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Re-Blogged from the University of Florida, IFAS….

Today, like every June 8 since 1992, many people around the globe celebrate World Oceans Day. This event was created to advocate and inspire people, communities, and nations to take action on the sustainable use, protection, conservation, and preservation of the oceans and their inhabitants.

Every year, there is a theme for World Ocean Day. This year’s theme is “revitalization: collective action for the ocean.” This theme recognizes that people around the globe need to work together to protect our oceans. And we should be on it; after all, the oceans produce at least half of the world’s oxygen, feed billions of people, contribute to the world economy, and host the most biodiversity on Earth.

Therefore, I am challenging you to join me to help revitalize our oceans by being part of the solution to a global problem; the problem of marine debris, especially the problem of plastic pollution. Plastics are the most common form of marine debris.

Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment or the Great Lakes. In other words, products created by us that end up in the oceans.

Among the impacts of marine debris are damage to habitats, economic loss, damage to infrastructure, navigation hazards, facilitation of transport of invasive species, and negative impacts on human health and wildlife.

The great news is that there are many things that you can do from where you are to help and take action. Things that you can put into action at home, at school, at the store, on the water, and the shore, and that will make a big difference in our efforts to help our oceans, and to help ourselves.

Happy World Oceans Day. Say no to single-use plastic products. Do your part. And, enjoy the oceans.


Posted: June 8, 2022

Re-Blogged from the University of Florida, IFAS.

Everything Grows

Recently while singing Raffi’s, “Everything Grows” with my two boys, my oldest said, “no it doesn’t…fire hydrants don’t grow. Signs don’t, fences don’t, doors don’t…” Despite his snarky, yet funny observation, I reflected on the stanza, “food on the farm, fish in the sea, birds in the air, leaves on the tree. Everything grows, anyone knows, that’s how it goes.” Our gardens are one of the most powerful parts of our landscapes. Everything in our gardens grows – food, birds, plants, trees, and even ourselves.

In previous articles, we explored the power of gardening. Gardens we cultivate also cultivate physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits. For our summer gardening article series, “In the Garden, We Grow,” we will explore all the ins-and-outs vegetable gardening, so we too may grow.

Starting at the Beginning

The most common gardens in Florida are in-ground, raised beds, or containers. Hydroponics and aquaponics exist too, but that is a bigger topic for a different day. Most homeowners find success with raised bed gardens or container gardens due to Florida’s sandy soils. To select a location for a garden, find an area that gives approximately 6-8 hours of sun, is near a water source, and is away from buildings and trees.

If it is your first-time gardening, start small. Containers are a great first step into gardening or an alternative for anyone living in an apartment, condo, or townhome. If you have the ability to build a raised bed, start with a three-by-three foot raised bed with a 12”-18” depth. Of course, feel free to build a garden bed that works best for you. If bending over is difficult, build taller beds. To reduce the amount of soil needed to fill taller beds, first fill the beds with large logs and then fill the remaining space with soil.

Soil

Like all gardening, our success starts with our soil. When starting a raised bed, a general recommendation is the 1:1:1 ratio of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. A 3’x3’x18” vegetable bed requires 13.5 cubic feet of soil, which translates to 4.5 cubic feet of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. Mix your soil well, put it into your raised bed, and you have a reliably strong foundation to start your garden!

Water

To water your vegetable garden, you may install micro-irrigation or you may water it by hand. Please water in the morning to allow any excess water on the leaves to dry throughout the day. This helps reduce water use and reduces the threat of fungal issues developing in your garden.

Pests

With any garden, pests can be a nuisance. Scout regularly, treat early, and rotate plants around your garden. Remove pests by hand, but if you have a prolific pest problem, try insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). These pesticides are generally considered safe and should manage most garden pests.

Fertilizer

To help with your vegetable garden, you can fertilize. Fertilize after you completed a soil test and right before planting. You may side-dress as your vegetables and fruits grow.

Planning our Gardens

Due to our warmer seasons, you can have a productive garden all year. As we continue our “In the Garden, We Grow” article series, we will explore the different plants, pests, and other fun gardening strategies. So, feel free to start your garden, explore, and experiment. Sometimes we try something in our gardens that does not work but that is ok. For as long as we continually try new things and share with our community, we grow too.

 


Posted: June 8, 2022

May, is Water Safety Month. Here is a great article from the University of Florida.

Florida leads the nation with many impressive statistics such as having the most IGFA fishing world records (925), being the state with most amount of coastline in the lower 48 (1,350 miles) and having more boats registered here than any other state (954,731 recreational and 30,274 commercial registered vessels)! With almost half of the 836 reported 2020 accidents happening between the months of May-August. This is a great time to brush up on some safety information as you approach the water’s edge!

Keep Reading……