Okaloosa County Gardening Programs

Landscape Design CourseA nice home with a Florida-Friendly yard of mulch and trees and shrubs but no turfgrass

Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteers offer classes on gardening as non-credit continuing education courses. A six week Landscape Design Workshop with Instructor Karen Kirk-Williams and a team of Master Gardener Volunteers will be offered at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, beginning January 21 through February 25. The Tuesday classes are from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and will provide a step-by-step, interactive approach to learning how to design, install, and maintain an environmentally friendly landscape using Florida-friendly plants. The course includes an 80+ page handbook which, along with the class curriculum, won a state award from the Florida Master Gardener Volunteers.

For complete information and registration for the Landscape Design Workshop, visit www.nwfsc.edu/ContEd as both registration and payment are handled through the college. Class size is limited.

Gardening in the Panhandle Course

The course, "Gardening in the Florida Panhandle" is being offered by Okaloosa Master Gardener Volunteers through the Center for Lifelong Learning at the University of West Florida.

This seven-week class will meet on Mondays 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. beginning January 27 through March 9 at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa Extension Annex, 127 Hollywood Boulevard, Fort Walton Beach.

Learn how to garden more effectively in a Florida-Friendly way. Whether you are interested in edibles, flowering plants, or learning how to enjoy your yard more by working less, this course is for you. The class will have a new and different Master Gardener Volunteer/County Extension Agent each week as moderator. Topics will include seasonal suggestions for both beginner and experienced gardeners, based on research-based guidelines from the University of Florida.

Registration is Friday, January 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the University of West Florida Campus, 1170 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Fort Walton Beach. Details can be found here.

Monthly Plant Clinics

Master Gardener volunteers are available at the Fort Walton Beach Annex to answer your questions every Friday morning (except holiday weekends). You may bring a sample leaf or stem of your plant, grass, or weed problems to be identified, as well as solutions and suggestions on best gardening practices.

The clinic provides a place to bring samples of lawn, landscape and garden plants for diagnosis, including weeds and insects for identification. To participate, bring a fresh sample of the weed, plant, insect, etc., to the clinic. This may include a plant stem with several leaves, a 4-inch square of grass with roots attached, etc.

You also may bring a sample of soil for pH testing. Use a clean shovel, trowel or soil probe to collect a representative sample by taking thin slices or cores of soil to a depth of six to eight inches from ten different spots throughout the plant bed, lawn or garden. Thoroughly mix all the small soil slices/cores together in a clean bucket. Place one to two cups of this mixture in a closable plastic bag or small throwaway plastic container and bring to the clinic for testing. Attach a slip of paper with your name, phone number and where the sample was taken (e.g. lawn, vegetable garden, flowerbed, etc.)

For residents living closer to our Niceville office, we have Master Gardener volunteers available to identify your plants or plant diseases, conduct soil sample testing, or give you advise for your lawn care or vegetable growing on Mondays (except for holidays) from 11 am to 1 pm at the Niceville Youth Center, 200 Campbell Drive.

Our Crestview office is located at 3098 Airport Road, and often has Master Gardener volunteers are available at that location during business hours, but be sure to call 689-5850 to be sure someone is available before going. Soil testing is offered at the Crestview office on Monday mornings. For further information, or to schedule a home visit by a team of Master Gardener volunteers, call 689-5850.

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