How Does Your Garden Grow?

Maintained by members, Auro Community Garden is a sustainable garden using organic growing methods.

Photography by Sue Quigley

Growing your own food is undeniably the best way to get fresh, nutritious food economically, ethically and eco-friendly. But although we would all love to be able to pick vegetables straight from our garden for dinner every evening, for many it is just not possible. To be successful in growing your own food, you need enough land and nutrient-rich soil to grow that food. You have to be able bodied, have time to devote tending the garden and a budget to acquire seeds and supplies for starting a garden.

Planting the top of a Pineapple

Photography by Rocco Maglio

Have you ever wondered what you should do with the top of the pineapple that you purchased at the store? You can plant it in the ground, water it and it may grow into a pineapple plant that gives you another pineapple.

Pineapples grow well in Hernando county. The editor of the Brooksville Star began JC (John Cabell) Burwell planted pineapples in his backyard. There is a beautiful photo from 1899 of his daughter Sally standing in the pineapple garden at their house on Olive Street in downtown Brooksville.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Oakleaf Hydrangea

Lilly Browning serves as the Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, is a fantastic native shrub to have in your yard. The flowers are white or pink, and are quite lovely. Don’t expect the ball of puffy blooms you will see on the non-native French Hydrangea, but they are prolific and stunning in their own right. Even when not in bloom, this native shrub has very large and distinct leaves, shaped like oak leaves. So, this shrub holds interest even when not flowering. It prefers dry to partially wet soil, but can do well in occasionally wet soil.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Chickasaw Plum

Hernando County Florida Friendly Plant Program Coordinator

Chickasaw Plum, Prunus augustifolia, is a lovely little native tree that provides white flowers in late winter/early spring. It can be seen on roadsides peeking through the edge of the forest. Often confused for dogwood from a distance, Chickasaw Plum is a harbinger to central Florida spring. Chickasaw Plum can grow from 12 feet to 20 feet in height, and can spread 15 to 20 feet wide. It prefers well drained soil and doesn’t mind sand a bit. It has a high drought tolerance. It prefers full sun to part shade. It has a medium salt tolerance.

Hernando County's Master Gardeners Looking for New Volunteers

Dr. Lester is a UF/IFAS Extension Horticulture Agent

Master gardener

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension Service performs many valuable services for Florida’s residents. Many of the programs that Extension deals with involve horticulture: working with local farmers, teaching classes on gardening, and working in the local schools. But since most counties have maybe one horticulture agent, we get spread a little thin sometimes. This is where our volunteers, the Master Gardeners come in handy.