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March 2019

Benefit from Beneficial Insects A few years ago, I noticed whiteflies on two confederate rose plants in my landscape. I considered using an insecticide to control the whiteflies but decided against doing so after taking a closer look at the leaves. What I found was a tremendous population of ladybeetles - adults, larvae and pupae.

translucent scale-like nymphs that suck the sap from the underside of the leaves. Eventually, some of the leaves developed a black coating called sooty mold. As certain insects (primarily aphids, some scales and whiteflies) feed, they excrete plant sap that coats the leaves. Sooty mold then grows on this sugary sap. It’s not a pathogen. It just makes the leaves look ugly. Knowing that the whiteflies would not kill the confederate rose plants, I was willing to tolerate the sooty mold and allow the lady beetle population to build. Allowing whiteflies to live on your plants may not always be the best option. But in order to have beneficial insects in your landscape, there must be some “bad” insects. Insects such as ladybeetles, lacewings and praying mantids eat many pest insects. Encouraging these beneficial insects can allow you to reduce the amount of pesticides that you need to apply.

Ladybeetle adults and larvae eat whiteflies. They also eat other soft-bodied insects such as aphids. So, I waited to see what would happen. At first I was seeing mostly adult whiteflies, which look like tiny white moths. Adult whiteflies mate and then lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch into flat

It’s important to learn to recognize the adult and immature stages of these beneficial insects. For example, ladybeetles have larvae that look nothing like the adults. Some ladybeetle larvae look like small or-

Lady beetle on a cotton leaf


ange and black alligators. Others may resemble mealy bugs. Many Sometimes a heavy stream of water from a water hose is all that is gardeners that would never kill adult ladybeetles mistake ladybee- needed to remove pest insects from plants and reduce their numtle larvae as pests and kill them with pesticides. bers to an acceptable population. The following UF/IFAS Extension website will help you learn to recognize many of our beneficial insects. Leaving a few pest insects is a great way to attract beneficial insects. Tolerating a minor infestation and a little plant damage will topic_beneficial_insects benefit the helpful insects, your pocketbook and the environment. LARRY WILLIAMS


Once you find beneficial insects in your landscape, reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides. When a pesticide is needed, use environmentally friendly options such as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and products that contain Bacillus thuringiensis. These products can help maintain the population of beneficial insects.

CONTACT alene ogle [] 3

Twenty-one 4-H students’, first through fifth grades at Shalimar Elementary have been studying beneficial insects. They researched specific information about the insects to use in posters that would educate homeowners and encourage them to use insects instead of pesticides. The students clever use of current topics is evident in the posters.


Jennifer Yelverton Lynda Penry


About 14 of us made the trek to Milton for the field trip to Panhandle As you might have heard,

Growers. We were joined by a van load of Master Gardeners from

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his

Walton County. What a wonderful experience! Our host, John Davy,

shadow so it will be an early

is a fount of knowledge on propagating plants. He told us all about his

spring. It doesn’t seem to be the

operation and growing trees. We toured a greenhouse full of magnoli-

case in the northern part of the

as. He uses an interesting pot for some of his plants that prunes the

country with all the blizzards and roots. I had seen them before and wondered why there were slits in the sides. John generously gave us a bunch of camellias that he grows bad weather. But down here in the panhandle, it sure seems like

for root stock. The parent plant has a very ruffled light pink flower

spring is here to stay. I don’t

which had a high fragrance. Since the ones he gave us were grown

know about you but I am really struggling not to start planting. I did

from seeds, the flowers might not be like the parents. I’m keeping my

break down yesterday and put a couple camellias into pots for my ever

fingers crossed that mine will have that wonderful smell. When the

-growing collection of containers on my back porch. I know I swore

tour was over, several of us wandered down some rows of plants that

that I would get most of them in the ground so I don’t have to move

had camellias in pots down the center of the rows. Many of them were

them in for hurricanes. That is still the plan for this year. I thought I

blooming including several that had a fragrance. John was telling us

would have a lot of time this winter to finally make a plan for where

the names but sadly, I can’t remember what they were. I must admit

each plant should go. Sadly, that didn’t happen. It seems like there is

that I have become smitten with camellias. All in all, it was a very in-

always something else that has to be done right then. We also need to

teresting trip. Thanks to Alene and Lee for arranging it.

