Plan and Plant Wildflower a Garden part 2

November 20, 2009 by Rick
http://www.floridawildflowers.com/index.htm

Plan and Plant Wildflower a Garden

November 2, 2009 by Rick

Thank You, Florida Commissioner Bronson

October 18, 2009 by Rick

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and Farm Bureau President John Hoblick presented Riverview Flower Farm with the CARES Award. We are one of twelve Tampa Bay growers recognized for their superior natural resource stewardship during the first-ever Tampa Bay CARES dinner that was held during the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau’s annual meeting on Oct. 1. http://www.thisfarmcares.org/press/2009_0922

Our story is best told in a presentation produced by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Commissioner Charles Bronson had previously awarded us with the Environmental Leadership Award for which we are very grateful. Read More

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Turn that Brown Thumb Green

August 19, 2009 by Rick

Gardening Basics

As Penny Carnathan, Tampa Tribune Garden Writer - The Dirt, is fond of saying about one of her gardening friends. "Her thumbs are so green she can grow rocks".

Some folks rely mostly on organics. Why do they work so well for these green thumbs? Plant-soil-microbe-fungus relationships are highly complicated and studied but the truth is science has a hard time quantifying and isolating the tremendous number of complex interactions involved. We do know quite a bit about many interactions. We know that the good fungi and bacteria outnumber the bad many times over and when good fungi and good bacteria loose their overwhelming advantage things can go wrong. Compost and organic matter support good fungi good bacteria good nematodes and many other good microorganisms and earthworms with the good bacteria in their hyperactive gut. Too much salt based fertilizer upsets the balance and kills the good guys that are working in the organic system.

Compost and Organic Matter support the good micro organisms that naturally control bad nematodes. Most of the nematodes in the world are good guys. Nematodes account for 90% of the living multi-celled organisms on the planet yet you can't see them with the naked eye. They are really small but interrelated to the natural processes in more ways than we will ever know. So you have to take it on faith or experience that relying on organic processes will help turn your brown thumb green. Here is the scoop on Nematodes for Bedding Plants in Florida.

In contrast to gardening in soil rich in organic matter, we can grow plants in our nutrient poor sandy soils that have very little organic matter. This is where you need to add timed release salt based fertilizer. This is always more cost effective than liquid or fast release 6-6-6 granular that only seem cheap. Don't feed your plants a 3 month's supply of the cheap stuff only to have it wash away in one rain when you can give them a 3 month supply of timed release fertilizer in one application that releases a little with each irrigation. and not pollute the downstream environment!

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping is a great way to turn a brown thumb green. You should try this and report back on the color of your thumb. Ask away and we will answer questions to get you on the right garden path.

9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping

We share through numerous posts our enthusiasm and experience as long-time Florida gardeners and horticulturists. Our hope is that your gardening efforts will be successful and enjoyable.  We share ways to make your yards and patios beautiful while following the University of Florida's Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping:

1) Right Plant, Right Place: Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides.

2) Water Efficiently: Irrigate only when your lawn needs water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy yard and conservation of limited resources.

3) Fertilize Appropriately: Less is often best. Over-use of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.

4) Mulch: Maintain two to three inches of mulch to help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.

5) Attract Wildlife: Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.

6) Manage Yard Pests Responsibly: Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.

7) Recycle: Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings composted and recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.

8) Reduce Storm water Runoff: Water running off your yard can carry pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, soil and debris that can harm water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent pollution.

9) Protect the Waterfront: Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.

More details can be found here: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/homeowners/strategies.htm

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Timing is Everything in the Garden

July 28, 2009 by Rick
Gardening in Florida is seasonal dependant just like in other areas of the country. Just because we don't have freezing weather you can't succeed by planting anytime you get the urge. NOW is the time to get an urge and do some preparation. I know it is hot and rain is predicted but if you drive to the farming areas the farmers have already plowed the fields and are preparing to plant cool season vegetables, fall tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions and strawberries. Check out the newly updated Florida vegetable Guide from these links. Successful Vegetable gardening can involve composting and rainbarrels and timing that avoids major pests. Learn about this from the Cooperative Extension Service for free. This video is well done and illustrates a progression that gives you an idea of how much work you are going to have to do to get started. You sure want to do it at the right time if you plan to eat from your back yard. You also may want to get involved in a Community Garden to learn by doing before you start digging.

This Lawn is Your Lawn from roger doiron on Vimeo.


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Categories: Cool Season Gardening | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | Warm Season Gardening
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Pot-in-Pot Updated

July 21, 2009 by Rick

In an earlier Post we detailed the Pot-in-Pot method of growing annuals and perennials in sleeves in the ground. This makes gardening easier and more successful in many situations and should be tried by Florida gardeners throughout the state for many different reasons. We listed 20 reasons on this previous Pot-in-Pot post.

