and X pesticide applicators.

To register for the class, call our office at 704-216-8970.

Question: What is this tree? I found it in the woods and it has some kind of fruit hanging off of it? Can I eat it and if so what will it taste like?

Answer: This is actually a native pawpaw tree. It is one of our native fruits and it is actually edible. It usually has four fruits to a cluster but I suspect with the late frost we had this year that it lost two.

If these two fruits reach maturity they will be of decent pawpaw size (lack of competing with the two others). Pawpaws have a custard-like texture and some say they taste like a cross between a banana and a pineapple.

If you attend our Do-It-Yourself program this Saturday, you will get to see some of our pawpaws that are growing in our demonstration orchard site. If you would like to grow some pawpaws, visit this Extension publication: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/tree_fruits_nuts/hgic1360.html

Even though this time of year can be chaotic with something happening almost every weekend, it does make the hours go by quickly. Working with fruits and vegetables is my passion. I hope you will get to attend at least one of the workshops or activities this growing season.

If you have any horticulture or gardening questions, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danelle Cutting at 704-216-8970 or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu

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