Fall is for Vegetable Gardening in Florida

August 4, 2011 by Rickb

Now is the time to get your garden started. Fall and Winter gardening can be the most productive time to garden. It is the best time for strawberries, broccoli, carrots, onions, spinach and more. If you plant soon you can get a good crop of tomatoes, peppers, squash and other warm season crops as the weather cools off when the crops near harvest. Watch this video for the ‘how to’ and to get ideas for your vegetable garden success. UF-IFAS Extension Training Video Vegetables

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Combine vegetables and annuals or perennials in large pots for the patio

Here is the link to the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide that you will want to print and carry to the garden center when shopping for seeds, plants and soil conditioners, fertilizers and amendments as it has most info in an easy to carry format…other than on your smart phone.

Solutions For Your Life is Florida’s resource for gardening and much more. Check it out.

 

Try something different this year with Pot-in-Pot gardening. DSCN0611

Veggies work great in this system and you can replace them with flowers

as you harvest them.

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Incorporate a drip system for water saving and efficiency.

 


Florida Friendly Demonstration Gardens - The Discovery Garden

February 19, 2011 by Rick

This week I visited The Discovery Garden at the Hillsborough County Extension Office

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as the Master Gardeners did a spring cleanup and planting.

Discovery Graden 4 

It should be ready for prime time Monday but call before you go or check the status on their web site.

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They decided to employ the Pot-in-Pot method for their most colorful plantings of seasonal flowers.

In the Pot-in-Pot containers they have selected Voltage Yellow Osteospermum which is the first truly Florida Friendly Osteospermum. Voltage Yellow is available most of the year at your local Florida Home Depot Garden Centers. As a permanent border they planted Sedum Florida Friendly Gold which is becoming one of the most popular chartreuse groundcovers and combination container plants.

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At the Discovery Garden you can see the 9 principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping in action and learn how they can help you design and maintain a home garden and landscape that is easy to maintain, beautiful and has a positive effect on the Florida environment.

There are many of these similar U of F Demonstration Gardens around the state and much of the funding comes from Florida Yards and Neighborhoods programs and the plants are usually all donated from growers like Riverview Flower Farm.

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Rocky was captured that morning at the Discovery Garden and is ready for transplanting elsewhere.

 

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Design Your Florida Garden for Success

January 7, 2011 by Rick

 

Head over to Florida-Friendly Landscaping before you start your planning process. Use the web to gather images and data and to decide what appeals to you and what is easy to maintain. Determine what will thrive and grow into a planned mature landscape that is in scale with your home.

 

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The University of Florida’s Extension Service and their science based research are the source of the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping. It is helpful to us them and their trusted information and resources.

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The Water Management Districts of Florida provide most of the information you need to plan and implement a successful design. Micro Irrigation is something to consider and it will ensure success when properly installed, operated and maintained. Fortunately that is simple and straightforward.

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Search the web for more videos, blogs, Facebook pages for ideas and design help like this.

Learn the principles garden design and combine them with the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Try to get a big picture and then select plants and systems that are Florida Friendly.

Garden Coaches can also be a huge help and inspiration. They can save you many more dollars than you will spend on the trial and error method. You can also go to your Garden Center and get inspiration and prices so you have an idea of what is in season and popular for gardens now.

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Water Saving is Global and Personal

October 12, 2010 by Rick

Floridians average 159 gallons of water per day for personal use which includes the potable water we spray on our lawns. We use 15 times per day more than people in developing nations. It is a great thing that our children are being taught in school about conservation, recycling and environmental awareness. Reducing the use and waste of water in our communities that are within 20 miles of our coastline is especially important because the aquifer is becoming salty as we over draw the fresh ground water. Reducing the amount of irrigated turf areas in your yard reduces this pressure and reduces your cost of water. Installing or retrofitting drip or micro irrigation on your flowers and shrubs instead of high volume sprinklers is another way to reduce your water usage. The Hillsborough Extension Garden Blog has this post describing Micro Irrigation for Florida Landscapes.

  

We have been using Chapin Drip Tape on our farm for 27 years to directly water our containers with 6-8 0onces of water per irrigation. The Chapin Company has developed and distributes small inexpensive Simple Drip Irrigation kits for small farms that undoubtedly has saved many lives.