A new twist is a method that makes it faster and easier to mulch for the first planting and for subsequent mulch applications. By inserting another pot in your pot sleeve before you mulch you make the mulching task easier. Adding this second pot allows you to spread the mulch quickly and to fill the second pot during the spreading process. Next you lift the inside pot full of mulch and spread it around in the bed. Now you have an empty sleeve to drop in your plant and complete you Pot-in-Pot landscape.

Post Hole Digging for Pot-in-Pot

Digging holes with a post hole digger is fast and just the right size. You can cut through roots with this tool and dig in difficult soil much easier than with a trowel. Root encroachment from surrounding trees and shrubs in your planting beds is a primary reason to use the Pot-in-Pot method.

DSCN7743

Using standard size gallon pots you can nest them so you have a collection pot for catching the mulch in the next step for easy removal.

Removing much collecting pot

Removing the excess mulch in the catch pot is a breeze.

Slow Release Fertilizing Pot-in-Pot Plants

Don't forget the slow release fertilizer. This is salt based so read the label and apply every 3 months as directed. Don't overdose or you will kill the beneficial organisms growing in our compost rich potting soil.

Dropping in Pot-in-Pot a

Drop you plants into the empty sleeve and stand back and admire your work. Best of all, when it is time to change the flowers this will be a snap. Next time you need to apply a layer of mulch. Lift your plants and insert your empty catch pot. Apply mulch liberally and not so carefully. Lift and dump the pot-o-mulch. Reinsert your potted flowers and stand back and admire. Now you have 21 reasons to try the Pot-in-Pot method.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Design | Drip Irrigation | Pot-in-Pot Landscaping
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It's the Law! Florida Friendly Landscaping is Legal Everywhere

July 12, 2009 by Rick

From the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program:

Greetings,
It is a very important time regarding Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program!
Governor Crist signed the SB2080 relating to Water Resources last week.  A few higlights:
The new bill deletes references to “xeriscape”; requires water management districts to provide model Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances to local governments; each district shall use the materials developed by the FDEP, UF/IFAS and Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology/ Florida Friendly LandscapingTM  Program, including but not limited to Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) Home Owners, FYN Builder & Developers & the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program; the districts shall coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) & UF/IFAS if revisions to the educational materials are needed; a deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforce to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; a local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; local governments shall use the standards and guidelines when developing landscape irrigation and Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances.
Please see the link for the SB2080 for further info:
http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2009/Senate/bills/billtext/pdf/s2080er.pdf
Another important bill is SB494 which relates to water conservation that Governor Crist signed last month. This bill requires that all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required by law to have a FDACS license by January 1, 2014. Passing the GI-BMP training, or an approved equivalent, is mandatory to obtain that license.  The FDEP, in cooperation with the IFAS shall provide training and testing programs in urban landscape management practices and may issue certificates demonstrating satisfactory completion of the training; after receiving a certificate of completion a person may apply to the FDACS to receive a limited certification for urban landscape commercial fertilizer application under s. 482.1562. A person possessing such certification is not subject to additional local testing.  Beginning January 2014, any person applying fertilizer to an urban landscape must be certified under S 482.1562, Florida Statues. A limited certification expires 4 years after the date of issuance. Before applying for recertification, the applicant must complete 4 classroom hours of acceptable continuing education, of which at least 2 hours of fertilizer best management practices.
Please see the link for SB494 for further info:
http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2009/Senate/bills/billtext/pdf/s0494er.pdf
Thanks,
Esen Momol, Ph.D., Director
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
University of Florida, IFAS
Environmental Horticulture Department,
114 Mehrhof Hall, P.O.Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670
Tel:(352 392-1831 ext 330 Fax: (352) 392-1413
E-mail: eam@ufl.edu

So now you can Take Out the Grass legally and put something in the space between the curb and sidewalk that needs no water, spray or fertilizer like Perennial Peanut or Beach Sunflower. This would be a good start to improve the environment and increase awareness of what happens when you spread fertilizer on and near the sidewalk, driveway and street. You can just imagine how much fertilizer is misdirected and bounces or is washed with the first irrigation or rain into the street and down the drain to the wetlands.

PerennialPeanut BeachSunflower

Get familiar with the 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping here and make a plan to save water, improve the environment. Click the Pass it on Florida tab at the top of this page and share the good news with neighbors, family and friends.


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Florida Friendly Landscape | Florida Friendly Landscape | U of F Cooperative Extension Service | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Florida Friendly Landscape FAQ's

June 25, 2009 by Rick

Frequently Asked Questions about Landscape Irrigation for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances

This FAQ link answers many questions but there is still more research being done by the U of F to get the best answers for protecting our environment.

