Catawba County Center
March, 2016
Catawba County Center

Fruit Plant Sale 
4-H Fundraiser

Cooperative Extension in now taking orders for their annual plant sale. Blueberry and strawberry plants will be available with several varieties. Orders will be accepted through March 4  with delivery expected mid-March. Order forms are posted on the Extension website. Payment can be made with check, cash, or debit/credit card.  

Beginning Cut Flowers Workshop

Tuesday March 8th, 2016
ARC Building
Meeting Room B
1175 S. Brady Ave
Newton, NC 28658
Cost: $20

Interested in learning more about growing cut flowers? Want to know how you can incorporate cut flowers into your current farm business? Come join us in learning about varieties best suited for cut flowers and how to grow them. Other topics include harvest and post harvest handling, marketing, and a tour to a local cut flower farm. Deadline to register has been pushed back to March 3rd, 2016. You can download the registration form via the hyperlink or visit our county website at 
The beginning cut flowers workshop is the last session of the Specialty Crop Series. For more information on the beginning cut flowers workshop, please contact Der Xiong at or 828-465-8248.  
Foothills Greenhouse Production Workshop
March 8, 2016
3:30 - 8:30 pm
Caldwell County Public Library
120 Hospital Ave NE
Lenoir, NC  28645

$20 per person by March 4
$25 per person after March 4

The Foothills Greenhouse Production Workshop is designed to provide updated information regarding greenhouse production, including scouting, pest identification and control, and nutrient management. 

Click here for more information and to register.


Summer Veggies: Fresh Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and More

Thursday, March 10, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Join Dr. George Place, Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director in a presentation about preparing your garden for those tasty summer veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and more.
First on Scene Training

Wednesday March 16th, 2016
ARC Building--Meeting Room B
1175 S. Brady Ave
Newton, NC 28658

The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute has developed a First on Scene program to teach the importance of responding appropriately to
emergencies. Farmers, family members, and farm workers are encouraged to participate

Topics include:
  • Scene Safety
  • Response to traumatic injuries
  • Response to medical emergencies
Attendees will receive a free fire extinguisher and a free first aid kit. More than two people can attend per farm, but a maximum gift of two kits and two extinguishers per farm. Each farm is eligible for up to $250 cost share funds to defray safety and health related expenses.

Seats are limited to the first 30 individuals. Please RSVP Der Xiong via the registration form by mail, emailing at, or calling 828-465-8248.

Michael and Connor,4-H'ers,  learning science with hands-on activities and experiments during Summer Science Camp. 
NEW Science Series 
Meets 2nd Thursday, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Avenue, Newton 
Ages 9 and older

Explore the world of invisible invaders in our body and environment with hands-on activities and experiments from the new 4-H Microbiology curriculum.  This new club will meet monthly starting in April and continuing through December 2016. The series will be led by teen teacher, Kat Stulpin, along with help from Sue Stulpin (adult leader). Kat was part of the group of teens trained to teach this curriculum during the Microbiology TRY training. To register to participate, contact Donna Mull, at 828-465-8240 or 


Catawba County ECA News

The Catawba County Extension & Community Association will meet March 21 at 1:30 in Meeting Room A of the Agricultural Resources Center. 


This meeting is open to the public. Karen Birkedal will be the guest speaker who will address the growing problem of Human Trafficking. It has gotten to be a major problem in our country and in the world. Once drugs are sold, one can no longer make money off them. But, human beings can be bought and sold repeatedly - even children. Karen has researched, written many articles and worked with organizations trying to combat the problem. We welcome your presence as we question what we can do to make a difference. 

Effectively Marketing Your Farm

Tuesday March 29th, 2016
9 AM to noon
ARC Building
1175 S. Brady Ave

Newton, NC 28658

Join Gary Bullen, NCSU Agriculture and Economics Resource Specialist in this workshop designed for small farmers that want to improve their profitability through advanced marketing techniques.  Focus points of the workshop will include:

- Finding the right market
- Finding and keeping customers
- Pricing your product right
- How to use social media effectively
- Farmer discussion panel

Register here for this workshop.
Check Your Fruit Trees For Scales

If you have fruit trees, now is a good time to inspect them for scale insects. White peach scale and San Jose scale are serious pests that can kill fruit trees within a few years if not controlled. They can be a problem on peach, nectarine, apple, pear, cherry, and plum trees. Many woody ornamentals are also host plants. Scale insects feed on the bark, leaves, and fruit of the host plant and can cause stunting, leaf drop, fruit lesions, and eventually death of branches or entire trees if populations are high and left untreated.  Continue reading this article by Debbie Roos and see more info at the Growing Small Farms Website.

Got To Be NC Newsletter

The February newsletter for the 2016 Got to Be NC Update marketing is now available.

*  Registration open for NC producer meetings with Harris Teeter
*  Grant available to help farms promote agritourism
Food Business Conference registration opens
Marketing opportunities
Member news: national honors, new products, and more

Advanced Gardener Program For 2016

We have heard from several residents of Catawba County that would like to participate in the Master Gardener program but don't have the schedule flexibility to attend day time classes.  We are responding to this with the Advanced Gardener Program in the evenings at three library locations. 

Participants that attend all 11 presentations and conduct 20 hours of community garden service in 2016 will receive certification as Advanced Gardeners with additional gardening incentives (coupons and gift certificates) from some of our local garden supply businesses and an official library gardening program T-shirt! More information will be provided at the first presentation in January.

