What’s New

What To Do in the Yard in May (5/22/2023) by Eva Maria Pabon - If you've been waiting for a good time to get some yard chores done, this is it. You can catch up on almost everything now. Weeds It never hurts to start with the weeds, before they get out of hand.  In gardens, hand pull or spot treat with non-selective herbicide.  Just be careful not to… more
Horticulture Happy Hour: Blueberry Beverages (5/19/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - Blueberries have a limited history mixology but there are several blueberry beverages out there. One common method of using blueberries in drinks is through muddling fresh blueberries in the bottom of the cocktail while mixing to add in the flavor and juice. These drinks should be strained after to remove the heavy pulp and seeds.… more
Horticulture Happy Hour: Blueberry Varieties (5/19/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - One key to success with growing blueberries is choosing the right blueberry varieties for your home garden. For Florida, choose varieties of southern highbush or rabbiteye types. Southern Highbush These are usually a bit harder to grow than rabbiteye in our area and they fruit earlier, putting them at risk for frost and freeze damage.… more
Horticulture Happy Hour: Caring for Blueberries (5/19/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - When people start to grow their own fruit in Florida, blueberries are one of my first suggestions because caring for blueberries is not that difficult if you prepare properly. Here are some tips to have healthy bushes and plenty of fruit to add to your favorite drinks. Irrigation Blueberries need their soil to dry out… more
Horticulture Happy Hour: Planting Blueberry Bushes (5/19/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - To be honest, I don’t each much fresh fruit. Growing up I actually cannot remember a time when I ate an enjoyed a fresh blueberry but now that I have some of my plants producing at home I look forward to every May and June. Also, now that I have more blueberries, it means I… more
Changes to the Orange County Plant Clinic (5/17/2023) by Clarissa Chairez - Did you know that UF/IFAS Extension Orange County has a group of trained volunteers to help you with your plant needs? If your plants are in need contact our Residential Plant Clinic! What exactly is a Plant Clinic? Think of it as a one-stop-shop for all your plant health questions or walk-in clinic for your… more
Orange County Master Gardener Volunteer FAQ & 2023 Recruitment (5/16/2023) by Clarissa Chairez - Do you love gardening? Or maybe you have a “black thumb” and want to learn more? Are you interested in being a part of a community of volunteers and sharing your gardening training with the residents in our county? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Find out what is involved in becoming a… more
Prioritize your Mental Health (5/2/2023) by Jana Anderson - Throughout the month of May, you will see many messages bringing awareness to Mental Health. Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Every year during the month of May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Mental health pertains to our… more
Wildlife in Cedar Key, Florida. IRRIGATION EDUCATION FOR HOBBY FARMERS TO ENCOURAGE WATER CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS (4/16/2023) by nladd - 2023 Central District All Faculty Symposium - Natural Resources G. Vicari, UF/IFAS Extension, Marion County. 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd, Ocala, FL. Situation: In Marion County, about 60% of our water is used for irrigation. Agriculture uses about 20% for food production, while industry and golf courses make up the rest. During Covid, the county had… more
Thank you, Orange County! Garden Festival & Plant Sale Recap (4/10/2023) by Clarissa Chairez - March 4th, 2023, was a beautiful sunny day. The UF/IFAS Extension Orange County campus was flooded with 2300 people to celebrate the 12th annual Garden Festival and Plant Sale.    Plant and craft vendors were here showcasing their beautiful products. Patrons loved the locally grown plants, honey, and corn meal, as well as the locally… more
Two large Florida Alligators bask in the sun while faccing away from each other, tail to tail. Convert your yard to a Florida-Friendly one (4/10/2023) by David Austin - Don't kill yourself any longer Is taking care of your yard hard on your pocketbook and your back? Has it become something out of an Alfred Hitcok film?  Are you frustrated with your plants not doing well? Someone may have told you, “That’s just Florida!”? Don’t fear, you don’t have a brown thumb; you just… more
Weekly “What is it?”: Blueberry bee (3/29/2023) by carriestevenson - It’s a bit early still for blueberries in north Florida, but they are definitely on the horizon. We have a handful of bushes at home and the office, and I’ve noticed the white blooms are gone and berries are forming as we speak. Many of us, myself included, look forward to the late-spring harvest of… more
April is Water Conservation Month (3/29/2023) by Theresa Badurek - By Doris Heitzmann, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) Program Manager As we are headed towards the dry season, with April being one of our driest months, we are reminded that some easy steps before and during the dry season can keep your landscape healthy. Remember, more than half of all residential water is used outdoors for lawn… more
