Burke County Center
  August, 2016
Burke County Center
National Watermelon Day
August 3, 2016

Wednesday, August 3rd is National Watermelon Day and one of the questions we get quite often at our office is how do you tell if a watermelon is ripe?
There are some techniques to use when choosing a watermelon. They aren't foolproof but should make your choice a bit more scientific:
* The melon should be heavy and the rind should be dark
* The underside should be a creamy color-not yellow (too ripe) or white (not ripe)

* The surface color should be dull, not shiny

* There should be little contrast between the color of the stripes

* Ribbed indentations can be felt with the fingertips
When picking from the field, the curly tendril closest to the fruit should be brown but the rest of the vine should be green. Try these tips on your next melon purchase. It takes practice but I can't think of a better excuse to buy lots of watermelons this summer. 
Drexel Community Fair
August 8 - 13, 2016

Come out to the Drexel Community Fair August 8-13 and check out the exhibit hall entries, 4-H club booths, and the livestock barn.  Ride the rides, and enjoy a wide variety of carnival food. Stop by the Burke County Cattlemen's Booth for an Angus beef hamburger or hot dog and some fries.
Livestock Reminders
For August 

· Watch for Endophyte toxicity symptoms. Pasture, other than fescue, can be beneficial this month.
· If pasture is running short, start supplemental feeding.
· Creep graze or advance graze calves, on the best forages available.
· Repair and improve corrals for fall working and weaning.
· Consider limited creep feeding during late summer.
· Their nutrient needs are minimal and they can be maintained on lower quality pasture.
· Get ready for calving season, and plan to have good pasture available for fall calving.
· Line up bull power for next breeding season.
· Provide shade and water. Check water supply frequently as much as 20 gallons may be required by high producing cows in very hot weather.
· Don t give up on fly control. Methods may need to be combined (i.e., spraying of tagged cattle) in late summer.
· Provide a free-choice mineral mix containing adequate levels of phosphorus, vitamin A, selenium, copper, zinc and other trace minerals.
· Remove livestock and apply nitrogen to fescue pastures to be stockpiled.
· Take soil samples to determine perennial pasture fertility needs.
· Fertilize legumes and other hay/pasture fields as needed.
· Plant perennial grasses at optimal rate, date and depth.
· Harvest corn silage.
· Secure desired varieties for late summer seedings.
Farmers Markets
Open For Business

Burke County Farmers Markets are in full swing. Visit one of the four markets in our area to pick up some local fruits, vegetables, flowers, or baked goods.  Click here for a schedule of local farmers markets.

Veggie Varmints Contest
August 9, 2016

Come out to the Drexel Fair on, Tuesday, August 9th between 6:00 and 8:00 pm for the Veggie Varmint Contest.  This is the one time that it's OK to play with your food!  Create an animal out of vegetables for a chance to win prizes.  Elementary school age through adults are welcome to participate and all materials are provided. 
Don't Stand For Sedentary

How much of the day do you spend sitting before 6pm? If you're an average American, then it's probably about 5 hours and 47 minutes.

With the always increasing amount of sedentary jobs and technological advances, it's easier than you think to get caught up in sedentary behaviors and harder to break those habits. Try these tips to incorporate more activity in your workday:

  • Track it! You don't have to go out and buy a high-tech activity tracker, but you may decide that buying a simple pedometer may help you become more aware of your daily activity and help you set goals for improvement.
  • Drink up! Use a smaller water bottle so you'll have to get up and refill it more.
  • Drop in! Instead of sending an email, stop by your coworker's office to get a quick answer.
  • Take a hike! Go to the bathroom that's farther away. Even try to incorporate stairs, if possible.
  • Time can get away from you! Set an alarm every hour to remind you to get up and move.
  • Team up! Make an agreement with a co-worker to take a small walk together each hour and hold each other accountable.
Burke County 4-H Livestock Show
August 9, 2016

Come out to the Drexel Fair on, Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30 pm for the 4-H Livestock Show.  Local 4-Hers will show their project animals in the barn arena.  Livestock will include cattle, sheep and goats. The livestock barn will be closed during the show. 
Canner Gauge Testing

If your canner has a pressure gauge, it should be tested for accuracy to ensure safe food processing. Dial gauges on canners should be checked for accuracy and overall condition every year prior to the beginning of canning season.

You can get your canner gauge tested for FREE at our office on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon or 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm.  Other days by appointment only.  Give our office a call at 828-764-9480 
The Fall Lawn

The fall is an important time in the life of your lawn. If it hasn't fared so well during the hot summer months, now is the time to repair and redo. It is also the time to fertilize and kill weeds as well as watch for the germination of winter annual weeds.
A lawn that is planted in the early fall has a much better chance of germinating and becoming established so that it will be able to survive the winter cold as well as next summer's heat. When talking about sowing grass here in western North Carolina, August 15 is the starting date. Grass can be successfully sown throughout the fall but the later the seeds are sown the less chance for establishment there is. The earlier the better!
The optimum time to fertilize in the fall is around Labor Day and again at Thanksgiving. The use of a slow release lawn food is recommended at Labor Day and either a winterizer fertilizer or quick release such as 10-10-10 at Thanksgiving. Lime can applied in the fall or winter months but a soil test is recommended before adding lime. Soil Test boxes may be picked up at the Extension office along with instructions for their use and mailing information. The soil test is free.

Tomato Field Day
August 16, 2016

NC State University 2016 Tomato Field Day will be held at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River on Tuesday, August 16th starting at 8:00 am.  Stop by the research center for field tours, complimentary lunch, research initiatives, taste test, and more!
4-H Summer Fun
August 1-5, 2016

It's almost over.  The final week is a variety of cooking classes for youth of all ages. These 4-H Chefs in Training will learn a variety of basic kitchen and cooking skills and will end the week by preparing a meal for family and friends.  

Highlights from 4-H Congress

Burke County 4-H took a delegation of 8 youth to Congress the week of July 16-19.  Highlights and achievements of Burke County youth were: Alex and Caroline Sinden were both inducted into the NC 4-H Honor Club, Pate Pollard was recognized as outgoing West District Officer, Nick Thompson served as State Council Representative and carried the Burke County flag.  In addition, these youth helped to box 80,000 meals for the needy along with participating in a variety of leadership workshops, trainings and tours.
Update on 4-H Electric Congress

The 69th annual 4-H Electric Congress was held July 12-15 in Asheville, NC.  Burke County 4-Hers Pate Pollard, Nick Thompson, and Mackenzie Pritchard attended along with Agent, Nicki Steer.  The delegation participated in a variety of workshops and educational opportunities to learn more about electric and celebrated the event with a whitewater rafting trip.  This trip is funded by Duke Power and is a way to recognize youth in the Electric program. 
Catawba Valley Youth Livestock Showmanship Circuit Show
August 27, 2016

Don't forget to take in the Burke County Edition of the Catawba Valley Youth Livestock Showmanship Circuit, at the Burke County Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 27th, beginning at 9am. Youth will be exhibiting their livestock for points, that accumulate for the championship, culminating at the Cleveland County Fair in October.
Where: Burke County Fairgrounds Livestock Barn
When: August 27th @ 9am
Coming up in September
Nursery Weed Management Field Day
September 7, 2016

Nursery Field Day will be held at Hawksridge Farms in Hickory from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.  Event will include on-site demonstrations and lunch is provided.  Topics include herbicide efficacy and sensitivity, using mulches for weed control, and new products. Cost is $10 per person.  Contact our office at 828-764-9480 for registration information.
Burke County Cooperative Extension
130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC 28655