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...]

Ways to water wisely during summer months

Water is essential — not only for life itself, but also to support Florida’s landscapes, recreational activities and beautiful vistas. Residents and tourists enjoy our waterways and participate in recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating. We use water from public municipalities and private wells for household, industrial and agricultural uses. Water also is … [Read more...]

Hurry, entries due soon for this year’s Water Wise awards

Does your yard have what it takes to be a winner of a Water Wise Award? The University of Florida/Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences Pasco County Office Extension and Tampa Bay Water would like to recognize attractive, yet water-efficient landscapes. Your yard could be a contender for a Water Wise Award if you already follow these simple steps: Put the right plant in the right … [Read more...]

Keeping cool, as temperatures soar

Florida, with its subtropical conditions, can reach temperatures that pose hazards to human health, according to the Florida Department of Health. Because of that, it’s important to take precautions to protect ourselves when doing outdoor tasks, such as gardening, during warm weather. Here are some preventative measures to keep in mind: Protect your skin with sunscreen. Be sure it has a … [Read more...]

Caladiums offer a kaleidoscope of color

If you’re looking for a plant that brings color and interest to the landscape, consider adding some caladiums to your yard. Caladiums produce vibrant colors and stunning patterns on their leaves, which attract attention. They are tropical foliage plants that thrive in shady nooks and crannies making them easy to grow in Florida’s hot, humid weather. Caladiums look great as landscape … [Read more...]

Adding flavor to your foods, with herbs you grow

People have used herbs in cooking for thousands of years. They add unique flavors to food, as well as a touch of color to meals. Herbs grown in Florida include basil, chives, dill, mint, parsley and sage. Buying pre-packaged containers of herbs can be used in a recipe in a pinch, but why not grow your own? You can save money and enjoy a nice long season of fresh flavor. Herbs make … [Read more...]