september 2013 newsletter
Sorry, but there are no photos this month.
No one can find the camera that they are on.
Once we have them I can put them into the newsletter!
Just another reminder that if you have a smart phone, you should
take 2 photos at each meeting and email them to me so everyone can
enjoy the memories!
Florida gardener's almanac
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
September in the Florida Garden:
September marks the starts of
Florida’s Fall gardening season.
If you are a keen observer of nature, you will begin seeing the shadows
getting longer and longer in the afternoon and the first swallows of
the season from up north flitting around on their way south.
"Continued warm and scattered showers" will be a familiar refrain from
the TV weathermen and we will be hearing more and more about tropical
storms and hurricanes since we are now in the thick of their seasonal
activity. Despite the feeling that this month sometimes seems
hotter than last, make no mistake about it, there are only twenty-two
more days left of summer then the cooler, dryer weather will be upon us.
tends to be one of Florida's wettest months.
Because of this, lush growth can be expected from many of your plants,
but flowers will not be so evident. This is the month, however,
when mangos, avocados and guavas ripen. And now is the time to
begin starting vegetable seeds throughout much of the state. Make
sure that you have enriched your gardening plots with peat, composted
products, or animal manures before you put your seedlings out! If
your land tends to flood during the heavy seasonal rains, consider
building raised beds and run your beds east and west to take advantage
of the sunlight as we move into the winter season.
If you have a
black thumb when it comes to starting seeds many garden centers and
nurseries will have transplants available. If you do
decide on trying to start seeds, make sure not to plant them too
deeply--follow the recommendations on the packet -- most seeds need
only to be barely covered with soil to sprout successfully.
Additionally, be sure to water daily if for some reason the rains do
not do it for you.
If you are a
gardener who chooses to live in an area with zero lot lines, consider container
Make sure to use big enough containers for large vegetables like
peppers, tomatoes and squashes so they do not become pot-bound. A
four to five gallon sized container is usually what they require.
mulching planted beds.
Mulch is also an important consideration this time of the year to help
keep weeds in check, to help enrich the soil and to prevent the soil
from drying out when we get into the dry season.
Pests are also
of major concern when growing vegetables.
You may not see stinkbugs, cabbageworms, tomato hornworms or big-legged
bugs all year, but as soon as their favorite vegetables begin growing,
they know it and will be in your garden before you know it. Hand
picking the insects may solve the problem, but if not, please read all
the directions and take the proper precautions when applying pesticides
for control. Pesticides are, after all, poisons and they can take
a toll on more than just the bad bugs in your garden.
Insecticides do not differentiate between good bugs, bad bugs, birds,
fish, pets or you. They can and will harm all of the above
if not used with due care.
If you are
growing bougainvilleas this is the last month to prune them and only
for the removal of awkward growth.
Do not water or feed them again until the early part of next
summer. If you do not follow this advice it may negatively effect
flower production next season.
This is also
the last time to prune poinsettias. Poinsettia
flower buds begin forming after the middleof October. If you
desire a nice show for the holiday season, do not prune them after this
month. Because the best flowers on poinsettias are produced at
the tips of healthy branches, encourage your plants to make as many
branches as possible with judicious pruning. Small, spindly
plants will require more pruning than plants with large trunks and
strong branches. After pruning you may give your poinsettias a
shot of general-purpose fertilizer then some high potash fertilizer at
the end of October. When new foliage begins to show after
pruning, watch out for hornworms, which are fond of the new tender
foliage. Also be careful of where your poinsettias are planted as
they rely on the shortening of the daylight they receive as a cue to
begin budding. Car lights, porch lights and streetlights will
throw this timing off. Poinsettias bloom when they enter a
reproductive state when the nights are 12 hours long or longer.
This reproductive state can be interrupted by even small light sources
that shine on the plants when they are supposed to be in the dark of
night. If this reproductive state is interrupted the plants will
Best bets for
starting a traditional garden this month are:
Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage,
Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Escarole, Kale,
Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Romaine,
Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard,
Tomatoes and Turnips.
Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage,
Chervil, Marjoram, Parsley, Sesame and Thyme.
Asters, Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam, Calendulas,
Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Daisies, Dianthus,
Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias, Globe Amaranth, Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers,
Lobelias, Lupines, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Salvias, Scabiosa,
Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Sweet William,
Verbenas and Zinnia.
Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month
further interest to
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar
for lots more gardening
in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum
in St. Petersburg
meetings at Moccasin
Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
will be on Sunday, September 15th at 5pm. This month we will be
heading over the Sunshine Skyway to Sarasota to
the lovely home and fascinating garden of Donn and Jesse. They
suggest that you plan on arriving around 2-3 oclock or so to take
advantage of Lido Beach which is a block from their home.
