UF Ext. Service for Okaloosa County

Gardening in the Panhandle: LIVE !

by Matthew Orwat During these unusual times, the Gardening in the Panhandle Team has been working to bring you quality remote content through this online newsletter. In that vein, they have developed some new educational programming for their loyal readers. The University of Florida IFAS Extension Service will be providing one hour “Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE!” sessions on Zoom. These ...

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Lessons in Landscaping Provided by Oleander Caterpillars

by Larry Williams Friday, August 14, 2020 Oleander caterpillars, which are active on some oleanders during summer, can provide a number of gardening lessons. The adult moth is striking in appearance. The bluish to purplish moth has white dots on its black wings. The moths resemble wasps as they fly in and around oleander shrubs. It’s the orange caterpillars with black ...

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Muscadines–Our Florida Wild Grape

by Carrie Stevenson Friday, August 14, 2020 There is something deeply satisfying about plucking fruit off a plant growing outside and tasting it right off the vine/bush/tree. Since childhood, I have reached carefully through the tiny and numerous thorns of blackberry bushes growing in the woods, hoping the berry I’d worked for was more sweet than tart. One vine-ripe fruit that ...

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Mosquitoes

by Jennifer Bearden  | June 19, 2020 Last week, I was viciously attacked by one of the world’s deadliest and most dangerous creatures. Mosquitoes are very deadly insects.  Well, at least the females are.  Males don’t feed on blood.  Although their bite is really annoying, the mosquito’s deadly reputation comes from the diseases and parasites they transmit. Mosquitoes can vector parasites ...

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Local Farmers Markets Are Up And Running Despite COVID-19

by Jennifer Bearden  | May 1, 2020 Our Farmers’ Markets are essential services during this historic time.  Our local farmers are still planting and harvesting as usual.  Farming hasn’t stopped. However, some of our farmers have decided to set up roadside stands near their farms to sell their produce rather than going to the markets.  Many of these farmers have ...

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Odd Looking Caterpillar Becomes Beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly

by Larry Williams  | April 14, 2020 One of the things to do while stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, is to look for caterpillars and butterflies in your landscape. I’ve noticed giant swallowtail butterflies (Papilio cresphontes) a little early this year. The giant swallowtail is one of the largest and most beautiful butterflies in our area. Its larval stage ...

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History of the Virus – Plant Pathology

by Larry Williams  | April 09, 2020 Crestview, FL — Did you know that the first virus discovered was in plants, not in humans? As early as 1857, tobacco farmers in the Netherlands recognized a new disease of tobacco. It wasn’t called a virus at the time as the causal agent was unknown. In 1886, Adolph Mayer, a German agricultural chemist, determined that the “tobacco mosaic” disease could ...

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Slime molds are Common During Warm, Wet Weather

by Larry Williams  | April 2, 2020 With most of us being at home more due to restrictions on getting out, people seem to be noticing more of what is going on in their own lawns, landscapes and gardens. As a result, I am getting more questions about “unusual” things being seen. One of which happens to be slime mold. ...

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Small Mounds of Soil Caused by Ground-Dwelling Bees

by Larry Williams | Mar 20, 2020 Ground-dwelling bees get a lot of attention in late winter and spring as they create large numbers of small mounds in local lawns and landscapes. Many people become concerned as they see these bees hovering close to the ground out in their lawns and landscapes. But these bees are interesting, docile, beneficial and are unlikely to ...

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Why Let Your Own Backyard be a Source of Worry?

by Larry Williams  | March 17, 2020 In times like these, it seems that our own perceived “problems” pale in comparison to the “big picture.” In my day-to-day work, I have the opportunity to help people solve problems with their landscapes, lawns and gardens. I enjoy the problem solving part of my job as an extension agent. You’d be surprised how ...

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