March, 2017
March is Extension Living Well Month!
Raising kids, eating right, spending smart, living well - that's the theme of the national Living Well Campaign that is being promoted by the Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, both at the national level and here in North Carolina. The goal of the Living Well Campaign is to provide people with the education and information they need in order to "live well."
Family & Consumer Sciences programming at NC Cooperative Extension offers various kinds of information to help families live a positive and healthy lifestyle. Whether a person is trying to manage diabetes through meal planning or exercise, safely prepare and preserve food, or get tips on stretching food dollars, Extension has a research-based answer.
Consider these tips to make every month a "Living Well Month:"
  • Engage children in at least 60 minutes of physical activity most, if not all, days of the week. Adults need 30 minutes of activity each day. Be creative. Instead of sports activities, turn on some music and dance, or create an obstacle course in your yard. Take a walk or bike ride in your neighborhood.
  • Drink plenty of water! It is important to stay hydrated. Water regulates every living cell's processes and chemical reactions. It transports nutrients and oxygen. Limit or eliminate the amount of sugar sweetened consumed daily.
  • Eat a variety of nutrient dense foods. Make sure to have plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables each day. Add a sliced banana to your cereal each morning, enjoy raw vegetables with a sandwich at lunch, and have a fruit parfait with yogurt for dessert. Try a new fruit or vegetable.
  • Keep the mental stimulation flowing throughout the year, no matter your age. Visit a local library and check out a book. Keep an eye on Burke County Extension's website,, to stay updated about what educational programs are being offered.
  • Keep your family finances in check. Track expenses and update your budget regularly. Eat at home often because meals outside usually cost more. Use coupons to help plan weekly menus. Use leftovers for lunch the next day or as the basis as another meal.
Last Days to Order Plants!
March 3rd is the last day to order plants from our  Small Fruit Plant Sale. An assortment of small fruit plants and fruit trees are available for purchase as well as flowering Dogwood trees and Patio Apple trees.

Plants will be available for pickup on March 15 & 16

More information about the sale, including a price list and plant varieties, is available on our website at

Introduction to Beekeeping 
2-Day Course

The Burke County Beekeepers will host a  2-day Bee School on Saturday, March 4 and Saturday, March 11 from 8:30 -3:30 each day.  The cost of the course is $50 per person which includes a 1-year membership to both the Burke County Beekeepers Association and the
NC State Beekeepers Association as well as a reference notebook and First Lessons in Beekeeping.

Visit our website for more information or a registration form.
MARCH 08, 2017, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Burke County Extension Center 
130 Ammons Drive, Suite 2 
Morganton, NC  28655 
Absentee Ballots Available - Feb. 22 - Mar. 08
From County Extension Center
(Phone or Walk-in)
All Horse Owners/Lessors 9 years of age or older May Vote
A favorable vote will authorize a self-assessment of $4.00 per ton on commercial horse feed for ten years to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse community. Any person who purchases commercial horse feed upon which the assessment has been paid may receive a refund by making a written request with proof of purchase to the North Carolina Horse Council within one year of purchase of the feed.

Burke County Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting 
March 9, 2017

The Burke County Cattlemen will hold their annual meeting on March 9th at 6:30pm at the Burke County Agricultural Building.  Registration is $15 which includes membership dues and dinner.  Registration is required.  Call our office at 828-764-9480 by Tuesday, March 7th to register to attend. The keynote speaker this year is John Queen with Mountain Cattle Alliance.   
Burke County Beekeepers 
March 14, 2017
6:30 pm

The Burke County Beekeepers Association (BCBA) meets monthly at the Burke County Agricultural Building located at 130 Ammons Drive in Morganton.  There is a featured speaker each month and the public is invited to attend. The BCBA is a chapter of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association.

#Extension Eats

Cookbooks are here!

Recipes, tips & tricks, cuts of meat and more are included in the cookbook.

$15 each

Successful Gardener Workshops 

March 11, 2017
Spring Lawn Care

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Morganton Ace Hardware

March 30, 2017
Growing Asparagus in Burke County
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Burke County Agricultural Building

Call our office at 828-764-9480 for more information or to register for any of these FREE workshops.

