The Neighborhood Gardener – March

Hot pink azalea flowers

Happy spring gardening!

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Three Sisters for Florida

A color illustration of a corn stalk with a vine wrapping around it and orange pumpkins growing below it. What's more American than apple pie? The Three Sisters! Corn, beans, and squash are a winning combination. Discovered by Mesoamericans thousands of years ago, there is no planting more American. If you'd like to mix a little history in with your gardening, who not give the Three Sisters a try using Florida-Friendly varieties? In this article, we describe the intercropping method and give plant suggestions.
(Illustration by Anna Juchnowicz)

Growing Hops at Home

Small green conelike hopsHops are famous as the ingredient that adds bitterness and flavor to beer. They're native to northern Europe and Asia, but did you know that they can be grown in Florida? While it's true that yields in the Pacific Northwest are significantly higher than our yields here in the South, hops have been grown successfully in the Sunshine State. This article lays out the steps of growing hops at home.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberMarch is a super busy time for gardeners. Our to-do list is long — we need to prune, we need to mulch, we need to go shopping for plants, we need to plant the plants that we bought, we need to... the list goes on. Top on my list is raking up all the oak leaves from my zoysia lawn and composting them. I usually think of this as a chore that hardly ever ends, but an experience I had last month has changed my thinking about it.

MGV Book Club

Cover of Composting for a New Generation bookNext Friday (March 19th) is our first Florida MGV Book Club meeting of 2021. We'll be LIVE with "Composting for a New Generation" author Michelle Balz at 1:00 pm. We'll also announce the spring book club title. Don't miss this exciting virtual event! Learn more about the book club.

Plant of the Month: Rice

A terra cotta pot full of tall green grassy riceOrnamental grasses are enjoying a landscaping renaissance, and rice shouldn't be overlooked! One of the most important crops on Earth, this simple grain meets 21% of the caloric needs of our planet's human population. And, as a water-loving, warm-season grain, rice can do well in Florida, too. The green blades add fresh color to planters, even in our summer heat. Gardeners hoping to support wildlife will enjoy how attractive the grain is to birds, too. There's even a native variety. Learn more about rice.

March in Your Garden

Yellow flower of okraSpring is here, and it's time to remove declining winter annuals and replace them with warm season bloomers like angelonia, gazania, and salvia. Prune trees and shrubs when new growth begins, after the end of the dormant season. To guard next season's blooms, begin pruning after the last flowers fade but before the new buds set. There's much to be planted in the vegetable garden: okra, beans, watermelon, and more.

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 Volunteer program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.