Fall should be our busiest gardening season in North Florida.
Many plants only do well when planted during the cooler weather of fall. Fall-planted trees and shrubs have a higher survival rate as compared to those planted in spring. Many nurseries have a better selection of trees during the cooler months. And, nurseries and garden centers could use your business this time of year.
To help prepare for the fall, I’ll provide a seminar titled “Fall: Florida’s Best Gardening Season” on Tuesday, September 5th. I’ll cover why fall is our best gardening season and encourage participants to take advantage of the season that allows Northwest Florida gardeners to get the most bang for their buck in their lawns, landscapes and gardens. This topic will include information on annuals, perennials, bulbs, vegetables, and herbs to plant during fall. Basic fall lawn care and the reason why trees and shrubs are best planted during fall and early winter will be addressed.
This seminar begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Crestview Public Library as part of their First Tuesday series. The library is located at 1445 Commerce Drive behind the post office in north Crestview.
Call the library at 682-4432 or the Okaloosa County Extension Office at 689-5850 for more information.
September’s plant clinic will be held Friday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Fort Walton Beach at the Okaloosa County Extension building, 127 W. Hollywood Blvd.
Bring a fresh sample of the weed, plant, insect, etc., that you’d like diagnosed to the clinic. This may include a plant stem with several leaves, a 4-inch square of grass with roots attached, etc. You also may bring a sample of soil for pH testing. Here’s how to collect a soil sample.
Collect a composite soil sample by removing sub-samples from ten to fifteen small holes dug throughout the sample area (e.g. the front yard). To obtain the sub-samples, carefully pull back mulch, grass or ground covers to expose bare soil. With a hand trowel or shovel, dig small holes six inches deep and then remove a one inch thick by six inch deep slice of soil. Combine and mix the sub-samples in a clean plastic bucket. Place about two cups of this mixture in a plastic bag or small throwaway plastic container. Close the container. If the soil is wet, let it air dry by spreading it out on newspaper before putting it in the container. Make sure to attach a slip of paper with your name, phone number and where the sample was taken (e.g. lawn, vegetable garden, flowerbed, etc.).
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Office, Okaloosa County, August 29, 2017