july 2015 newsletter
Gary and Frank, hosts and
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
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
July 19th at 2pm. We are heading over to Tampa, to Eureka
Springs Park! Gary and Brad have invited us to the park where
Gary is a Park Ranger to take advantage of the lovely tree-shaded
facilities. This park was home to the first tropical fish farm,
and the property donated to Tampa as a park. It is the only city
park with a greenhouse! It's lovely.
Gary has waived the reservation fee for us, although you will have to
$2.00 parking fee. (Check with us about possible re-imbursement).
In lieu of the reservation fees, he asks that we each bring a
butterfly attractive plant to help them build up the butterfly garden
that was destroyed this past year.
If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
In honor of
Pride, and our flyers:
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
future meeting locations
I'm afraid I have lost my mind
briefly and cannot remember who is hosting for the rest of the year,
other than John and Norm in November. If you are willing to host
for any month from August to December, please email me asap so I can
get you on the calendar! We have been offered the use of the MCC
conference room for our holiday meeting in December, so we may forego
Walsingham Park in favor of an indoor meeting that month.
*** special announcement
realize that we are only halfway through our membership year, but I
want you all to think about taking office in the coming year. I
am considering stepping down as president as I am currently worn out.
If I remain, I will be delegating a lot of tasks to others, so
beware! It has been a rough year for me and my family, so I am
seriously in need of a rest!
The final reason this was a special month was due to PRIDE. It
was great that the theme for this year was Making History as Pride
weekend fell on the same day as the Supreme Court ruling. I think
it helped explain everyone's enthusiasm at Pride all day.
wasn't a bit of grumbling during the rain, and remarkably it vanished
just as the festival began. We were lucky to run into a bunch of
past members, who have been sadly missed. I saw Rich and Austin,
Dani and Deb, Ann and Budda, Eddy, Dwayne, and many more. I hope
we will see them all again soon.
We had a new tent this year, with built in removable sides! What
a delight to not have to lug those reed fences again. Michael C
brought several orchid baskets and displays to brighten up the booth,
so we had many people drawn to us from a distance!
We gave away plant sticks, with pigeon peas on them to correspond to
the article in our flyer by John Starnes. I think they went over
well, producing 60 new email addresses on our mailing list and 7 new
paid members. Let's hope they join us at Eureka Springs!
My heartfelt thanks go out to each of you who participated in our Pride
booth, namely Mike G., Barry S., Gary and Gary, Michael C., Jim
N., Don and Jose, Gary G. and Frank, Bob C., John D., and
to Phil S. who supplied us with our required fire extinguisher and
potted crotons and heliconia cuttings to help beautify the booth.
Also to Ron and Vince in Chicago who had that wonderful flag that
inspired me and to Joe who goaded me to make one for the booth.
It was the perfect final touch!