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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At The Landscape Show in Orlando last week I met up with the providers of the good bacterial and natural plant growth products that help us grow Florida Friendly Plants in a sustainable way that is good for the environment and works well with the locally produced compost we use for potting media. These Bacteria subtilis organisms continue to grow in and around your plant roots in your home landscape and protect the roots from fungus and disease.
I met with Claire Renenberg, the founder and the microbiologist behind Companion and other natural products we use. Here is a link to an article on Riverview Flower Farm and the Good Bacteria we rely on.
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Kaolin Powder Clay at Amazon for $9.00 per pound has been shown to confuse and or make feeding difficult for thrips insects that attack vegetables and ornamental plants.
In an article, Thrips Research in Florida, details of how the clay might be used in combination with tea-tree oil, lemongrass oil or geraniol to significantly reduce thrip feeding and the viruses transmitted by the feeding.
In a previous article, Mama Mia - Garlic Extract Controls Garden Pests , we talked about how effective garlic extract is for us in production as a soil drench. Other Florida growers have found that weekly spraying one quart per half acre per 100 gallons of Alsa (garlic extract) controls thrips as well as synthetic chemicals on crops like crotons. The goal is to find enough alternatives to make control as safe as possible and still effective. We also want to not make thrips resistant to synthetic chemicals by overuse. We have made great strides recently. Let us know what you have found to be most effective against Florida pests.
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.
From the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program:
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:
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:
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
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.
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.