Fall brings questions about farming, fair

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer has officially ended, and the weather has been quite pleasant, although our area could use some rain. The office has been humming with lots of activity. Just this morning, I had three phone calls and a visit about insects.

However, the majority of questions that I received in the past couple of days have been about agriculture activities for the fall. Here are some of the questions about these agriculture events:

Question: I am really interested in starting to farm, but I don’t know what to do. Do you offer any classes or programs for new farmers?

Answer: Yes! The NC Farm School was created just for people like you who are interested in starting their own farm. It is even for people who are currently farming and need a little help to expand/improve their current operations. There is also a really great event that helps kick start the NC Farm School program called the NC Farm School Summit. This year, the event is being held in Mills River with pre-tours on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 1 -5 p.m. The tours will focus on a livestock or horticulture theme. Some of the highlights are visiting a creamery and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Organic farm. Then on Friday, the main event is from 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m. at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center at 455 Research Drive, Mills River. Topics for Friday include: vegetable grafting, pastured pork, poultry health, plasticulture and marketing. For more information on prices and to register, visit: https://ncfarmschool.ces.ncsu.edu/summit-registration/

Question: When will you have another DIY class? I have attended all of the others, and I want to put the rest on my calendar.

Answer: Our next DIY (Do-it-Yourself) class will focus on how to get the blue ribbon at the fair. Often times, Extension helps the fairs in their counties with judging, finding judges and all of the behind-the-scenes action. In this DIY class, you will learn the ins and outs of judging and how to get your fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods and jams and jellies to win the blue ribbon, from agents Toi Degree and Danelle Cutting, along with the Extension Master Gardeners. There are some tips and tricks that judges are looking for when they are judging at the county fair, and this is how you can know what they are looking for. This class can help you win the ribbons and possibly help increase some money in your pocket. It is after the official deadline for entries for the Rowan County Fair but with special permission, any attendees of this class can enter into the fair on the same day as the class through the Extension office. This class is free to the public and will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rowan County Agriculture office at 2727 Old Concord Road. Please call the office at 704-216-8970 to register.

Question: When will the Extension Master Gardeners have their fall plant sale? I missed the spring sale, and I do not want to miss this one!

Answer: The Extension Master Gardeners will have their final plant sale of the year on Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 3 to 6 p.m. This is open to the public, and there are some excellent plant specimens in this year’s plant sale. This is the only plant sale during the week, and plants will sell quickly. There are all types of plants, from perennials to shrubs, in all sizes. Fall is one of the best times to plant because the plants are able to adapt to their new homes more efficiently than any other time of the year. For more information on plant varieties, etc., please call our office at 704-216-8970.

There are so many activities throughout the year that it is difficult to get to them all. If you have any horticulture or gardening questions, would like to register for a class, or you would like more information about the NC Farm School Summit, please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danélle Cutting, at 704-216-8970 or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu