//Sarasota Gardening Guide
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

Sarasota Gardening Guide

 

– Sarasota Gardening  –
Scroll Down to read each month
 Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

Photo Courtesy Your Farm and Garden

We live in an area that has virtually a 12-month growing season. During the summer though many vegetables will be hard-pressed to make it through the heat. This guide starts with February and goes through December. You will find advice on what to grow and how to maintain your plants and trees as needed. Most of the articles are by Patricia Porchey who worked for the county extension service and submitted articles to us for publication.

 

February Gardening Guide

By Patricia Porchey
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

 

  1. My yard has so much cold damage; it looks terrible. What can I do?
  2. The best action is no action at this time. Following these maintenance practices will minimize the damage that has already occurred and prevent additional damage in the weeks ahead.

Don’t

  • Prune those ugly brown leaves and branches. If you scratch the bark, you will usually find it is still green which means it will leaf out again as soon as the weather turns warm.
  • Prune those ugly brown leaves and branches. Those unattractive leaves are actually providing a protective covering for the lower parts of the plant should we receive another cold blast.
  • Prune those terminal branches that are no longer viable. Pruning will encourage new flushes of growth that will be the most vulnerable part of the plant should we encounter another cold spell.
  • Prune those partially brown fronds on your palms. If there is still green on any part of the leaf, that leaf is still producing energy for the plant.
  • Prune those brown fronds on your palms. Unlike our woody plants that have their crown underground, growth on a palm initiates from the bud. Exposing the bud to more cold air, especially for the more cold-sensitive palms, increases the likelihood of their death.
  • Water the grass more than it needs. In the winter when the grass goes into dormancy, its water needs are reduced.
  • Mow that brown lawn. If you look under the topmost layer, you will still see green growth. That top layer is protecting the lower leaves. Wait to mow until you see enough green growth to warrant it.
  • Fertilize that brown lawn until the end of February.
  • Reseed with Bahia or Bermuda grass seed now. Those grass seeds need the warm soil of late March or early April to germinate. However, you can plant ryegrass seed for a temporary green until your lawn recovers.

Do be patient.  Spring will release the lush growth and flowers that we’ve come to expect in Florida.

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & herbs: Vegetables & Herbs: Anise, basil, beets, borage, cantaloupe, carrots, catnip, celery, chervil, chives, collards, comfrey, coriander, corn, cucumber, cumin, dill, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, kohlrabi, leek, lemon balm, lettuce, marjoram, mint, mustard, onion, oregano, parsley, peas, pepper, potato, pumpkin, radish, rosemary, sage, sweet potato, tarragon, tomato, turnip, and watermelon.

Annuals: Ageratum, alyssum, Amaranth, Begonia, browallia, Calendula, Cosmos, dusty miller, Gazania, geranium, Lobelia, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Salvia, snapdragon, Statice, stock, strawflower, and Verbena.

Perennials: African iris, Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Amazon lily, aster, Aztec lily, Caladium, Cannas, calla lily, Clivia, Crinum lily, Dianthus, foxglove, Gerbera, hollyhock, Shasta daisy, society garlic, spider lily, Tithonia, and Viola.

Fruits in Season: Banana, black sapote, carambola, cherimoya, citrus (calamondin, grapefruit, key lime, lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine), Indian jujube, kumquat, loquat, Mysore raspberry, papaya, and strawberry.

Blooming plants: Bush daisy, Bottlebrush, Bougainvillea, Carolina yellow Jessamine, fuchsia skullcap, Kalanchoe, lion’s ear, orchid tree, Poinsettia, powder-puff plant, purple Tabebuia, silver trumpet Tabebuia, trumpet vine, Turk’s cap and Walter’s Viburnum.

  • For information

The Master Gardener Help Desk now has an email address: mghelpdesk@scgov.net to answer questions. It is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-Noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. You can call (941-861-9807) or visit our office at Twin Lakes Park on Clark Road east of I-75 with landscape questions. We also have weekly satellite help desks at the four south county libraries, Gulf Gate Library and Phillippi Farmhouse Market.