do some work on the irrigation system. I think we have some crushed or clogged pipes that we need to track down before I start doing too much planting. Goldfinches have returned to my feeders. The past couple years, they

Don’t forget that we have the awards meeting in March at the Crestview office. Be sure and mark March 27 on your calendars.


have hung around for around a month or 6 weeks before heading north. I haven’t seen as many as I usually do. Usually, I put out sever-

al socks of niger seed and the socks are quickly covered in goldfinches. I just have 2 out currently because I’m only seeing around 10 birds. I’m not sure why that is. Hopefully, they have found somewhere else to get a meal.

Here is a calendar item to put on your calendar. The Master Gardener State Conference will be held in Kissimmee, Florida at the Embassy Suites on October 20-23, 2019. I'm told that the conference website will be up soon.

Larry Williams


Lee Vanderpool recently presented a program on propagation to the Garner Beach Garden Club. Here he is seen demonstrating the propagation of camellias by air layering.

Selection of Varieties Camellias can be purchased at nurseries, garden festivals, and camellia shows. Varieties range in plant size and form from compact to large and spreading to upright. A huge assortment of flower sizes, colors, and forms also exist, and new cultivars are introduced each year. Blooms vary in color from pure white to brilliant crimson, with many color combinations and patterns. Six flower forms are commonly recognized (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Camellia flower forms. From top left: single form, semidouble form, anemone form. From bottom left: peony form, formal double form, rose form double (flower opens to reveal stamens) Credits: Leu Gardens. Rose form double: Sydney Park Brown


“If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb?” Weather sayings can be quite colorful. Some of them may be connected to scientific observations, while others are more superstitious in nature. What the weather will do this month can change on a moment’s notice. March is definitely one of the more unpredictable months. One week the temperatures are warm and spring-like. A few days later the weather turns stormy and cold. Depending on the groundhog you follow, spring will be here, or not, in the next few weeks.

But, any long time Northwest Florida residents knows, summer will be here eventually and it is going to get hot and dry. So, while trying to figure out whether to wear your T-shirt or arctic parka today, take a moment to locate that patch of the landscape and consider adding a “lion” or “lamb.”

Lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina, is an easy care perennial with wooly gray-green leaves and lavender colored flower spikes. It makes an attractive accent in a container or excellent groundcover that invites you to experience its soft “wool”, like those cute little ears of a baby sheep.

Both of these plants are self-sustaining species that establish well in open dry areas. The lion’s ear must self sow seed to return each year. Whereas, the lamb’s ear will return from the roots and can be divides if you want to relocate them.

Lion or lamb, March is a good time to plan for easy care, summer, blooming flowers. While it may be “freezing” now, you know once it gets hot, the last place you will want to be is outside in the blazing sun. Maybe the thoughts will warm you. For a comprehensive list of FlorLion’s ear and Lamb’s ear are two plants that survive un- ida perennials refer to: der hot, dry conditions. Lion’s ear, Leonotis nepetifolia, MG/MG03500.pdf is a tall growing (8 feet) annual with orange tubular flowers that peek out of the spiny bloom head, giving the apThe reason the golf pro tells you to keep your pearance of a lion’s ear. Hummingbirds reportedly hover head down is so you can't see him laughing. — next to a flower or even perch on a cluster, drinking for Phyllis Diller 10 seconds or longer. That’s an eternity in hummer world and about as long as any lion would tolerate someone messing with his ears. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. Humor Scott Berry


68About two dozen Okaloosa and Walton County Master Gardeners spent a very pleasant Valentines day with Mr John Davy, co-owner of the Panhandle Growers, Inc, in Jay. Mr. Davy recounted the beginnings of Panhandle Growers from the first acquisition of ten acres for a "hobby project" to the present day 350 acres of prime trees available to the wholesale market. Employing several dozen workers, the business is a year round operation. They propagate their own plants beginning from seeds or rooted cuttings to finished trees up to 100 gallon sized containers. Mr. Davy walked with us to one of the propagation houses where cuttings of magnolias and oaks were being rooted. He explained how they select the best trees for propagation based upon form, flower quality or other desirable attributes then take and root cuttings and upgrade the plants until a salable plant is achieved. The trip was a complete success for the Master Gardener group. Our thanks to Mr. John Davy. Lee Vanderpool] 8

Alpine Strawberry - 5 page fact sheet describing yield and fruit quality for several varieties to guide potential growers.