Scientists warn of invasive plant pest; say early detection, reporting key (3/29/2023) by Tory Moore - An invasive thrips species has started to wreak havoc in Florida. The insect was first detected in Florida in 2020 but has since spread significantly across the state. What once was isolated to greenhouses now has begun to harm a wide range of plants including those in residential landscapes. The insect, Thrips parvispinus -- commonly… more
Classes and events at Brevard County Extension April 2023 Class List (3/24/2023) by Morgan - Join us at the UF/IFAS Brevard Extension office for some fun learning experiences this April! Below is our current class list for the month. Brevard County 4-H Fair & Market Poultry Auction April 1  |  9 am – 1 pm Join Brevard County 4-H for their annual Fair & Poultry Auction! Show your support by… more
a group of people being taught in a garden setting Happy Birthday! The Master Gardener Volunteer Program Turns 50! (3/20/2023) by Anne Yasalonis - This year, the Master Gardener Volunteer program celebrates its fiftieth year. Programs across the United States (and beyond) are recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments the program has made in so many communities. Additionally, March 20-26 is officially National Extension Master Gardener Volunteer week. How did the Master Gardener Volunteer program start? How does it benefit the… more
Three Farms and a Beehive (3/14/2023) by Theresa Badurek - By Rebekah Heppner, Pinellas County Master Gardener Volunteer The Pinellas Master gardeners visited the Pinellas Beekeepers site at St. Pete College Apiary recently. It was a truly unique experience to actually hold those worker bees in my hands. I’ve been feeding the bees with native plants in my garden for years but had never been… more
Avoiding Common Landscape Mistakes (3/14/2023) by Eva Maria Pabon - Everyone has the same goal for the yard.  We all want our place to look good, whether we take care of it ourselves or hire various companies to do it. Either way, here are some ideas on how to have a nice yard with fewer problems.   Choose the right plant for the spot available.  The… more
The Florida Cooters (3/10/2023) by Eva Maria Pabon - From one hobby to another While gardening is always a great thing to do, a person sometimes needs to take a break and go out and look at the world around us.  This hobby has caused me to find the Florida Cooter.  What in the world is a cooter? It is a native freshwater turtle,… more
What to do with an Armadillo? (3/9/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - It is very common to find your yard being dug up throughout the year in our area due to the nine-banded armadillo. This non-native mammal is searching through your yard, looking for insects and grubs as it creates its triangular shaped divots. You may even be unlikely enough to have one of their round burrows… more
Mushroom neck There is Mush Below our Feet: Common Landscape Mushrooms (3/3/2023) by Alyssa Vinson - As if by magic, overnight, tucked neatly beneath a cap of mulch, or peaking deftly between blades of grass, mushrooms appear in all shapes, sizes, and colors imaginable. What we observe, recognized as mushrooms, are the reproductive spore producing structures of a larger complex fungal organism called mycelium. All fungi exist either beneficially, as primary,… more
Soil Testing at UF/IFAS Hillsborough County Extension (2/27/2023) by Tia Silvasy - Florida’s year-round growing season is a great reason to love gardening. While we have different seasons, the one constant for our plants is the soil that they’re grown in. While we can control our plant’s water and fertilizer needs, we can’t always control the soil that they’re grown in. One easy metric to determine soil… more
FFL 30th anniversary logo with UF logo Florida-Friendly Landscaping Series: Take some action in five simple steps! (2/27/2023) by Anne Yasalonis - Join us in celebrating 30 years of Florida-Florida Friendly Landscaping™  with this blog series. Since 1993, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ has served as the state of Florida’s premier Extension program that promotes sustainable alternatives to “conventional” landscaping, providing guidance on low impact, environmentally friendly, science-based landscape practices that use less water and reduce pollutant loading to Florida… more
Persimmon. Photo taken 11-18-21. America Saves Week (2/24/2023) by UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore - Where is IFASBOOKS this weekend? This Saturday, February 25, 2023, the IFAS Extension Bookstore will be pulling double duty, with staff at A Day of Gardening in Jacksonville and at the 2023 Seminole County Gardening Expo in Sanford. A Day of Gardening is an all-day event featuring several talks intended for outdoor enthusiasts of all… more
2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Now Open for Applications- UF/IFAS Extension Clay County (2/23/2023) by Wayne Hobbs - Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer training offered by UF/IFAS Extension Clay County. UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are educators who work alongside agents to deliver workshops, answer client questions, develop educational displays and demonstration gardens, and help our community be successful with their gardening endeavors. As the outreach component… more