 

 March Gardening Guide 

By Patricia Porchey

Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

Q:  When can I prune my plants?

A: For the majority of your plants, now is the perfect time to prune. There was relatively little cold damage this winter compared to the two previous years, but there is some dead wood on the periphery of many plants. This warmer than normal winter has triggered lots of new growth, bursts of new foliage as well as early spring blooms.

In order not to stress your plants, remember these guidelines for pruning before you start: remove no more than 1/4th of a tree canopy or 1/3rd of a shrub mass when pruning. Start by removing those branches that are dead; however, just because a branch is leafless doesn�t necessarily mean it is dead. To determine if it is live wood, bend it to see if it is brittle or flexible and lightly scratch the surface to see if it is green inside.

Now is also the time to remove broken, crisscrossing, errant or diseased branches. If a spring-flowering shrub or tree has become too large, why not enjoy its flowers first before you prune it? Summer bloomers such as crape myrtle can be pruned now without interfering with its bloom set on new wood. If you would like to keep your fruit trees shorter so you can reach the fruit better, these can be pruned, even if they are blooming.

Palm fronds need to be removed only if they are totally brown. Partially green leaves are still providing energy to the plant. As we learned last year, it may take 6 months to determine if a palm has died as a result of the cold. You�ll need to wait for a new spear to emerge and open to tell you it�s alive.

For more information on proper pruning methods, see UF publicationshttp://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/pruning.shtml

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & Herbs: Anise, basil, beans, beets, borage, cantaloupe, chervil, comfrey, corn, cucumber, cumin, kohlrabi, lemon balm, lettuce, marjoram, mustard, okra, oregano, peas, summer savory, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radish, summer squash, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Annuals: Ageratum, alyssum, Angelonia, Begonia, Browallia, Celosia, coleus, Cosmos, Dahlberg daisy, dusty miller, Gazania, geranium, Impatiens, Lobelia, marigold, Nicotiana, Petunia, Phlox, Portulaca, Salvia, Torenia, Verbena, and Zinnia.

Perennials: African iris, Amazon lily, blood lily, blue daze, Caladium, Canna, Coreopsis, Crinum lily, daylily, Gaillardia, Gerbera daisy, Gaura, gloriosa lily, Mexican heather, milkweed, Pentas, Salvia, Shasta daisy, and society garlic.

Fruits in Season: Banana, carambola, citrus (calamondin, grapefruit, key lime, lemon, lime, orange, and tangerine), jaboticaba, kumquat, loquat, strawberry, and papaya.

Blooming plants: Angel�s trumpet, azalea, blue flag iris, blue sage, bottlebrush, Bougainvillea, cape honeysuckle, Carolina Jessamine, citrus, dwarf Indian hawthorn, flame vine, skullcap.


April Gardening Guide 

By Patricia Porchey

Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events


Q. My crape myrtles are leafing out, but I�m finding the edges of the leaves are being eaten by something.
A. Crape myrtles are but one of over one hundred plants with notches on the leaf margins caused by the chewing of Sri Lanka Weevils, exotic pests introduced into Florida in 2000 and now inflicting damage to ornamentals and fruit trees in many counties. Adults are whitish grey with dark mottling (spots) and approximately � inch in length. One adult may lay 360 eggs in a 3-day period and the larvae will eat on roots for 1-2 months before pupating and emerging as adults. Adults are voracious eaters on fruit trees such as avocado, loquat, lychee, mango and papaya as well as ornamentals such as bottlebrush, hibiscus, plumbago, live oak, orchid trees and palms.

Their control has been difficult because they can fly and they drop from a leaf when alarmed. An upside-down umbrella has been used to catch them after a plant is shaken. The insects can then be dumped into soapy water. There are no known natural predators.

Arbor Day is April 22. Plant a tree!