The pomegranate - 6 page documents profiling the pomegranate and discusses its production in Florida.

Elemental sulfur recommendations for sugarcane on Florida organic soils - 6 page document presenting revised elemental sulfur recommendations for sugarcane.

Nematodes parasitizing hops in Florida - 4 page fact sheet describing nematodes that prey on hops and suggests some strategies for preventing nematode damage. http://

Potassium fertilizer recommendations for sugarcane on Florida organic soils - 7 page document presenting revised potassium fertilizer recommendations for sugarcane.

Stinkhorn mushrooms - 5 page document profiling the morphology, ecology, phenology, toxicology, and treatment of this mushroom.

Pollination best practices in Southern Highbush Blueberry in Florida - 5 page fact sheet discussing blueberry pollinators, some causes of poor pollination, and current best practices to reduce the possibility of poor pollination.

Crestview Landscaping PLEASE save these dates! Schedule for 2019 March 6th

Southern Pine Beetle - 8 page fact sheet describing the beetle and includes advice on how to monitor for them and strategies for their prevention and control. http://

April 3rd

Common fungal symbionts of wood-boring bark beetles - 4 page fact sheet providing basic guidelines to sample Geosmithia species in the field and information for distinguishing the pant pathogenic Georsmithia morbida from other Geosmithia species. fr412

Oct 2nd

Powdery mildew on watermelon - 3 page document discussing the symptoms and management of powdery mildew. CONTRIBUTED BY: Marg Stewart

May 1st Sept 4th Nov 6th (if needed)


Editor: Special thanks to Karen Harper for proofreading the newsletter and to all that contribute to this publication. 9

March What to Plant Annuals/Bedding Plants: Dianthus and other cool-season

new growth begins. See Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs:

annuals continue to flourish. Consider planting warm-season

Palms and shrubs: Fertilize palms (

annuals such as angelonia, wax begonia, and zinnia at the end

ep261), azaleas, camellias, and other ornamental shrubs if

of the month. See Annuals:

needed. Choose a fertilizer in which at least 30% of its nitrogen


is slow release. See Palm Nutrition and Fertilization: http://

Bulbs: Plant dahlia, canna, and gloriosa bulbs for spring and summer flowering. Provide stakes as needed to support growth. and Landscape Fertilization:

See Bulbs for Florida:

Irrigation: Check your sprinkler system for problems such as


broken or misaligned spray heads. See Landscape Irrigation:

Herbs: Consider growing edible ginger. Plant rhizomes in well -drained soil in full to part sun. See Ginger: http:// and Herbs: http:// Vegetables: Begin planting warm-season crops, such as beans, tomatoes, squash, and corn, early in the month for late spring harvest. Protect from frost. See Vegetable Gardening in Florida:

What to Do Azaleas: Prune azaleas when they have finished blooming to reduce their size and improve their form. See Azalea: http:// Shrubs and trees: Prune when the dormant season ends and Soil Preparation and Liming for Vegetable Gardens1 James M. Stephens and Guodong Liu2 Probably the most physical part of vegetable gardening is preparing the soil for planting. In large gardens, mechanical equipment, such as rototillers or tractor-drawn plows, often is necessary, and it may be practical to rent such equipment or hire someone. However, in smaller gardens, the task can be accomplished with a spade, spading fork, or shovel. Much depends on the type of roots and vegetation that must be removed.

