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...for discerning weeders September, 2013

An Okaloosa County Master Gardener Publication

WEED OF THE MONTH Inside this issue:

Seeds for the


Future Mini Melons


Coming Soon!


Good Guy


Walk on the


Wild Side Food for


Thought News and


Book Review


Let’s Get


Serious Events

7 8

Last Word



August/September! This is the height of summer weed season!! Garden beds are sharing space with a host of annual weeds. Young Chamberbitter-looking like mini Mimosa trees— are everywhere. Ground-hugging Spurge sprouts up every minute or two! You’ll likely find Florida Pusley hugging the ground as well— sporting its 2-four petaled white flowers. Oxalis masquerading as a Clover look-a-like, Dollarweed, loving this rainy, summer weather and a host of other weeds are vying for space. Common Lambsquarters, Chenopodium album, is present too. This rapidly-growing summer annual weed can grow from a few inches to a grand 6 feet! This extremely variable growth behavior depends on location and enables the plant to adapt to many environmental conditions. It is often found along roadsides or in open fields. Yet plants found in lawns or gardens may produce seeds when only a couple inches tall! Lambsquarters really prefer the rich soil of our flower gardens or vegetable beds. Its leaves vary in shape from triangular to ovate to lanceolate. The first two true leaves are opposite and ovate with smooth edges. Later leaves are alternate, arrowhead-shaped with unevenly –toothed edges. At the top of the plant, the leaves become long and narrow. Leaves are pale green and covered with a white or gray coating that give the appearance of frost; but the undersides can be purplish. Flowers are small, inconspicuous, yellow-green, and occur in clusters at the tips of branches and upper leaf axils. Flowers occur from July to September. Seed color varies from black to brown to brownish-green. A single plant can produce thousands of seeds which can persist in the soil for years. These seeds have been known to survive 30-40 years! The weedy nature of Lambsquarters comes 1

By Jenny G. from its adaptability rather than from the aggressiveness that characterizes many other weeds. Lambsquarters is not destructively competitive; its survival depends primarily on seed production. Once pollination and seed set occur, so many seeds are produced that a carpet of Lambsquarters can emerge even in fields frequently cultivated. Seed longevity ensures the continued presence of seedlings for years after a population is apparently controlled. New infestations of Lambsquarters are patchy, but stands soon become so dense that they may smother crops. The best methods of weed control in the home vegetable garden are mulching, hand pulling, rototilling, hoeing and preventing the weeds from going to seed. Because of its short, branched taproot, Lambsquarters can be easily hand-pulled from moist soil. the seeds are so persistent in the soil, removal of escapes from the garden before they set seeds is critical for long-term control. Prevention by use of good cultural habits should be the first line of defense in eliminating broadleaf weeds such as Lambsquarters from lawns and gardens. Pre-emergent herbicides can be used to prevent germination of this weeds seeds. Post-emergent herbicides effective against broadleaf weeds are 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba (sold under many brand names) and combination formulas. Read labels to be sure the herbicide is effective against the weeds you want to eliminate and carefully follow labeled directions. Continued on page 2


continued You can find more information on this tenacious weed at the following links: Penn State Extension—weed id Colorado State—Weed Lehigh Valley Master Gardeners

SEEDS FOR THE FUTURE Some have called this the "Noah’s Ark for Plants" and some even call it the "Doomsday Seed Vault." These names may offer a concept of this important project but the official name of "Svalbard Global Seed Vault" is derived from the physical location and its purpose. The seed vault is on the tiny island of Spitsbergen which is part of the Arctic Svalbard archipelago approximately 810 miles south of the North Pole. This location was selected for its tectonic stability, extremely cold temperatures, elevation (430 ft.) and remoteness. While there are estimated to be about 1400 other official seed collections around the world, only Svalbard has the capacity to withstand world class cataclysms.

By Ed S. permanent on site staff, electronic monitors maintain a constant vigil. The vault is normally opened to accept seed contributions once a year. The following details provide a better understanding of the physical characteristics. The only visible portion above ground is referred to as the "fin." This rather narrow entrance shaft has highly reflective stainless steel mirrors and prisms above the dual blast proof doors. These surfaces serve the purposes of an artistic display as well as a highly visible reflective beacon for future generations. The entrance shaft extends 390 ft. through limestone to three storage chambers. Meter thick concrete walls help to maintain the structure stability and temperature.

The purpose of this seed vault is to provide a secure resource Gary Fowler was the instigator of the project and his 17 minute should traditional plant gene banks suffer a lost of diversity. Even though this is the stated mission it was considered prudent to design the facility to withstand the ravages of man and time. The storage capacity is in excess of 4.5 million varieties of plant seeds and they are supplied from countries around the world. All donated seeds remain the property of the contributor. Various varieties of wheat, corn, rice and other grain crops were some of the first to be housed. Seeds are stored on metal shelves in heat sealed 4 ply envelopes at a temperature of 0º F which is the recommended standard. By design the temperature should never rise above 27º F even with an extended power outage. This should provide viable seeds for hundreds of years. Under these conditions grain seeds could stay viable for thousands of years. presentation at a TED conference is also very informative. I highConstruction and operational expense have been provided by the ly recommend it. You can say this man has truly made a differgovernment of Norway. Excavation began in 2006 and the vault ence. Visit the site at : Gary Fowler: One seed at a time, protectbecame operational in 2008. Although they do not maintain a ing the future of food A good gardener always plants 3 seeds one for the bugs, one for the weather and one for himself. - Leo Aikman 2


By Karen H.

Single-serving cantaloupes? Yes, you can grow that! All you need is a little space and the right seed variety. Miniature watermelons are also a possibility for your garden. As the popularity of these mini melons increases, seed companies are developing varieties with improved characteristics.

Some of the mini-cantaloupe varieties developed in recent years are 'Little Sweeti', 'Serenade', 'Tasty Bites', 'Hales Best' and 'Hearts of Gold'. And for those who prefer honeydew, there is 'Mini Muskateer'. Some smaller watermelon varieties are: 'Emerald Gems' and 'Pony Red Mini Watermelon'. Melothria Scabra, or 'Mexican Miniature Watermelon', produces watermelThe miniature 6-inch watermelon was developed by crossing on-looking fruit that are only 1-2 inches in diameter. The fruit wild dwarf varieties of melon found outside the U.S. with comtaste and rind are more like a cucumber, though. Other true mini mercial strains with the goal of producing mini melons with thin watermelon varieties include 'Bush Sugar Baby' and 'Golden skins and a very flavorful flesh. The mini watermelons are made Midget'. The most difficult aspect of growing mini-melons seems seedless by generating two “master” hybrid lines: one with the to be locating seeds! I've put together the following list of sources usual two sets of chromosomes and one with four sets. When the and I hope it's helpful to you if you decide to add mini-melons to two are crossed with one another, they produce seedless fruit your garden: with three sets of chromosomes! Cantaloupe and watermelons: What is the attraction of these mini -melons? Well, they're cute as heck. But aside from that, those who can't consume a huge melon may welcome the smaller size. And the minis leave more room in the reHere's a mini muskmelon: frigerator. Consumers have the choice of many colors, flavors and Baker Creek Heirlooms also has a textures to consider. Mini watervariety of mini-melons http:// melons are striped as well as colored, with dark-green skins. There's even a yellow mini watermelon. Mini cantaloupes and Burpee Seeds also offers a variety muskmelons come in red, orange, yellow and yellow-orange flesh of bush cantaloupe that would be colors. Most parts of a melon are edible — the flesh, rind and ideal for the small garden: http:// seeds. Melons are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. The more colorful the melon's flesh, the higher its antioxidant content. Red and orange fleshed types contain carotenoids, a known And now, it's time for true confescancer fighter. sions. I don't like melons, not one Melons are a vining crop and they tend to sprawl, which is not a problem if you have plenty of space. If, however, you are spacechallenged and need to grow your crops vertically, melons are going to require support. Here is a good article about trellising your mini-melons. And should you wish to grow your mini-melons in containers (as I would be likely to do in my small intensive gardening space) this article has advice on how to do that: ll2ujya

little bit. Never have. I don't like the taste, the smell or the texture of them. They're one of the very few fruits I dislike. Yes, I was the neighborhood weirdo when we were kids and everyone else was digging into ice-cold watermelon on hot summer afternoons. I suppose I had a popsicle. And I'm still the weirdo who surreptitiously picks the melon out of her fruit salad. However, I must say that while researching and writing this article I was smitten by some of those very cute little melons and since I always welcome a new gardening challenge, I think I will grow some of them next summer. And promptly give them away when ripe. Bon appetit to the rest of you melon lovers! :)

