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High Country Seed
Swap & Growers School

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, all aspiring and practicing area gardeners are invited to Ashe Family Central (the former Ashe Central High School in Jefferson) to the High Country Seed Swap. The event features a day-long open exchange of seeds, plus a workshop apple tree grafting taught by area experts. Beginning at 8:30 AM, gardeners will be able to display their own surplus seeds and view the offerings of others on tables set up in the cafeteria space. The seed swap will continue throughout the day. The grafting workshop and fruit-scion-wood exchange will be held from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM, led by nationally known apple experts Ron & Suzanne Joyner. Other classes on seed starting and saving TBA, so stay tuned! Gardeners are encouraged to bring any surplus seeds, bulbs, corms, plants, and fruit scion wood they can to exchange. Seed swaps operate on the honor principle that gardeners will bring whatever they can this year, grow what they take from this swap, and bring more seeds from their crops to next year’s seed swap. The Seed Swap takes place in the Community Space (i.e.- former cafeteria) of Ashe Family Central, located at 626 Ashe Central School Rd., in Jefferson, NC (28640). North Carolina Cooperative Extension sponsors the event, with support from the Ashe County Farmers Market. Ron and Suzanne Joyner, of Big Horse Creek Farm in Lansing, will teach the grafting workshop. They are nationally known for their conservation and propagation of old Southern Apple varieties. The grafting workshop taught by the Joyners will be hands-on, with participants able to learn with the actual tools of the trade. Apple rootstocks will be available for purchase at the workshop, so if participants choose, they can graft several trees to then bring home and plant themselves (a flat fee of $10 will allow participants to graft up to three fruit trees). Information about collecting scionwood samples for grafting can be found at their website: http://bighorsecreekfarm.com/collecting-scionwood/ NC Cooperative Extension coordinates the Seed Swap, with assistance from Master Gardener, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and Ashe County Farmers Market volunteers. Area Extension Agent Richard Boylan notes that the venue has been perfect for past seed swaps, but that participation is always crucial to make the event a success, “Ashe Family Central’s Community Space (the old school cafeteria) is the perfect spot to meet up and swap seeds in an open exchange. It’s big enough that folks can spread-out, browse seeds, and talk. The more participants who bring seeds to share, the better the Swap will be.” The event is free and open to all gardeners and farmers in the region. For more information, e-mail richard_boylan@ncsu.edu or call the Watauga or Ashe Cooperative Extension centers at 828-264-3061or 336-846-5850.

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5707-seed-swap-1-LR

High Country Seed
Swap & Growers School

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, all aspiring and practicing area gardeners are invited to Ashe Family Central (the former Ashe Central High School in Jefferson) to the High Country Seed Swap. The event features a day-long open exchange of seeds, plus a workshop apple tree grafting taught by area experts. Beginning at 8:30 AM, gardeners will be able to display their own surplus seeds and view the offerings of others on tables set up in the cafeteria space. The seed swap will continue throughout the day. The grafting workshop and fruit-scion-wood exchange will be held from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM, led by nationally known apple experts Ron & Suzanne Joyner. Other classes on seed starting and saving TBA, so stay tuned! Gardeners are encouraged to bring any surplus seeds, bulbs, corms, plants, and fruit scion wood they can to exchange. Seed swaps operate on the honor principle that gardeners will bring whatever they can this year, grow what they take from this swap, and bring more seeds from their crops to next year’s seed swap. The Seed Swap takes place in the Community Space (i.e.- former cafeteria) of Ashe Family Central, located at 626 Ashe Central School Rd., in Jefferson, NC (28640). North Carolina Cooperative Extension sponsors the event, with support from the Ashe County Farmers Market. Ron and Suzanne Joyner, of Big Horse Creek Farm in Lansing, will teach the grafting workshop. They are nationally known for their conservation and propagation of old Southern Apple varieties. The grafting workshop taught by the Joyners will be hands-on, with participants able to learn with the actual tools of the trade. Apple rootstocks will be available for purchase at the workshop, so if participants choose, they can graft several trees to then bring home and plant themselves (a flat fee of $10 will allow participants to graft up to three fruit trees). Information about collecting scionwood samples for grafting can be found at their website: http://bighorsecreekfarm.com/collecting-scionwood/ NC Cooperative Extension coordinates the Seed Swap, with assistance from Master Gardener, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and Ashe County Farmers Market volunteers. Area Extension Agent Richard Boylan notes that the venue has been perfect for past seed swaps, but that participation is always crucial to make the event a success, “Ashe Family Central’s Community Space (the old school cafeteria) is the perfect spot to meet up and swap seeds in an open exchange. It’s big enough that folks can spread-out, browse seeds, and talk. The more participants who bring seeds to share, the better the Swap will be.” The event is free and open to all gardeners and farmers in the region. For more information, e-mail richard_boylan@ncsu.edu or call the Watauga or Ashe Cooperative Extension centers at 828-264-3061or 336-846-5850.

