Tag Archives: Gardening

Gardening | The cool season is on its way

By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Although it feels daunting as I write in the throes of August heat, I am contemplating my fall garden. For early cool-season crops, I shall sow a variety of brassicas, such as purple sprouting broccoli and tatsoi, a compact Chinese leafy vegetable. Kohlrabi has a bulbous stem that is sweet and crunchy in salads, and is delicious steamed or braised. Kales are relatively easy to grow, as is the ubiquitous collard, but whatever I plant, my family has to enjoy it and unfortunately stronger tasting leafy vegetables aren’t very popular. Radishes, also a brassica, are a quick crop; they take just 20 to 30 days to harvest, and their peppery crunch really spices up a salad. Apparently the French eat them as a snack with a little butter and salt.

Gardening | It’s a long hot summer!

By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

After a very mild winter, summer came early — and with a vengeance. The seasons roll around with the usual regularity, but it seems increasingly clear to me that our climate is changing, whether it’s agreed or not that we are responsible. Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have been increasing rapidly since pre-industrial times, which should be very concerning as this affects all life on earth (https://tinyurl.com/yy4p4w34). For example, in late June, Europe was sweltering in an unprecedented heatwave, with terrible repercussions (https://tinyurl.com/yywuu26k) and Alaska snow melt has been causing alarm: https://tinyurl.com/y3ymk6ar.

Gardening | Phew – Summer already!

By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

Having suffered from temperatures in the mid- to upper-nineties with very little rain, at the end of May I checked the 30-day forecast from NOAA to see what might be heading our way (https://tinyurl.com/yxnrqevg). Apparently temperatures were to be higher than usual in June, and precipitation could either be average or more or less than usual. As always, rainfall predictions seem to be the least reliable.

Gardening | Allergies, anyone?

By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

I think we are probably over the worst of the pollen season involving common trees like oaks and pines, but my daughter recently found an article in Scientific American, “Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies” (https://tinyurl.com/y8trc4ep), which she knew I would appreciate. The title certainly piqued my interest! Apparently plant breeders have unwittingly added to our pollen burden by employing specialist cloning techniques in order to offer male trees to the public, so that we don’t have to bother with the messy fruits and seeds of female trees. One tree introduction that springs to mind is the sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua; apparently the cultivar L. styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ has been bred to produce only small sterile flowers, and since we all know how troublesome the round prickly seed balls can be, that seems like a good thing.

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.