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discerning weeders

A Newsletter of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association –– May 2011

Slow Food Do you care where your food is coming from? There are many schools of thought about what we put in our mouths. Slow Food movement, organically grown, low carbon footprint, living green; all of these phrases indicate some level of involvement in how you feel about the food you eat to fuel your body. This article will not deal with the fast food movement! We first encountered the Slow Food movement in Italy. It has been raised to an art form there. Three words define the movement: Good, Clean and Fair. Good implies enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. Clean food is nutritious for our bodies and good for the planet. Fair means food is a universal right and accessible to all. ean_fair/

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!

Lynn Fabian

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as food [is] produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet NOP organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

The carbon footprint of food involves the consideration of such topics as how far away from you was the food grown; how much energy did it take to raise, process and deliver the food for you to eat. Living green is about water, energy, waste, landscaping, wildlife, natural history and food. UF has a web site dedicated to the subject at We are already familiar with many of the tenets of Living Green; under the heading “Landscaping” are topics such as invasive plants, IPM, mulch, fertilizers and pesticides and many others.

Some areas of the country have been more involved in the organic/slow/green production of foods for longer than others. Try the calculator that lets you test one food over another to see what it “costs”. No guarantees that it is accurate, but it does make you think about differences in out-of-season fruit and locally grown choices. -center/eat-low-carbon-diet/

Take some time to think about your interaction with your environment. I know we can find many ways to improve our carbon footprint and make choices that will reflect in our health and well being. Share your ideas on the subject. Let’s start a revolution in our own backyards.

Eating is always a decision, nobody forces your hand to pick up food and put it into your mouth. Albert Ellis, Michael Abrams, Lidia Dengelegi The Art & Science of Rational Eating, 1992

Update on Locally Grown Food I"m going to check out the Okaloosa County Farmer"s Market this week. They are located near the fairgrounds and are open year round on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6 a.m. until 12 noon. Aker"s in Baker says the strawberry season will go until the 2nd week in May and later there will be local blueberries. They carry fresh produce in season. Did anyone find out about a farmer"s market in Destin?

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

Lynn Fabian

So far there have been no sellers (that I have seen) at the fruit and veggie stand set up at the corner of SR85 South (Government Ave) and John Sims Parkway, but the stand is still there. Two food co-ops are listed for Okaloosa County: Emerald Coast Organic Not-for-profit Co-op 119 Truxton Ave Ft. Walton Beach, FL 850-225-9188 2

til Noon. She believes he has already started coming.

And Off the Vine Organic Produce Contact Shana Wolf 850374-2181 Jane reminded me there is a vendor of fresh veggies and fruits who comes to the corner of Range Road and Highway 20 E. close to the BP station across from the Bay Drive entrance to Bluewater. He comes on Fridays and Sundays spring, summer and fall from 7:00 AM un-

And from Shari: There is a farmer’s market in Crestview on Industrial Dr; northbound on Hwy 85, turn right at the corner of Stillwell and 85N then left on Industrial. The Market is located in the field on the right under the pavilion canopy on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Remember, local produce is probably fresher than other produce but it does not mean it is organic. It certainly should have a lower carbon footprint.

It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe to eat. ~Robert Fuoss

Coming Events !

–MG General Meeting Wednesday, May 4th, 9:00a –BMP classes, 2nd Wed. each month thru October. (Next one, 11 May, 0930-1130, Annex.) –Nursery workday, Annex, last Wednesday each month thru October. (Also, every Friday morning.) –Plant Clinic, 19 May, 1000-1300, Annex –BIA Home Show in Crestview, 24 Sep –State Conference, Orlando, 24-26 Oct * June MG Meeting will be at Shalimar Baptist Church (E-mail events to Editor/Compost Pile) Thanks to Bill for the list of events. And my apologies for listing the wrong date for Plant Clinics in the April Compost Pile

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


Walk on the Wild Side

Linda Meyers

Wow, it feels like summer has already arrived. We're seeing daytime temperatures in the mid80's and low 90's. Along with higher temperatures here are some animal behaviors you should look for this May:

Mammals Gray Bats congregate at maternity caves now through mid-July.

Birds Reptiles Brown pelican and white ibis young are now visible in their nests. Bald eagles begin migrating north. Breeding begins for many resident and summer songbirds. The last of the cedar waxwings and goldfinches head for their northern breeding grounds. photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Least terns and Snowy Plovers nest on beaches and sandy flats of the Panhandle.

Least Tern

Alligators begin to court and make loud resounding 'bellows'. Loggerhead sea turtles begin nesting on summer nights. Soft-shell and alligator snapping turtles complete egg laying. Fish Bluegill are bedding at the full moon. Redbreast sunfish and spotted sunfish begin spawning in rivers. Pompano running in the surf in north Florida.


Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

Dixon Lanier Merritt

A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican, He can take in his beak Enough food for a week But I'm damned if I see how the helican! 4

Nursery Crawling

Lynn Fabian

What a wonderful outing we had last Thursday! This is just one more in a line of interesting events our intrepid field trip planners have provided. Klare Fox and Stacey Taylor have worked many hours figuring out where to go and how to get us there with the least lost folks. About twenty MGs and friends and family made the trip east. This latest event took us to the Tallahassee area for two nurseries and down to the coast for a look at Just Fruits and Exotics. I was pleasantly surprised to find that JF&E had many plants to offer besides fruit trees. The trip began under cloudy skies and even though I kept assuring Lockey that it was going to clear, I will never make a forecaster. By the time we arrived in Crawfordville, the rain was pouring so hard it was difficult to see. As we drove on the property at JF&E, a fellow shrouded head to toe foul weather gear came out to see what we wanted. His exclamation of “you came! We thought you wouldn"t come!� reminded us that gardeners are made of stern stuff...or maybe we"re just a little crazy.

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners

The Native Nursery in Tallahassee was the smallest place we visited but we found plenty of things to take away for our own gardens. They had a number of native azaleas for sale and that was my downfall. I saw others pulling carts or holding flats of treasures that found their way into trunks or the back seat. Whether you bought or not, there were plenty of goodies to long for and decide if you really had room for or not (in the garden OR the car!). And when we weren"t selecting and buying, we were talking about gardening and Master Gardening with our fellow trippers. The final stop was at Tallahassee Nursery, one of my favorite places. This large, in-town nursery is in a lovely park setting. Just wandering up and down the areas is a treat. The mix of bedding plants and landscape specimens and yard art. (Did anyone buy that four foot rusted chicken??) It can occupy many hours. They have a huge dragon I would love to have but do


not have room for. No use in terrifying the golfers in our backyard; the price tag is a stopper at $3500...but it is a really neat dragon. All this looking and shopping created some big appetites and the chosen restaurant was Food, Glorious Food. No one left hungry but some of us found a DQ on the way out of town. There are all sorts of glorious food.

What WAS That Thing? It isn"t an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, but it is the next best thing. A wrong turn on the field trip put us in the perfect position to find this woodpecker working hard to secure her next meal. We missed the turn into the Native Nursery in Tallahassee and turned into a cul-de-sac to reverse for our destination. The driveway we entered had a fallen tree and a Pileated Woodpecker was working the rotten stump. They are beautiful creatures and it is a treat to find one so interested in her lunch that she ignored the creatures taking pictures of her.

I have but one complaint. Can someone work on the shortcut to Tallahassee so the trip is about an hour and a half and not three hours? The trip cannot be shortened. It is three hours plus one for Eastern time no matter how you drive it. Having good company made it seem much shorter. Enjoy the pictures. I"ll send Marg more for the web site.

Lynn Fabian throughout most of its regions. It occurs throughout Florida. Overall they are black, males have a bright red crest, forehead, and mustache; females are similar without red forehead and mustache. (Florida Museum of History) If you look closely at the picture on the left, you can see this is a female. odpecker/lifehistory#at_consv

Male Pileated Woodpecker

We watched as she pulled a fat larva from the stump and wiggled it down her gullet. This woodpecker is 15–19 inches long and has a wingspan of up to 30 inches. Weighing in at 8– 12 pounds, think small turkey and you get a grasp of the size of this bird. The Florida Museum of Natural History calls it “crow-sized”. The Pileated Woodpeckers declined as our forests were cut. They need large trees to nest in. Today they are recovering and expanding Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


The holy grail of birders is to find an Ivory-billed Woodpecker alive and well. Old timers called this bird the “Lord God” bird. Apparently the usual response when seeing it was “Lord God Almighty! What was that!!”

President"s Message ! The April 22nd Plant Clinic was a real success. Thanks to all who participated. We didn’t have a lot of customers, but that meant everyone who came in got personal, individual service from several MGs as well as Larry and Sheila. We’re looking at having evening Plant Clinics as well, one at the Annex and one in Crestview, both on a trial basis. Watch for announcements on this. Good news for the Interns: Work at the Annex Nursery in preparation for the fall Plant Sale will count for fund-raising activity. I know many of

Last Word

Bill Buckellew

the new class were concerned about this; no problem anymore. Just come to the Annex, get dirty, and get credit. There’s a glitch to the fall Plant Sale schedule, however. The BIA had to move their show to September 24th to avoid conflict with the Destin Seafood Festival. This means we won’t be able to sell our plants then for numerous reasons. We’ll have to have a separate sale sometime afterward. There are a lot of things to work out, so, again, watch for announcements and calls for volunteers. One more thing I’m especially concerned about: It’s starting to warm up. As MGs, we like to be outdoors, but constantly be mindful of the heat. It’s easy to become dehydrated and heatstressed – don’t let it happen to you!

Lynn Fabian

I’ve said too much already. See you Wednesday. –– Lynn

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


About Us

The Compost Pile is a publication of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association.

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association is a volunteer organization sponsored by Okaloosa County Extension and the University of Florida IFAS.

The Foundation for the Gator equal opportunity institution. Lynn Fabian, Editor Linda Meyers, Co-Editor Ed Fabian, First Reader Marg Stewart, Web Site Coordinator

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners


May, 2011  
May, 2011  

Do you care where your food is coming from? There are many schools of thought about what we put in our mouths. Slow Food movement, organic...