Okaloosa County Master Gardeners will provide two gardening events this month at the Okaloosa County Extension Annex located at 127 W. Hollywood Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach.
The first plant clinic of this year will be provided by Okaloosa County Master Gardeners from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 11.
The plant clinic is designed to provide a place and time for people to bring in samples of plants for diagnosis including weeds for identification.
If you have a plant problem that you would like diagnosed, bring a sample of the weed, plant, insect, etc., to the clinic. Be sure to bring a fresh sample that represents what is seen in the landscape. This may include a plant stem with several leaves, a 4-inch square of grass with roots attached, etc.
You may also bring a sample of your soil for pH testing.
Here’s how to collect a soil sample.
Collect a composite soil sample by removing sub-samples from ten to fifteen small holes dug throughout the sample area (e.g. the front yard). To obtain the sub-samples, carefully pull back mulch, grass or ground covers to expose bare soil. With a hand trowel or shovel, dig small holes six inches deep and then remove a one inch thick by six inch deep slice of soil. Combine and mix the sub-samples in a clean plastic bucket. Place about two cups of this mixture in a plastic bag or small throwaway plastic container. Close the container. If the soil is wet, let it air dry by spreading it out on newspaper before putting it in the container. Make sure to attach a slip of paper with your name, phone number and where the sample was taken (e.g. lawn, vegetable garden, flowerbed, etc.).
Master Gardener and bee keeper, Pam Garrett, will provide a program titled “Bee Amazed” from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16. Learn about Florida-Friendly plants that will attract bees and other pollinators. Honeybees are amazing insects that not only produce honey, but through pollination also help produce one-third of the food we eat.
Pam learned her trade from her great-grandfather in the Appalachian Mountains of Southern West Virginia where she helped work his honeybee hives and continues the work today with her husband Mike in Niceville.
Join the Master Gardeners on March 11 for the plant clinic and on March 16 for the Bee Amazed seminar at the Extension Annex, 127 West Hollywood Blvd., Fort Walton Beach.
There is no cost to attend either event but please call 850-689-5850 to register for the bee seminar as space is limited.
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, March 3, 2016