Create a native landscape — use right plant, right place

Florida has an abundance of beautiful native plants. There are vines, trees, shrubs, ground covers and a few palms that are native to the state, and can make excellent additions to the landscape. Some of these natives even serve as food sources for local wildlife, such as butterflies and some bats, and some can help negate the harsh heat and sun, and reduce the potential for … [Read more...]

Natural ‘enemies’ can attack garden pests

Summer months may stress plants because we often see periods of increased rainfall and then periods of drought along with intense heat. And, when plants are stressed, they may be more susceptible to pests. When it comes to combating these pests, don’t forget there are many natural enemies that eat pest insects. These natural enemies, that are considered good or beneficial, include … [Read more...]

Pointers for easy pest control in your garden

Spring gardening is upon us, a time when many Florida gardeners plant vegetables, trees and landscape shrubs. If we have turf, we pay attention to bare spots, patches and insects. As your plants and turf grow, be on the lookout for pests and problems. Try to notice issues early and get help from your local Extension office, if needed. Some of the easiest and least expensive strategies … [Read more...]

Prune-and-pass plants make great gifts

There are not many more rewarding experiences in life than planting and propagating your own plants and watching them grow. Giving someone special a gift is usually at the top of that list, too. But, growing a gift is even more special. Many plants can be easily grown and pieces passed along as gifts with some simple pruning and propagation techniques. The resurrection or rain lily is … [Read more...]

Celebrate Earth Day in the garden: Reduce, reuse and recycle

Rain barrels, compost and using organic matter for mulch are some excellent ways to go green in the garden. But, there also are endless ways to upcycle outdoors to attract wildlife, while reducing, reusing, and recycling more nontraditional items into creative and fun, and practical items. As Earth Day 2019 approaches, which is officially on April 22, consider using those old nylons to tie … [Read more...]

Spring is the time to plant cheerful flowers

Florida has a long warm season and a shorter cool season. We are now in our cooler months, which is a time to plant cool season annuals. An annual is a plant that completes its life cycle in one season. These annuals offer bright color choices. They are plants such as pansies and petunias that might remind us of “up North.” You can plant many annual, spring flowers January through … [Read more...]

Seasonal growing — for food and color

Short, cool days don’t necessarily scream gardening season. But, many vegetables, herbs and beautiful flowers just love winter in Florida. December is a good month to plant cool season herbs, such as sage, dill, fennel, cilantro, thyme and parsley. Veggies, such as carrot, cabbage, lettuce and cauliflower do well when planted at this time, too. Add a pop of color to your landscape by … [Read more...]

Keep your lawn healthy during winter and fall

As we move into fall and winter, there are some things you can do to keep your lawn looking good. First things first: Identify the type of grass you have in your lawn. Next, read the appropriate University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) publication for your type of turfgrass. For example, Central Florida has St. Augustinegrass (the most common lawn in … [Read more...]

Gearing up for fall lawn care

As we move into fall, it’s time to review our lawn care strategies. It’s important to be proactive with lawn care, and not rely solely on fungicides or insecticides. If your lawn is regularly under stress from lack of water, poor fertilization, excessive traffic, insect damage, or injurious mowing techniques, it will be more susceptible to diseases and pests. It’s important to be on the … [Read more...]

Food safety issues aren’t confined to the kitchen

Several high-profile cases of food poisoning and related illnesses recently have caught the attention of home gardeners. Infections caused by rat lungworm from slugs, and infections caused by E. coli and Salmonella bacteria contamination are not new. Thousands of food safety fact sheets, videos and classes are available regarding our understanding and prevention of these illnesses, … [Read more...]