Happy December’s eve, gardeners! Since the cool season is Florida’s busiest vegetable gardening time, we wanted to share “What to Plant in December” as soon as possible.
There’s so much to plant this month! Leafy greens like arugula, collards, mustard, and Swiss chard; cruciferous vegetables along broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. In South Florida, there’s so much you can plant, it would almost be easier to list what you can’t plant (strawberries, for example).
For detailed, text-based information, you can rely on our UF/IFAS gardening publications. These publications are on the UF/IFAS Solutions for Your Life website, and give Florida gardeners a monthly guide for what to plant and do in their gardens; they include links to even more of our gardening resources, all based on University of Florida research and expertise. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida’s climate zones—North, Central, and South.
There are some bugs you just don’t want around, like mosquitoes. Mosquito control protects the public from disease outbreaks, reduces nuisance mosquitoes, and protects Florida’s economy.
But then there are the bugs you do want around, like bees. It’s no exaggeration to say that almost everyone who eats food benefits from the honey bee. A common estimate is that one in three U.S. crops is pollinated by bees, but in Florida the ratio is three out of four.
So, how do mosquito control efforts affect our honey bees? The UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE Center) addresses that in a new campaign to educate Floridians on mosquito control:
While insecticides used on mosquitoes can kill bees outside of their hives, treatment that is applied before dawn or after dusk can reduce impact because bees are usually inside their hives. However, it is not always appropriate to treat before dawn or after dusk for certain mosquito species. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies show that honey production between hives in treated and untreated sites did not show significantly different quantities of honey over the course of a season. Beekeepers and concerned citizens should work with their local mosquito control program to determine when and where they treat for mosquitoes.
It’s summer, and in Florida that means mosquitoes. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has declared June 24 – June 30 as National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, which makes it a pretty good time to talk about what we can do as individuals to control mosquitoes in our community.
One way we can prevent mosquito-borne diseases is by eliminating standing water from around our homes. Did you know that as little as one bottlecap of water standing for five days is enough for mosquitoes to develop? Standing water can be found in places like birdbaths, tarps, flower pots, tires, kid pools, and even in some plants like bromeliads.
Happy May, gardeners! As temperatures rise, thoughts turn to summer vegetable gardening. Southern favorites to plant now in North and Central Florida include Swiss chard, okra, and sweet potatoes. In addition to sweet potatoes, South Florida gardeners might consider boniato, hot peppers, and tropical “spinach” such as Sisso, Malabar, and New Zealand.
May is also a good time to start preparing for hurricane season. Start by checking trees for damaged or weak branches and prune if needed. If you’re looking for a pro, hire an ISA-certified arborist.