February 2018

Small Fr uit Plant Sale
Now is th e time to be thinking about what fruit plants and trees you would like to add to your back yard.  The Alexander Extension Center is currently taking orders for the following:  blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, apple, peach, asian pear, persimmon and other specialty plants.  If you would like a order form or more information on the different plants click on the links below:

If you need more information please call the Alexander Extension Center at 828-632-4451.

February Garden Calendar

Plants in Flower
  • Wintersweet, Breath-of-Spring (Winter Honeysuckle), Lenten-Rose (Helleborus), Trailing Arbutus, Crocus, Violets, and Japanese Flowering Apricot
  • Shade trees can be fertilized.
  • Fertilize emerging spring flowering bulbs.
  • Spread wood ashes around the vegetable garden, flowering bulb beds and non-acid loving plants if the pH is below 6.0.
  • First week in February start broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants inside your home.
  • Plant English peas, onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, kale, turnips, and carrots the last week of February.
  • Plant asparagus crowns when soil is dry enough to work.
  • Plant fruit trees and grape vines while dormant, before buds open.
  • Prune bunch grape vines this month.
  • Prune blueberries this month.
  • Trim ornamental grasses like liriope, mondo grass, and pampass grass.
  • Cut back any overgrown shrubs.
  • Prune fruit trees, such as apples, cherry, nectarine, peach, pear and plum while dormant, before buds open.
  • While pruning, remove leaves and clippings to prevent disease problems.
  • Peach and nectarine trees need to be sprayed with a fungicide to prevent leaf curl.
  • Spray all fruit trees with dormant oil to help eliminate some insects.
Lawn Care
  • Cool season lawns like tall fescue should be fertilized. Follow soil test results.
  • Control wild onion in your lawn with spot sprays of a recommended herbicide.
  • Divide perennials like daylily and shasta daisy when the ground is dry enough.
  • Hardwood cuttings of many landscape plants like Crape Myrtle, Flowering Quince, forsythia, hydrangea, juniper, spirae, and weigela can be taken this month.
Specific Chores
  • Clean out bluebird boxes.
  • Develop a vegetable and landscape plan for your home grounds.
  • Order strawberry & blueberry plants.
  • Bring cut branches of forsythia, winter honeysuckle, spirea and quince inside. Place branches in water filled vases to enjoy early blooms.

NC Agritunity Conference & Tradeshow
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Iredell County Agricultural Center
444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677
Registration starts 8:00am
Programs from 8:30am-2:30pm

NC Agritunity is a one-day educational conference for farmers of all types, featuring a tradeshow and a keynote speaker. Large commodity producers, livestock producers, small farm managers, beginning farmers, and anyone just interested in agriculture are welcome to attend. Continuing education credits (CEUs) and pesticide training credits will be available in some of the presentations for existing license holders.  To learn more about the educational session and feature vendors, please visit our website at  or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

You can sign up via   the 2018 NC Agritunity registration form or call the Iredell County Cooperative Extension Center at 704-873-0507. Please contact Lenny Rogers at  (828) 632-4451 if you are interested in setting up as a vendor. For additional information on how to be a vendor please visit our website. Walk-in registration may be limited. 

ECA Area Meeting
Touring Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center
Tuesday, February 13th
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center

Do you want to make a difference in the community? Looking for a group to make a change? Come join us for our first 2018 Extension and Community Association area meeting.
The Extension and Community Association or ECA is a volunteer organization that focus on empowering individuals and strengthening families to improve their quality of living through continuing education, leadership development and community service. Formerly known as Extension Homemakers with a focused on cooking and canning, ECA has evolved and adapted with time. Although cooking, canning, and sewing is still a large part of the association, members of ECA clubs learn about new things such as activities to keep your brains active, how to pinterest, and other up to date activates.
The clubs will be meeting at the Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center to tour the facilities and to understand more about their organization. If you would like to know more but can't attend, ECA will be collecting items for the Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center. List of items include diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and toiletry items. Items can be dropped off at the Alexander Extension Center. For additional information, please call our office at 632-3125 or email Der Holcomb at
Six Steps to Safe Food and Legal Sales for 
Small Farms under FSMA

Alexander County Extension Service
376 1st Ave SW Taylorsville NC

Friday, Feb 23, 2018
11 AM - 2:30 PM
Cost: Free
Lunch provide (please register)

The  FSMA for Small Farms workshop will cover practices that are expected by the FDA, by wholesale buyers, and by knowledgeable consumers.  

Participants will also learn how FSMA will affect any CSA's & Food Hubs.  We will discuss required practices under FSMA as a preparation & requirement for potential GAP audits & certifications.

Interested growers should register by  2/20/18  by e-mailing Lenny Rogers at  or calling the Alexander Cooperative Extension Center at  828-632-4451 .

4-H Achievement Night...
is set for  Tuesday, February 27  @ CVCC Alexander Campus. This is a night of fun for all 4-Her's, friends, family and supporters to come together and recognize the achievements that their fellow 4-H members and leaders have achieved over the year. We encourage all youth and their families to come, celebrate, and learn more about the 4-H youth program here in Alexander County. We will install our new County Council Officers that night. A meal will be provided, so registration is required. Call  828-632-3125  to register.

Culinary Herb Container Workshop
Thursday March 22nd 
Extension Learning Center
376 1st Ave SW
Taylorsville, NC 28681
Cost: $40

Tired of spending all that money on buying fresh herbs? Want to know how to grow your own but lacking the space to do so? Try container gardening for your culinary herbs. Herbs need at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun but growing herbs in a container is perfect for both outdoors and indoors.
Join us as we learn about different types of herbs to grow, culinary herbs best suited for containers, how to care for your herb container and how to use those herbs. Participants will be able to put their own containers together to take home. All participants must pre-register and pay by Friday March 16th. For more information please call our office at 828-632-3125 or email Der Holcomb at

Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School
Thursdays April 26th, May 3rd, May 24th, and May 1
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
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