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Small fruit plants going on sale

The Polk County Extension Center is taking orders for strawberry, blueberry and for the first time red raspberry plants.

Small fruits like these are well suited for home gardens. Both strawberries and blueberries are attractive enough to be included in your home landscape. Strawberry plants can be used as a sun loving ground cover while blueberry plants make a versatile informal hedge.

The strawberry varieties a gardener may select from for the 2010 plant sale are Earliglow and Northeaster. Earliglow is a very early strawberry with excellent fresh fruit and freezing quality. Northeaster is an early to mid-season berry with excellent flavor.

This year the Extension Center is offering seven Rabbiteye Blueberry varieties. Rabbiteyes are the best type of blueberry for our region. Climax and Premier are the early varieties of blueberries. Tifblue is the standard, iron-clad cultivar that is both tasty, productive and the best pollinator. Powder Blue is a late season variety with good plant vigor and sweet berries.

For 2010 there are three new varieties to the Polk County sale. They are Columbus, Ira and Onslow. Columbus is an early to mid-season fruit with good yields. Ira and Onslow are mid to late season blueberries with excellent plant vigor. Remember when planting Rabbiteye Blueberries, two different varieties are needed for adequate pollination.

Finally, the Extension staff say they are excited to offer for the first time two specially selected red raspberry varieties. Caroline and Josephine red raspberries are two everbearing cultivars that will bear two crops most growing seasons. Caroline has medium to large fruit with intense flavor on vigorous canes. Josephine has large good flavored fruit on vigorous raspberry canes.

The Extension Service plant sale has been an on-going program for nearly 40 years. The proceeds of the sale benefit the local county Extension programs.

Orders are being placed at the Polk County Extension Center in Columbus for a March delivery date. For more information contact the Extension Center at 828-894-8218.