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Hurricane preparation for your palm

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald How should we protect our palm trees when a hurricane is approaching? Palm trees gained popularity in southern Florida not because of their ability to endure storms but because of their grace and tropical beauty. Preparing them for high winds begins long before hurricane season. Hurricane-pruning, or removing almost all the leaves, is not an effective way of preparing your palm tree for a storm. In fact, hurricane pruning can be more detrimental than ...

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Great rewards in growing vegetables

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald Fall is a great time of year in South Florida as the final rains of October fall and nighttime temperatures drop low enough that you can plan your edible garden. Vegetable starts and seeds, as well as fresh herbs should all be close at hand as you get ready to plant your garden in early November. Vegetable gardening is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your garden. There is no greater return for your hard work than picking fresh ingredients for ...

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Essential tools of the trade

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald When buying garden tools, make a conscious decision to buy the best tool you can afford. Choosing the more expensive piece may save more than money. Saving a few dollars on a tool may cost you hours by making your work harder and longer. Every tool has a low grade, middle grade and a professional grade. Higher grade tools will last longer and save you money in the long run. They can also be taken apart, sharpened and cleaned, while a low-grade tool is ...

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The myriad benefits of working in your garden

Monday, April 29, 2013

as pubilshed in The Miami Herald As I write this article, a mighty mountain awaits me. In my side yard, three massive piles have merged to become my own personal Mulch Everest - the result of three truckloads of tree-trimmer goodness that were deposited just a few days ago. It is up to me to spread my Everest, and I relish the task. Not only will the mulch beautify my plantings and slowly decompose to add organic nutrients to my soil, I will also get a very nice bit of exercise. Why ...

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Feed your soil, not just your plants

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald Building healthy soil is one of the most important things you can do for your garden, especially if you are growing an edible garden. Here in Florida, we are particularly challenged with rocky, sandy soil that is low in nutrients and organic matter. Adding organic matter to your soil will provide a wealth of benefits that will be reaped for years to come. Think of your soil as a living organism that supports the plants growing in it. Soil is far from dead ...

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The live oak is a Florida favorite

Monday, April 29, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald There are estimated to be more than 500 species of oaks, but if you make your home in South Florida's distinctive climate, you most likely are familiar with only one - the live oak, Quercus virginiana, the only oak in South Florida that truly becomes a tree, reaching heights of 60 feet with a spread as wide or greater. The live oak, which ranges as far north as Virginia (hence the specific epithet virginiana) and as far west as Texas, is very well...

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Edible gardens promise more than vegetables

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald At a time when my tween daughter is fully entrenched in texting and technology, some very strange words have been falling out of her mouth. "Dad, you promised we would have cucumbers this year, right?" "Dad, you are going to build that second vegetable garden bed like you said, aren't you?" "I don't think we planted enough carrots last year." She has been peppering me with these comments and questions for the last...

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Society too disconnected with nature

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Do you notice a disconnect between the natural world and our daily life? Do you wonder why obesity is quickly becoming our country's biggest health issue? Questions like these prompted author Richard Louv to coin the term "nature-deficit disorder" in response to the growing problems that stem from society's dependence on the indoors. The concept that we need to unplug and spend more time outdoors is not a recent development; botanical...

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Great bird and butterfly plants for a small yard

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Many people have a tiny yard but still want to enjoy a few plants. The ones I am suggesting need little care once established. Many have fragrant flowers and all provide food in the form of small fruit for birds. All of them may be grown easily in a shady to full sun location. A good landscape consists of several layers. Tall plants in the background with smaller shrubs in front help give a more natural, appealing design. Pigeon plum, Coccoloba diversifolia, ...

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What to do in the dry season

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Although most places across the country have four seasons complete with changing leaves, snow days and the first robins of spring, South Florida has only two real seasons - wet and dry. You should have noticed a change recently, a little coolness in the air and very little humidity. That is the signal that we are leaving our wet months - usually late May to late October - and entering into our dry season. This coincides with the rest of the...

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