UF/IFAS Extension offers Butterfly Gardening Class in Hybrid Format (2/21/2023) by Tia Silvasy - If you interested in attracting butterflies to your yard, then this class is for you! Join UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County on Thursday March 9th from 10 to 11:30am to learn what to plant when to get your butterfly garden started. This class will be offered as a hybrid format so you can join in person… more
Bright red clusters of Penta flowers Master Gardener Volunteers are planning their annual clearance plant sale (2/10/2023) by David Austin - By Master Gardener Volunteer/Guest Blogger, Mary Frances Meier The Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteers will offer a spring plant sale on Saturday, February 25, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agriculture Center in Sebring.  It’s also a chance to meet the Master Gardeners and learn about new plants.… more
Spring Gardening and Cooking: Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: Saturday February 18, 2023 10am to 12pm (2/7/2023) by Matthew Orwat - Spring Gardening and Cooking: Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: Saturday February 18, 2023 10am to 12pm Please join us for an informative workshop to learn about growing a bountiful spring potato crop and a summer sweet potato crop. Also, attendees will be offered a cooking demo with tasty potato recipes . Orange Hill Express is sponsoring… more
When Life Gives You Turnips… (2/2/2023) by Calvin Gardner - The fall gardening season is exciting, especially because it is the time that many people begin planting after their summer break from gardening. Eventually the fall season slows to an end when mother nature provides a freeze to clear out some of the seasonal crops. But some vegetables avoid the frost burn all together and… more
Canning Banner, a line of canned tomatoes with someone chopping them up in the back ground Canning, an art from the past (2/2/2023) by David Austin - In the old days, food was not as readily available as today. We've come a long way with grocery stores seemingly on every corner. It's hard to imagine how our great-grandparents and those that came before them survived without such conveniences. Imagine having to hunt or gather your food daily just to keep a healthy… more
Be aware of these common toxic plants, experts say (2/1/2023) by Tory Moore - Weeds and invasive plants can be a nuisance to a home or business landscape, and some of them are also toxic to people or animals. A new UF/IFAS publication details some of the most common poisonous plants found in Florida residential landscapes. Ingestion of poisonous plants make up only 3% of Poison Control cases, but… more
Be aware of these common toxic plants, experts say (2/1/2023) by Tory Moore - Weeds and invasive plants can be a nuisance to a home or business landscape, and some of them are also toxic to people or animals. A new UF/IFAS publication details some of the most common poisonous plants found in Florida residential landscapes. Ingestion of poisonous plants make up only 3% of Poison Control cases, but… more
Foolproof Palm Care: Chinese Fan Palm (1/26/2023) by Marguerite Beckford - The Chinese Fan Palm (Livistonia chinensis) is on the short list of palms that happily grow in USDA Hardiness Zone 9. It is a relatively slow-growing palm, but once the trunk emerges from beneath the 'skirt' of fronds, its stately presence in your landscape is certainly worth the wait. Planting site Under ideal growing conditions,… more
UF/IFAS Extension offers Spring Vegetable Gardening Class in Hybrid Format (1/19/2023) by Tia Silvasy - If you interested in growing your own food, then this class is for you! Join UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County on Thursday February 16th from 10am to 11:30am to learn what to plant when to get your spring vegetable garden started. This class will be offered as a hybrid format so you can join in person… more
Banner for Colp protection pro tips. photo of plants covered in icicles Cold-Protection pro tips (1/18/2023) by David Austin - Tips from the Help Desk... Cold Protection Pro Tips by David Austin Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator Late December and early January brought the Heartland of Florida some unexpected colder-than-usual temperatures. January and February are usually our colder months, so expect a few more rounds to come. Hopefully, your plants survived these… more
Garden Festival and Plant Sale – Orange County Extension (1/10/2023) by Clarissa Chairez - Flower Power: The Power of Native Flowers! Join us on Saturday March 4th, 2023, from 8:30am to 3:30pm for our annual Garden Festival & Plant Sale at UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, 6021 S. Conway, Orlando, 32812. The theme for this year is Flower Power- The Power of Native Flowers! Hosted by the UF/IFAS Extension Orange County Master… more
2023 – New year’s gardening resolutions (1/8/2023) by Ralph Mitchell - It has been an interesting 2022 gardening year beginning with a hard freeze and finishing up with a hurricane, but 2023 is ready for cultivation and planting!  Take time for some personal horticultural reflection and goal setting in the gardening department!  The New Year is a great time to make some horticultural resolutions that will… more
Foggy morning “Ground” Yourself By Planting Florida Native Plants (1/8/2023) by Anne Yasalonis - Most gardeners everywhere enjoy the rewarding experience of being “grounded”, so to speak, by planting and maintaining beautiful garden spaces.  And what better way to become grounded in our local environment than by including Florida’s native plants in our landscapes?  The benefits of native plants are tremendous! Beauty Our area continues to experience tremendous population… more