Turn the ground approximately 3 weeks before planting, when the soil is dry enough to work. Turn the soil completely over when spading. Many gardeners practice "doubledigging" in order to prepare a deeper root zone. To "doubledig," shovel off a 12-inch layer of soil, turn the bottom 12-inch layer, then replace the topsoil. Continued:


HEY!!! What: Yard art contest Sponsor: Compost Pile When: April Fool’s Day – Thanksgiving (or thereabouts) Rules: To be announced Judges: Important persons Participants: OCMGA members WHAT IS YARD ART? To me, yard art is your imagination using flowers, shrubs and whimsical objects of color and interest to paint a scene that is pleasing to your eye and personality. “Those who are supposed to get it, will.” (Joel Hodgson, creator of TV program Mystery Sciences Theater)

A bottle tree would be a great addition. The bottle tree’s roots date back centuries to Africa and on to the US by slave trade. It was thought that bad spirits lived in bottles. This was due to the sound made by wind blowing across a bottle’s top caused a weird moaning sound. Superstition also tells us that evil spirits can be caught in the upside-down bottles hanging on tree branches and can’t escape. The morning sun then causes the evil spirit’s demise. One of the best- known experts on bottle trees and yard art is Felder Rushing author, radio host, program speaker, Extension Agent, Mississippi Master Gardener State Coordinator, etc. Check out his web site and blog. You will not be disappointed.

Lockey, of course 11

With warmer weather, we're all out in our gardens and perhaps you're pondering something different to try. How about a tea garden? Sometimes, we grow herbs but they languish because, face it, there's just so much chervil one can use without getting really tired of it. But a tea garden...a sensory delight of colors, scents, and flavors to enjoy throughout the season. Best of all, you can store all of these delightful items and enjoy a healthy cup of tea during winter's chill. Tea is made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. (Teas made with only herbs are more properly called tisanes or infusions.) The centerpiece of your tea garden will be Camellia sinensis. You can find this plant at several nurseries in Florida and on-line. Just make sure you get the right plant. You grow and care for this member of the Camellia family just as you would any flowering camellia. They prefer slightly acidic soil and need frequent watering until they are established. This evergreen shrub can be kept at waist height to make harvesting your tea easier. Spider mites and aphids are the top pests of this plant and can be controlled using blasts from the water hose. Tea scale is another pest and is controlled using horticultural oil.

cant quantities in green tea. Believe it or not, green tea also has naturally occurring fluoride along with essential oils that aid digestion.

Get out there and pick a sunny spot that drains well. Make sure the soil is nice a fertile OR in the alternative, decide to have your tea garden be in containers! This will be a garden that you'll really use. Next month we'll start covering some of the herbs that Once you begin harvesting your leaves it's important to note that you'll be growing to mix in with your tea. you will most likely find it easier to use 'green' tea. The tender, topmost leaves are the most valued. More mature leaves may also be used. Green tea is simply tea that has not been ferment- Note: As with all herbal preparations, medicinal use has not ed. When tea leaves are harvested, they are spread out in a cool, been approved by the FDA and no herbal preparation should be humid room to ripen. Once they have achieved the proper flavor used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor. and color they are fired in 120°F. dryers. Partially fermented tea Herbal supplements are not regulated and care should be exercised when purchasing. Only purchase those products from repis oolong and fully fermented is referred to as 'black' tea. utable sources. Always check with your doctor before taking The more fermented the leaves, the higher the caffeine content. any herbal supplements and make sure to provide a complete So, your 'green' tea will have about 1/3 the concentration of caf- list of herbal supplements you are taking to your medical profeine that black teas has. Green tea also contains intact polyphe- vider. nols which act as antioxidants. Vitamin C is also found in signifi12

German Glühwein 3 quarts apple juice

Cheese Straws 16 oz. package cheddar cheese, grated (room temp.)

1 ½ cups sugar

1cup butter (room temp.)

12 cloves ½ orange cut in wedges 3 cinnamon sticks

½ teaspoon caynne pepper 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt

2 wedges lime

2 ½ cups plain flour

1 gallon red wine

½ teaspoon dry mustard

Combine juice and sugar in a large sauce pan.

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Stick cloves in wedges. Combine all ingredients (except wine) and boil 15 minutes. Store in refrigerator

3-5 drops garlic juice

To serve, add wine and heat to just under boiling. Float additional citrus wedges.

Combine cheese and butter, mix well.

