Gearing up for spring gardening

It’s time to start your vegetables for spring planting. January and February are great months to start gardening vegetables. With the exception of sweet potatoes and okra, most of our vegetables grow best during spring and fall. While spring hasn’t sprung just yet, now is a great time to set out veggies like collard and mustard greens, cabbage, and kale. Plants in this family are … [Read more...]

Now’s the time to get control of the weeds in your lawn

Did you have weeds in your lawn last year? I sure did. One of my resolutions is to gain control of the weeds in my bahiagrass lawn. Common weeds that invade Florida lawns include heartleaf drymary and crabgrass. Heartleaf drymary is one of my least favorite weeds because its sticky seeds get all over my dog’s furry paws. Crabgrass is another difficult weed to control. There are few … [Read more...]

Expressing gratitude to bees, for all that they do for us

Gardeners are a grateful people, and part of our gratitude can be traced to bees. This year, I enjoyed four butternut squashes from our garden. I was only able to enjoy this harvest, though, because of bees. The bees and I have a win-win partnership. I plant flowers and vegetables. That gives bees a food source, and they, in turn, pollinate the plants. Bees and pollinators are … [Read more...]

Create your own indoor garden, using houseplants

A popular trend from Victorian times is making a comeback: Growing houseplants. If you look online at image-sharing websites, apps, and boards and you’ll find that indoor plants are very popular. In fact, a new term called “jungalow style” incorporates the use of plants inside homes and offices. Jungalow style brings the beauty and life of plants indoors by integrating them in living … [Read more...]

Replanting and restoring trees following Hurricane Irma

Some of Hurricane Irma’s most affected inhabitants of Florida were trees. Some trees were snapped. Some twisted out of the ground. Some were left leaning with exposed roots, or were stripped of large limbs and foliage. The good news is that not all of the damaged trees must be removed. The test is whether they are a structural hazard or if they have sustained too much damage. It’s … [Read more...]

Multiply the plants in your garden, by dividing them

One of the easiest and most dependable ways to grow new plants is through division. In case you’ve never heard of it, division is a method of vegetative or asexual reproduction. Many common Florida plants are great candidates for dividing. Can you think of some? The UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, along with many other county Extension offices, have teaching and demonstration gardens … [Read more...]

Conserving water, reducing storm water runoff

When it rains, it pours. Or, so it seems in Florida. Central Florida landscapes can easily get 2 inches to 3 inches of rain in a typical afternoon rainstorm. And, all of this storm water washes over our roads, roofs, gutters, driveways, lawns and landscapes — carrying plant debris, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants into our waterways. Even oil from cars, trash and pest … [Read more...]

Cuttings offer an excellent way to propagate plants

Plants can be successfully grown from cuttings – a method that saves you money and provides you — or your friends — more plants. Another plus? You don’t need any special equipment. A cutting is a method of asexual reproduction. The new plant will have the same characteristics of the parent plant. One popular method of propagation is stem cuttings. Tender new growth forms at the tip … [Read more...]

We’re on the lookout for water-wise landscapes

The Pasco County Extension Office and Tampa Bay Water are looking for attractive landscapes with irrigation systems or techniques that minimize water waste and represent the best in Florida-Friendly Landscaping. We would love to present your outdoor oasis for relaxation and a haven for wildlife as a powerful environmentally friendly example of Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM. Florida-Friendly … [Read more...]

Back to the basics in plant propagation: Saving seeds

Seeds help us save money because saving seed is cheaper than buying seeds. We can grow different types of plants, adding more interest to our garden, and we can share plants grown by seed with others. You can save seeds from many common plants, such as marigolds, salvias, herbs and vegetables. Save seeds of the plants and vegetables you like and that do well in your garden. Many native … [Read more...]