April 2018
Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School
Thursdays April 26th, May 3rd, May 24th, and May 31st
Extension Learning Center
376 1st Ave SW 
Taylorsville, NC 28681 
Cost: $50 

The Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School will teach you how to prepare simple, healthy and delicious food for you and your family. Cook Smart, Eat Smart keeps it simple-simple healthy preparation techniques, simple ingredients, and simple equipment Each session contains several basic cooking techniques and other topics related to eating and preparing meals at home. Cook Smart, Eat Smart also provides tips for stretching your food dollars while still eating healthy. For more information or to register, please call or email Der Holcomb at 828-632-3125 or

Calling All Canners! It's time to get your Pressure Canning Lid Dial Gauge Tested.

Don't risk losing precious produce or becoming seriously ill through unsafe canning methods or inaccurate equipment. Dial gauge pressure canners, old or new, needs to be checked for accuracy each year. If you are interested in getting your dial gauge tested, please contact the Alexander County Center at 828-632-3125 to set up an appointment. Bring Lids only. The canner base is not needed for testing. current recommendations for canning and freezing is available upon request. 

April Garden Calendar
Plants in Flower:
  • Crabapple, Carolina Silverbell, Dogwood, Redbud, Flowering Cherry, viburnum, Pearlbush, Lilac, Carolina Rhododendron, Sweet Shrub, Piedmont Azalea, Banks Rose, Exbury Azalea, Spirea, Pieris, Evergreen Azaleas, Kerria (Easter Rose), Drooping Leucothoe, Weigela, Wisteria, Periwinkle, Ajuga, Candytuft, Violets, Columbine, Trillium, Flags (Dwarf Iris), Bloodroot, Bleeding Heart, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Anemone and Siberian Sqill
  • Fertilize shrubs if not done in March.
  • Once you can determine whether your fruit trees have any fruit, you can decide how much fertilizer to give them.
  • Many gardeners prefer to transplant azaleas in April so they can group the plants according to their flower color.
  • The following vegetables can be planted this month: beets, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Swiss chard,broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and potatoes.
  • Prune spring-flowering plants like azalea, lilac, forsythia, spirea, and weigela after the flowers fade.
  • Prune berry producing shrubs like holly and pyracantha while in flower to prevent complete removal of all of this season's berries.
  • If needed, trim spring flowering trees like Bradford pear, flowering cherry and redbud.
  • Cut out any winter damage that may have occurred this year.
  • Spray broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower for worms if needed.
  • Spray your squash plants near the base of the stem to control squash borer. Continue through June 1 and use only the recommended insecticide.
  • Begin weekly tree fruit sprays after flower petals fall.
  • Start a fungicide spray program for your bunch grapes this month. Follow with weekly sprays.
  • Scout or observe your landscape plants before spraying. Pests may not be present.
Lawn Care
  • Maintain mowing height of fescue and bluegrass at 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches.
  • Do NOT fertilize.
  • This is a good time to layer new plants by lowering a branch of your favorite shrubs and covering it with soil and a stone.
Specific Chores
  • Visit your local garden centers and nurseries to see what plants and products are available.
  • Mulch all of your landscape plants as needed. Pine needles, cypress mulch and pine bark are good mulches.

Tractor Supply Paper Clover Campaign

The 4-H Tractor Supply Paper Clover fundraiser is going on in April!   During the campaign period, paper clovers are sold for $1 at checkout.

Alexander County 4-H would like to encourage you to participate in this event.  We would love for you to purchase a clover when you check out at Tractor Supply April 11th-22nd.  

This event helps 4-H purchase material for programming  and send youth to camps so we can reach out to the community through events and activities within schools and clubs.  

Call the Alexander Extension Office at 828-632-3125 to learn more about 4-H and how you can be involved!

Alexander County 4-H Needs Your Help
Alexander County 4-H is currently looking for new volunteers.

There are many ways to become involved.  You could start a new 4-H club, volunteer an hour or two at a 4-H event or be a judge for special contests.

4-H is not just about farming, gardening, and animals. It is so much more than you think! Do you enjoy working out and teaching kids about healthy lifestyles? Cooking dishes from around the world or sewing a fabulous shirt? Taking pictures or dancing? Do you like science, education on invasive species of plants, or restoring habitats? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can start a 4-H club in your community!

Volunteers are the keys to our success in the North Carolina 4-H program. Whether you're interested in becoming a club leader, or just have a few hours to invest, we've got challenging and fun jobs for adults and teens who want to make a difference.  There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of young people through 4-H. We can help you find a role that matches your unique interests, availability and schedule.

Please call me Christy Crouse, 4-H Agent at Alexander County Cooperative Extension to find out how to make a difference!  