Meet Hillsborough County’s New Residential Horticulture Extension Agent (12/23/2022) by Tia Silvasy - IntroductionHello everyone! My name is Tia Silvasy, and I am the new Residential Horticulture/Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator Extension Agent in Hillsborough County! I started this position in December 2022 and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. BackgroundA little about me, I'm originally from Pittsburgh, PA where I grew up on my grandparent's family… more
sign with plants January 12, 2023 registration deadline for Master Gardener course (12/23/2022) by Barbara L. Edmonds - The 2023 Master Gardener course meets once per week, Thursdays, January 26-April 13, 9 am-NOON at Levy Extension Center. Addressing challenges of gardening in North Florida, topics include fertilization, efficient watering, pesticide options/selection/use, vegetables, and fruit and citrus tree selection among others. Course uses a combination of lecture, online presentations, online video, textbook reading, self-assessment,… more
Article banner, hometwon gardener caricature with red poinsettia Tips from the help desk, Caring for your poinsettia, December 2022 (12/21/2022) by David Austin - Tips from the Help Desk... Caring for your poinsettia by David Austin Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator A gift that keeps on giving So, someone gave your a lovely poinsettia as a pre-Christmas gift.  Now, what do you do?  If properly cared for, your potted poinsettia may stay beautiful and retain its… more
Caring for Landscape Plants After a Freeze (12/20/2022) by Jamie Daugherty - Selecting the right plant for the right place is important for many reasons, including maintaining healthy plants through a cold spell. Resident of Lake County, Florida live in plant hardiness zones 9A and 9B. Plants adapted to 9A can service temperatures as low as 20-25 degrees for short periods while those in 9B can tolerate… more
Better with Butterflies: Them and Us (12/20/2022) by Wayne Hobbs - Welcome to our last butterfly blog of the year. This month I want to summarize all the things we have talked about in the last 11 blogs to encourage you to get involved in protecting these delicate creatures. Butterflies are as essential to our survival as we are to theirs. Many plants cannot produce without… more
2022-2023 UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Citrus Picking (12/20/2022) by Wayne Hobbs - It is winter and the temperatures are dropping, the holiday season is upon us, and citrus across the state is ripening on the trees. In this season of giving, have you ever noticed your backyard orange trees produce just too much fruit for you to eat? If that's the case, consider having the UF/IFAS Clay… more
UF/IFAS. Master Gardener Volunteer Logo Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteer training starts soon (12/16/2022) by David Austin - The First Master Gardener Volunteers In the early ’70s, two overworked Horticulture Extension Agents from Washington state came up with a bright idea. They would train volunteers in the art and science of horticulture to help them answer the flood of questions coming from their local communities. The program was originally not given much validity… more
Cold weather expected: Should I cover my plants? (12/15/2022) by Kirsten Romaguera - How to best cover your plants, from the experts:   Use a non-plastic covering. Frost cloths can be found at hardware stores and garden centers, or large blankets or bedsheets also work. The covering should drape over the plant and reach the ground. Use bricks or other weights to hold the covering to the ground.… more
Reflecting on 2022 with Gratitude (12/8/2022) by Melinda Souers - With the new year a few short weeks away, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on 2022 with appreciation for those in the community that have joined with and supported the youth development work of the Orange County 4-H Program. Our 4-H Volunteers Those at the top of the list would have to be… more
Yellow flowers with butterfly. A Part-Time and New Resident’s Guide to Gardening in Central Florida (12/6/2022) by Julie Schelb - Welcome to Florida! The land of abundant sunshine and a more varied climate than you may think. From the occasional near freezing temperatures every few winters to summers full of heat, humidity, and rainstorms, Florida is quite a unique place. With such variety, a few tips will help get you started and ensure a successful… more
New Year’s Resolution Ideas for your Garden (12/1/2022) by Clarissa Chairez - Each year's end brings a new year's beginning. Many people see the new year as a fresh start, and an opportunity to try something new. Here are some New Year’s Resolutions to kickstart your 2023 gardening journey: Selecting the Right Plant for the Right Place Have you ever bought a new plant and the second… more
Gardening & Time: Food on your Time (Part 5 of 5) (11/24/2022) by Mark Bailey - Typical gardens revolve around annual food crops that are seasonally planted and then harvested. Rather than have long gaps between each harvest, consider a food garden that contains crops that can be harvested or consumed when you are ready. There are several vegetable crops that have a long harvest window to fit any gardener’s needs.… more

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