COMING SOON!! Do you have a gardening question? Send your questions to The Compost Pile and the Garden Guru will answer them! Do you have an item to sell? Something that you are looking for? Interested in a trade? Send your information in to The Compost Pile and they will be added to the Farmer’s Market page! As always, if you have an article, picture or idea...send it in to The Compost Pile! All submissions are welcome! Submissions for The Compost Pile are due no later than the 24th of each month for inclusion in the next month’s issue. 3


By Linda M.

Florida pinesnakes mate in spring and the early summer; during this time, males actively seek females across large areas of their habitat. Females lay 4–8 very large, white, leathery eggs in June or July. Eggs are typically laid in an existing underground cavity or burrow. They hatch in approximately 2 months, requiring a much longer incubation period than most snakes. Pinesnake hatchlings are also larger than most snake hatchlings, with an average length of 15 inches.

Most importantly, we can help to conserve Florida pinesnakes (and other snakes) by learning more about them and educating others. Sources of information: Florida Museum of Natural History The Florida Pinesnake: Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus by Gabriel J. Miller, Steve A. Johnson, and Lora L. Smith, Publication #WEC 251

Habitat fragmentation and habitat destruction for extensive commercial and residential development and the roads that accompany development are the most significant threats to the survival of Florida pinesnakes. In order to conserve Florida pinesnakes, we must protect large tracts of upland habitat, actively manage this land using prescribed burning, and maintain the connectivity between habitats. Like many large snakes, Florida pinesnakes require large tracts of habitat – the home range of a male snake may be as large as 400 acres – and cannot thrive in small habitat patches.


Courtesy Linda M.

Here we are with Fall just around the corner along with Amphibians the most active month of hurricane season. Migrating speStart listening for Spadefoot toads after heavy rains. cies will be seen and lots of other wildlife activity. Here's Spadefoot toads are so named for a single, sharp edged, what to look for: black spade that occurs on each of the hind feet. This feaBirds ture enables the amphibian to burrow vertically into sandy or loose soils. Get feeders ready for returning birds. Bald eagles return to nest sites and begin courtship. Bald Fish eagles live near rivers, Atlantic sturgeon begin fall migration from the Suwannee lakes, and marshes and Apalachicola Rivers as well as other coastal rivers to where they can find fish, the Gulf of Mexico. their staple food. Bald eagles will also feed on Fall Mullet migration to the gulf begins. waterfowl, turtles, rabbits, snakes, and other Invertebrates small animals and carriBlue crabs migrate from the shallow panhandle coast to on. deeper water for the winter. The blue crab (Callinectes Mammals sapidus) supports one of Florida's top commercial fisheries in terms of pounds harvested and dockside value. Gray bats migrate to Alabama caves for winter hibernation. Blue crab "jubilee" also begins along panhandle beaches.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Carol B., Jenny G., Shirley H., John P., Gail S., and Lynne T.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT Blueberry Preserves

By Lee V. 1 T. lemon juice, fresh or bottled 1/8 tsp. cinnamon 2 T. powdered pectin

2 1/2 cups blueberries, stemmed and washed 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 T. lemon juice, fresh or from the bottle 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 box powdered pectin

Place the pear juice, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the pectin then return to a boil for one minute. Pour hot mixture into 1/2 pint jars. Recipe number two - Pear Butter

