May 2018

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 online.   
Deadline to register is Monday, May 14th. 

Preserving the Harvest Series

Basic of Home Canning Workshop
May 24th 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Extension Learning Center
Cost: $15

Canning season is right around the corner. If the art of home canning is new to you, learn the basics at a two hour workshop sponsored by North Carolina Cooperative Extension.  The workshop will cover equipment and supplies and safe procedures for canning low acid and high acid foods. Workshop will cover preserving fresh tomatoes and preserving spaghetti sauce. Advance registration is required by Wednesday May 18th.  Register by calling the Alexander County Center at  828-632-3125.

Making your own Jams and Jellies
June 28th 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Extension Learning Center
Cost: $15
Making jams and jellies is a great way to enjoy some of your favorite fruits when they are no longer in season. Join us as we make jams and talk about the difference between Jellies, marmalade, preserves, and conserves. In this session we will teach you how to turn fruit and sugar into delicious jams and jellies. Come practice your hot water bath canning skills. Advance registration is required by June 22nd to reserve a spot.

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.

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. 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. 

Extension Master Foods Volunteer Training

EMFV volunteer assists FCS agent Michelle Estrada prepare taste tests at a gardening event in Wayne County.
Interest in food, cooking, and local food is at an all-time high. The Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program is designed to engage residents in food and nutrition programming in their community and train volunteers to further expand the reach of N.C. Cooperative Extension. The EMFV program will allow FCS agents to train volunteers to support their food and nutrition programming and promote local food, thereby building their capacity to deliver high quality, evidence-based interventions.

Volunteers work closely with their supervising FCS agent to deliver Cooperative Extension nutrition education and cooking programs, such as Steps to Health, Faithful Families, Cook Smart Eat Smart, and Med Instead of Meds. In addition, volunteers assist with community-based programs and outreach, including food preservation classes, lunch n' learn workshops, cooking demonstrations at community locations (such as farmers' markets and food pantries), kids cooking camps, and community health fairs.

The NC Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program provides citizens with an opportunity to extend the work of Cooperative Extension by providing unbiased, research-based information on food systems, cooking and food safety to our community. Under the guidance of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension Agents, volunteers complete a 30-hour training and service, volunteers earn the status of Extension Master Food Volunteer.

Participant must submit an application to be consider for the program. Deadline for application is June 7th. 

To find out more information, check out the 
Extension Master Food Volunteer portal.

Extension Master Foods Volunteer Informational Session
May 22nd, 2018
Extension Learning Center
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Extension Master Foods Volunteer Training
Extension Learning Center
3rd & 4th Mondays of June, July, August, and September
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Cost: $75 ( Includes membership and cost of materials)

June 18th - Orientation 
June 25th - Program Management
July 16th - Food Safety & Preservation
July 23rd - Nutrient Basics
August 16th - Cooking Techniques
August 23th - Food Systems, Diversity & Inclusion
September 20th - Cooking demo
September 27th - Graduation

Please call or email Der Holcomb at or 828-632-3125 if you have any questions.


May Garden Calendar

Plants in Flower 
  • Southern Magnolia, Golden Chain Tree, Kousa Dogwood, Hybrid Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Satsuki Azalea, Scotch Broom, Deutzia, Beauty Bush, Weigela, Gumpo Azalea, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Dianthus, Sweet William, Candytuft, Beadered Iris, Peony, Coreopsis, Poppy, Lady Slipper and Summer Annuals 
  • Fertilize summer flowering plants like crape myrtle and rose- of-Sharon this month. 
  • Do not forget to sidedress or fertilize your vegetable six to eight weeks after germination. 
  • Plant gladioli bulbs (corms) this month. 
  • Plant summer annuals like begonia, geranium, marigold, petunia and zinnia this month. 
  • The following vegetable plants can be set out this month: eggplant, pepper, tomato and sweet potato. 
  • The following vegetables can be planted this month: beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash and watermelon. 
  • Prune your hybrid rhododendron after they finish flowering. 
  • Prune any hedges that have outgrown their desired shape. 
  • Begin pinching your chrysanthemums and continue through early July. 
  • Pick off azalea leaf galls as they form. 
  • Do NOT cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown. 
  • Spray the following vegetables if insects are observed: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (squash borer and aphids, tomato and eggplant (flea beetle), broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (worms).  
  • Keep spraying your tree fruits and bunch grapes with a fungicide program. 
  • Use pesticides sparingly. Spray only when needed. 
Lawn Care 
  • Fertilize zoysia this month after it has greened up. Do NOT fertilize tall fescue now. 
  • Start warm season lawns like zoysia in May. 
  • Mowing heights for your lawn are important. Cut tall fescue and bluegrass at three inches, zoysia at one inch. 
  • Take softwood cuttings of plants like azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, clematis, chrysanthemum and geranium in late May if you have a misting system. 
Specific Chores 
  • Purchase locally grown strawberries. 
  • Move houseplants outside if desired. 
  • If weather has been dry, give favorite plants a good soaking once a week.

Alexander County Beekeeper, Rodger King, presents to a group of students.
Wake Up to Ag....

was held on Thursday, May 3, 2018 for all the 1 st  graders in the county. The event was held at H&H Arena.   Students had a real farm experience and learned where their food and many other daily used products come from. Thanks to all the volunteers, H&H Arena, ACHS FFA members, and 4-H members who made this day a success. Also thanks to Carolina Farm Credit for providing lunch to our volunteers!

Alexander County Farmer's Market

Will Open:  Saturday, June 16th

If you are interested in selling your local produce please contact the Extension Center at 828-632-4451.


Alexander County Extension Center 
will be closed Monday, May 28 
to observe Memorial Day
 Read more N.C. Cooperative Extension news at >>
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