 

 

May Gardening Guide

By Annemarie Post

Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

Q: When should I apply fertilizer?

A: Concern about the harmful environmental impact to both surface water and groundwater quality caused by leaching of nitrate and phosphorus dictates sound fertilization practices to ensure that the nitrogen and phosphorus applied is utilized by the plants and not lost below the root zone to pollute surface water and our bay.  One of the best ways to prevent pollution is to use caution when applying fertilizers.

Do not fertilize when heavy rain is expected and leave a �Ring of Responsibility� around or along water bodies.  If a fertilizer spreader with a deflector shield is used, the �Ring of Responsibility� should be at least 10 feet from the edge of the water. Turfgrass should be fertilized with a granular controlled-release fertilizer.  Iron can be applied to provide a dark green color in the summer without stimulating excessive growth. Controlled-release fertilizer (Sarasota County Fertilizer and Landscape Management Code (2007-062) requires 50% or more controlled-release), should be applied at the rate of one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  This is calculated by dividing the percentage of nitrogen into 100. (Example:  If the ratio 15-0-15 is used, then 6.6 pounds of the fertilizer should be spread over 1,000 square feet of lawn area). 

The Sarasota County Fertilizer and Land Management Code also stipulate that no fertilizers containing Nitrogen may be used from June 1 through September 30. The ordinance applies to all �applicators� (any person who applies fertilizer on turf and or landscape plants in Sarasota County).  Members of the landscape industry must obtain certification in the Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources (GI-BMPs) in Florida. Private homeowners are encouraged to utilize the recommendations of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Florida-Friendly Landscaping� Program.

Established trees and shrubs (over three years old) generally do not need supplemental fertilizer unless they are deficient in a specific nutrient.  Over-fertilization encourages excessive growth that results in increased demand for pruning.  During the establishment phase, shrubs, trees, and ground covers can be fertilized with a granular controlled-release fertilizer three times per year in March, May, and early October at the rate of one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of planting area. 

The fertilizer should contain both nitrogen and potassium in controlled-release form (such as sulfur-coated products.   Phosphorous should be no more than 1/4 the percent of nitrogen as our soils already contain phosphorous.  The fertilizer must also contain 3% – 5% Magnesium (Mg), 1% – 2% of iron and manganese, and should also contain sulfur.  An acceptable formulation is 8-2-8 fertilizer. 

Fertilizer type depends on soil conditions.  Nutritional deficiencies can develop due to soil conditions, such as high pH or compacted soils, or damaged and diseased root systems. Deficiencies of specific nutrients should be treated with applications of the lacking nutrient in accordance with UF/IFAS recommendations until the deficiencies are corrected. It is best to apply fertilizer by hand in a uniform manner, broadcast around the plants, but never in direct contact with stems and trunks. The fertilizer should be spread evenly from the tree�s outer edge (drip line) inward. Newly planted trees should receive one-half pound of fertilizer in controlled-release form per inch of trunk diameter.

Palms should be fertilized with a granular controlled-release fertilizer three times per year.  An acceptable formulation is 8-2-12-4 (N, P, K, Mg plus micro-elements). Palms have different nutritional requirements from other landscape plants. They suffer quickly and conspicuously from improper mineral nutrition, whether due to insufficient or incorrect fertilization.  Deficiencies in potassium, magnesium, manganese, and boron are much more prevalent and serious than nitrogen deficiency. Potassium deficiency is perhaps the most widespread and serious of all disorders in Florida palms. Magnesium deficiency is also quite common in Florida palms, but especially in Phoenix species. Manganese deficiency or “frizzletop” is a common problem in palms growing in the alkaline soils that cover much of south Florida. 

For more information about fertilization, visit: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.  Electronic copies of the Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources in Florida can be downloaded at:http://www.dep.state.fl.us/central/Home/MeetingsTraining/FLGreen/FLGreenIndustries.htm

WHAT TO PLANT

Annuals: Plants that can take summer heat include salvia, torenia, wax begonia, coleus, and ornamental pepper.

