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Dr. Martin Kaps, Research Pomologist, demonstrates apple tree pruning to the central leader system for a pruning workshop held at the Missouri State Mountain Grove Campus (photo provided)

by Pam Mayer, guest author

(Mountain Grove) – Are you interested in learning more about fruit and gardening? The Missouri State University Darr School of Agriculture is holding workshops on those subjects that will teach you ways to be a better gardener. We even have a workshop on artisan distillation.

Feb. 28 Fruit Brandy Distillation

9 a.m.-4 p.m. $125 with pre-registration required; space is limited. Learn hands-on distillation using a batch column still with reflux. A lecture in the morning will be followed by a hands-on demonstration of a batch distillation of neutral grape spirits using a 250 L still with a three plate column. Theory and practical aspects of distillation will be covered during the lecture and throughout the distillation process. You must be at least 21 years old to attend this workshop. Attendance limited to 12 participants. Sponsored by Mountain Grove Cellars.

March 9 Pruning Fruit Plants

8:30 a.m.-noon. No charge or pre-registration required. Dress for the weather and bring your pruning tools. Fruit Experiment Station experts will lead small groups in pruning fruit plants. Blueberries, apples, peaches, grapes and more will be covered. Presenters: John Avery, Martin Kaps, Susanne Howard, Randy Stout, Jeremy Emery. Sponsored by Missouri State University School of Agriculture.

March 15 Food Safety

1-4 p.m. No charge but pre-registration encouraged. Topics to be covered include: What is Food Safety; Importance of Food Safety; State Regulations for Selling to the public; Food Safety Concerns in the Field: Field preparation and planting, manure usage and crop cultural guidelines; Irrigation Methods and Associated Issues; Harvest and Post-Harvest Safety; Food Safety- Field to Market; GAP- Good Agriculture Practices on the farm. You will receive a certificate to display at your booth. Sponsored by Missouri State University School of Agriculture, Missouri Dept of Health and Senior Services and University of Missouri Extension.

March 16 Healthy Soils for Healthy Gardens

9 a.m.–noon. No charge or pre-registration required. Ben Fuqua, professor at Missouri State University will cover improving and maintaining soil health in his presentations: Garden Soils: The Basics and Fertilizing for High Yields of Quality Plants. Bob Schultheis, MU Extension irrigation specialist will present Water Management around the House. Sponsored by Friends of the Garden and Missouri State University School of Agriculture.

March 20 Grafting

1–4 p.m. $5 with pre-registration encouraged. John Avery, horticulture advisor, Missouri State University School of Agriculture, along with Patrick Byers, regional horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension, will teach and demonstrate grafting fruit trees. Walnut grafting will also be demonstrated. Participants are encouraged to bring scionwood of any apple cultivars they would like to graft onto rootstocks and grafting tools. We will use rootstocks M111 and M7. Sponsored by Missouri State University School of Agriculture and University of Missouri Extension.

All of these events are held in Mountain Grove at the State Fruit Experiment Station, located on the Missouri State University School of Agriculture campus. Email for more information or call Pam Mayer at (417) 547-7533 to register.

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