Tag Archive: Home

Permaculture Practices for the Home Landscape

If you’ve attended any of our landscaping classes, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “Right Plant, Right Place”.  This phrase is a simple reminder to research plant growth habits and growing conditions before making selections for your landscape.  This not only holds true for ornamental plants, but for edible crops as well.  A term used to describe the use of edibles as ornamentals is “Permaculture”.  Now this is an extremely simplified definition of the term, but permaculture comes from a combination of the words “permanent” and “agriculture”.  The thought behind permaculture is to fashion an edible landscape after a natural ecosystem.

There are a number of strategies to becoming a successful permaculturist.  Below you will find a few examples.

  • Site Observation and Analysis – The slope, orientation to the sun, and sectors of your yard should all be documented.
    • Slope – Identifying the slope of your yard can help you determine the natural flow of water and nutrients.  For example, if you have a hill in your back yard you may want to install some plant beds between the peak of the slope and your house.  These beds will help absorb water and nutrients before they have a chance to reach the house.
    • Orientation – Think about the location, relevant to your house, of each of your edible landscape areas.  The eastern side of your house receives morning sunlight, which is much cooler than the western side of your house that receives sunlight in the afternoon.  A tomato plant will be much happier if it can avoid the afternoon heat.
    • Sectors – While walking your property, you will notice differences in soil texture, soil moisture, and the plants and weeds growing in these different areas.  You can divide your yard based on these characteristics along with slope, orientation, and shade percentage to develop sectors of your property.
  • Cover Crops and Living Mulch – Cover crops are planted in areas that you would normally allow to go fallow.  Living mulches are plants that are planted alongside edible plants to help fill voids.  The benefits of both are listed below.
    • Weed Supression
    • Erosion Control
    • Produce and/or Scavenge Nutrients
    • Nematode Supression
    • Harbor Beneficial Insects
clover flower

Clover is an excellent cover crop choice and has a beautiful flower. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS.

  • Space Utilization – The third criteria is to mimic a forest.  Just like any good forest, your “forest garden” will consist of different layers of vegetation.
    • You can start by planting large deciduous trees such as pecans or pears farthest from the house.  These trees will allow filtered light to penetrate the layer below.
    • Next, you can plant smaller fruit trees such as citrus or peaches along the understory of the larger trees.
    • Then, you can plant your vegetable and herb garden around your fruit tree plantings.
    • Finish by planting root and vining vegetables such as carrots or sweet potatoes at the edge of the forest.
a mix of vegetable plants

A mixed vegetable garden. Photo Credit: eXtension.org.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the concept of permaculture, but I encourage you to dig a little deeper.  What could be the harm with being able to eat your landscape?  Just don’t eat too much or you may lose your landscape entirely!

An “Intermediate Permaculture” class is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 at the Jackson County Extension Office.  For more information, please call (850)-482-9620 and ask for Matt.

For more information on permaculture please visit the NC State Permaculture Page.

For more information on “Right Plant, Right Place” please visit the UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Living Site.

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/25/permaculture-practices-for-the-home-landscape/

Healthy and Delicious, Oyster Mushrooms Can be Grown at Home

Healthy and Delicious, Oyster Mushrooms Can be Grown at Home

Following basic instructions, grow oyster mushrooms using sterilized straw, a plastic bag, oyster mushroom spawn, and water. Photo by Sunny Liao.

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) – which have nothing to do with oysters besides their similar shape – are some of the most delicate, subtlety flavored, and easiest to prepare mushrooms of the culinary world.

They can easily be fried, stir-fried, or braised within a matter of minutes in broths, vinegar, wines, and sauces; or added to soups, stuffed, or mixed with chopped garlic. Other mushrooms, such as shiitake, are sturdier and impart a meatier flavor and texture to a dish. Oyster mushrooms, especially those lighter in color, pair well with seafood or a white meat. Highly perishable, you will want to freeze oyster mushrooms after sautéing with butter or oil to preserve, or dehydrate them to enjoy at a later date.

In addition to being an easy mushroom to prepare, oyster mushrooms are a great source of fiber, protein, and many vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent source of the antioxidant ergothioneine.

Oyster mushrooms can come in many shades, from cream-colored, to gray, golden, tan, and brown. Their white colored gills, when present, extend from beneath the cap down to their very short stems. They are often described as smelling slightly like licorice and can grow up to about nine inches, but are best consumed young when tender and mild.

