The Neighborhood Gardener – August 2014

Happy August, gardeners!

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

seedlingsPlanning Your Fall Garden – The oppressive heat of August can make getting out in the garden difficult. All that extra time indoors gives you a great chance to plan your fall garden. If you’re planting an autumn vegetable garden, think about what you like to eat when you are planning. A soil test is always a good idea too. Willing to brave the heat? There are some vegetables you can plant in August—see the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide for planting dates.

Mosquito Control – We’re seeing a number of cases of mosquito-borne diseases throughout Florida this summer. With wet weather and warm temperatures these sucking bugs flourish. Vigilance in your landscape can help cut down on the places mosquitoes breed. And remember, an FDA approved insect repellant containing DEET is the best way to keep mosquitoes off your body. Get more tips from this UF/IFAS infographic, “Essential Mosquito Control Tips for Homeowners.”

IrisPlant of the Month: Walking Iris — Walking iris (Neomarica sp.) is a clumping perennial with long, glossy leaves and small, iris-like flowers. The flower color will vary depending on the species; they can be white, yellow, or blue-purple. The plant is suited to Zones 9 through 11. It can be grown in the northern parts of the state; just note that it will likely freeze to the ground, returning in the spring. Walking iris can be grown in full or partial shade, can tolerate a range of soil types, and will thrive in moist locations.

August in Your Garden – Check older fronds of palms for yellowing as this may indicate a magnesium or potassium deficiency. If your palm has a deficiency, apply an appropriate palm fertilizer.

kudzuFriend or Foe? Foe: Kudzu — While kudzu may seem as Southern as Georgia peaches or Florida oranges, this invasive vine was actually introduced to the United States from Asia. Today kudzu covers about two million acres in the South and has been found throughout Florida. Removal can take time for full eradication, but it is possible to remove this choking vine and take back your landscape.

Read the full August issue.

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So Many Gardening Events in October!

Yellow mums for saleHave you been to our website lately to check out the event calendar? There’s so much going on in October, throughout the state: plant sales, classes, gardening expos, and more. Here’s just a few:

  • Seminole County Gardening Expo — Saturday, October 6, Sanford
  • Backyard Garden Festival — Saturday, October 6, Bartow
  • Manatee County Master Gardener Plant Fair — Saturday, October 6, Palmetto
  • St. Johns County Home & Garden Show, with Datil Pepper Festival — Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7, St. Augustine

And that’s just this weekend. There’s plenty more to do — see for yourself!

The Neighborhood Gardener – January 2012

Moonlight Bay aglaonemaHappy New Year! This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

  • Getting Your Tools Ready for Spring — The first of the year is a great time to clean up and fix up, before plants really get growing. A quick cleaning will help keep your garden equipment in the best shape possible to take on the battles of spring gardening. Start by taking stock of your equipment. Remove any equipment that is beyond repair or isn’t useful in your garden. Next, check each type of tool and perform maintenance on them.
  • Plant of the Month: Chinese Evergreen — Chinese evergreen, also known as aglaonema, is a versatile houseplant that requires minimal care. Some varieties have solid green leaves, but most cultivars have interesting variegation in shades of silver, gray, or light green. Plant Chinese evergreen in a rich potting media and place in areas that receive medium to low light. These plants have low water requirements so it’s important not to overwater, which may trigger other problems.
  • January in Your Garden – Prune trees and shrubs, taking care with flowering plants—you don’t want to trim off developing buds. Don’t cut off cold damage until all chances of frost have passed. Deadhead camellias and pick up fallen blossoms to prevent disease. Start seeds indoors for warm-season annuals like tomatoes, marigolds, and others.
  • Friend or Foe? Friend: Spined Soldier Bug — Soldier bugs, also known as stink bugs, are known as pests as well as useful predators. While some eat plants, the spined soldier bug preys on many important economic pests, including the larvae of the Colorado potato beetle and the fall armyworm. Learn how to identify this “good-guy” stink bug.
  • Extension Specialist Update – Email is a very important communication tool. Education and Media Coordinator Emily Eubanks shares tips about how to use it most effectively in her presentation, “Email Etiquette.”

Read the full January issue.

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The Neighborhood Gardener: January 2010

Happy New Year! Start 2010 off right with great information from the January issue of  The Neighborhood Gardener:

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