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The Neighborhood Gardener – August

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

boy watering gardenBack-to-School (Gardens) Shopping List — It’s time for kids to go back to school, which also means it’s time for teachers to start thinking about their school gardens.  Although most of the  supplies needed to start gardening or composting will be purchased by the  individual schools, supplemental funding for the program comes from a variety  of other sources.  You can help a local teacher and school garden by purchasing a few things on their school garden shopping list.

man using chainsawBeing Safe with the Chainsaw — Summer is a great time to clean up your yard before hurricane season gets really active. Chain saws can make this really easy, but are also a tool that you want to be careful using. The chains can move up to 68 miles per hour, and the mufflers can be as hot as 900ºF. You can avoid injury with chain saws by taking a few precautions, such as carrying the chain saw backwards and keep the muffler away from your body so you don’t get burned. And when you purchase a chain saw, make sure it has safety features, like a low-kickback chain, a hand guard, and a chain brake.

Perennial peanutPlant of the Month: Perennial Peanut — Perennial peanut is a versatile groundcover that can be planted statewide and blooms all summer long with cheerful golden flowers. It can be planted on its own as a groundcover in larger beds or used as a lawn alternative in areas that receive low levels of foot traffic. It also can be interplanted within some existing lawns. Perennial peaunut flowers best when planted in full sun, but can also be planted in partial shade. Mowing established plants will make them bloom more, but it’s not required.

August in Your Garden – Many cool-season crops such as collards and onion can be planted now, including a final crop of warm-season vegetables, such as pepper. Tomato can also be planted for the fall garden. For a complete list of what can be planted when, consult the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide.

Zebra longwing butterflyFriend or Foe? Friend: Zebra Longwing Butterfly — The zebra longwing is the state butterfly of Florida. It’s a regular sight in many gardens, yards, and parks. The zebra longwing is a medium-sized butterfly with wings that are black with several bold, narrow yellow stripes. Common hosts for zebra longwings are passionflower vines, so plant a few of these in your yard to attract one of these beautiful, native butterflies.

Read the full August issue.

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