Plant Early
Many ve getables need to be planted very early in the growing season. Plants such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower as well as seeds of leaf vegetables, carrots and beets should be planted in March. These vegetables can be harvested very early in the season, before the weather gets hot and humid.
Planting early is the key to success with these vegetables. Insects do not cause very many problems when planted early. When planted early, little to no spraying is required on cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. This can save a lot of time and labor in the garden, and plants will be harvested before insects become a problem. Fewer chemicals are necessary when these plants are put in the ground early. Early vegetable plantings also give room for a second, later crop, which can be planted in the same spot after early vegetables are harvested.
When buying cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants, look for good, dark green plants with stocky stem and leaves. Never buy plants that already have small vegetables on them. This is a sign that the plants are too old and they generally do not ever make anything.
Early vegetables may also be planted in the late summer for fall harvest. These plants benefit from the cooler day and night temperatures of fall just as they do in the spring. Remember that cool crops must have cool temperatures to prosper. Planting in April, May or June will not give satisfactory results.
Understanding Fertilizer Applications
Nitrogen is the most frequently applied nutrient in non-legume cropping systems. It must be added each year, with multiple applications of nitrogen needed in some cropping systems. For example, in hay systems, nitrogen fertilizer can be added after each harvest during the growing system. Multiple applications of nitrogen may be needed when soil conditions favor nitrogen loss, such as prolonged saturation of fields with water.
Potassium fertilizer is generally needed each year in continuous hay and silage cropping systems. Plants take up potassium in larger amounts than needed, called luxury consumption, and these amounts do not necessarily result in higher yields. Thus, when hay or silage crops are harvested, large amounts of potassium are removed, and soil test potassium levels will normally be low. So, it is best to add each year only the amount needed for reaching yield potential.
Other essential nutrients can reach very high levels in soils, and may not need to be added every year. Most micronutrients are usually present in adequate amounts. Again, a soil test can be used to determine what and how much soils are in need of.
Nitrogen should be applied near crop establishment, as a side dress application, or both. Phosphorous and potassium may be applied in the fall or spring if soil pH is acceptable, and soils are not sandy or subject to severe erosion or flooding.

N.C. Ag Awareness Day
March 15, 2017
9:00 am - 3:00 pm  
  • Meet at N.C. State Fairgrounds
  • Lunch provided
  • Free bus downtown
Come celebrate North Carolina's largest industry! Agriculture earns $84 billion today - and could grow to $100 billion in just seven years.

Meet elected officials, see ag-related exhibits and celebrate the tremendous contributions agriculture provides to North Carolina and the world.

Park at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. We have free buses to the legislature and back with lunch provided!

For more information, visit See you there!
Sign up here: 

Mountain Nursery & Greenhouse Workshop
March 17, 2017
9:30 am - 4:00 pm

The Mountain Nursery & Greenhouse Workshop is designed to provide operators of commercial greenhouses and nurseries updated information on ornamental plant production, including new plants, pest management, market trends, and new technology.    

The workshop will be held at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River.  Cost of the workshop is $25 if paid by March 14th.  If paid after March 14th, the cost is $30.  4 hours of pesticide credit (L,N,O, D, X) will be included. 

Contact Amanda Taylor at 828-475-2915 for more information.

4-H Updates

Friday, March 3rd
Burke County 4-H will be at Rural King their Grand Opening weekend.

Saturday, March 4th

Over 15 4-H'ers and their families will attend NC State University   to compete in the State Horse Bowl and Hippology Contest.

Saturday, March 18th
Burke County 4-H has a full class of youth beginning their 4-H Jr. Beekeeping Project by building hives and learning about bees.

March 24-26
Several 4-H teens will attend the 4-H West District Teen Retreat in Black Mountain. The focus will be on leadership skills, community service, electing West District officers and  workshops.

March 31 - April 1
A few parents/leaders will attend the 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training.

March - All Month
Burke County 4-H has over 200 school youth participating in the 4-H Embryology School Enrichment program. Classrooms use an incubator with eggs and 4-H curriculum to hatch chicks and learn about development and the life cycle.

Fertilize for Early Pasture
Burke county livestock producers may be able to reduce hay requirements by fertilizing pastures and getting animals out on pastures earlier than usual this spring. Research has shown that light applications of nitrogen applied in late February and March will provide maximum response in five to six weeks.
Maximum benefit comes from planning. Pastures fertilized early and grazed will need six weeks to recover in mid-summer or early autumn. When fertilizer is applied in late February or early March additional growth should be evident in about 2 weeks. After five to six weeks, pastures should have made enough response to start grazing.
The best candidates for early fertilization would be pastures with a southern exposure or south facing slopes, for maximum exposure to sunlight. Your best soils and most productive forages will respond more than unproductive sites, making the practice more profitable.
In general, no more than one third of total pastureland should be treated with only nitrogen fertilizer. Treating more than this will disrupt the seasonal distribution of available forage.
It should be noted that an increased incidence of grass tetany could occur, so magnesium supplementation should be an integral part of any early fertilization program.
Coming Soon!
Burke County 4-H Spring Scrapbook Crop

Saturday, April 22, 2017 
8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Burke County Agricultural Building
$35 includes all day cropping, your own table space, door prizes and access to Cricut and Sizzix. 

Register by April 17, 2017 
Burke County Center
130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC 28655