Bulbs: Some lilies do better when their roots are crowded. Try planting Amazon, Aztec, and Clivias in containers to increase blooming.

Herbs: Plant heat loving herbs, including basil, Mexican tarragon, and rosemary.

Vegetables: Southern favorites to plant now are okra, southern pea, and sweet potato.

WHAT TO DO

Pests: Harmful insects become more active as the weather warms. Watch for thrips, scale, and mites on ornamental plants.

Gardenias: While some yellowing of older leaves is normal, yellowing of new growth usually indicates a micronutrient deficiency.

Oleanders: Chewed or ragged leaves indicate oleander caterpillars at work.

Lawn insects: Watch for damage from chinch bugs in St. Augustine and begin scouting for newly hatched mole crickets in Bahia lawns.

Tomatoes: Watch for pests, diseases, and nutritional disorders in tomato plants.

Lawn nutrition: If Bahia lawns are yellowing, iron may correct the problem.

Prevent lawn diseases: Prevent or minimize disease by following proper cultural practices when caring for lawns.

Trees: Prepare for hurricane season by checking trees for damaged or weak branches and prune if needed. Hire an ISA certified arborist.

WHAT TO DO EVERY MONTH

� Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.

� Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.

� Monitor the garden for insects and diseases.

� Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials, and water until established.

� Mow lawns at recommended heights:

       St. Augustine & Bahia: 3-4

       Centipede: 1.5-2.0

       Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5

 

 

June Gardening Guide
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events 

By Patricia Porchey

 

Q: I�ve noticed some trees and palms have been severely pruned. Is this to get them ready for hurricane season?

A: Unfortunately, these over-pruned palms have been given the name �hurricane cut.� This would lead one to believe that this is really for the plant�s benefit in case we are hit by a storm. However, the opposite is true.

For woody trees and palms, its important to have healthy trees because they will withstand wind damage better than stressed trees. Removing palm fronds that are not brown reduces the palm�s ability to provide itself the energy to remain strong.

Well pruned woody trees survive better than unpruned trees. Before you prune, however, know why you are pruning a branch and the proper way to prune that branch. Otherwise, you can do more damage than good.

For example, a lion tailing is where inner branches are removed and the remaining foliage is concentrated on the tips of branches. Someone may misinterpret this as thinning when it is not and it actually makes that tree more susceptible to hurricane damage.

It is important to regularly prune your woody trees as they mature to create a sturdy, well-spaced framework of limbs that will provide good air flow when those hurricane-force winds arrive. Your tree will survive with less damage.

For more information on pruning trees, go tohttp://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG08700.pdf or attend the class on pruning offered in North Port on June 28. For more information on pruning palms, go tohttp://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP44300.pdf.

If you need to hire an expert to prune your trees, a good starting point is the International Society of Arborists website where they list those arborists in your area who receive annual recertification training in pruning, http://www.isa-arbor.com/faca/findArborist.aspx.

Research has been done to determine which trees and palms have the most wind resistance. Here are some that do well in our area: bald cypress, buttonwood, cocoplum, crape myrtle, dahoon holly, gumbo limbo, live oak, Podocarpus, scrub hickory, southern Magnolia, white stopper, areca palm, cabbage palm, Canary Island date palm, Chinese fan palm, pindo palm, and pygmy date palm.

 

July Gardening Guide
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

By: Patricia Porchey

  1. My plants are wilting in this heat and we aren’t getting the typical afternoon rain showers. What can I do to save my plants?
  • Mow at the highest setting, if you need to mow at all. This will encourage deeper roots.
  • Water ornamentals only when they start to wilt to encourage them to develop deeper roots.
  • Water deeply when you do water and increase the days with no water so your plants develop deeper roots.
  • Avoid fertilizer as this will just encourage growth and increase stress. For most residents in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, you are in the blackout period for fertilizer anyway.
  • Mulch your plants. It will keep the soil cooler and lessen water loss.
  • Remove weeds that are robbing your turf and ornamentals of water and nutrients.
  • Select new plants that are drought-tolerant.

