july 2017 newsletter
C'mon in, the Club's fine.
Florida gardener's almanac
can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.
A monthly timetable of
Here’s a list of
things to do in your Suncoast Garden this month.
annuals as well as perennials, especially those that may be showing
signs of heat stress. Make sure to fertilize azaleas, camellias
and hibiscus for Spring color.
Start a compost pile or
add to your existing pile. Recycle grass clippings. Leave grass
clippings on the lawn or use them as mulch or compost. Each full
bag of clippings equals 1/4 pound of organic nitrogen fertilizer that
can be recycled on the lawn, in flowerbeds or in compost.
Watch for lacebug
infestations. This insect loves heat and humidity!
Spray roses to prevent
Fertilize outdoor potted
plants, especially those that show signs of heat stress or yellowing.
Check lawns for insect
Plant palm trees
now. The summer rains will help the palms establish a sufficient
root system to thrive in our cool, dry Winters. Yes, it will be
plants. Prune lightly to shape plants and encourages branching.
Never remove more than 1/3 of a plant’s foliage at a time. Summer
flowering plants like hibiscus, oleander and crape myrtle will produce
more blooms if old blossoms and seedpods are removed. This should
be the last pruning of the year for azaleas, as flower buds will form
Solarize your vegetable
garden. Clear, till, level, and moisten soil, then cover with 2 to
6-mil clear plastic. Mound soil over the edges of the plastic to retain
heat. Leave covered for four to six weeks. Solar heat will accumulate
under the plastic and soil temperatures will increase to a point where
nematodes, weed seeds and soil borne diseases will be killed.
Check citrus trees for
rust mites, greasy spot and melanose diseases. Heavy Rust Mite
feeding will blemish citrus fruits by causing a brownish discoloration
of the peel. Interior quality of the fruit is not affected. Leaf
spots can be signs of greasy spot or melanose diseases. Prune out
all dead wood and spray with copper fungicide and summer oil
emulsion. This spray will control all three problems.
Correct iron deficiency
of plants. Symptoms appear on the new growth of plants. Leaves
are yellow, but veins appear as fine green lines. Applications of iron
chelate or iron sulfate are effective. Check soil pH to determine if an
alkaline soil is causing the problem.
Install a rain shut-off
device. This gadget overrides an automatic irrigation system when
rain occurs. It is inexpensive, easy to install and quickly pays for
itself with savings on your water bill. Florida law requires a rain
shut-off device on new irrigation systems. Hillsborough County requires
them on all irrigation systems. Contact an irrigation supply store for
Cut back poinsettias and
chrysanthemums. Poinsettias and chrysanthemums should be cut back
several times through the growing season. New growth on poinsettias
should be pinched back a few inches when it is 12 inches or longer, 6
to 8 inch cuttings can be rooted to have potted plants for Christmas.
Pinch Chrysanthemum tips when stems are 6 inches long.
Traditionally the season following an El Nino is ripe for
hurricanes. That's what happened in the 1926 hurricane that
struck Miami and in 1992 with Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the
southern part of Miami-Dade County .
Check your trees now to
minimize possible damage from these devastating storms.
Remove dead wood,
crossing limbs, stubs and weak wood from your trees. When you
hire a professional, use only certified arborists.
Bugs are at their height
of activity. Mealybugs seem particularly active on jatropha. Be alert
for scale, whitefly, mites, thrips, aphids, caterpillars, chinchbug,
sod webworms, beetles and weevils.
Sources: Florida Home
Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month
July: The Heat is
is no meeting scheduled for the month of August. This is for several
reasons, the biggest being that August is the hottest month and really
too hot to be hanging out of the airconditioning! We will pick
back up in September!
you all probably know by now, our President, Vice President, Membership
Director and Secretary have all resigned from our club. We thank them
for their time and efforts for our club and wish them well.
the previous meeting at Gary and Gary's home in Tampa it was decided
that we really didn't need officers to run the club, but rather each
month's host would take control of the club for the meeting. The main
concern is to have a location for the next meeting each month to ensure
the club continues.
This lack of officers does put more on the
host each month as they will be providing ice and drinks (water is
fine), paper products for the potluck, and will lead the meeting
(welcoming everyone, providing a program if they want to, a garden tour
if possible, and alerting everyone to the next meeting location). The
club will re-imburse the hosts for any expenditures for the meeting.
hope this clarifies things for everyone as we all hope that Rakes and
Blades will continue as we have all become such good friends. Since I
took the past 6 months off from the club I came to realize what we all
would be missing if it were not there anymore.
A fence you can eat
Gandule bean plants can
screen you from neighbors, provide lovely flowers to enjoy and feed
By JOHN A. STARNES JR.
Published May 15, 2004
When was the last time a fence
gave you privacy and put food on the table?
Summer is a perfect opportunity
to screen a hot tub or back yard from view with graceful green growth
and lovely red and yellow flowers while providing a steady source of
Go to the ethnic foods aisle in
your favorite store and buy a bag of dried gandule beans, also called
pigeon peas. This tropical perennial legume loves our hot climate and
will grow as a hedge. Plant one bean about an inch deep every foot
along where you want your "fence" to grow; water weekly. They will grow
faster in fertile soil, but gandule beans (Cajanus cajan) do well in
most soils once the summer rains kick in.
Tender young leaves can be used
in stir-fries, but it is the green pods I enjoy most. Boiled in salted
water for 10 minutes, then drained and cooled, they make a wonderful TV
snack, like the popular edamame soybeans.
If you allow the pods to ripen
and turn brown, they yield new gandule beans that can be cooked and
served with rice.
If you want a graceful
homegrown bouquet, cut the fresh yellow and red blooms that resemble
If after a year or so your
gandule bean fence gets lanky, cut it back by half when spring comes,
feed the soil with cottonseed meal or menhaden fish meal and watch it
regrow dense and full, bearing an extra-heavy new crop of pods.
Now and then life offers us
cheap and easy solutions to problems, and our balmy climate allows us
beautiful fencing that we can eat.
- John A. Starnes Jr., born in
Key West, is an avid organic gardener and rosarian who studies,
collects, cultivates and hybridizes roses for the diverse regions of
Florida. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I still have a lot of seed sticks
that we gave away at Pride last year, so I will bring them for you to
try out. Barry S. got the gandule beans for us to give away, and
he also tried out a few of the seed sticks for himself and was pleased
to announce that every one of them germinated and was productive.
future meeting locations
August - We take a vacation - no meeting
September - Rich and Austin in Old Kenwood
October - Ken and Mike in Tampa
November - John and Norm in Palm Harbor
December - To be decided where to hold our party
After the discussion we adjourned to the front yard for the plant raffle.
To quote that great song:
I'll be alone each and every night
While you're away, don't forget to write
Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long
See you in September
See you when the summer's through