South Central 4-H Teen Retreat ...
was held March 16-18, 2018 in Reidsville, North Carolina at Betsy Jeff Penn. Alexander County had four 4-H teens to attend.( Sara h Perry, Anna Beth Harris, Anna Reid and Kaylor Berwick) Teen retreat allows teens to network with youth from across the district (20 counties), participate in community service, attend leadership workshops, and elect the upcoming District Officers for 2018 -2019.  District Officers work to schedule and organize state and district events for teens. During Teen Retreat, Alexander County 4-H Member Anna Beth Harris was elected as the 2018-2019 South Central District 4-H President. Congratulations Anna Beth!

4-H encourages youth to use or find their leadership skills to apply to life. 4-H prepares youth to be successful adults by providing hands-on interactive projects and programs that include leadership, citizenship, team building, life skills and so much more.  To find out how you can become involved call Christy Crouse at the NC Cooperative Extension Center at 828-632-3125.

G rowing  Specialty Crops
Commo in Asian Cultures

Monday, May 21st 2018
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Extension Learning Center
Cost: $5

Are you a gardening enthusiast? Do you like to try and experiment new fruits and vegetables in the Garden? Join us for a session around specialty crops that are common in Asian cultures and garden. From Bittermelon to Yardlong beans, come learn about the ABC's of crops common in Asian cultures. We will be talking about growing conditions, how/when/what to harvest, and taste taste a few of the crops. Don't miss out on this cross cultural experience. 

Participants are requested to pre-register to attend. To register for the class, please call our office at 828-632-3125 or register onlineDeadline to register is May 7th, 2018.
ECA Achievement Night
The Extension and Community Association celebrated their Achievement Night last
Tuesday night at the Extension Learning Center.
Left bottom: Wanda Stafford, Melba Carrigan, Carrie Pulley, Bera Stevenson, Carolyn Campbell. Top starting at the left: Der Holcomb, Ella Mae Nichols, Kay Bowman, Peggy Davis, Joan johnson, Vallie Chen, Micki Earp. 

 The night highlight changes in the  association over the past 50 years with Margo Smyre, former Family and Consumer Science agent, talking about the impact that Extension and ECA has made in her life and in the community. Awards were also given out to the members for perfect attendance.
T he 2018 Club of the Year was awarded to Friendship ECA . The club had volunteer a total of 
425 hours for a dollar value of over $9000 
Left Bottom: Wanda Stafford, Melba Carrigan, Ella Mae Nichols. Top Left: Margo Smyre, Peggy Davis, Kay Bowman, Joan Johnson

dollars.  This year, three new 
awards were given out. Mrs. Vallie Chen, from Rocky Spring ECA, was honored with the Spotlight award-the spotlight awards highlights someone who's made a difference in their group or community that's worth noting. Mrs. Ella Mae Nichols from Friendship ECA and Mrs. Carolyn Campbell from Rocky Spring ECA was award the "Go Getter Award" for their outstanding efforts for going the extra mile in their clubs. Lastly, Mrs. Bera Stevenson from Rocky Spring ECA and Mrs Wanda Stafford from Friendship ECA was award the Dedication Award for their undivided dedication towards the goals and mission of ECA. If you know these awesome ladies, please tell them thank you and congrats for their hard work and dedication in the Extension and Community Association.
If you are interested in attending or would love to know more about ECA, please contact our office at 828-632-3125.
Last week, we concluded our celebration of Small Farms Week and a huge thanks goes out to all those who made the events a possibility. Here is a highlight of what we did to honor the small farmers in Alexander County. Each week in March, with help from the Taylorsville Times, we highlighted a small Farmer in Alexander County. These farmers were Gary Morell from Greengo Orchard, Amy Douglas from Farmers Daughter, and Lisa and Myron Kerley from Country Road Greenhouse. If you missed out on those article, take the time to read them again at the Taylorsville time's website.
Tomato Basil and Local Goat Cheese Crumble Brushetta. Try the recipe out here via: Peas and Carrots Website
Last Thursday in partnership with the Alexander County Library, a cooking demonstration was hosted featuring local products from Alexander and surrounding counties. A very huge thanks goes to Corey Parker at C & C farm for their kind donations of fresh local tomatoes. Tomatoes were the star of the show which was used in all three dishes starting with fresh salsa, follow by a fresh tomatoes basil and local goat crumble bruschetta, and finishing with a Mediterranean vegetable sandwich. If you missed out on the demonstration but would like to try out the recipes, please visit, like, and follow our facebook page at Alexander County Cooperative Extension.
A special thank you for the volunteers at the collection sites including the Alexander Libraries, Alexander County Government Administration Building, Department of Social Service, and Public Health
We are concluding our food drive and would like to thank all  those who made it possible and those who donated food. Every little donation goes a long way and we were able to collect over 600 canned and dried items to be donated to the local families in Alexander County.
Thank you for your partnership and contribution to a successful Small Farm Weeks Celebration. If you have any question on how you can participate or would like to volunteer for the 2019 Small Farms Week Celebration call us at 828-632-3125.
 Read more N.C. Cooperative Extension news at >>
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