2 cups cooked pear flesh 1 cup sugar Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and 2 T. honey nutmeg in a large nonreactive pan over high heat. Bring to a boil 1 T. lemon juice, fresh or bottled stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add pectin quickly 1/8 tsp. cinnamon then return to heat. Boil for two minutes, using a wooden spoon Process the pear flesh in a food processor to a consistency you to crush the berries. Remove from heat and pour into two 1/2 desire. If you like chunky pear butter, chop the flesh roughly. For pint jars. Store in refrigerator for up to three weeks. smoother butter, process longer. Combine the pear flesh, sugar, Two-in-One Pear Condiment honey, cinnamon and lemon juice in a pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low and Wash, peel and core five medium ripe pears saving the peels. cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. Pour hot Wrap the peels in muslin, tie and place in a large non-reactive mixture into 1/2 pint jars. pot. Cut the pear flesh into inch pieces and add these to the pot. Add one cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce You may omit the cinnato medium heat and cook until the pear flesh is tender, stirring mon from these recipes. to keep from scorching. Remove from heat. Separate the juice Other spices you may try from the flesh by straining through a colander, squeezing as are nutmeg, ground much juice as possible from the pear peels in muslin. Discard the cloves and allspice to pear peels. your taste. Remember, pears have a delicate flaRecipe number one - Pear Jelly vor and using too much of any spice may subdue 3 cups pear juice that flavor. 1 1/2 cups sugar


Links and information courtesy of our Master Gardeners

Another view of genetic engineering: The Race to Save the Orange

Scarlet-bodied wasp moth (Cosmosoma myrodora)

Tomato chlorotic spot virus, first reported in 2012. 5-page fact sheet.

10 PowerPoint Tips

Asiatic garden beetle Maladera castanea in Florida. 3-page fact sheet. Florida Peach and Nectarine Varieties. 8page fact sheet.

Wondering what sort of snake you’ve encountered? Not sure how to find out what it is? Florida Museum of Natural History has a great snake identification tool.

Thinking about trying your hand at canning? Been canning for a while and wonCompanion to the Florida Vegetable Gar- dering if you are doing it right? You can dening Guide—Organic Vegetable Garden- download the USDA Complete Guide to ing in Florida. Home Canning—FREE. 5



LET’S BE SERIOUS ABOUT CEREUS! Many of you grow night blooming cereus. Did you know that the term "night blooming cereus" applies to at least nine different species of cactus? The term "cereus" simply defines a family of epiphytic or columnar cacti some of which are night blooming. The most common, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, is grown throughout the world as a houseplant while others, such as Hylocereus undatus, is grown commercially as a food source, dragonfruit. Peniocereus greggii has an underground tuber and very thin above ground stems. It is native to the southwestern United States while Echinopsis pachanoi grows vertically to several feet tall and is native to South America. It is grown primarily as an ornamental feature but, in its native environment, is also used medicinally and in certain religious ceremonies.

By Lee V.

Monvillea appear throughout tropical America and their stems have three to five ribs, typically thin, with stout spines. Nyctocereus has many thorns and its pinkish flowers are very fragrant, like gardenias. Selenicereus is native to the Antilles and Central America and is very rare in cultivation.

Trichocereus is a group of columnar plants from South AmerEphiphyllum oxypetalum, ica which vary from very large tree-like plants to low clumping courtesy of Ed F. Harrisia is a night bloomer native to South America, the Carib- and sprawling forms and have bean Islands and south Florida. It has been introduced into oth- white to pinkish large tubular flowers. er countries and is considered an invasive. In Southeast Asia, this plant is grown atop walls to discourage invaders, human and So, as you see, although you may have a night blooming cereus, it may one of may different varieties. animal!


By Marg S.

What do you do when you found the ‘perfect’ plant, one that you started from seed, and you want to grow it again. The problem is, you don’t remember where you got the seed. Now you could spend hours scouring the internet and seed catalogs OR you could save the seeds from the plant you are growing. Most of us have saved seeds at some point or another. But if you want to take your seed saving to a whole new level, there are two books you should seriously consider. Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth and foreword by Kent Whealy and pictures by David Cavagnaro. This book is over 200 pages describes the techniques for saving seeds of 160 different vegetables. There is detailed information about each vegetable including its botanical classification, flower structure, means of pollination, required population size, isolation, techniques. Also included is information on harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing the seeds. I should warn you, if you haven’t tried the recommended method for saving tomato seeds, it’s gross.