Jesse tells me that they will provide
drinks for everyone, but advises that you will want to bring a chair.
forget to bring a
covered dish for the pot-luck and something
for the plant
Jesse has put in a butterfly garden and will be presenting a program
all about butterflies. He says not to worry about the
metamorphosis of caterpillers into butterflies, but he will talk
about everything else! Should be interesting and I hope everyone
will get to hear him.
to Members page
like to help the
club by being responsible for the coolers or tables or anything else,
please contact Bud so he
can fill you in on what is needed. In the meantime, check
the hosts about seating arrangements. It may be necessary for
to bring your own chair.
of the month by jim n.
papaya, originally from Central America, is one of
the easiest fruits to grow in Florida. It is very high in vitamins and
minerals, and the enzyme papain that it contains aids digestion. For
reason, it makes a wonderful dessert, though I especially like to eat
papaya and the babaco, or mountain papaya, are the only
well known species in the family Caricaceae. Although there are over 70
of closely related herbaceous trees in this family scattered all
mountains of South America, the only plant you’re likely to have
in your garden
that’s even distantly related to the papaya is broccoli. Once you
papayas, you’ll find they’re as easy as broccoli, and
almost as fast! Like
vegetables, they’re almost always grown from seed, and under
will produce fruit in less than a year.
conditions are: full sun, rich, fertile soil with
regular water and fertilizer, and no hard freezes in the winter
will tell you that you need a male and a female tree in order to get
have never found a male tree to be necessary. Every papaya I’ve
ever grown has
had both male and female flowers on it, though some have had nearly all
flowers, which is great for fruit production. I have seen all male
other people’s gardens, and they’re quite a waste of space.
Most people don’t
realize that their tree will never produce fruit, and they allow it to
bigger and bigger waiting for something to happen. If you see long,
clusters of yellow flowers on your papaya, cut it down and throw it in
compost! The flowers on female or mixed trees are white, and very
you plant 3 of these, the few male flowers they contain are enough to
all the female flowers on your property, and provide you with more
you can possibly eat.
with any food producing plant in Florida, there are pests
to watch out for. The papaya fruit fly looks like a small wasp with a
stinger, which is actually its ovipositor. It inserts the ovipositor
the fruit, where it lays its eggs. You’ll know this has happened
when you see a
milky white sap oozing from small holes on the green fruit. As the
ripens, the larvae eat their way out, and the fruit starts to spoil
holes they make. I have found that a product called Crop Surround,
ultra-fine clay, is very effective at stopping the fruit flies from
the skin of the fruit. I’ve also found that if I plant lots of
fruit flies aren’t able to lay their
eggs in all of them. One final way around the fruit fly problem is to
papayas while they’re still green. They make a great cooked
First off, you get my apologies for not
writing a newsletter last month. As I explained at the
meeting, I was in an angry funk and couldln't put two sentences
together pleasantly. Therefore everyone should be grateful that
there wasn't a newsletter last month!
This past month's meeting was held at our President Bud's home.
While it was quite obvious he went through a lot of bother to set
everything up for a garden meeting, the weather did not co-operate.
There is just one word to describe last month's meeting - RAIN,
that other 4-letter word. It was a shame, really, since Bud did
such a great job setting up for a big turnout only to have it rain off
and on throughout the meeting. So we socialized under umbrellas
and a new, great big canopy tent, but it is hard to have a meeting with
everyone huddled together.
We all got our food (which had a very nice variety of things to pick
from) and ate during one of the few lapses in rain. I was so
pleased with myself for not dropping anything on my shirt only to have
it start raining again and splash tomato sauce all over me! I
can't catch a break.
Never fear, we moved it indoors for the actual meeting after dinner.
Mike Gray discussed the progress of plans for our trip to
Fairchild Gardens in February. The date has been set for the 2nd
weekend in February. Thanks to Mickael Collin, we found that it
is possible to have a 1 day trip rather than a costly overnight trip to
Miami. Michael advised that he would present a new itinerary to
the travel agency to see what kind of deal they could get us.
I took orders for the club shirts - tee shirts and Polo shirts.
I also brought along a collection of gay relevant Hawaiian shirts
for everyone to see and/or order. All shirts will be available to
see and order from this website - see the tab.
John "the Gardener" Wolldorf was our wonderful speaker for
the month. He opened up the floor for questions on any topic to
help us lesser informed on how to care for our gardens. One big
topic was a discussion on the devastation of the citrus crop in Florida
and how there is nothing that can be done to stop the destruction. He
also stressed the importance of fertilization.
The meeting ended with our usual plant raffle.
- Donn and Jesse in Sarasota
- Ron's in Roser Park, St. Pete
- Lake Walsingham/Florida Botanical Gardens
December - Holiday party - location TBA
you want to host a
meeting or event, or make a presentation, please contact one of our
- Bud Gunter
- President - Barry Campbell
- Ken Nichols
- Gary Raush
- Joe Kosmal and Bob Conner
Coordinator - Jim Nevers
Chair/Club Outings - Mike Gray
Courtyard Project - Michael Schine
- Bryan Hopper