FNGLA University of Florida IFAS

Don’t Feed Your Weeds

Topdressing with fertilizer is a bad idea. Sub-dressing is superior.

This idea was demonstrated clearly at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center this week. Dr. Chris Marble, weed specialist, showed us many trials with pre-emergent herbicides and how various mulches affected weed growth. He concluded by showing how fertilizer placement makes weed growth worse.

Various ways to apply slow release fertilizer to potted plants

The traditional way to apply slow release fertilizer is by sprinkling it on the surface of the soil. But some is lost by sunlight degradation and more can be lost by heavy rains. Another problem is that it feeds weeds and encourages their growth.

Fertilizer 3″ deep fed the crop but not the weeds.

So, a wiser way to apply fertilizer is to fill the pot about half way up with soil, apply fertilizer, then fill the pot the rest of the way, then plant the new plant. The new plants roots will come in contact with the fertile area but the nutrients are out of reach of any weed seedlings.

agriculture hemp

Hemp and Hops

The University of Florida holds one of the few “Industrial Hemp” licenses and is growing non-hallucinogenic cannabis in various locations as a pilot project. We visited one location in Wimauma, Florida at the annual Agriculture Expo this month.

Among the many speakers were experts from the departments of agriculture in Kentucky and North Carolina who told us of their experiences and market update.

florida gardening flowers

November Beauty

In South Florida we endure the summer so we can enjoy the winter. November temps average 50’s at night and 80’s in the day, lately. Here is a stroll around our yard.


Colorful Walls and Beds

Caladiums are at their peak season of beauty now. A typical hot, wet summer is ideal for these shade-lovers. Classic Caladiums has done a excellent job at planning, planting, and maintaining these plants to showcase their unique features.


Spider Mites

Most insects are visible. But these plant-feeding mites are nearly microscopic. Their feeding on leaves can be evident before you see them. Mites damage individual leaf cells causing an off-color. Leaves can also pucker. By the time you see webbing, it is an infestation.

Flower Trials FNGLA

Immersed in Color

The Florida Flower Trials were a beautiful learning experience. On Wednesday, May 15th, we started at the Orange County Cooperative Extension office in Orlando.

Surrounding the bedding plant trials were many other gardens;

Guest speakers continued to inspire and educate landscapers, growers and retailers;

fairy house

Fairy House from Fire Wood

How about a log house to inspire the imagination of a little boy? All of my other sculptures are works of art, not toys. But this one is designed for a friend’s child. I wanted it to be rustic and durable and not have any choking hazards.

Thanks to my friend Jeff for letting me scavenge this hollow log from his firewood pile. It has a perfect, natural opening for an entrance. I carved the door from a slab of oak bark. I used a strap of leather for the hinge and pegged it with oak twigs, epoxied into holes.

I applied a little gold leaf to the back wall so when you look through the bamboo panes you see a mysterious glint. Also I hinged the roof to encourage him to peer inside…and probably drop toys down in to be rescued out the front door.

florida gardening

Naples Botanical Garden Flower Show

Once a year the Naples Garden Club joins the garden in a flower-packed festival for two days. As a gardener I always appreciate living color, arranged tastefully. Here are some creations…

Flower Trials Plant trials

Trials Pass with Flying Colors

American Farms in Naples runs new plant trials from numerous breeders around the world. They commit valuable production space and efforts to discover: How will they grow here, are they really improved, and lastly, do consumers like them? Here are a few outstanding plants from those trials that concluded in January, 2019.

My compliments to growers Justin Orion and Steffi Hugo and the many workers whose talents and labor go into producing this massive, beautiful crop of color.

FNGLA trade shows

Tropical Plant Industry Exhibit 2019

Once a year, for three days in January, people from around the nation visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida to see the natural beauty produced by local greenhouse and nursery growers. Over 200 vendors display their best under one roof for a tropical extravaganza.