FROM ACROSS NORTH FLORIDA
Q. I'm on my 3rd year of trying to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardens. I've recently purchased Eucalyptus mulch for my flower beds and was wondering if it was a safe and useful mulch for the vegetable beds? I'm using raised beds but I keep getting Dollar Weed and major ant infestations. I also want to be able to safely clear the ants out of the beds before planting. What is the best way to do this? -- Heather from Panama City, FL
A. In most instances I donít mulch around vegetable plants because mulch gives insects a place to hide. However, I believe Eucalyptus mulch repels insects, so it should do nicely. As far as Dollar Weed goes, I have great luck keeping weeds down with Preen, but it cannot be used with all veggies. For the ants, try baiting them with a small amount of Amdro or other such ant bait. Good luck, I hope this year is a good one for you!
Q. When I was a teen, growing up in Glades County, Florida, I had a garden project in the F.F.A. We grew lots of veggies that my family enjoyed plus the savings it gave my dad was tremendous. Now, living in central Florida, I want to start a garden in my back yard growing various crops, including lettuce. My question is, is this area suitable for growing various varieties of lettuce? Where can I get the information I need. Thank you for your time. -- Brandon from Holiday, FL
A. Yes, central Florida is suitable for growing lettuce. You can have good success with many of the varieties you find in seed catalogs. The trick to being successful is timing. Where you live, lettuce is put out in the garden about mid Sept. through mid March. Better hurry, and put out only starter plants this late. Thereís lots of information for Florida gardeners at www.solutionsforyourlife.com
Q. Just starting a back yard veggie garden. We have already dug the garden spot out...and placed 2" x 12" border for raised bed, and planned on sifting the same soil back into the bed. PH test was 6.9...that's kinda high for veggies? What should we add to the soil to make it more viable? Soil is also real sandy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -- Fort Walton Beach, FL
A. I would not worry about the pH level. Most veggies like it around 6.5. Knowing that your soil is slightly higher, use a fertilizer with a good trace mineral package. Mix in some organic matter, including some peat moss, and all should be well.
Q. Been living here for ten years. Up from So. Fl. Have tilled a 15x15 ft. plot. Soil is sandy. Neighbor says (born here) nothin' grows here but beans & collards. I want to grow tomatoes, cucs, herbs, peppers, lettuces (kale, arugula, etc.) and a berry of some sort. Getting a soil test done. Can I grow this stuff, or do I have to get used to beans! Thanks. -- Bob ( 70+) from Port St. Joe, FL
A. I suppose itís possible that, with this economy, we all might have to get used to eating beans! But, as far as I know, you ought to be able to grow much more there Ė certainly everything on your list. Just to make sure, ask the folks at your extension office. Perhaps other vegetable gardeners from the St. Joe area will contact us and let us know what they successfully grow.
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