Gardeners are hearing lots of new buzz words these days. Some like sustainability, going green, organic and eco-friendly are being tossed about by anyone who wants to join the environmental movement. But you know, I think gardeners for the most part have always been caretakers of the environment.
Just growing plants that purify the air and reduce run off is a big help to the environment. And what gardener doesn’t know about compost? Many of us have made compost and others obtain this ‘brown gold’ from their local county recycling facility - often it’s for free. Also what would a garden be without manure? It’s a recycled nutrient supply most of us think of first when preparing soils for planting.
Most gardeners are also now going the next step in becoming good environmental stewards by conserving water to protect this valuable resource. Who thought Florida, known as the land of flowers, would ever be running out of usable water? But we are – and it’s now time to select plants that need less water and refine our irrigation techniques.
Now is the time to develop landscape plans that include drought tolerant turf, trees, shrubs and flowers. Most landscapes already have lots of these so take the time to learn their real water needs and then adjust your irrigation schedules.
Even St. Augustine lawns that have been called ‘water hogs’ can be trained to use less water. Use the spring months to help this and other grasses develop a deep root system by watering only when the leaf blades start to curl and show signs of drought. Then water enough to provide one-half to three-quarters inch of moisture. Most well trained lawns can go a week or more without water. Trees and shrubs can usually go much longer without irrigation.
Now is the time to get your landscape ready for the good growing months ahead. Check my Gotta Do’s list to what else you might be doing to keep our environment green and beautiful. Also, plan to raise a few fresh from the garden things to eat.
March 2017 Plantings
Flowers: African daisy, ageratum, alyssum, bacopa, balsam, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, bush-daisy, celosia, cleome, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, dahlberg daisy, diascia, dusty miller, four o'clock, gaillardia, geranium, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's coat, licorice plant, marigold, melampodium, million bells, moon vine, morning glory, nierembergia, salvia, strawflower, torenia, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
Vegetables: Bean, calabaza, cantaloupe, cassava, chayote, corn, cucumbers, dasheen, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, luffa, malanga, New Zealand spinach, okra, pepper, pumpkin, southern peas, squash, tamarillo, tomato, and watermelon.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamon, chervil, chives, coriander, costmary, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, sweet marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and watercress.
Bulbs: Achimenes, African iris, African-lily, amaryllis, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, dahlia, daylily, eucharis lily, gingers, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, Louisiana iris, rain lily, tuberose and walking iris.