Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 3

November 5, 2009 by Rick

Sometimes gardeners get overwhelmed with weeds and pests. Florida and the south are getting overwhelmed with exotic invasive's. Good news is there is significant progress on some of the most devastating invaders. The Old World Climbing Fern Lygodium microphyllum has found it's way around most of the state. It is heavily infesting many of our forests and you may have seen it covering long stands of trees and power lines by highways like the Florida Turnpike in Saint Lucie and Martin counties. The USDA Agriculture Research Service has worked for 12 years to control the climbing fern that was on the verge of covering 1/3 of Florida with the potential for devastating fires that could kill all the trees in the forests if it is not controlled.

According to this recent 2009 article, in 2008 the ARS released a little moth known as Neomusotima conspurcatalis—nicknamed “Neo”. The moth larvae is currently the most successful of all the biocontrol agents that have been tested by the Fort Lauderdale scientists. Other biocontrols are being tested so there is much to be hopeful for.

  

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Plan and Plant Wildflower a Garden

November 2, 2009 by Rick

Friends of THE DIRT - Field Trip to the Farm

October 31, 2009 by Rick

Penny and Kim, The Dirt girls, organized a trip to see Riverview Flower Farm in operation today as we planted and packed orders to go to 144 of The Home Depot stores throughout most of Florida. All of our plants go to Home Depot and we couldn't sell any at the farm even though many folks asked.

Penny and Rick get 190 Friends of the Dirt Field-trippers organized in groups for the tours.

The Packing Belts The Dirt Field Trip 03 Oct 31 09

Enthusiastic FODies learned how we grow Florida Friendly Plants using a blend of local yard waste compost and drip irrigation to use the least amount of water and fertilizer while growing the best plants. This cuts waste and eliminates irrigation runoff and reduces the need to spray because the leaves and flowers stay dry.

They also learned how to save the most amount of water and fertilizer while maximizing growth and health of their own plants in their home gardens by using the Pot-in-Pot method.

 

PotinPot 

 

 

The succulents FODies saw today can be identified using these links:

Virtual Plant Tags        The Cactus Collection     Cactus & Succulent Id

and this image..

Succulent Names 

Hawaiian Portulaca         Portulaca in Maui              A new species 1987

Hawiian Portulaca Portulaca molokinensis 

A field of blooming Muhly Grass and another of Butterfly Cassia about to explode were also highlights as well as detailed information about new and existing varieties of Florida Friendly Plants.

Butterfly Cassia 

FODies learned how to recycle The Tampa Tribune by making paper pots and planting milkweed and sunflower seeds. Paper Pots are a big part of growing better starter plants and the method is very sustainable.

Making Tribune Pots The Dirt Field Trip 07 Oct 31 09 

This is a great idea and a fun way for introducing children to gardening as we did last week at A Kids Place in Brandon.

PaperPot Making Kids 

From all of us at Riverview Flower Farm, thank you Penny and Kim and we hope you plan another field trip to our farm next year.

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Beautiful Water-Wise Garden

October 29, 2009 by Rick

Pamela Crawford's Water-Wise Garden in Georgia is going to be featured in a spring issue of Southern Living.

Pamela wrote several Florida books while living in south Florida. Here is a link to her special containers, videos, books and designs.

steps_123

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Now, I Understand...

October 26, 2009 by Rick

Next time you are paying your water bill and complain because the water is too expensive for your lawn, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor."

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a” thresh hold.”

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the “upper crust.”

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of “holding a wake.”

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (“the graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer.”

And that's the truth. Now, whoever said History was boring!

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Ornamental Grass - Putting on a Show

October 25, 2009 by Rick

Muhly Grass is a Florida Friendly native grass that is a spectacular fall bloomer.

Florida07

This grass is widely adaptable to wet and dry areas throughout Florida

MuhlyGrass

Look for them now in most Florida Home Depot stores.

RedFountainGrass1

Red Fountain Grass is the most popular ornamental grass. Use ornamental grass as a substitute for thirsty turf areas where you don't want to irrigate as much.

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Ornamental Grass adds accent structure and height to a garden.

Fountain Grasses work well in containers. Be sure you cut back the old foliage and flowers in February to 4 inches above the soil line so all new foliage and flowers resprout to repeat the spectacular show again each year.

RedFountainGrass

 

Movement is another design element that adds interest and is most easily attained with ornamental grasses sited to sway in the breeze.

 

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Categories: 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping | Container Gardening | Design | Turf Substitute
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The Botany of Desire - Wed 8PM on PBS

October 25, 2009 by Rick

Check out this preview and go set your DVR/TIVO

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Changing the Eating Habits of Americans

October 24, 2009 by Rick

Today we are preparing a garden for foster children at A Kids Garden in Brandon. Exposing youngsters to growing vegetables is something we all can do. Community Gardens are making a big comeback in America. Plants some herbs or cool season vegetables and share your knowledge.

SEEDS Com Gdn Durham 15 09 NC GWA

SEEDS Com Gdn Durham 16 09 NC GWA

Exposing young folks to eating better is the message for us all in this video.

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Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 2

October 21, 2009 by Rick

The ARS is on the verge of victory in the battle of an aggressive invader that has swallowed much of the south.

kudzu_barn

The invincible, KUDZU. Seems they have figured out how to infect it with a fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, specifically effective on Kudzu. This fungus works so quickly that plants sprayed in the morning with Myrothecium show signs of decline by the afternoon with killing potential of nearly 100% and no injury to other trees and plants tested so far. They are still testing it for safety and formulating sprays that have good shelf life and efficacy. There is even hope that it will be useful controlling weedy purslane and spurge in vegetable production. Wouldn't it be nice if it works on Air Potatoes and Skunk Vine too? This has to be a more sustainable way to control weeds and pests, return the environment to a sustainable state and replace some reliance on synthetic and salt based herbicides. It likely could be certified as organic. Homeowner formulas would be nice but it is too soon to know if the use is too narrow for marketability or other use complications make private use unavailable.  

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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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