Oyster mushrooms grow in many subtropical and temperate environments, commonly found in nature growing in layers, decomposing the wood of dying hardwood trees. This decomposition benefits the ecosystem, as the mushrooms return nutrients and minerals back into the soil.

Interestingly, oyster mushrooms are one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. The mycelia of the fungi can consume and digest nematodes, which is how it is thought the oyster mushrooms acquire nitrogen.

Arguably one of the best qualities of oyster mushrooms are the ease to which they can be cultivated at home. Using sterilized straw, a plastic bag, oyster mushroom spawn, water, and following basic instructions, oyster mushroom can be produced in as little as two weeks!

You can learn all about oyster mushroom production on the Penn State Extension page: Cultivation of Oyster Mushrooms (http://extension.psu.edu/plants/vegetable-fruit/mushrooms/publications/guides/cultivation-of-oyster-mushrooms).

Once you have the materials gathered, follow this guide, developed by UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension, to prepare oyster mushrooms bags at home: Preparation of Oyster Mushroom Bags (http://suwannee.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/PREPARATIONOFOYSTERMUSHROOMBAGS.2012.pdf).

As well as being healthy and delicious, oyster mushroom cultivation is fun, and just needs a small amount of space and effort!

 

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/11/healthy-and-delicious-oyster-mushrooms-can-be-grown-at-home/

Planning ahead can reduce home and landscape damage

Planning ahead can reduce home and landscape damage

Even large oaks may fall during a tornado. Photo credit: northescambia.com

Even large, healthy oaks may fall during a tornado. Photo credit: northescambia.com

When we think of bad weather in Florida, hurricanes are typically the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, Florida is 4th in the nation in tornado frequency—and when adjusted for frequency per square mile, we are actually number 1. Residents of Escambia County are believers now, as the community reels from enduring two tornadoes in the span of a week. Both rated as EF3 storms, the winds in the twisters (136-165 mph) were nearly equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. The western Panhandle and much of south Alabama were under tornado watches as the most recent band of thunderstorms moved through.

Based on a thorough study of surviving trees after hurricanes in Florida, there are several species of trees best suited to windstorms. For north Florida, some of the top species are: Florida scrub hickory, several native holly species, Southern magnolia, sand live oak, myrtle oak, and bald and pond cypress. Data from the full study and an in-depth overview is available from the University of Florida.  To prepare for a heavy thunderstorm or a milder hurricane, it is wise to replace or plant trees with the most wind-resistant species. Because of the damage from falling trees in storms, many homeowners are nervous about planting trees. However, there are so many benefits to healthy trees in a landscape that they vastly outweigh the small risk of them falling.

Keep in mind that tornadoes are the most violent natural disasters and may cause complete devastation of homes, neighborhoods, and forests in a matter of seconds. After the Escambia County tornadoes, we witnessed large uprooted trees, downed power lines, flipped vehicles and blown-off roofs. Several homes and apartments were completely flattened or blown off their foundations. Luckily, the odds are in one’s favor of not getting hit directly by a tornado—because there’s often little anyone can do for a landscape in that situation. It’s best to hunker down in a windowless inner room or hallway, which saved the lives of hundreds during the last round of bad weather.

Updraft entering the garage of this house may have caused the roof blowout above it. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson

Wind entering the garage of this house may have caused the roof blowout above it. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson

However, there’s good news that work that can be done to help protect a home during storms. Hardening homes through “windstorm mitigation” techniques can prevent updraft from strong winds. A house is only as strong as its weakest area, and those are typically the connections between the walls, roof, and foundation. A wind-rated garage door and/or brace are crucial, as strong winds can enter a garage and blow out the roof above it.

When strong winds enter a hope, their force moving out can cause an updraft and lift off the roof. Graphic courtesy UF IFAS.

When strong winds enter a home, their force moving out can cause an updraft and lift off the roof. Graphic courtesy UF IFAS.

In Escambia and Santa Rosa County, the local nonprofit “Rebuild Northwest Florida” operates a cost-sharing program to help residents harden homes. After the tornado in Century (near the Alabama border in north Escambia County), engineers from Rebuild examined a home that suffered a direct hit from a tornado. The home had been retrofit with crucial wind mitigation techniques and sustained no structural damage. Buildings, sheds, and homes all around it were destroyed. Examples of several wind mitigation techniques, including storm shutters, wind-rated windows, garage door braces and a tornado shelter are available for public viewing at the Escambia County Extension office in our windstorm mitigation building.

As the spring storm season heats up and rolls into hurricane season, keep in mind these suggestions for both the landscape and home. As always, contact your local Extension office if you have any questions.

