We have kicked off our new year of Garden Club activities beginning with a lecture on honeybees by Jessica Sullivan, from the Osceola County Extension Service. She talked about the history of bees, explaining how they benefit us and why we rely on them so much for much of our food production. We also conducted our first meeting on the Zoom platform, but hope to get back to in person meetings soon. We also had our first field trip in a year and a half. We traveled to Island Grove Winery where we looked at beehives and saw how they worked and saw how the bees did their jobs. Afterwards we tasted different types of honeys and saw how the tastes differed depending on the flowers they were pollinating. A wine tasting followed that along with a lunch.
This month’s meeting will be given by Maggie O’Halloran from the Florida School of Holistic Living, where she will talk about edible healthy greens out and about in our yards and forests. Our field trips this month are going to the Leu Gardens for a concert and to The Barn in Lake Alfred. Always a good time to socialize and learn new things with your friends.
We are having an October work session to keep the Memorial Garden in town looking good. Summer temperatures and rainfalls are quite hard on many of the plants and they need to be renewed on a regular basis. The Memorial Garden will be the location of the community’s annual memorial service scheduled for November 6, 10 a.m.
The Garden Club is planning on having a Poinsettia sale for the Christmas holiday season. We should have three colors of plants in four different sizes. Watch for advertisements around town and on our website at celebrationgardenclub.org.
Membership is open to everyone in Celebration and you can register for club memberships on our website. It is $30 for a single membership and $40 for a couple for the entire year.
Welcome to cooler temperatures in the next few weeks. Now is the time in the fall to remove your summer plants to and put in cooler weather plants and vegetables. October is a time to do a lot of garden and yard work in order to get ready for “winter.” Tom MacCubbin, a respected Master Garden in the area, writes many articles in the Orlando sentinel and hosts a website on gardening in central Florida. His suggestions for this time of the year can be found at, orlandosentinel.com/features/os-fe-october-in-the-garden-2020-20200926-y5bpdvv65zbpjhcuvf273zfxwe-story.html
Regarding tomatoes here in Florida….Tomato is a warm-season crop that is sensitive to cold. Mid-February is spring tomato-planting season in Central Florida. The fall planting season in Osceola County is October. If you grow your own plants from seed, you can start them now in a warm, bright window indoors, or in a tray with a clear top (a mini “greenhouse”). Transplant seedlings when they are about 8 in. tall.
Plant in the right place
If you’re only growing a few tomatoes, growing in raised beds or containers works well. Container growing reduces weeds and soil pests, and can be done on a patio or in a screen enclosure. Only use bagged growing mixes labeled for edible crops. Soil drainage is essential; use containers with drainage holes. Like most vegetables, tomatoes require a sunny location to produce well.
Plant the right variety
Tomatoes come in green, white, yellow, purple, brown, multi-colored, and red fruiting varieties. Flavors can vary widely too; try a few different varieties to see what you like most.
That’s all for this month. Remember to sharpen and clean your tools when needed and they will last you a long time!
By Brad Wagoner
Club President, 2022