Monday, December 27, 2010

New Website Address for County Extension Office

For years, to view the Orange County Extension Website, it has been difficult to remember the website address and just as difficult to explain that it is an abbreviation for the Orange County Extension (ocextension) at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (ifas) at the Univeristy of Florida (ufl) an Educational Institution (edu). When you put it all together it looks like this: Now it will be easier to remember because the "ocextension" name can be replaced with "orange".

As we move into the new year, you may use this link to find the Orange County/UF-IFAS Extension Service: It will also help to remember that if you need to send e-mail to the Orange County/UF-IFAS Extension Service, the email address is very similar:

If you have the old website address (URL) bookmarked or in your favoites list, it will still work because both names are approved for use when viewing the Orange County/UF-IFAS Extension Service website.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

$480 Worth of Vegetables in a 4' x 16' Raised Bed Garden

"There are many reasons for the raised bed revival, but probably the most important is more production per square foot of garden. In a traditional home garden, good management may yield about .6 pounds of vegetables per square foot. Records of production over three years in a raised bed at Dawes Arboretum near Newark, Ohio, indicate an average of 1.24 pounds per square foot, more than double the conventional yield. Raised beds do not require the usual space between rows because no walking is done in the bed to cultivate or harvest. Hence, vegetables are planted in beds at higher densities - ideally spaced just far enough apart to avoid crowding but close enough to shade weeds." (source: )

A 4'x16' raised bed garden has the potential to produce 80 pounds of vegetables. If one assumes an average price of $2 per pound of vegetables and grows 80 pounds of vegetables during each of the three seasons in Central Florida, one could harvest $480 worth of vegetables each year (even more if selected vegetables were grown in the summer).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where has the year gone?

It is now December. Hurricane season has officially ended. Gardeners new to the area want to know what to plant. We are in our "Cool Season Crops" time of year. Most leafy vegetables are appropriate such as Swiss chard, collards, cabbage, lettuce, kale and the like. Also, the root vegetables are excellent choices at this time of year including beets, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, carrots and onions. Don't foget that many herbs are excellent at this time of year too.

Water is most critical at this time of year with every plant slowing down, we want to keep our Cool Season vegetables growing. MODERATELY MOIST is the key and with the winter winds blowing over the top of our plants there will be a great deal of moisture taken out of the ground; more that you can anticipate. Use a microirrigation system on a timer if you wish; they are exempt from Water Management District rules for irrigation. Otherwise you will need a hose near the garden with a positive shut off. When is it moist? When it feels moist --- put your hand on the soil.

Pests can be problems at this time of year too. Read and follow all instructions on the pesticide label. Most of your problems can be hand picked and tossed into a bucket of soapy water. Insecticidal soap will take care of the aphid, white fly and spider mites. Chilli thrips will need a shot of the natural control "Spinosad". Small cateripllars on your cabbages and collards can be hand picked or killed with the natural control "Bt" which is found as Dipel or Thuricide.

Just because it is winter does not mean we give up vegetable gardening. There is no need to give up until June when it is too hot to stay out in the garden.