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Heirloom Apple
Pruning Workshop

Do you have an old apple tree on your property that has been neglected? Are you interested planting delicious apples in your own yard? Did you recently plant apples trees but don’t know how to prune them? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this is the class for you. March 24th from 4:00-6:00 Doug Hundley, Avery County Integrated Pest Management Technician, and heirloom apple enthusiast will be coming to Watauga County to assist in this program. In this free workshop we will cover pruning techniques to renovate a neglected apple tree, as well as how to prune a young apple tree. There will be lots of other information on heirloom apples. Also if you are in need of apple trees, Watauga Extension is selling heirloom apples as part of our spring fruit plant sale. For more information click here Workshop will meet at an older orchard that is located at 558 Rocky Rd. Banner Elk, 28604 (it isn't really in Banner Elk, to me seems more like Foscoe) It is past the Grandfather Mountain Trout Ponds, near the Entrance to Seven Devils, road will be on the left. We will have signs to direct you, but it is all the way at the end of the road. click here for a map Don’t be confused when you come the first apple trees, these are not the ones we will be working on, keep going to the end of the road. Bring your loppers and pruners there will be plenty of time to practice your pruning skills and ask questions. Don’t worry if you can’t make it by 4:00, just come when you can, and we will get you caught up on the information. No need to register. Call Paige Patterson, Consumer Horticulture Agent for more information at 828-264-3061

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2015 Rain Barrel Sale
Now in Progress

Though the high country has had good precipitation amounts this past year, we still cannot take our water for granted.  As we saw a few years ago, supplies can be altered at the “drop of a hat” during drought conditions.  According to Wendy Patoprsty, Extension Agent for Watauga County, “rainwater in the high country represents a high quality source of water available to us, there is no reason we should let it flow away without using it.”  It can take a very long time for our natural groundwater to recharge.  Depending on the landscape, it can take anywhere from one year to 1,000 years to infiltrate into the aquifers. Lane Weiss of the Town of Boone Water Conservation Program says “harvesting rain water prevents water from pooling around the foundation of your home, and helps prevent erosion.  This harvested water can be used for various purposes including washing your dog, watering gardens, rinsing tools, washing cars and windows.”  There is no reason to use treated city water or groundwater for these types of uses. “Rain barrels are a great way to water your plants and shrubs or your raised bed veggie gardens.  They are so simple a kid can use them,” says Janie Poe, of Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The Town of Boone, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, and the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District have partnered to provide rain barrels to the community at a reduced cost.   In order to get your savings, you must order your barrel online by April 24th.  We are able to offer the discounted rates because of bulk purchasing and delivery.  These barrels typically cost $129, but we are getting them for $75!  The pick up day will be Friday May 1st, 2015. According to the EPA, 40% of household water usage in summer is from lawn and garden watering. Homeowners can save 1,300 gallons of tap water every summer by purchasing a rain barrel. How to order: Go to the following website to order your rain barrel. http://www.rainbarrelprogram.org/watauga-county You must place your order by April 24th, 2015 in order to get the discount on the barrel.    The barrels will be available for pick up on Friday May 1st for the one-day pick up event. What sets this rain barrel apart from others? * Made in NC from 100% recycled plastic. * Mosquito proof * Best in class overflow set up to withstand heavy rains so barrel won’t back up into gutters.  This barrel has optional flow direction with capabilities to attach multiple barrels. Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Rainwater! * Protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution * Divert water from the municipal storm drain system * Conserve this vital natural resource and reduce your water bills * Use the rain water to grow healthy and lush plants * Control moisture levels around the foundation of your home For more information call 264-3061(Cooperative Extension) 268-6250(Town of Boone), or 264-0842(Watauga County Soil and Water).

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Risk-Management-1550174

ASAP Risk Management
Workshop - Boone

This workshop is designed to offer an overview of what it means to manage risk for your farm and options for both beginning and experienced farmers. Area experts will help you navigate crop insurance choices and opportunities for accessing credit, by offering the information and tools you need to determine the best options for your farm. Additionally, you will hear about how to tap into the demand for authentically local products by branding your farm as Appalachian Grown™. Learn ways you can diversify your market opportunities and connect with local resources, including cost share for marketing, labels, and packaging. Risk Management Options: Crop Insurance, Loans, Diversification, and Local Branding March 9, 2015 9 am- noon Agriculture Conference Center – Boone, NC Presenters will include James Robinson of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), Julia Houck (High Country), Becky Williamson (Jackson County) of USDA Farm Service Agency, and Molly Nicholie of ASAP.

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NEWS View All

Nominations Sought for Business Scholarship

Nominations are being sought for a $750 scholarship offered by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Administrative Professionals Association (NCCEAPA) through March 17, 2015.  The scholarship is available to North Carolina residents pursuing a MORE »

2015 Rain Barrel Sale Now in Progress popular

Though the high country has had good precipitation amounts this past year, we still cannot take our water for granted.  As we saw a few years ago, supplies can be altered at the MORE »

2015 Watauga County Extension Fruit Plant Sale

Ordering for the Watauga County Extension Fruit Plant Sale is now open. Proceeds help support youth and other programs in Watauga County. Supplies are available at a first-come first ordered basis. Plants available MORE »

Make 2015 the year of “real food”

As a foodie dietitian, I enjoy reading food trend predictions every year. Some seem odd, such as cricket flour being introduced into foods for the protein. Others could have value, like the forecast MORE »

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EVENTS View All
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Mar 3, 2015
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 2 days away
Birds Eye Business Planning Course Thu Mar 5, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Where:
Ashe County Wilkes Community College Campus, West Jefferson, NC
— 4 days away
Bird Nesting Box Construction WorkshopSat Mar 7, 2015
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Where:
Agriculture Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone, NC 28607
— 5 days away
ASAP Risk Management Workshop Mon Mar 9, 2015
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Where:
Agriculture Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone, NC 28607
— 1 week away
High Country Seed Swap & Growers SchoolSat Mar 14, 2015
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Where:
Ashe Family Central, 626 Ashe Central School Road, Jefferson, NC 28640
— 2 weeks away
Southern Foresters' Climate Observations: State Comparisons and Spatial TrendsThu Mar 19, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Where:
http://forestrywebinars.net
— 2 weeks away
Shade Your Stream Livestake GiveawaySat Mar 21, 2015
10:30 AM - 2:00 PM Where:
Agriculture Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone, NC 28607
— 3 weeks away
Invasive Plant Best Management Practices WebinarTue Mar 24, 2015
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Where:
http://www.sustainableforestswebinars.net/
— 3 weeks away
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