“Gardening in the Mountains” Virtual Classes Were a Success

— Written By and last updated by Deborah Hunter
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This spring, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Macon County offered a virtual succession of classes entitled “Gardening in the Mountains.” This series included 7 seminars on strawberries, blueberries, caneberries, grapes, fruit trees, gardening basics, and organic gardening strategies. Each class covered essential horticulture information in the areas of site selection, fertility practices, plant selection, pest control, pruning and harvesting techniques, and organic practices. A total of 117 attendees joined the virtual series, with about half attending more than 1 class. The majority of the class participants were from the Western region of North Carolina, but over 16 counties were represented across the state; from 7 additional states, and 2 other countries.

Evaluation data collected through an online survey after each class reported 100% of the participants learned something new through attending the series. While 11% of attendees were already utilizing some of the recommended techniques, the remaining 89% expressed their intent to start using the best practices they learned such as changing the way they manage their pests, changing the way they manage their soils, and fertility practices along with plans to utilize organic strategies. The most popular seminars in the series were on how to grow blueberries, followed by strawberries, and then how to start a blackberry and raspberry (caneberries) patch.