July 2018
This summer stay safe by following these food safety protocols. Remember to keep your meat and vegetables separate cook all meat to their appropriate internal temperature by using a meat thermometer and chill meats and ready to eat food until ready to serve. Call our office or visit for more information on food safety concerns.

Pressure Canner Checks

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.

We will have a table at the Alexander County Senior Center on July 20th from 10am to 2pm and at the Senior Center in Bethlehem on August 2nd from 10am till 2pm.

If you are interested in getting your dial gauge tested, but cannot make it to both location, 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. 

If you missed out on our first two Preserving the Harvest Series, we still have two great sessions left. Don't miss out on these awesome hands-on classes.

Pickling and Fermentation

July 26th 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Extension Learning Center
Cost: $15

Pickling and Fermentation is a great and old age way of preservation but it's highly important to follow proper preservation techniques. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics which help feeds your beneficial gut bacteria. Join us as we make pickle relish and a fruit chutney.  Advance registration is required by July 20 to reserve a spot.

Dehydration 101

  July 26th 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Extension Learning Center
Cost: $15

Dehydrated fruits and veggies can pack intense flavors while offering a healthy alternative to artificially sweeten snacks. Come learn the basic to dehydration as we dehydrate seasonal fruits and veggies, and learn how to make fruit leather. Almost everything can be dehydrated, so don't miss out on this opportunity. Advance registration is required by August 24th to reserve a spot.  Please call our office at 828-632-3125 or email Der Holcomb at


Alexander County Farmer's Market
Now OPEN on Saturdays!!

July  Garden Tips

Plants in Flower
Trumpet Creeper, Phlox, Butterfly Weed, Daylily, Red Hot Poker, Rose-of-Sharon, Sourwood, Crapemyrtle, Stewartia, St. John's Wort, Abelia, Peegee Hydrangea, Chaste-Tree, Canna, Dahlia, Shasta Daisy and summer annuals.

  • Continue sidedressing your garden vegetables. 
  • July is the month we recommend giving landscape plants a second (last) feeding of fertilizer. Take soil samples form your lawn areas for testing. Soil boxes are available at the County Extension Center. 


  • Plants of brussel sprouts and collards can be set out in mid-July. 
  • You can begin your fall vegetable garden this month. Plant beans, carrots,brussels sprouts, and tomatoes in July. 
  • Start broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants in peat pots to transplant into the vegetable garden in mid-August. 
  • Begin repotting overgrown houseplants. 


  • Prune "bleeder" trees like maple, dogwood, birch and elm this month. 
  • Prune the fruiting canes of raspberry and blackberry plants after harvest is over. Cut canes at ground level. 
  • Prune off dieback limbs on hybrid rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel, and blueberry. 
  • Trim hedges as needed. 
  • Continue pruning white pines and narrowleaf evergreens like juniper early in the month. 
  • Remove faded flowers on flowering perennials to encourage a second flowering. 
  • Pinch your chrysanthemums the first week only! 
  • Do NOT prune spring flowering shrubs now. 


  • Spray for Japanese beetles as needed. 
  • Spray your tree fruits and bunch grapes on a regular basis. 
  • Spray the following vegetables if insects are observed: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (aphids), tomato and eggplant (flea beetle). 
  • Spray woody weeds like poison ivy, honeysuckle and kudzu with a recommended herbicide. 

Lawn Care 

  • Remember to change direction when moving your lawn. Travel north to south on one mowing and east to west on the next cutting. 
  • Maintain 3 inch mowing height. 


  • This month is still a great time to take semi-hardwood cuttings of azaleas, holly, rhododendron and many other shrubs. 
  • July is an ideal time to divide and transplant your iris and daylilies. 

Specific Chores 

  • July is a good month to see if and where your home can use some additional shade trees. 
  • Blossom-end rot may be seen on tomatoes this month. Two factors - too little water and too little lime in the soil - may be the reason. In dry weather, both your vegetable garden and landscape plants will benefit from a good soaking watering. Slow watering will penetrate the root zone better. Apply 1 inch of water early in the day.

Perilla Mint 

Perilla Mint is listed as one of the most toxic plants for Cattle. Normally cattle will ignore the plant but in late summer and early fall when other grasses and forages are in short supply cattle may forage on them especially when flowering. Dried plants in hay are can be toxic but the biggest concern is fresh plant material. Usually Perilla Mint is found in a semi- shaded area but can be found in any part of the pasture. Late April to early June is the best time to treat for Perilla Mint.

Alexander County 4-H Member Attends 2018 Citizenship North Carolina Focus

Summer has started and Alexander County 4-H Summer Fun is in full swing!

On June 20 youth came to participate in STEM Day.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for students.  Making math and science
fun and interesting helps the student to do more than just learn!  Mrs. Katie Smith was th e instructor for this summer fun class. Youth began by talking about STEM and then moved into building Robotic Legos!  They used the ipad to program the robots.

We want to give a special thank you to Katie Smith for volunteering to teach the class!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep with wild animals?  Alexander County 4-Hers got to experience just that!

June 21st Alexander County 4-Hers headed off to the NC Zoo to participate in a Zoo Snooze!

This  exciting overnight program  engaged our brain, entertained our senses, and enhanced our environmental awareness.

This overnight adventure included special presentations on nocturnal animals, activities, a snack, an outdoor experience and building our own bat house to take home! The fun resumed the next morning, after a light breakfast when we continued the adventure by meeting an barred owl that lives in the zoo, dissecting owl pellets and then on our own in the NC Zoo's 500-acre park.

Alexander County 4-H offers youth experiences of a lifetime!

 Read more N.C. Cooperative Extension news at >>
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