The Neighborhood Gardener – November

Yellow and purple pansies

Happy gardening!

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Edible Flowers

Two bright orange flowers with many daisy like petals Growing edible flowers is a fun way to get the best of two aspects of gardening, beautiful blooms and tasty edibles. Fall is a great time for growing edible flowers like calendula, and when it's even cooler, dianthus or nasturtium. Be sure to plant from seed; flowering plants from nurseries and garden centers are usually grown for their looks and are often treated for pests and with fertilizer. Beth Bolles, horticulture agent with UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County wrote an in-depth post on edible flowers; it's worth reading. More
(Photo of calendula by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra.)


IFAS Soil Test is Changing

A brown square with the words UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory in small type and the phrase Don't guess get a soil test in larger typeThe UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Lab has changed the way they do soil tests. In September the tests for micronutrients and macronutrients were combined. This newly combined test costs $10; previously the separate tests cost $7 for the micronutrient and $5 for the macronutrient test. Why test your soil? Florida's native soils often lack the nutrients necessary for good plant growth, and knowing what nutrients your soil might be low on (if any) can help with landscape planning. Visit the Extension Soil Testing Lab's website for details.


The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly

A tropical plant with dead, brown leavesIn gardening circles, the fact that most bugs we encounter are "good" is common knowledge. But for some people there are bugs that just aren't desirable, even if harmless. What exactly is a "good" bug? Or a "bad" bug for that matter? Can a bug be both good and bad? Sarasota County Extension Agent Carol Watt-Evens examines the complexity of our relationship with these very necessary creatures. More
(Photo of Asian lady beetle by Jon Yuschock, Bugwood.org)


Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberSpanish needles (Bidens alba) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can surely remember pulling the seeds from my bobby socks after walking through the grove on my way to the school bus stop or pulling this perennial weed from my first vegetable garden. Suffice to say the ill feelings go way back. More


Plant of the Month: Sweet Alyssum

Small pallet of plants covered in white or pink flowersLooking for a fall-to-winter plant that offers flowers and fragrance? Sweet alyssum checks both of those boxes. This annual grows low to the ground in a mounding form, up to about 12 inches tall and wide. Sweet alyssum can be planted in your garden or used in a container, where its spreading habit spills nicely. Clusters of tiny white, pink, or purple flowers bloom continuously from winter through spring. Butterflies and bees are attracted to the carpet of flowers. Sweet alyssum can be planted throughout Florida from October into spring. More


November in Your Garden

Severl carrots freshly pulled from the gardenNow's the time to start your bulbs. Bulbs like amaryllis, daylily, and spider lily thrive when started in cool weather. November is also a great time to divide and replant overgrown perennials. Edibles to plant include carrots, broccoli, kale, and spinach. Turn off automated irrigation systems and water only if needed. Plants need less supplemental watering in cooler weather.

For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida's gardening regions—North, Central, and South.


What's Going On?

If your Master Gardener program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.