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Author: Carrie Stevenson – ctsteven@ufl.edu

Coastal Sustainability Agent, Escambia County Extension

Carrie Stevenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/02/planning-ahead-can-reduce-home-and-landscape-damage/

Spring Clean Your Way to a Safer Home!

clean 

Spring cleaning of one’s home is a tradition dating back centuries that is tied to the vernal equinox – the first day of spring.   At the spring equinox, days are approximately 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses. In many cultures this longer, lighter, warmer day is often a cause for celebration! And who could even think about celebrating a longer, lovelier day without a clean home?

The kitchen is a great place to start! You can protect yourself by preventing the spread of germs where food is prepared. However, the terms clean, sanitize and disinfect are often used interchangeably which can cause confusion. Best practices based upon current research state that cleaning and sanitizing is multi-step process. And even though surfaces look visibly clean, they may still be contaminated with microorganisms (infectious fungi, bacteria and viruses).

Cleaning is the removal of dirt from food preparation surfaces. These can be counters, cutting boards, dishes knives, utensils pots and pans – even your refrigerator.

  1. Wash surface with soap and warm water
  2. Rinse with clean water
  3. Air dry or dry with a clean disposable towel

Sanitizing reduces germs on inanimate – nonliving surfaces.

  1. Wash surface with soap and warm water using appropriate cleaning agents and equipment. Detergents can penetrate soil quickly whereas solvent, acid or abrasive cleaners may be needed for deep cleaning. The friction of cleaning — often with soap and water — removes most surface germs, which is adequate for most household surfaces.
  2. Rinse with clean water
  3. Air dry or dry with a clean disposable towel

Disinfecting destroys or inactivates most germs on inanimate surfaces.

  1. Wash surface with soap and warm water
  2. Rinse with clean water
  3. Disinfecting is not appropriate in all cases. However, it’s a good idea to get in the routine of disinfecting countertops, door and cabinet handles, and sink and sink faucets as these places are used frequently- think where dirt and guck can collect!
  4. Air dry or dry with a clean disposable towel

Also remember to disinfect dishcloths – often. Launder dishcloths frequently using the hot water cycle of the washing machine. Be sure to dry cloths thoroughly. These items can harbor bacteria and when wet, promote bacterial growth. Also, consider using disposable towels to clean up surfaces.

And don’t forget your kitchen sink drain and disposal. Once or twice a week clean, sanitize and disinfect.

Bathroom surfaces can be of critical concern. Surfaces closest to the toilet bowl – seat, cistern and nearby walls and shelving are most affected. When cleaning and disinfecting bathroom surfaces it is important to understand fecal matter is especially a huge matter of concern!

Then there are our general housekeeping surfaces, floors, walls, and furniture, which are low–touch surfaces that require low-level of disinfections. Cleaning these surfaces frequently with a bit of detergent or a low-level disinfectant designed for general housekeeping can decrease the level of contamination. General procedures should be followed. Remove dirt form surfaces (dust, vacuum or sweep) sanitize or disinfect, allow surfaces to air dry.

Thorough cleaning of all surfaces is important to reduce the spread of pathogens. High-touch surfaces, surfaces that are handled frequently, throughout the day, by numerous people, need cleaning and disinfecting. These surfaces can include doorknobs, light switches, phones, keyboards etc. that can become contaminated by objects such an inadequately cleaned rag, sponges or even improperly washed hands.

Cleaning regularly prevents the build-up of materials that can carry pathogens and support their growth. Some pathogens, viruses especially, can have a long shelf life and can stay on surfaces if they are not properly cleaned, sanitized or disinfected.

Take a look at The University of Florida IFAS EDIS publication explaining the use of common household products to use effectively as sanitizers. Also remember, it is critical to read and follow the safety instructions on any product you use.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY128000.pdf

http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice

Heidi Copeland Extension Agent II Family and Consumer Sciences

615 Paul Russell Road Tallahassee, FL 32301-7060 850/606-5203

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Author: Heidi Copeland – hbc@ufl.edu

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Leon County Florida Educational Program Focus: •Food, Nutrition and Wellness •Child Development and Parenting
http:leon.ifas.edu

Heidi Copeland

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/11/spring-clean-your-way-to-a-safer-home/

Plan Carefully Around Home Foundations

Plan Carefully Around Home Foundations

Variety is the spice of life and more homeowners are incorporating this philosophy into the design of their homes. Windows especially are becoming more of a design feature, so we should change our philosophy on landscaping around them.

