Mark your calendar for the ‘Florida Gardening 101' series
Published: Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.
Last week, I was talking to a group of friends about people relocating to Florida and expecting to grow peonies, tulips and other plants commonly grown in the northern United States.
‘Florida Gardening 101'
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23-27
Where: UF/IFAS Extension Marion County auditorium, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala
Cost: $25 per person or $40 per couple
Info: To register, contact Donna at 671-8400 or email email@example.com.
During our conversation, one of my friends admitted that he brought many of his favorite plants to Florida, and 99 percent of them died.
Gardening in Florida is a tremendous challenge, even for people who consider themselves to be expert gardeners up North, or someone like me, from another part of the world, where growing plants required little effort.
I am happy to share that gardening in Florida can be very rewarding, if you learn the best practices of gardening in the environmental conditions that exist here. Gardeners new to Florida, or residents attempting to garden for the first time, usually find the basic gardening classes offered by UF/IFAS Extension Marion County a great way to get started.
The next basic gardening series is “Florida Gardening 101,” coming up in September. It will provide practical information for you to become a successful gardener in Alachua and Marion counties. Here is a complete listing of the topics to be covered.
Building Your Soil: A successful garden starts with good soil. This session will provide tips to transform your “sand” to nutrient-rich soil.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL): Participants will become familiar with the local growing conditions and learn to garden the Florida-friendly way by utilizing the nine FFL principles.
Lawn Basics: Lawns can easily get out of control in Florida with weeds and multiple insect and disease problems. Learn tips to achieve a beautiful lawn at minimal cost. You can use these tips to care for your lawn on your own, or to outline a maintenance plan with a lawn care company.
Growing Annuals and Perennials: Learn the appropriate time to grow certain annuals in Florida, and recommended perennials that thrive in Central Florida.
Plant Propagation: Learn to propagate new plants from seeds, cuttings and other techniques. The associated hands-on activity will provide cuttings you can use to start or add to your garden.
Must-Have Trees and Shrubs: Trees and shrubs can be very costly depending on the size of the plants you select. Based on my experience, not all trees and shrubs sold in the box stores are zoned for this area. This session will enhance your knowledge of those that thrive in our area, thus, saving you the grief of wasted money and time invested into wrong plant selection.
Vegetable Gardening in Small and Large Spaces: The craze these days is to buy local and eat local. I'd say you can't get more local than your backyard vegetable garden. This session provides practical tips to have a bountiful harvest regardless of the size of your yard.
Fruit Trees for the Home Landscape: There are numerous challenges to growing citrus in Florida. This session explores fruit tree options other than citrus that produce well in our area.
Conserving Water in the Home Landscape: Learn how to capture and re-use rain water, install a micro-irrigation system, and mulch to use little water and still have a beautiful garden.
Pests in the Home Landscape: Learn how to identify and control common garden pests — insects, diseases and weeds. This session also will cover the good bugs in the garden that will naturally help to control the bad bugs.
The “Florida Gardening 101” series will run nightly from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23-27 at the UF/IFAS Extension Marion County auditorium, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. The cost is $25 per person or $40 per couple. It covers all five sessions and includes reference materials. The registration deadline is Sept. 6. To register, contact Donna at 671-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norma Samuel is the Urban Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Service. Contact her at email@example.com.