 

Water filters, small pumps and sanitation kits are desperately needed in developing nations and UNICEF has many programs which need our help in procuring these basic essential items.

 

Join us and contribute to Facebook - I Wet My Plants and help us develop interest in spreading this word and knowledge of responsible water use, conservation and methods for efficient irrigation.

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Florida Friendly Landscapes Add Beauty and Easy Care

July 31, 2010 by Rick

The first thing you notice is there is minimal turf to mow, water and fertilize. You need some turf for pets and children but putting all that energy into a lawn can be a waste of time and resources. Mulch is a big time and water saver. Put it on thick and enjoy a lush garden with few weeds. Check out Laura’s video and see if this is an appealing way to decorate your outdoor space.

 

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping has a place in many Florida gardens. Check out how easy it is to install and maintain the beauty in your garden with this technique.

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Mulch and Compost – Form and Function

May 21, 2010 by Rick

Organic matter is the secret to growing better garden plants in Florida. It is the most important component to gardening. Organic matter is leaves, wood, fiber and bark from trees, shrubs and grasses and manures and sludge and peat mosses. These break down by a process known as composting. The breakdown occurs naturally or you can concentrate and control it for your benefit. Some plants need lots of compost and mulch to thrive and others just need mulch.

You can grow a garden in the sand like the farmers do but you need chemicals to kill weeds, root pests like nematodes and grubs, plastic to prevent erosion of the sand and fertilizer and a constant supply of water and nutrients. But instead of this… If you have enough organic matter you can grow a better garden with the use of few chemicals and fertilizers and much less little water. A rich soil is full of micro organisms like good bacteria and good fungus that grow symbiotically with plant roots and make available the nutrients from the organic matter. There are also macro organisms like earthworms, good nematodes, pillbugs etc that play a big part of breaking down organic matter and making it readily available for plants to use for nutrients and protection from bad organisms. It is hard to visualize what is going on down there but the results are amazing once you see the difference yourself. Rich soils also hold onto the water whereas sand lets it pour right through.

 

Composting can be more work than you are willing to do for all the places you want to add flowers and vegetables around your home garden. An easy alternative way to garden is to focus your organic growing in a container you bury in the poor sandy Florida soil you have. We call this method Pot-in-Pot Landscaping and here are all the posted details.

Dropping in Pot-in-Pot a

Drip irrigation allows you to focus a small and appropriate amount of water to your plants so you are not wasting the resource or adding to the fertilizer runoff problems in our rivers and bays.

Pot-in-Pot Landscaping with Drip Irrigation and Eucalyptus Mulch = Success

From our Frequently Asked Questions Page

4. Why is the Riverview Flower Farm potting soil superior to other grower mixes and how does that help me garden?

Our organic potting soil is alive with beneficial organisms. It is a rich blend of compost and peat moss that allow your plants to absorb natural nutrients and water much better than light weight mixes with lots of inexpensive fillers. Salt based liquid and slow release fertilizers can be used at the labeled rate or less so you do not harm the beneficial organisms that will multiply and spread into your garden. These beneficial organisms form a symbiotic relationship with the plants root system and grow as the roots grow to protect against disease and nematodes which are microscopic root destroying worms. Adding organic matter (peat moss, compost, leaf mold, cow manure) enhances this symbiotic relationship so your plants can grow better with less salt fertilizer and less water. The labeled fertilizer rates were developed for less fertile light weight mixes. You can and should use less fertilizer when growing in a rich organic potting soil or flower bed. Spend a little more on building the soil and save a lot on the fertilizer while keeping the waste and runoff to a minimum.

 

MULCHES

Mulches are as important as compost rich soil is in having a healthy, thriving garden and flowers. Having stated that, there are many Florida Friendly Plants, Shrubs, and Trees both native and non native that do not need compost rich soil but they benefit from surface mulches. Many plants that thrive in Florida have adapted to grow with the nematodes and other soil organisms that kill vegetables and flowers.

All plants benefit from the mulches breaking down (composting) and supplying nutrients naturally. Mulches cool the soil and prevent weeds, erosion and leaching. They are more important than they look and not just for the esthetics they create.