The 2016 curriculum includes:
January -Soil Management - Feed the Soil For a Productive Garden
Februrary - Spring Veggies - Get Growing Before the Heat
March - Summer Veggies - Fresh Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and More
April - Garden Insects - Identify and Manage Pests and Beneficials
May - Weed Management - You Can Win the Weed War
June - Garden Diseases - Identify and Manage Diseases and Disorders
July - Fall Veggies - Harvest From Your Garden Before and After the Frost
Aug - Food Preservation for the Garden - Eat Your Harvest All Year
Sept - Cover Crops - Grow Your Own Fertilizer
Oct - Seed Saving - Techniques to Maximize Seed Quality and Germination
Nov - Garden Berries - Grow and Pick Your Own
The schedule for these presentations will be as follows:
Patrick Beaver Memorial Library - 6-7 PM on the 2nd Thursday of each month
Newton Public Library - 6:30-7:30 PM on the 3rd Tuesday of each month
Maiden Public Library - 6:30-7:30 PM on the 4th Tuesday of each month


Garden Insects: Identify and Manage Pests and Beneficials

Thursday, April 14, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC      28650

Which insects are good for your garden?  Which insects will destroy your garden?  How do you prevent against pest damage?  Dr. George Place will discuss how to manage those pesky garden pests and instruct you on which insects will help your garden.
Swimming and water activities are part of each day at 4-H Camp.
4-H Summer Camp
Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center
June 12-17
Ages 8-14

Kick-off your summer vacation by attending Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp with Catawba County. Check-out the camp by visiting the website  We attend and travel as a group to camp, where youth will join with other 4-H groups from different parts of NC. Our county group will be accompanied by Lori Owenby, 4-H club leader and parent. 4-H membership is not required to attend camp. Penn offers traditional camp programs with activities such as:

* Canoeing
* High and Low Ropes
* Climbing Wall
* Nature and Environmental Science  Activities
* Outdoor Adventure Tract for Older Campers
* Horseback Riding

The cost is $435 which includes all camp activities, store money, transportation, insurance, and t-shirt. A $200 deposit is due at the time of registration.

Camp scholarship are available and provided by the Hickory Kiwanis Club. Scholarship applications are due March 10. Contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, at to register and/or request a scholarship application. 
Demo Garden Fund Raiser
Garden Kneelers For Sale
Only $25

We are selling garden kneelers for $25 to help raise funds for the expansion of our teaching/demo garden outside of our office. Use it as a sitting bench or flip it over to comfortably kneel in the garden. Contact Beth if you would like to get yours before we run out 828-465-8240.
Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Activities

Our neighboring Cooperative Extension Office in Lenoir has a lot of great activities, workshops, and general gardening recommendations listed for this month.  Be sure to take a look at their February Updates.
Enter now to WIN!!!!
Monthly Constant Contact Contest

Packing your own lunch can be a great way to help you lose the extra weight and cut down on your budget. Let us help you by winning this awesome NC State lunch bag. If you missed out on the first bag and thought "I really wish I had won," here's another great opportunity. This month, we will be giving away another NC State insulated lunch bag for our monthly constant contact contest.

All you have to do to be entered to win is look through our monthly update
 and email us the correct answer. The question for the monthly constant contact contest is:

What are the next classes for the Advance Master Gardeners and where will they be held?  Please email Der Xiong your answer. 

Congrats to Angela Coulter Biggerstaff for winning February's Constant Contact Contest. 

You can be a winner today!!
Dr. Mike Parkers shows a group of participants how to train and prune an apple tree.
Highlights of Extension
More articles from the Catawba County Center

Excerpt from "Proper Pruning Principles"
 by Der Xiong

"Pruning your shrubs and trees can be a scary thing, but pruning is necessary to maintain healthy trees and shrubs. Pruning can be quite easy if you understand the basic principles of why, when and how. There are several reasons why you would want to prune your shrubs and trees."  

You can continue to read this article  Proper Pruning Principles via the hyperlink. 

One of Catawba County Cooperative Extension Center's goals is to provide readers with up-to-date research information about problems or situations that individuals may be facing through our weekly articles. You can find these in the Observer News Enterprise and Hickory Daily Record.
If you missed out on our articles in the local papers, you can still read these articles on our website at
Spotlight on AMAZING
Web Resources!!!

The website is an excellent list of farm related apps for your mobile device.  Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see the various categories of apps and the number of available options: 85 livestock apps, 17 weather apps, 153 farm business apps, 32 pesticide spraying apps, and many other categories with dozens and even hundreds of apps that may be useful for your farm or garden.
Small Farm Grant and Loan Assistance

We will post various grant and loan opportunities that arise in this space of our monthly updates.  Simply click on the opportunity of interest for more information.


Weed Management: You Can Win the Weed War

Thursday, May 12, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, May 16, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, May 23, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Find out how to prevent the growth of weeds in your garden, as well as what to do when they begin to grow.


Garden Diseases: Identify and Manage Diseases and Disorders

Thursday, June 9, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, June 13, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, June 20, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Blossom rot, powdery mildew, bacterial wilt.   Learn techniques for dealing with dreaded garden diseases with this helpful lecture from Dr. George Place.
Dr. George Place
Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director
Agricultural Resources Center, Newton, NC 28658