State bill 494 is important since it will require BMP training for all lawn companies that apply fertilizer. In addition, it may ease watering restrictions for those who incorporate moisture or rain sensors as part of their irrigation system. Research shows that watering twice a week with less water improves turf and reduces water usage. U of F research also shows that there is little difference in water requirements between the different turf grasses. Turf uses more water in the spring when coming out of dormancy and then again in the fall when establishing roots

Phosphorus leaching from turf fertilizers is a big problem for our water supply. St Augustine turf uses and holds phosphorous, the P in N-P-K on your fertilizer bag, 30 times better than highly promoted Empire Zoysia. That also holds true for nitrogen recycling making St. Augustine more environmentally friendly than Zoysia.

The best thing you can do with your St. Augustine lawn is to only fertilize in the fall and only use a slow release N-P-K formula. Lawns overgrow and become thatched if you fertilize in the growing season when they do not need it. Overfertilized lawns are more prone to disease and insects and then require properly timed pesticide sprays to prevent decline. If you want a greener lawn in the summer you should just use iron fertilizer.

Empire Zoysia has shallow roots and goes dormant faster than St. Augustine. It is susceptible to brown patch and requires no less water than St. Augustine turf. It is slow to spread and slow to come out of winter dormancy.

The governor has not to signed the into law the bill that ties Florida Friendly Landscaping principles to protect homeowners rights if they employ them in their communities that may have laws or deed restrictions requiring turf. According to a story in the Bradenton Herald, Manasota 88 objected to late amendment language that lessens permitting requirements. See also Florida-Friendly Landscapes Pass the Legislature


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Turf Substitute | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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Environmental Awareness at Epcot

April 14, 2009 by Rick

Epcot Floral

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is always a hit every spring as gardeners from around the world are amazed by the floral displays. Throughout the years the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association members and Florida Master Gardeners have volunteered at demonstrations set up for Flower Festival visitors. Nearly 1 million Florida Gardeners visit the Festival each spring and learn how to beautify their home landscape using the latest environmentally friendly practices and products.

Welcome Sign

Volunteers greet interested folks who want to learn ways to cut down on waste and save water and energy using the methods and products on display in the demonstrations.

 

RU Wasteful Mailbox RU Wasteful House

RU Wasteful Sign Look for the Leak

We had the most questions from homeowners in central Florida looking for alternatives the St. Augustine grass featured at the R. U. Wasteful residence along with other good Florida plants planted in the wrong place.

The display at the adjacent I.M. Green residence featured turf alternatives like Beach Sunflower and many plants that require low amounts of water to thrive in Florida. It also featured Empire Zoysia turf that can survive without irrigation after establishment.

IM Green Sign IM Green Mailbox

Pesticide Use Drought Tolerant Bulbine at Epcot Demonstration

Compost Bin Compost Sign

Harvest Rainwater Rain Guage Sign

Rain Guage Rainbarrel

Water Saving Demo at Epcot Drip Irrigation Roses Epcot

Rainbird Watersaving Demo at Epcot 09

Rainbird staffs a booth demonstrating the proper way to set up and use efficient irrigation systems with timers, nozzles, drip emitters and rain shutoff devices. There is still plenty of time to get to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival before it ends June 1.


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Categories: Turf Substitute | Design | Drip Irrigation | Environmental Awareness Education | Florida Friendly Landscape | Turf Substitute
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Drip and Low Volume Irrigation Conversion

March 25, 2009 by Rick

Here are a few links to stimulate your thinking about saving water and converting to more efficient irrigation systems. At the bottom of ths post is a site with some good graphics and kits you can study and a link to a new post from http://floridabackyard.org/ that shows you how to do it and how it actually works. Kits are available online or you can get similar kits and components at your Florida Home Depot. The water you save will be worth the effort and expense. Planning is key. You can modify these setups later and add to as you expand but it is more efficient to design it right before you start.

Typical sprinkler systems are very inefficent. The University of Florida did statewide homeowner surveys of existing systems and found that the majority of waste comes from poor design. Only 25% were designed with proper spacing and overlap. That's a lot of waste! With the cost and value of water you might consider an expert for your sprinkler, drip or micro spray design but even then it may not be as efficient as you need. Set up straight sided containers of equal sizes in grids and catch water from a 20 minute run of an existing zone just to get an idea of how to measure uniformity.

Lawn Sprinkler Selection and Layout for Uniform Water Application

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/document_ae084

Drip irrigation for individual plants is effective but you have to design it properly and calibrate run times and duration so you are not wasting water while using an efficient system. Low volume spray jets may be what you need depending on the size of your targeted plants and considering the sandy soil that lets the water seep vertically so quickly. Drip irrigation can be very effective for landscapes that are planted from gallon size containers if the drippers are properly placed.

Microirrigation in The Landscape

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/document_ae076

Landscape Irrigation and Fertilization

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_landscape_irrigation_and_fertilization

 

 From your Faucet Drip and Low Vol Graphics

http://www.acu-drip.com/planning/

http://floridabackyard.org/2009/03/19/a-macro-post-on-micro-irrigation/


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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Drip Irrigation | U of F Cooperative Extension Service
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