These gardeners are breaking new ground, in more ways than one

Community gardens are not a new concept, but the Watson Park Community Garden in Dade City has a new twist. This garden is the first of its kind in Florida, and the people behind it hope it will become a model for others to follow. At a ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 26, children from Cox Elementary School were among the first to get their hands dirty in the … [Read more...]

Rallying ’round the blueberry bushes

Hurricane Irma blew across the landscape, uprooting and toppling about 100,000 blueberry bushes at Frogmore Fresh Farm, outside Dade City. In Irma’s aftermath, the farm’s general manager, Leonard Park, knew he had a narrow window to salvage as many of the plants as possible. He also knew he didn’t have enough labor to make that happen. An unexpected phone call from Whitney Elmore offered … [Read more...]

Coping with seasonal drought in the landscape

If you were to take a map of the globe and draw a parallel line to the east and to the west of Florida — worldwide — what would you discover? You would note that Florida is roughly positioned along the same latitude as Mediterranean-type climates where dry, arid conditions prevail. Logic implies then that our weather should be more like that of Southern California or parts of the Mediterranean; … [Read more...]

Pasco Extension eyeing options for new home

Nobody disputes that Pasco County’s Extension Office is in serious need of an upgrade. But that’s where the consensus ends. Extension now operates out of space owned by the Pasco County Fair Association, under an annual $17,000 lease, which is currently on a month-to-month basis. But the office is too small and outdated to meet Extension’s needs. The county wants to improve conditions … [Read more...]

The truth about bromeliads and mosquitoes

  Zika is a concern in Florida and bromeliad plants have been singled out as potential sources of mosquitos that carry this virus. Bromeliad plants produce a fold of leaves commonly referred to as a “tank” where water will collect. And, several types of mosquito larvae (the young, non-flying aquatic phase), including larvae of the Aedes family of mosquitoes, which can potentially … [Read more...]

Experts offer advice to entrepreneurs

A back-to-the-farm movement is spurring a new kind of small business entrepreneur. From small u-pick blueberry farms to backyard chicken roosts to garden vegetable patches, more and more people are finding their calling in the cottage food industry. They often set up shop in farmers’ markets, food truck rallies and local festivals. For many, it is a new direction in their … [Read more...]

Warm winter weather prompts blooming confusion

The peaches are in bloom, the aroma of flowers fills the air – spring has sprung. But, how can that be? It’s only January. The calendar says it’s winter, but our gardens are acting like it is spring. With temperatures 15 degrees to 20 degrees above average for this time of the year, it’s easy for plants, and for us, too, to be tricked by Mother Nature. It’s all due to this unusually … [Read more...]

Groundcovers offer a great option for Florida landscapes

“Why didn’t I come to you first?” That’s a commonly uttered question at our Pasco County Extension office, when homeowners come in with landscape problems. Usually, this question is preempted by a “put the right plant in the right place” discussion. This Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM (FFL) principle is simple to grasp, but not obvious until someone puts it in plain English by saying “you … [Read more...]

Planting seeds for food policies

Community gardens, backyard chickens, food deserts and agricultural tourism are on a short list of future policy ideas a citizen’s advisory council will tackle in Pasco County. The Pasco County Food Policy Advisory Council met on Sept. 30, in its second meeting since the Pasco County Commission appointed nine panel members in June. Pasco County is the only county with an active food policy … [Read more...]

Heavy rains can pose landscape problems

Heavy rainfalls during recent weeks have caused many homeowners to worry about disease in their landscape plants. While it is true that most plant pathogens prefer lots of water and high temperatures —that doesn’t mean your plants automatically will become diseased in our recent scenario. And, just because conditions are right for disease, it doesn’t mean that you automatically should … [Read more...]