Windows allow us to feel connected to the outdoors and allow natural light to pass into the living area. They let us enjoy flowers, wildlife, and even keep an eye on outdoor activities. Because so many homes are using larger frame windows that may be only two feet off the ground, careful planning of landscaping is necessary so views are not blocked by a mass of branches and leaves.

Many common foundation plants that have been planted around homes in the past may not be good choices for homes with low windows. Ligustrum, various holly and loropetalum species, and several types of azaleas will mature to medium‑sized shrubs and block a good portion of windows in a couple of years. Though continuous pruning can keep these plants low, it also can result in pest problems due to frequent pruning wounds and thick growth.

Foundation plants should create a low‑maintenance landscape. Selecting plants that do not grow into the view of windows will save time and money in unnecessary maintenance activities.

Nurseries carry a wide variety of interesting plants. There are dwarf varieties of evergreen shrubs, such as ‘Prostrata’ Japanese plum yew, ‘Purple Pixie’ loropetalum, and many new dwarf nandinas that can be planted in front of some windows.

Picture 3 _Purple Pixie

‘Purple Pixie’ loropetalum.

 

Groundcovers, or even flowering annuals and perennials, could also be good choices under windows. These plants can break the monotony of a typical foundation planting.

Maintaining a mass of annual or perennial flowers below front windows will require a little more work throughout the year. The flower planting will have to be weeded, groomed and even replaced from time to time.  A separate irrigation zone for the flowering plants will need to be established so that other foundation shrubs do not receive too much water when the annuals and perennials are watered.

Stokesia_laevis Stoke'saster

Stoke’s aster is an evergreen groundcover for sunny areas.

Coleus

The are almost endless selections of beautiful sun coleus.

In full sun, consider Stoke’s aster, sun coleus, Dicliptera, daylilies, sedum, or Oxeye daisy, In shade, consider caladiums, ferns and ‘Hip Hop’ Euphorbia.

There are many groundcovers that can be used. Know the growth habit of the particular groundcover since many such as Asiatic jasmine and junipers will spread over large areas. Consider clumping plants like muhly grass or ‘Evergreen Giant’ liriope.

muhly_found

Mulhly grass shows off purplish blooms in the late summer and fall.

 

Plants aren’t the only possibility for areas around windows. Consider garden ornaments, or create a bird window, with a bird bath, feeder or ground‑feeding area for animals that can be viewed from indoors.

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Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/02/10/plan-carefully-around-home-foundations/

Strawberries for the Home Garden Tuesday October 28

Strawberries for the Home Garden Tuesday October 28

Strawberries for the Home Garden

Tuesday October 28, 2014

UF IFAS Extension

Washington County

strawberry 2000

Learn how to grow strawberries in the Florida fall home garden !

Where: Washington County Ag Center East Wing Conference Room

1424 Jackson Ave. Chipley, FL 32428

When: Tuesday October 28th , 2014 6:00pm-8:00pm

Cost: $ 10.00. Refreshments Served

Limit 30 participants

Strawberry plant plugs will be provided to participants !

On site demonstration ! 

Register Online at this link

Pre Registration required for count: Contact Nikki or Cynthia at 850-638-6180 or email Matthew Orwat at mjorwat@ufl.edu

Follow this link for a flyer

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu/lng/about/

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/10/21/strawberries-for-the-home-garden-tuesday-october-28/

Tips for the Busy 4-H Parent: Setting Up a Home Communication Center

Home Command Center idea from SouthernLiving.com

Home Command Center idea from SouthernLiving.com

As summer comes to a close, many parents are overwhelmed getting ready for “back to school” let alone the new 4-H club year! Over the next few weeks, we will share some timely tips for busy 4-H parents so that you are less likely to miss a school event, practice, 4-H meeting, or deadline. One of the best ways to stay organized and on track is to have a home communication center.

The first thing you will need to decide is where to place your command center. It should be located in a well-traveled area of your home, such as a kitchen, entry way, den, or family room. You can use a blank wall space that you walk by several times a day, a corner of your kitchen countertop, or even a cabinet. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest and organizing blogs that can inspire you.