Visit our website http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu to get more information on drought-tolerant plants and other topics.

Timely reminder:

July – August is a great time to solarize your planting bed. First, remove all existing vegetation and till the soil to activate the nematode population. Rake the bed so it is slightly elevated in the middle, then moisten the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches. Cover the bed with 4-6 mil of clear plastic (NOT black plastic) and anchor it tightly on the edges. Nematodes and other soil pests such as fungi, insects, and weeds are killed by prolonged exposure, four to six weeks, to temperatures above 130 degrees.

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & Herbs (plant herbs from transplants and vegetables from seeds or transplants): Basil, bay laurel, ginger, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, okra, and southern peas.

Annuals: Begonia Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, Crossandra, Dahlberg daisy, Gomphrena, marigold, Melampodium, Nicotiana, periwinkle, Portulaca, Salvia, Torenia, and Zinnia.

Perennials: Beach buttercup, beach sunflower, blue daze, Coreopsis, daylily, Gaillardia, Gaura, Mexican heather, Pentas, Salvia, shrimp plant, society garlic, and Verbena.

Blooming plants: Allamanda, beautyberry, bird of paradise, blackberry lily, Canna, crape myrtle, Crinum lily, crossvine, dwarf Poinciana, fiddlewood, firespike, frangipani, gloriosa lily, golden dewdrop, horsemint, Jacquemontia, Loropetalum, Magnolia, Natal plum, rain lily, Vitex, and yellow Poinciana.

Fruits in season: Avocado, banana, citrus (calamondin, key lime, lemon and lime), fig, guava, kumquat, longan, lychee, macadamia, mango, papaya, passion vine, pineapple, pomegranate, sapodilla, and sea grape.

Upcoming classes

Call 861-9900 or register on-line sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu for the following classes.     

 

 

August Gardening Guide 2010
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

By Patricia Porchey

 

Q: There is webbing on my branches and tiny insects underneath.  What should I do?

A: These silken webs are created by Psocids, bark lice, Archipsocus nomas. From July through October, their colonies increase in size and number and are more frequently observed. Psocids secrete this protective silken covering on trunks and larger limbs while they are “cleaning” the bark of dead insect and plant debris, but mostly fungi and lichens. They most often appear on rough bark trees such as oaks, silver trumpet trees and sea grape, but they have been observed on hollies and citrus as well. These insects are not harmful so no pesticide is recommended.

 

Q: There is a parasite on my tree trunk that is killing my tree.

A: Lichens are often mistaken for the culprit that is causing a plant’s decline. However, lichens usually appear on plants that have exposed branches – they only need a structure to support them. A thinning canopy allows light to provide the right environment for lichens to proliferate.

 

Lichens appear in varying shades of gray-green and can be flat or raised, even lacey looking. They are both an algae and fungus. The algae supplies the fungus with carbohydrates through photosynthesis and the fungus protects the algae from drying out. They were placed there by wind or rain.

 

Their presence does not always indicate the plant is stressed.  They often appear on crape myrtles in the winter after the plants have lost their leaves. If a plant is stressed, it’s important to find out the real reason – it’s not the lichens.

 

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables (seeds at end of month) & Herbs (plants): Basil, broccoli, celery, collards, corn, eggplant, lemon balm, marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, okra, onions, oregano, pole beans, pumpkin, rosemary, southern peas, summer squash, thyme, and watermelon.

Annuals: Begonia, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, Dahlia, dusty miller, marigold, Portulaca, periwinkle, Salvia, and Zinnia.

Perennials: African iris, beach buttercup, blackberry lily, Caladium, Coreopsis, firespike, Gaillardia, Gaura, Iris, Jacobinia, Kalanchoe, milkweed, Pentas, Salvia, society garlic, and Verbena.

