UF Ext. Service for Okaloosa County

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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Three Steps to Successful Food Plots

Friday, November 08, 2019 by Jennifer Bearden When people put in food plots and are not successful, I normally see the following three problems as possible cause.  First, they didn’t consider soil pH or fertility.  Second, they didn’t choose the right plant varieties for our area.  Third, they didn’t manage weeds properly or at all.  So following these three steps can ...

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Low Maintenance by Design Landscape Lecture

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 by Larry Williams It is possible to create a landscape that is impossible to maintain. A landscape should be aesthetically pleasing, functional and maintainable. A pleasing, low maintenance landscape requires some planning and some thought put into correct plant selection and placement. You can think of it as low maintenance by design. Done correctly, you should end up ...

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2019 Peanut Butter Challenge

Monday, October 7, 2019 By: Jennifer Bearden Peanuts are pretty big business here in Okaloosa county. In 2015 we harvested 2,049 acres of peanuts, for about 8.1 million pounds. That’s enough peanuts to make over 82 million peanut butter sandwiches. So, suffice it to say, peanuts are an important crop for us here. Peanuts and peanut butter are also protein ...

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Is Small Scale Poultry Production Right for You?

by Jennifer Bearden | Oct 07, 2019 | Livestock, Poultry Raising chickens in your backyard is becoming more popular once again.  There has been a push to change land use codes to allow for small scale poultry production in large cities and towns as more people want to raise their own chickens for eggs and meat.  Under the Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation Program (regulated by FDACS), ...

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