Fruit growers program valuable for beginners, experts

Last Updated on March 1, 2017 by cassnetwork

Logansport — Purdue Extension will take growers through “New Adventures in Backyard Fruit Production” in a series that offers opportunities to learn about modern fruit production practices.

The school will take place from 2-4 p.m. EST on March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31. The program will be held at 15 sites around the state using webinar broadcasts. Participants also have the option to access the sessions from home via a high-speed Internet connection.

Each day will feature a two-hour session that covers a topic important to fruit growers. The agenda includes:

* March 3 – Session 1: Assessing personal goals and learning how and where to begin fruit production.
* March 10 – Session 2: Growing tree fruit such as apples, pears and peaches.
* March 17 – Session 3: Growing small fruit such as grapes, strawberries, red and black raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
* March 24 – Session 4: Overview of crop protection using pest management and discussion of organic fruit production.
* March 31 – Session 5: Harvest, storage, preservation and use of fruit.

Purdue presenters include associate professor Peter Hirst and professor Bruce Bordelon, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; Nikky Witkowski, educator, Purdue Extension-Lake County; Linda Curley, educator, Purdue Extension-Lake County; and Rick Foster, professor and Extension coordinator for pest management, Department of Entomology.

Nikky Witkowski, educator, Purdue Extension-Lake County, notes this a great program for different levels of growers. “Everyone needs to know the updates of what insect or disease is coming at you in the coming year. The various experts we have will assist you to be able to identify them and control them.”

Roy Ballard, educator, Purdue Extension-Hancock County, said the series will be especially beneficial for beginning growers.

“We want to make sure they have the right plants for their site and for their needs and that they plant them in a way the plants will thrive,” Ballard said. “It’s important that growers appreciate not only the many joys of home fruit production, but also the occasional challenges, limitations and responsibilities.”

Ballard said the school also will provide information for more experienced growers, such as varieties of fruit available for Indiana culture and pest control considerations. Private applicator and commercial pesticide applicator credits will be available.

The school is sponsored by Purdue Extension and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Registration is $25 per person for all sessions or $10 per person for an individual session. The fee includes all handouts and resource materials.

For more information regarding program content, available viewing sites or how to register, contact your county Purdue Extension office at 574-753-7750, kristapullen@purdue.edu. A full brochure is available at www.extension.purdue.edu/Cass.