The Neighborhood Gardener – February

Delicate orange flowers of the native Florida flame azalea

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Passalong Plants

Hot pink four o'clock flowerOne of the great pleasures of gardening is sharing information with family members, friends, and neighbors. But perhaps the best benefit of sharing with other gardeners is receiving and giving passalong plants. A gardening tradition, passalong plants are those that are easily propagated, difficult to find in retail nurseries, and are "passed along" to other gardening friends. This article offers a few Florida-Friendly passalong favorites.

Grocery Store Starts

Deep green leaves sprout from an old base of Chinese cabbage that has been set in a bowl with water on a windowsillWe are all for reducing waste, and one way you can do this in the garden is by turning your kitchen scraps into food-producing plants. Whether you want to dot your landscape with pineapple plants or start a windowsill lettuce patch, it can be accomplished with a piece of plant material from the grocery store and a bit of patience. Learn how to turn scraps into nutritious vegetables.

Ornamental Vegetables

Tiny colorful hot peppersAs foodscaping grows in popularity, ornamental vegetables are increasingly being added to landscapes since they’re both beautiful and delicious. Vibrant foliage, unique fruits, and new textures make the typical vegetables we grow a little more exciting. Some are equally tasty and attractive, like Swiss chard, while others like "flowering" kale are better used as garnishes. We have several types of vegetables for your ornamental garden.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberWhen I moved into my house in Gainesville it only had four fruit trees, a mature lemon tree and three fig plants. The fig trees have produced crops — only to be eaten by the squirrels. The lemon tree, on the other hand, has been a great source of pride and joy for over 15 years. If you have ever seen a Ponderosa lemon, you know why. Read Wendy's tale of a beloved lemon tree.

Plant of the Month: Trusty Tomatoes

Tiny yellow pear-shaped tomatoesTomatoes are one of the most popular edibles to grow, but they tend to fall prey to a host of insect and disease problems. As a result, Florida gardeners are always on the hunt for trusty tomato varieties that they can count on to thrive in our climate and survive any attackers. This new article on Gardening Solutions presents four varieties that fit the bill.

Giving Day

SunflowerThis year marks the 45th anniversary of the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer program. Looking back, one of our most exciting achievements is the Master Gardener Legacy Fund, which provides financial support to MGV programs throughout Florida. On February 15th, UF celebrates Giving Day. Consider honoring our 45 years of volunteer education by donating to the Legacy Fund. Your support fuels ambitious projects and makes a lasting impact in local communities.

February in Your Garden

red tomatoes on the vine February is in the prime planting window for tomatoes. Eggplant, celery, watermelon, and much more can be planted this month. This is also a good month for planting bulbs like crinum and agapanthus and pruning roses. Fertilize your citrus and other fruit trees. Be sure to check the recommendations for your specific trees.

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.