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Extension center offers gardening workshops


A series of gardening programs is offered to aid farmers and landowners in varying levels to make the most of their land in sustainable and self-reliant ways. 

– Shiitake Mushroom Workshop. The Master Gardener Association of Macon County will be holding a shiitake mushroom hands-on learning workshop for homeowners who desire to grow shiitakes for additional income as an alternative agricultural crop or simply for personal consumption. This workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17, in two time slots at the Environmental Resource Center located at 1624 Lakeside Dr., Franklin:  

  • 8:30 a.m. sign-in and attend classroom session from 9-10 a.m.; inoculate logs from 10-11:30 a.m. 
  • 11 a.m. sign-in and attend classroom session from 11:30-12:30 p.m.; inoculate logs from 12:30 to 2 p.m. 

Speaker Christy Bredenkamp, Macon County Extension director, will cover all aspects of shiitake mushroom production and will include a hands-on experience via the Macon Master Gardeners; individuals will inoculate and bring home their own mushroom logs. For demonstration purposes, bring two logs cut in the dormant season (November-March), preferably red, white, or scarlet oak that are 3 to 6 inches in diameter, 4-feet long, and with bark intact and free from bare or diseased spots. The presence of lichen or moss is fine. Workshop fee is $35, to be paid at door by cash or check.

Additionally, the following free educational N.C. Cooperative Extension Service workshops will be held at the Macon Extension Center, 193 Thomas Heights Rd., Franklin:

– Starting and Managing a Blueberry Patch, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

– Blackberries and Raspberries: How to Create and Care for a Caneberry Patch, Monday, Feb. 26, 6-7:30 p.m. 

– Grapes: How to Start and Grow Grapes, Tuesday, March 5, 6-7:30 p.m.

– Fruit Trees: How to Start and Foster a Home Orchard, Monday, March 11, 6–8 p.m.

Each workshop is geared toward learning the basics about site selection and preparation, proper soil and plant fertility needs, spacing, weed control, pruning, harvesting, and more, including common disease and insect problems.

For more information about any of these programs, visit https://macon.ces.ncsu.edu or contact the Macon County Extension Center to register at (828) 349-2046; or, e-mail Debbie Hunter at [email protected].