The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs by Robert E. Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough is another great book. This book includes descriptions of seed biology, tips on how to select plants for the best seeds, proper storage and care, propagating and caring for new seedlings—all in fairly easy-to-follow instructions. This book includes woody ornamentals and a section on trying your hand at hybridizing whereas Seed to Seed does not. Both books run about the same price on between $14 and $17 paperback editions. Seed to Seed receives out of 5.

4 1/2 tomatoes

The Complete Guide receives 5 tomatoes only because it has more than vegetables included.




General Membership Meeting September 4th 9:00am Crestview Extension Office 3098 Airport Road Crestview, FL 32539 7




International Citrus & Beverage Conference September 17-20 Sheraton sand Key Resort Clearwater Beach, FL


Marg S.—Editor Shari F., Karen H. and Linda M.—Co-Editors

Have pictures or an idea for an article? Send it in! Articles and pictures are always welcome.

Your member site:

The Foundation for the Gator Nation.....An equal opportunity institution.

LAST WORD It’s been a pondering sort of week here at the homestead. To begin with, I understand that cats will get hairballs. I also understand that those hairballs need to be, ahem, ejected on occasion. Why is it that this never occurs on the vinyl flooring and must be accomplished over several locations.....on the carpet??? I did my best to explain the logic of vinyl versus carpet to the culprit of the day but I doubt my argument worked very well. I also attempted to convince the culprit of the early morning that a dime sized hole in the food dish, does not mean that starvation is imminent and therefore does not require repeated meowing and/or paws to the face in order to get me out of bed well before the appointed time. At some point during the week I decided that I was bored with my normal morning cereal, I bought one of those variety packs to see if there was something else that would appeal to me. Fruit Loops™, now there’s something I haven’t had in quite a while. When the heck did purple and blue end up in there??? I’m sorry, but there is also something very wrong with seeing “WHOLE GRAIN!” and other such stuff on a box of cereal that I used to consider ‘fun.’ They didn’t even taste like Fruit Loops™. This was reminiscent of the great JellO 1-2-3™ disaster of 2012? Anyone remember that stuff? That was the one you mixed up and it separated into 3 distinct layers. I decided that I really, really, wanted some of that. I couldn’t locate it in the stores, nor anywhere on -line. It seems that it went off the market in 1996. Being an intrepid soul, I decided to give the recipes out there that claim to duplicate it a try. But you only get 2 layers. Gone is that middle layer of not 9

By Marg S. quite Jell-O™, not quite foamy. Football season is here and now there is some rule in place for high hits. Pretty soon they’ll be running up and down the field slapping each other instead of tackles. In the midst of pondering some of the rule changes of late, our HD TV showed that there are certain camera angles that are just plain WRONG! Certain angles of the front line—no— they should not be shown.....ever.!!!! Between the rain and not being able to work in the yard means that my garden looks pitiful. This all just means that I’ve been pondering a lot more than normal. Pondering why we’re quick to get rid of things and so quick to change others. Sometimes, yes, it’s for the good...but why do we accept it when it’s just plain awful? Oh sure, the hairball fiasco is not the end of the world. All it requires is a bit of elbow grease on my part and the world rotates on its axis as per usual. A bit of planning on my part in the evening will eliminate the ‘empty dish’ syndrome. I’ll find another cereal—considering all the ones with chocolate somewhere in the mix...that shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll accept that the dessert of my childhood just doesn’t exist anymore and get over it. I’m getting more able to work outside in the yard so I know after a few days of work the garden will look nice again. I suppose that is the lesson learned— even though hairballs happen, things change or go away, cameras will not always show our ’good’ side and gardens will get weeds...nothing is permanent and it all can be worked with, around, and through. So the next time you end up with a ‘pondering’ sort of week...just remind yourself that tomorrow is another day and smile.

Nl september 13  

Weed of the Month - lambsquarters; Svalbard Global Seed Vault; mini melons; Florida pinesnake; September animal events; recipes; book review...

Nl september 13  

Weed of the Month - lambsquarters; Svalbard Global Seed Vault; mini melons; Florida pinesnake; September animal events; recipes; book review...