Blooming plants: Cordia, crape myrtle, gingers, gloriosa lily, goldenrod, Ixora, Lantana, Magnolia, Oleander, orange jasmine, yellow Poinciana, red and yellow shrimp plants, rouge plant, Plumbago, Thryallis, Tibouchina and Thunbergia.

Fruits in Season: Avocado, banana, Barbados cherry, blueberry, carambola, citrus (calamondin, lemon, and lime), cocoplum, fig, guava, jaboticaba, kumquat, longan, mango, Monstera, muscadine grape, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, and sea grape.

 

September Gardening Guide
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

By Patricia Porchey

Q: My navel orange tree was loaded with fruit, but now much of the fruit is falling off and some are even split. Whats wrong with my tree?

A: There are many factors that can affect fruit drop. The fruit drop occurring soon after the fruit is set is usually attributed to a problem with the secondary fruit embedded in the primary fruit (the navel). However, the abundant fruit drop youre experiencing now is more prevalent when hot rainy summer and fall weather conditions prevail. Navel oranges especially suffer when there is inadequate fruit set and heavy losses. Contributing to the losses may be poor drainage resulting in root rot; citrus dont tolerate wet feet. Other factors such as potassium deficiency and inadequate sun can also cause fruit drop.

Navel oranges along with Valencia and Hamlin oranges and Murcott tangerine are especially susceptible to fruit splitting. This occurs most often during periods of high temperature and heavy rainfall after a drought. Trees take up excessive water and the fruit expands, bursting the peel in a crack across the bottom. It seems to appear most often during seasons when the fruit set is high. Thin-peeled fruit is more apt to split and is usually the result of a lack of nutrition, especially potassium, early in its development.

For more information on this and other problems growing citrus, download the following fact sheet http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HS/HS14100.pdf. See below for the upcoming class on citrus.

Timely reminder: The Master Gardener plant sale is at Bee Ridge Park, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. October 8.

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & Herbs: Basil, beans, Borage, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chervil, collards, coriander, corn, cucumber, cumin, eggplant, fennel, leek, lettuce, marjoram, mint, mustard, onions, peas, pepper, radish, rosemary, sage, squash (summer & winter), thyme, tomato, and watermelon.

Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Begonia, calendula, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, dusty miller, marigold, Melampodium, periwinkle, Portulaca, Salvia, and Zinnia.

Perennials: African iris, Amaryllis, beach buttercup, blue daze, bush daisy, calla lily, cigar plant, Coreopsis, elephant ears, Gaillardia, Gerbera daisy, gloriosa lily, goldenrod, iris, Kalanchoe, Liatris, Mexican petunia, milkweed, Pentas, Salvia, society garlic, Verbena, whirling butterflies.

Fruits in Season: Atemoya, avocado, banana, carambola, citrus (calamondin, lemon, and lime), fig, guava, kumquat, mango, monstera, muscadine grape, papaya, pomegranate, sea grape, and sugar apple.

Blooming plants: Allamanda, bird-of-paradise, blackberry lily, bottlebrush, Cassia, Cordia, crape myrtle, dwarf Poinciana, false dragonhead, firespike, golden raintree, Lantana, marlberry, red and yellow shrimp plants, rouge plant, Plumbago, rose, Salvia, thryallis and Tibouchina.

 

 

October Gardening Guide
Sarasota Gardening Guide, Our Town Sarasota News Events

By Patricia Porchey

 

Q: Water is more expensive here than it was up north.  How can I use less water outside without growing a cactus garden?

A: There are many things you can do to conserve water in your landscape.

