On a “golly it's great to be here” sunny Saturday, February 19th, 2022 the Pine Island Garden Club celebrated its 20th Annual Garden Gala at Phillips Park. Hundreds of local islanders and visitors participated in its “Gardening For Health” theme. Over 70 vendors exhibited multiple home and garden products. Also to entertain were silent auctions, raffle tickets (featuring gifts from supporting local merchants) and spin-the-wheel prizes. The emcee, Herb Smith, enlivened the crowd while Frank Tuma charmed all with his island music and Pine Swine's Nauti Tiki tempted the participants with pork taste treats. Garden Gala chairperson, Beth Smith, commented “What a tremendously successful gala, resulting from the efforts of so many of our members and local businesses. We raised funds for the Club's support of island organizations and had fun and camaraderie in the process. This is a day we recognize that Pine Island and its people are truly special.”Initial tallies conclude this is the Garden Club's best ever gala with net proceeds in excess of $10,000. These funds will be utilized not only to maintain the grounds at the Phillips Park, Museum of the Islands, Bokeelia Post Office and the PI Elementary School, but also financially support many benevolent local organizations such as the Calusa Land Trust, PI Food Pantry, CROW, Beacon of Hope and the Kiwanis Children's Park. LEARN MORE at pineislandgardenclub.org/gala
Master Gardener Coordinator Extension Program Manager
UF/IFAS Extension Lee County
3410 Palm Beach Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33916 Phone: (239) 634-3863
UF/IFAS Extension Lee County Master Gardener Training will take place in the fall of 2022 first week of September and we be will announce as soon as the applications will open.
The training comprises a thirteen-week class lecture series and hands-on training taught by UF/IFAS Extension Agents and Extension Faculty and will include topics such as ornamental plants, vegetables, palms, tropical fruits, Florida Friendly Landscaping, plant pathology, plant propagation, soil, fertilizers, pest management, and more.
Taking part in this training is the first step in becoming a certified UF/IFAS Master Gardener Volunteer. In return, new Master Gardeners serve 35 hours of volunteering in Extension Lee County approved gardening projects within the first year of their certification, per the statewide program bylaws Volunteers renew their certification each year by participating in 10 learning hours and providing 35 volunteer hours each additional year.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ana Bonstedt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (239) 634-3863
It's dry season in Southwest Florida. Each year between November and April, groundwater supplies are reduced due to limited rainfall. Conserving water at home can help reduce the stress on our aquifers and keep wells from running dry.
Visit leegov.com/water for tips on how you can do your part to keep Lee County's water flowing.
UF/IFAS Extension Online Learning is a central source for online training and professional development opportunities related to agriculture, natural resources, youth and families, and communities. These continuing education and non-credit courses and educational modules are developed by University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) experts. New research-based courses and modules are continually added to the catalog of offerings.
Dues are $25.00 per year for individuals and $45.00 for a couple. Dues should be paid by the end of May. First time guests are welcomed without charge; a second attendance at a charge of $5.00. Further attendance will require membership in the club and the second attendance fee will be credited towards the membership dues.
LET MOTHER NATURE BE YOUR GARDNER
GOING GREEN IN YOUR GARDEN
See article below.
Lee County has published
Lee County Landscape & Fertilizer
Best Management Practiced (BMP) Ordinance.
It has been in effect since May of 2009
For the purposes of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Best Management Practices (BMP) program, a BMP is defined by law as a means, a practice or combination of practices determined by the coordinating agencies, based on research, field testing and expert review, to be the most effective and practicable on-location means, including economic and technological considerations, for improving water quality in agricultural and urban discharges. BMPs for agricultural discharges must reflect a balance between water quality improvements and agricultural productivity (Section 373.4595(2)(a), Florida Statutes).
LET MOTHER NATURE BE YOUR GARDNER
Natural gardening is immensely better for our health and our environment, and it turns out that it's great for plants, too. Natural gardening creates stronger plants that can withstand stressors such as extreme changes in temperature, insects and disease. "The most significant benefit you will notice is your plants have greater tolerance for dramatic weather," said Garrett. "For instance, plants aren't as vulnerable to frost, and therefore can enjoy a longer growing season. These plants are also more resistant to insects and disease." A common misconception is that natural gardening is more costly -- but Garrett says it actually saves money in the long run. For one thing, you never have to rebuild the garden beds -- they just continue to get better and better. You'll also need to fertilize less often, because the natural products are slow-releasing and longer-lasting. GOING GREEN IN YOUR GARDEN Stop using all synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that harm living organisms. Don't try to combine natural and conventional approaches, as it won't work, says Garrett. Fertilize with only natural products such as compost or natural fertilizer products two or three time a year. Feed the soil in which your plants grow with liquid fertilizer or compost "tea" (see recipe below) during the growing season. Create a compost pile, nature's own living fertilizer. It can be started any time of the year in sun or shade. Anything that was once alive can go in the compost, including grass clippings, leaves, vegetable and fruit food scraps, bark, sawdust, rice hulls, weeds, nut hulls and animal manure. Mix the ingredients together and simply pile the material on the ground. The best mixture is 80% vegetative matter and 20% animal waste, although any mix will compost. Build soil health with natural organic products and techniques. Apply compost, rock materials such as lava sand, granite and basalt and dry molasses (which you can find at gardening centers that cater to organic gardeners) to all planting areas. Mulch bare soil around all shrubs, trees, ground covers and food crops. This protects the soil from sunlight, wind and rain, inhibits weeds, decreases watering needs and mediates soil temperature. Native cedar is the best choice. Water only as needed. Natural gardening reduces the frequency and volume of water needed. Water when plants begin to wilt. Mow lawns only as necessary and leave clippings on the lawn. This returns nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Put occasional excess clippings in compost pile. For weed control, hand-pull large weeds and cultivate soil health. Mulch all bare soil to keep weeds to a minimum. Avoid all synthetic herbicides. Spray weeds as needed with vinegar-based herbicides. Control pests the natural way. Use natural products to encourage beneficial insects and spray plants with compost tea mixtures such as Garrett Juice, which is a mixture of natural ingredients including compost, water, apple cider, vinegar, molasses and seaweed (see below). If you aren't experienced and want to get started, Garrett says that vegetables and herbs such as garlic, chives, radishes, beans, peas and okra are easiest for beginners. "Also small tomatoes, most greens, including spinach during the cooler weather, and beets and sweet potatoes, which are almost foolproof especially for those with sandy soil." Note: If your plants are already growing strong, it's likely too late to go all the way green this season... but you certainly can start planning for a naturally healthy, environmentally friendly garden going forward. Recipe for Compost Tea and Garrett Juice: Make Compost Tea by soaking compost in water. Fill any container half full of compost and finish filling with water. Let the mix sit 24 hours, then dilute and spray on the foliage of any and all plants. Be sure to strain the solids out with old pantyhose or cheesecloth. For Garrett Juice, mix one gallon of water with 1 cup of manure-based compost tea. Add 1 ounce apple cider vinegar, 1 ounce molasses and 1 ounce liquid seaweed. For homemade fire ant killer, add 2 ounces of citrus oil to the gallon of Garrett Juice. For more information, visit Garrett's Web site at www.DirtDoctor.com. You can also e-mail questions to Garrett at email@example.com. Source(s): Howard Garrett is a registered landscape architect, organic horticulturalist, broadcaster and writer with extensive experience in landscape contracting, greenhouse growing, golf course planning and maintenance and organic product development. Garrett is author of several books, including The Organic Manual: Natural Organic Gardening and Living For Your Family, Plants and Pets, a non-regional guide to organic gardening (Tapestry). For more information go to www.DirtDoctor.com.