Danélle Cutting: Lots of opportunities for education

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2017

Gardening is in full swing, and the fruits of our labor have started to arrive. Even though I mainly see the bad of the fruits and vegetables in my job, I still sometimes get to see many accomplishments that our gardeners complete in the growing season. Here are a few accomplishments and activities that gardeners and insect enthusiasts can do this summer:

Question: The Extension Master Gardeners always have a plant propagation class in the summer; have I missed it?

Answer: Nope, you are in luck. Their classes will be held June 28 and July 13 from 9 a.m. to noon at 2727 Old Concord Road. The cost is $20, which includes your tray, soil, root tone and tray storage. Registration is required. Please call the office at 704-216-8970 to reserve your tray. Propagating can help gardeners create new plants by using cuttings. Gardeners are encouraged to bring their own cuttings from home to propagate and share with other participants. The Extension Master Gardeners will also have some nice specimens to share with the group.

To have the best plant material, you need to select softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are the stems that can be snapped easily when bent. Make nice clean cuts with a clean/sterile pruning shear; it will help prevent disease spread. Take the cuttings early in the day and place in cool water. Make sure to label the stems so that you know which plant is which. Softwood cuttings are some of the easiest to propagate, and they are also some of the fastest to root. A few examples of plants that can be softwood propagated are abelias, azaleas, camellias, viburnum and spirea.

For more information on softwood stem cutting propagation, visit: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/plant-propagation-by-stem-cuttings-instructions-for-the-home-gardener

Question: When will the “pick your own blueberry” patches open up?

Answer: Many of the blueberries are starting to ripen, so some of the blueberry patches are starting to open up. As they do, I will help report on the ones that are open and hours that they are available for pick-your-own blueberries. This week, Campbell Blueberry Farm will be open from Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; this is the coolest part of the day and the most enjoyable time to pick ripe, delicious blueberries. Campbell Blueberry Farm is located near the lake, and their blueberries are perfect for a snack. The Campbell Blueberry Farm is open to the public and is located at 2275 River Road, Richfield.

If you are a grower and would like to be added to our local food list, please give us a call at 704-216-8970.

Question: I am a new beekeeper. Do you have any programs for beekeepers in our county, and is there anything at the state level?

Answer: Most definitely. One of the best things that a new beekeeper can do is to join the local Beekeepers Association. Rowan County has a great chapter, and they meet the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension office at 2727 Old Concord Road. Each month, they have educational topics, and with all of their expertise, they can help new beekeepers like you and I become better bee stewards. The Rowan County Beekeepers Association also hosts beginning beekeeper classes every other year, and some of their members teach queen rearing classes.

Another opportunity coming up is the North Carolina Beekeepers Association Summer meeting that is held in Winston-Salem July 13-15. It is their centennial celebration, and they will have excellent speakers from Arkansas, Virginia Tech and the Eastern Apiculture Society. New and experienced beekeepers will be there learning how to effectively make splits, new pest management techniques and learn best management practices.

If this is something you are interested in, please visit the North Carolina Beekeepers Association website at: https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/education/statewide-conferences/ncsba-2017-summer-conference . If you are interested in the Rowan County Beekeepers Association, give us a call at 704-216-8970, or join in on our monthly meetings.

There are so many activities during the growing season, it is hard to do them all. If you have any horticulture or gardening questions, would like to register for a class, or would like to tell me about another educational opportunity, please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danélle Cutting, at 704-216-8970 or email me at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu