Tag Archives: Gardening

Gardening | Summer is coming

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Sometimes I have hankered to live farther north just to be able to grow some of the fruits, flowers, and vegetables that I grew up with, but seeing last winter’s devastating storms that swept across the plains and northwards, I realize we are relatively lucky in northeast Florida. Encouragingly, this hurricane season may be less busy than average, according to Colorado State University predictions (https://tinyurl.com/y5ltxj43), but it only takes one major storm to have devastating impacts, as we know.

Gardening | Spring promise

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

As of early March, it has rained fairly frequently, temperatures have been variable but generally milder than usual, and the azaleas are blooming beautifully. The ground is warming up and daylight hours are slowly lengthening. I was delighted to see my first hummingbird, probably a resident, during the third week in February, and by the end of February there were gulf fritillary butterflies looking for passion vine (Passiflora incarnata) on which to lay eggs. In my vegetable bed, I found a beautiful spider, Argiope aurantia, or yellow garden spider, sitting in its web with two neatly wrapped but unidentifiable food packets. Its web is very distinctive, with a dense zig-zag, ladder-like vertical structure across the center. (My dilemma is how to relocate it — this species can bite — since I need to clear the bed for summer vegetables.) And then along came an iridescent green and rusty brown dung beetle, Phanaeus vindex, probably drawn to the area because of local cats…!

Gardening | Spring is for pollinators … and vegetables

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Spring has been in the air, but surely temperatures will fluctuate considerably between now and our last potential frost date, around March 20. According to the University of Florida, a mix of cool and warm season vegetables may be planted in February, but early March is safer for warm season crops, although they may still need protection if a frost or freeze is forecast: https://tinyurl.com/y5z2lyoq.

Gardening | A New Year, a New Yard?

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Did your resolutions this year include an intention to spruce up your yard? Do you need to replenish your mulch? Improve the soil in your vegetable garden? Any number of tasks await the homeowner who enjoys their yard and gardens, and in the still-cooler months it makes sense to get to work.

Gardening | Winter — No worries

By Lesley Arrandale, Master Gardener
mail@floridanewsline.com

Preparing for winter should have been no problem, given that we know we will have at least one or two cold snaps, when our temperatures can dip into the mid to upper 20s. Twenty-four to 48 hours before low temperatures are expected, water your landscape if it hasn’t rained recently (a simple rain gauge is a useful tool). The day of the anticipated overnight frost or freeze, move potted plants to a sheltered area and wrap them completely, including the pot as roots are particularly vulnerable. Cover tender landscape plants, ensuring that the covering reaches down to the ground so it can trap the warmth from the soil. Any gaps and the warm air will simply rise up and out of the covering while cold air seeps in. It’s important to anchor covers if a windy night is expected (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg025). Commercial frost cloth is the ideal choice, but old sheets or blankets will do. Some of us use plastic, but it must be removed the following morning before the sun has a chance to overheat the plants; they can also suffer cold damage if the plastic has made contact with foliage.