april 2014 newsletter
Welcome to Joe and
Florida gardener's almanac
Gardening is a way of
showing you believe in tomorrow.
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
Fertilize Now: Many
plants are busy
now putting out new green growth, flowers or both. Now is the time to
plants so that nutrition may be put to use to form healthy new foliage,
abundant flowers and healthy fruit.
Always apply fertilizer at the rate
recommended by the
manufacturer then water the fertilizer in to get it into the upper few
of soil where the plant's roots can absorb it. If
your plants are mulched, simply apply the fertilizer on top of the
mulch and water it in.
Do not neglect to feed your potted
plants. The best fertilizers to use on
are either soluble fertilizers (such as Peters)
or a time-release type that
will continue to feed for several months.
Also be aware that different stages in
a plant's growth will
require the use of different types of fertilizers.
Plants that are producing foliage will
benefit more from a fertilizer high in nitrogen -- the "N" value of the
product. Nitrogen is used by plants for
the normal healthy growth of green plant tissues such as leaves and
stems. Be careful though as too much
cause rapid growth of leaves and soft stems which tend to be an open
for attack by pests and diseases. Plants
in bloom will benefit from a high "P"
value. "P" stands for Phosphorous.
Phosphorus is responsible for good root development, disease resistance
flower and fruit production. The "K" value--Potash--also helps
to promote disease resistance in plants as well as encouraging higher
Prune Shrubs: Two
techniques are used
for pruning shrubs. These are called heading and thinning.
Heading -- By this method, branches
are cut back to healthy buds. This leaves a cut close to a bud from
Thinning -- By this process, a shoot
or branch is completely removed either back to ground level or back to
main branch or trunk. No prominent stub remains.
When heading back, always make the cut
above a healthy bud. A
cut on a slight slant, 1/4 inch above the bud is the correct method.
bud should be located on the side of the branch that faces the
preferred for the new growth. Some plants will have two buds opposite
other on the stem. When such stems are cut, it is often desirable to
of the buds. If both are allowed to grow, a forked and often weak stem
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!: During
this terribly dry weather it cannot be stressed enough how valuable
is. Mulch preserves moisture in the
soil; protects the soil from the intense heat of the sun; provides a
supply of organic material; prevents the quick drying of the soil
and dry periods; gives some protection to plants against root knot
nematodes; and improves soil texture.
Flowers to Plant this
Amaryllis, Balsam, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias,
Gloxinias, Lilies, Petunias, Portulacas, Salvia, Scabiosa,
Zephyranthes, and Zinnias
Home Grown; Florida
Gardening Month by Month
Of further interest to
Garden in Sarasota
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar for lots more gardening
Beautiful Commission in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg
Monthly meetings at Moccasin
2750 Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
1st Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
First Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
3rd Thursday, 7:30-9:30pm
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
April 27th at 1pm. Pay close attention to the date as it is a
week later than our usual 3rd Sunday of the month. We moved it to
the following week due to the Easter Holiday and conflicts with family
gatherings. We will be in South West St. Pete, near
Gulfport, with Roger and Jay hosting. They have a great
container garden in the back of the house and are actually successful
growing roses! I am so jealous.
Jay will be providing a small presentation on micro-greenhouses, so it
should be a great meeting! You will need to bring a chair as they
don't have many. We will have our usual pot-luck, so try out your
cooking skills on this appreciative audience. Don't forget to
bring a plant for the raffle. Drinks and ice will be provided.
If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
People have been asking about the 50/50
Baseball Raffle we have been running, so Joe gave me the run-down of
A ticket is drawn from a hat. The player who has this
ticket chooses a card from the deck. If it is an ace, he wins
half of the amount in the pot and the game is over. If he strikes
out, another ticket is drawn and that ticket holder chooses a card. If
he strikes out, a third ticket is drawn. If that ticket holder
strikes out, the game is over and the pot is carried over to the next
month. The three cards that were chosen are retired from the deck
so the odds improve the next time the game is played.
Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.
of the month by jim
The Euphorbia family (Euphorbiaceae) is probably the largest family of
plants that thrive in Florida gardens. It is certainly too big to be
treated fairly in one article, so I’ll leave discussion of some
of the largest and best-known groups for another time. Those include
the copper plants (Acalypha spp.), the crotons (Codiaeum variegatum),
and the Jatropha species (Buddha belly, coral plant, and bellyache
plants from the family Euphorbiaceae that I see far less often in local
gardens, are those that belong to the genus Euphorbia! There are a few
that are common, such as Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia millii)
and pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucali), which is not a cactus at all,
but like many Euphorbias, often mistaken for one. From what I’ve
seen, most Euphorbias will thrive equally well here, and there are a
lot to choose from.
White Ghost (E. lactea) is quite spiny, like a cactus, and grows 10 to
15 feet tall. Euphorbia caput-medusae is a nearly ground-hugging
rosette that stays less than a foot across.
The species that really grows like a weed here is Euphorbia pulcherrima
– the poinsettia. With no special effort on your part, it should
produce red leaves and flowers in time for the holidays.
Unlike their relatives the copper plants and crotons, most Euphorbia
species will survive weeks or months without water. They love our local
sandy soil and extreme heat, and grow best in full sun. Most can be
propagated by allowing a broken piece to dry in the shade for a few
days, then stick it in the ground. These are plants I can heartily
recommend in the middle of a drought!
future meeting locations
April - Roger
D. in St. Pete
May - Eureka Springs Park in Tampa
September - Dan B. in Sarasota
October - Jesse and Don in Sarasota
November - John and Norm in Palm
Now is the time to volunteer
your garden for a meeting. We still have a few open months this Summer,
so please consider hosting. Send
your emails to Mike G.