Tag Archives: Gardening

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.

Gardening I Is winter coming?

By Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

As of early November, temperatures are beginning to moderate, which is a relief. We are also entering a generally drier season, which means that any newly installed plants need your attention if they are going to establish a strong root system before spring. Cooler, drier air can dehydrate a plant more quickly than you may imagine, and if the rains are sparse you may need to irrigate established citrus and shrubs every three weeks or so — but don’t do so without making sure it’s really necessary.

Gardening | The Cool Season — In so many ways

By Lesley Arrandale, Master Gardener
mail@floridanewsline.com

Jacksonville has been lucky — so far. As of early October, the people of the Carolinas are struggling to recover from continuing flooding after Hurricane Florence; our thoughts go out to them. But Florida now has its own storm, Michael, which will hit the Gulf Coast as a strong category 4 hurricane. We hope for the best under dreadful circumstances.

Gardening | The autumn garden

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Although the Atlantic hurricane season was remarkably quiet for the continental U.S. up until the end of August, early September saw an abrupt change. As of Sept. 5, tropical storm Gordon is now moving well inland after wreaking havoc along the Gulf coast, and Hurricane Florence has strengthened to category 3; we need to pay attention (www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php).

Gardening | What is soil?

By Master Gardener Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

This seems like a simple question, but it’s an important one, because soil — rather than “dirt” — can be considered the basis of all life. Whether it is the sands of the sea shore and deserts, or the thick alluvial muds of grand rivers like the Mississippi, soils harbor and support millions of tiny organisms or microbes — animal, vegetable, and fungal. They form a community of creatures that we are oblivious to, but which are vital to soil fertility and its ability to support the plant life on which we depend.