Once you have determined a location, consider which elements you want to include in your command center. Every command center needs at least three items:

  1. Calendar– Some families have a calendar for each member of the family, but for smaller families, it is recommended to use one calendar and assign each family member a color, and write their activities in that color on the calendar. You can use a traditional paper calendar or a dry erase calendar. Remember that if you use a one-month dry erase calendar, you will need another calendar or space to put important future appointments.
  2. Folders or cubbies– You can use wall mounted folders/magazine holders, or file folder holders that sit on a counter or desk. One folder per family member to contain important homework assignments, 4-H project information, receipts, bills, and so forth. Folders are not a permanent filing solution- they are only to contain information that is not ready to be filed, or information that that you need to access frequently such as a school lunch menu, or soccer practice schedule.
  3. Message Board– Bulletin boards, dry erase boards, chalk boards, or magnetic boards work well for reminders, important phone numbers, directions to a birthday party, grocery lists, and other bits of information that you do not want to put in a folder or on a calendar. If you are limited on wall space, consider installing self-adhesive cork board to the inside of a kitchen cabinet located above or next to your command center.

Other items that you might want to include in your command center: chore charts, weekly/monthly menu plans, a hook for keys, backpacks, jackets, and a charging station for cell phones.

Last but not least, think about how you want your center to look. You can keep it very basic and functional, or you can design it to coordinate with the rest of the room’s décor/color palette. Much of the look and feel of your command center will depend on your budget. Many companies sell coordinating command center components in a variety of finishes that you can mix and match, but they are more expensive. A less expensive alternative is to purchase the individual elements that you need from your local office supply or big box store, and then paint them to match, or cover them with contact paper in a fun print or color. Your command center can be as simple or elaborate as you prefer- you are only limited by your creativity!

As your family prepares for back to school, don’t forget that the 4-H year will be coming to a close at the end of this month. Enrollment in Florida 4-H begins August 23rd. To re-enroll, visit: http://florida.4honline.com or contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office.

Next Week: Setting up a Homework Center

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Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/08/08/tips-for-the-busy-4-h-parent-setting-up-a-home-communication-center/

Sprucing Up Your Home This Fall? Know Thy Paint!

So now the weather is cooling off and you’ve been thinking about doing something to give your home a much-needed facelift. Perhaps now you’re thinking you want to add some seasonal touches. The easiest way to spruce up a home is with a coat of paint. Painting will give the home an updated, refreshed look and the home will immediately seem more defined and welcoming.

Spruce up your house with a fresh coat of paint.

Spruce up your house with a fresh coat of paint.

The best time to paint the interior of a home is in the fall or spring.  The cooler weather makes working both inside and out much more pleasant. Cooler weather also allows you to ventilate the rooms by opening up windows.  When it comes to the job itself with so many paint choices, which one should you choose?  Lead-based paints seem to have been eliminated from the US market, however, there are still other issues with paint that need addressing.

According to the Green Builders Coalition, all paint comes in three parts:  pigment that gives it color; the binder, or resin, that makes the pigment stick when the paint is applied and forms a solid layer of paint; and the carrier, or solvent, that keeps the paint in liquid form and evaporates once the paint is exposed to air.  All of these contain different chemicals.  Other substances or chemicals may be added to paint to give it special characteristics, such as mold resistance or moisture resistance.

One additive besides lead that has received much attention recently is volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.  Why are VOCs in paint in the first place? They are the “glue” that keeps the pigment and the binder or resin in a liquid solution long enough for the paint to be applied, then they conveniently evaporate so the paint can dry. Therefore, VOCs do serve a necessary function in paint.

Why is there a major concern over high-VOC paints?  Like anything that produces high vapors, paints that have high-VOCs may cause or trigger respiratory problems.  Consumers need to be aware that, although evaporation is greatest during and right after application, it may continue at lower levels for months. The emitted gases mix with the air in the room, exposing occupants to chemicals that can cause short- and long-term respiratory problems.

The solution is not to leave the house unpainted, but to find low- or no-VOC paints, which are now sold side-by-side with conventional high-VOC paints.  Most home improvement stores carry these; consumers just have to do their homework.  While there are no building code limitations on use of low-VOC paints, it is imperative that consumers find out more about the product before they select it.   The EPA website, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html#Health_Effects, offers more information on VOCs in general.  The National Association of Home Builders also has posted a guide consumers can use to select low-VOC paint on their website: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/low-voc-paints.

Sprucing up your home can be very exciting and painting your home is a great way to express your individuality and ensure your home reflects your sense of style and personality.  For more information on maintaining your home, visit the University of Florida/IFAS Extension publications website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_homes.