Modern Cypress Mulches are a blend of various wood types and some cypress wood. Overharvesting of cypress trees in Florida wetlands has caused this shift in the mulch components. We are familiar with the name Cypress Mulch but in reality the amount of cypress is much lower in the bag you buy. This is a good thing because we all need to mulch and save the cypress swamps too. Feeling less guilty? A better way to mulch is to use thick layers of oak leaves which are so plentiful and then cover them with your favorite looking mulch as a top dressing.

Two other mulches are available that you can feel good about using are Maleluca mulch which is harvested from areas of the Everglades being recovered from this invasive tree and farm raised eucalyptus mulch made at a eucalyptus plantation that is continuously harvested in sections that rotate every 6 years for just this purpose. The Florida Native Plant Society has a blog post on mulch the furthers this information.

Change your life and garden for the better by discovering all the virtues of compost and mulch.

Shirley Bovshow posted MULCH 101: THE ART OF SELECTING THE PERFECT GARDEN MULCH! You will also enjoy her Garden World Report Show.

 

 

 

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Time for a Little Pot-in-Pot Creativity

March 23, 2010 by Rick

If you want to change your annuals in your containers with the season or change them with Easter Lilies and maybe hardy mums in the fall and poinsettias at Christmas try this method.

Reasons to use this method:

  1. where you have container perennials and want to add seasonal annuals
  2. where you have container perennials and want to add holiday poinsettias
  3. where you have container perennials and don’t want disturb the root systems
  4. where you have container perennials and want move them to a different location and change the color theme with a different annual
  5. where you want to save time in refreshing your containers
  6. where you want to add a tender annual before the last frost free date and have the option to lift and protect it
  7. where you need the ability to experiment with color in the design

Here is the link to the earlier Pot-in-Pot for Container Gardening post with more images and ideas.

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Pot-in-Pot, The Ultimate Winter Plant Protection

January 12, 2010 by Rick

 

The weather outside is frightful… By Florida standards anyway. At the nursery, we cover acres of plant with Frost Cloth every time a freeze threatens. This works very well except when the wind blows the cloth off your plants. At home I use a different method I developed called Pot-in-Pot Landscaping.

 

 

I use an empty pot as a sleeve. It is the same size pot as the pot of the plant I am installing

and I drop it in for a finished job. When the frost threatens, I lift the plants and park them in my garage for the evening.

PotinPot

The method has many reason for you to consider using it in Florida. Follow this link to 21 reasons for Pot-in-Pot Gardening. This works also well for larger containers and combinations too.

 

Using this method in combination with a drip irrigation system save water and improves plant quality and longevity. Pot-in-Pot is also ideal for using tender plants within large containers as shown here.

 

 

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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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Sustainable Paper Pots for Better Seedlings and Starts

September 8, 2009 by Rick

At Riverview Flower Farm we use paper pots for starting plants for several reasons. They primary reason is that paper pots allow for the best possible root system for young transplants. The paper breathes and the soil dries out quicker than soil in a hard tray or plastic pot. Paper breathes much like a porous clay pot which has been the favorite for hundreds of years because it breathes. You get the benefits of clay without the cost and waste of resources. The root tips grow to the paper and are air pruned. The roots branch behind the air pruned tips to quickly fill the paper pot with a fibrous root system that is ready to plant up to a week earlier than plants started in plastic pots or trays. The roots are concentrated within and throughout the soil mass and are less prone to damage from drying or water molds and fungus from over-watering. The paper disintegrates and unlike peat pots the roots grow right through and you don't have to remove the bottom or tear any roots at planting. This alone will hasten growth and harvest by one week or more.

At the Farm we use a commercial paper pot making machine to make Ellepots for our starters and seedlings we plant to our gallon plastic pots. We use plastic gallon pots made from mostly recycled and recyclable plastic as the most practical way to deliver a product that can withstand hot conditions in Florida and keep the root system from drying out and dying. Check out also our Pot-in-Pot method to get the most out of your plants using and reusing these pots and 21 reasons and counting on why you should consider this method.

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We also use Ellepot paper pots for our Classic Selections

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and for our Classic Creations

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and for our innovative very popular and time saving border making plants in the SausEdge TM

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