2 dashes tabasco sauce

Paprika to sprinkle

Add other ingredients except flour, mix well. Stir in flour 1/3 at a time, mix thoroughly.

Wikipedia Mulled wine is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of mulled wine. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. Alcohol by volume‎:‎‎0–15% Variants‎:‎‎Glühwein, Gløgg and many others Ingredients‎:‎‎Wine (red), spices and fruit

Using star tip, pipe dough through cookie pressfinger length. Sprinkle with paprika before cooking. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Cheese Straws. Some food historians trace a link to the British “biscuit.” Others cite the biscotti and hard breads of Italy and Spain. But wherever cheese straws originated, they've found a real home in the South. 13

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Cut rye bread into small cubes and place on a shallow baking pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. 2. Meanwhile, in a 4 to 5 quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and caraway seeds. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reuben Sandwich Soup Ingredients: 4 slices of rye bread

3. In a small bowl stir 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk into the cornstarch. Add the remaining evaporated milk, chicken broth and the corned beef to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted. 4. To serve, ladle the soup into a deep bowl. Top with a nest of sauerkraut. Add toasted rye bread pieces and sprinkle with dill.

2 Tbs. oil 3/4 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup diced celery 1 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional) 2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk 1/4 cup cornstarch

1 quart chicken broth

One origin story holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, was the inventor, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel ...

12 oz. thinly sliced corned beef, chopped 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese 1/4 cup sauerkraut, well drained

1 1/2 tsp. chopped dill 14

It would appear that Mother Nature is going to pull a fast one on us. Here, we've been enjoying warm weather and I see the weather gurus are stating that we'll be in the 50's for a few days with night temperatures dipping to at or below freezing. (Well, that's up here in Crestview...but still...)

Walter will be happy with the weather change. During the winter cold snap, we actually used the fireplace! At first, His Majesty wasn't too sure about the whole thing. Then he discovered it was warm! Oooo, toasty kitty. I got up for coffee and upon returning to my cozy chair, discovered it had been acquired by Sir Walter. After a bit of a discussion and fussing (the cat, not me) he was deposited in the other chair. His pouting lasted about as long as his attention span. I glanced over and he had his entire front side facing the fire. Later, he had his back to it. This was following by laying on his back, feet up. I guess he wanted to make sure all the sides were evenly toasted. The next day, I heard an awful racket and found Walter smacking the fireplace screen with his paw. At first I thought there was a bug or something but no, His Royal Highness wanted another fire to be lit! Please tell me why I sat there and held a discussion with a cat on the thermal requirements that would make a fire acceptable???? I swear he looked depressed.

Today, I hauled in firewood and cut down the too large pieces. After the second trip in with an armful, Walter was cat-on-the-spot, parked right in front of the fireplace screen. I hated to disappoint him but he'll just have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to enjoy toasting his toes again.

We've been dealing with family members having serious health issues but hopefully we've turned the corner in that respect. To deal with the stress I've been in the kitchen. It helps your outlook oh so much when you can beat the dickens out of bread dough. Happy Hubby walked in once when I was flinging dough and smacking it onto the board. He left--quickly. I've been working with sourdough and have named my starter "Bob." "Bob" and his subsequent descendants have produced tasty cinnamon buns, bread, rolls, fat Belgian-style waffles and pancakes. It did get a bit freaky as we were referring to how good "Bob's" buns were. Yes folks, welcome to my world. It's a bit strange in here sometimes.

As we speak, Bob is hard at work on the counter, proofing dough for cheese crackers; getting beat up in the bread machine with a no-sugar recipe experiment; and sponging it up for a batch of sourdough buttermilk pancakes. Gotta love Bob. Oh, and Walter has spent the evening staring at the bread machine trying to figure out what may be alive in there. Thankfully, he hasn't tried to pry it open....yet.

From Walter and his Servants--Plentiful Plantings! 15

Profile for Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

The Compost Pile March 2019  

Spring gardening for Northwest Florida. Herbs and lawn information!

The Compost Pile March 2019  

Spring gardening for Northwest Florida. Herbs and lawn information!

Profile for ocmga