 

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Author: Elizabeth – gorimani@ufl.edu

FCS faculty with University of Florida/IFAS Extension in Gadsden County
http://gadsden.ifas.ufl

Elizabeth

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/10/17/sprucing-up-your-home-this-fall-know-thy-paint/

“Slow” Down When You Get Home – Dinner is Done!

Wouldn’t it be great to have dinner ready tonight when you walk in the door? Can you smell the aroma of the roast, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, and onion as you open the front door of your home? Slow cookers make having dinner on busy days or after work quick and easy.

There are various types of slow cookers. You can buy slow cookers with multiple crocks. The multiple crocks are great for game day parties to hold chili, cheeses, or dips! Some slow cookers have different heat settings like high, medium, and low and need to be turned off manually. Others have actual temperature settings or timers that shut off or switch to a warming setting automatically.

Use a slow cooker to have dinner ready for your family when you get home.

Use a slow cooker to have dinner ready for your family when you get home.

Some benefits of the slow cooker include:

1. Your kitchen does not get as hot as it does using the oven.

2. The low heat tenderizes less expensive, leaner cuts of meat and reduces shrinkage.

3. You can transport your food in the same crock, thus keeping the heat in the food. When you use the oven, you have to remove the food from the heat source, resulting in much heat loss en route to your destination.

Slow cookers do have some disadvantages as well. Some vitamins and minerals are lost from vegetables due to the long slow cooking process. When foods are cooked quickly at a high temperature, the enzymes are deactivated so there are minimal nutrients lost. So, if you plan on using your slow cooker for vegetables, give them a quick blanch to keep from losing too many nutrients.

Cleanup is easier with the slow cooker, especially if you use the bag inserts available from your local grocer. The slow cooker is easily stored out of the way and is a great way to “fix it and forget it” until it is time to eat. I wish I had something cooking in mine right now!

For more information on the slow cooker:

FCS80001/FY1288: Keeping Food Safe: Preparing and Cooking

FCS80001-Span/FY1292: Manteniendo los alimentos seguros

 

 

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Author: amandangriffin – amandangriffin@ufl.edu

amandangriffin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/09/24/slow-down-when-you-get-home-dinner-is-done/

Asian Cockroach – Is it a Pest of the Home or the Garden?

German cockroach (left), Asian cockroach (right). Credit: Dina L. Richman, University of Florida

German cockroach (left), Asian cockroach (right). Credit: Dina L. Richman, University of Florida

When people first see Asian cockroaches they may think they are seeing little flying moths. Or they may believe they are seeing German cockroaches because the two species look similar. Keen observation will indicate that there are differences, particularly in behavior. 

In appearance, both German and Asian cockroach adults are about 5/8 inch long and are brown in color with two darker parallel bands running lengthwise behind their head. But unlike German cockroaches, Asian cockroaches are strong fliers with sustained flights of at least 120 feet. As a person is watering a mulched plant bed with a hose, the water disturbs the roaches and they quickly fly out of the mulch, resembling little moths. Or home gardeners may see them flying out of the lawn during mowing.

German cockroaches prefer to live indoors and are a major household pest as a result. Asian cockroaches prefer to live outside in mulched beds, compost piles and lawns. Their numbers can be high with populations of 30,000 to 250,000 per acre. 

They become active at sundown and are attracted to lights. They often fly inside through any opening in a house such as lighted doorways or windows. Once inside, they fly to and crawl on illuminated television or computer screens and walk on walls while lights are on during the evening. This is when people believe they are seeing a German cockroach invasion in their house, but German cockroaches do not fly. 

Many people become upset when they see Asian roaches inside their home. The good news is, however, that indoor infestations are rare occurrences. 

Asian cockroaches are susceptible to insecticides but they are difficult to control because of their abundant population and their ability to fly considerable distances. 

Because they can fly 120 feet or more in a single flight, large areas around a home require treatment. And cockroaches in surrounding untreated areas may result in re-infestation. 

Residual sprays around the perimeter of structures are usually unsuccessful because of numerous infested areas in adjacent lawns, mulch and wooded areas. Adults enter homes through windows and doorways and immediately fly to walls, avoiding baseboards and other typical areas normally treated for German cockroaches. 

Best control has been attained by using insecticide baits (labeled for roach control) in infested areas outdoors. 

For additional information on Asian cockroaches and their control, contact your local University of Florida / IFAS Extension Office or Pest Control Operator.

 

 

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Author: Larry Williams – llw5479@ufl.edu

Larry Williams is the County Extension Director and Residential Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County.

Larry Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/08/12/asian-cockroach-is-it-a-pest-of-the-home-or-the-garden/

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