  • Turn off your automatic sprinkler system and manually run it only when your plants need it.
  • Test your sprinkler system routinely to make sure it is operating properly.
  • Make sure your rain shut-off device is properly working (all automatic irrigation systems are required to have a rain shut-off device and backflow device).
  • Install micro-irrigation in shrub and perennial beds.
  • Water in the morning before 8:00 a.m.
  • Plant drought-tolerant plants.
  • Avoid watering plants frequently; instead, make your plants more drought-tolerant by increasing the days between watering.
  • Decrease the amount of grass in your landscape that serves no practical purpose such as play areas for children and/or pets.
  • Accept grass that is not picture perfect.
  • Prevent erosion and stormwater runoff and at the same time keep water on-site by decreasing hard surfaces and increasing plants, including grass.
  • Minimize hard surfaces that are not porous and don’t allow water to percolate through to the soil below.
  • Keep rainwater on-site by diverting your gutters away from driveways and other hard surfaces.
  • Create rain gardens and/or swales to collect water during heavy downpours and keep it onsite.
  • Catch rainwater in rain barrels and cisterns.
  • For more information, visit the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ website at the University of Florida http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/.
  • Cactus and succulent gardens can be beautiful too! Visit Sarasota’s succulent garden for ideas.

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & herbs: Basil, beans, beets, Borage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chervil, collards, coriander, cucumber, cumin, garlic, leek, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, radish, rutabaga, spinach, strawberries, thyme, tomato, and turnips.

Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Begonia, calendula, Celosia, Coleus, dusty miller, geranium, Impatiens, Lobelia, marigold, Melampodium, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, Salvia, snapdragon, and Zinnia.

Perennials: Agapanthus, beach buttercup, blue daze, calla lily, Chrysanthemum, cigar plant, Coreopsis, Crinum lily, Dianthus, elephant ears, Gaillardia, Gerbera daisy, iris, Liatris, Pentas, Salvia, Shasta daisy, society garlic, and Verbena.

Fruits in season: Atemoya, avocado, banana, carambola, citrus (calamondin, lemon, and lime), fig, guava, hog plum, kumquat, muscadine grape, papaya, pecan, persimmon, pomegranate, sea grape, sugar apple, and tamarind.

Blooming plants: Allamanda, bird-of-paradise, bottlebrush, Cassia, Cordia, Duranta, dwarf Poinciana, false dragonhead, firecracker plant, firespike, goldenrain tree, oleander, Philippine violet, red and yellow shrimp plants, rouge plant, Plumbago, Salvia, thryallis, Turk’s cap, Thunbergia, and Tibouchina.

 

WHAT TOdd to the landscape now.

 

November Gardening Guide

By Patricia Porchey

 

  1. Last year there were lots of blemishes on my citrus fruit. What can I do to make them look like the ones in the supermarket?
  2. The “perfect” fruit sold in supermarkets and gift baskets is not generally found in dooryard gardens. Instead, it’s common to see citrus fruit with blemishes on the rind.

 

In the late summer and early fall, it’s common to see the fruit that is brown and sometimes even black with a hardened rind. There is no remedy for this because the damage was done at the onset of hot weather by citrus rust mites. You can, however, prevent this discoloration next year by spraying the tree with horticultural oil in June before temperatures reach 94 degrees.

 

Blotches on the rind with corresponding grease-like spots on the lower surface of leaves are a disease called Greasy Spot. An oil or copper spray in June or July will alleviate this problem.

 

Other superficial blemishes observed are pockmarks caused by the wind repeatedly whipping branches and thorns into the fruit. In these instances, as with all of the above, the pulp is usually unaffected and remains delicious.

 

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & herbs: Basil, beans, beets, Borage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chervil, collards, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, leek, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, rutabaga, sage, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, thyme, tomato, and turnips.

Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Begonia, Calendula, Celosia, Coleus, cosmos, dusty miller, foxglove, geranium, Impatiens, Lobelia, marigold, Melampodium, nasturtium, pansy, Pentas, petunia, Salvia, snapdragon, and statice.

Perennials: African iris, aster, blue daze, bush daisy, Chrysanthemum, cigar plant, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Gerbera daisy, native Mexican petunia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Shasta daisy, society garlic, and Verbena.

Fruits in Season: Atemoya, avocado, banana, carambola, citrus (calamondin, grapefruit, key lime, lemon, lime, orange, tangelo and tangerine), kumquat, papaya, pecan, persimmon, pomegranate, sea grape, and sugar apple.

Blooming plants: Allamanda, bottlebrush, Bougainvillea, Cassia, Cordia, firecracker plant, firespike, goldenrod, Liatris, lion’s ear, oleander, Philippine violet, red and yellow shrimp plants, Salvia, thryallis, Turk’s cap, Thunbergia, and yellow elder.

For information

The Master Gardener Help Desk now has an email address: mghelpdesk@scgov.net to answer questions. It is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-Noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. You can call (941-861-9807) or visit our office at Twin Lakes Park on Clark Road east of I-75 with landscape questions. We also have weekly satellite help desks at the four south county libraries and every Monday at Gulf Gate Library.

 

(Patricia Porchey is an Urban Horticulture Agent with University of Florida/IFAS Sarasota County Extension. Website: http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu)

 

December Gardening Guide 

By Patricia Porchey

 

Q:  I�m thinking about purchasing a cut tree for decorating this Christmas. Is there anything I should know?

A:  When purchasing a cut tree, one should always look for a tree that has fresh green needles. Tamp the tree a few inches above the ground to see if the needles hold on. Only a few inner needles should fall off. You can also run your hand over some needles. They should be flexible with few falling off.

 

In addition to inspecting the tree for fresh needles, it�s prudent to monitor for insects. Movement of trees from one state to another provides possible entry of invasive insect species to our state. Look for anything unusual such as boring holes in the bark.

 

Once you get your tree home, you can place it in a tree stand after making a fresh cut at the base of the trunk. This will assure that water will be taken up to keep the tree fresh for weeks. You will need to replace the water frequently so that it never dries out. No additives are needed in the water. The tree can be placed in a pail of water for a few days in a shady spot outside if you�re not ready to bring it indoors.

 

Place the tree in a spot away from heat vents and sunny windows. Check that all of your electrical cords are in good condition. Always unplug your lights when leaving the home or going to bed.

 

Most of the tree lots are getting their trees from states such as North Carolina, Michigan and New York. There are Florida growers and you can find their location at the Florida Christmas Tree Association website http://www.flchristmastrees.com/Farms/Index.htm. Most of these will have a retail lot at their farm.

 

PLANTING GUIDE

Vegetables & herbs: Vegetables & Herbs: Anise, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chervil, collards, coriander, dill, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, parsley, pepper, radish, rutabaga, sage, spinach, squash, strawberries, Swiss chard, thyme, tomato and turnips.

Annuals: Begonia, Calendula, foxglove, geranium, Impatiens, Lobelia, ornamental cabbage and kale, petunia, Phlox, Salvia, strawflower, and Verbena.

Perennials: African iris, aster, blue daze, blue sage, Buddleia, bush daisy, candytuft, Dianthus, Gerbera daisy, Pentas, Salvia, Scabiosa, Shasta daisy, Verbena and Viola.

Blooming plants: Bauhinia vine, bottlebrush, Cape honeysuckle, Cassia, Chinese hat, Jatropha, lion�s ear, Mexican flame vine, Mexican sunflower, orchid tree, Philippine violet, red and yellow shrimp plants, silk floss tree, Thunbergia, and Tibouchina.

Fruits in Season: Avocado, banana, carambola, cherimoya, citrus (calamondin, grapefruit, key lime, lemon, lime, orange, tangelo and tangerine), hog plum, Indian jujube, kumquat, papaya, pecan, persimmon, pomegranate, and sea grape.

 

GETTING HELP

The Master Gardener Help Desk at Twin Lakes Park is available to answer your questions. Call 861-9807 or email at mghelpdesk@scgov.net. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-4 p.m., closed from noon-1 p.m. Satellite Help Desks are available weekly at library locations throughout Sarasota County.