July Gardening Tips

July 7, 2018

The heat, humidity and frequent rains of July are great for tropical plants. Gardeners, however, take a bit of a beating. Remember to keep the sunscreen, insect repellant and iced tea handy as you venture out into your garden to perform some needed summer maintenance.

A midsummer application of fertilizer is usually required, especially on annual flowers, lawns, shrub beds and vegetable gardens. This is a supplemental application, so don’t overdo it. A 15-0-15 slow-release fertilizer is a good general purpose landscape fertilizer for most plants.

Major pruning jobs should have been done earlier, but there is still some maintenance pruning that should be done. Deadhead, or clip old flowers, from summer flowering shrubs as soon as they fade to help insure an extended season of bloom. Crape myrtles, hibiscus, hydrangeas and althea are examples of shrubs that will bloom repeatedly if light, selective pruning is done.

Flowering annuals also respond well to deadheading. Snip off old flowers and flower spikes before they have an opportunity to form seed. Allowing annual flowers to set seed can shorten their blooming season considerably.

Inspect your lawn and shrub plantings frequently in order to identify pest problems as early as possible. The most severe damage from pest insects normally begins in July. Be on the lookout for chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass; spittlebugs in centipede grass; sod webworm in all lawns-especially new ones; lacebug and caterpillars on azaleas; whiteflies on gardenia and spider mites on lots of different types of shrubs.

Sod webworms often attack lawns in the summer. They eat the grass blades producing areas that look as if they have been mowed too short. Close inspection will reveal that the blades have not been cleanly cut as with a mower blade but have been chewed along their edges and tips. These caterpillars feed at night and rest during the day down among the runners and in the thatch.

Once an insect pest is found, evaluate the damage and determine if control is necessary. If it is, choose the least toxic option. If only a few caterpillars are found, hand picking might be the choice. Aphids and spider mites can often be controlled by spraying with an insecticidal soap solution. Chemical insecticides are sometimes required. Before choosing one be sure that the insect pest has been properly identified and that the insecticide is labeled for that purpose For vegetable gardeners that have problems with nematodes, soil borne diseases and extensive weed problems, July is a great time to try soil solarization.

Prepare the soil as you normally would for a vegetable garden including adding organic matter. Moisten the area and cover with clear plastic, not black plastic. Clear plastic will produce the highest temperatures. Be sure to weigh down the edges of the plastic so that it doesn’t blow up. Allow the soil to bake in the sun for four to six weeks. The sun will raise the soil temperature high enough to kill many soil borne problems.

Tip of the Week: The nice thing about tomatoes is that you have the option of harvesting when the fruit is green if needed. Tomatoes will ripen indoors at room temperature. To ensure even ripening, place the tomato with the stem up. The ideal time to harvest tomatoes is when they are fully colored but still firm.

In general, it is best to harvest vegetables early in the mornings while the moisture content is higher. The overall quality will quickly diminish as vegetables are exposed to hotter temperatures later in the day.

Free Meals Available At The Molino, Century And Main Libraries

July 6, 2018

Free summer meals continue to be available at the libraries in Molino, Century and downtown Pensacola.

The  meals are available through a partnership with West Florida Public Libraries and Feeding the Gulf coast through Friday, August 3 for children 18 and younger.

Meals are available as follows:

– Molino Branch Library, 6450-A Highway 95A : Monday-Friday, breakfast from 9-10 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
– Century Branch Library, 7991 N. Century Blvd: Tuesday-Friday, lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
– Pensacola Library, 239 N. Spring St.: Monday-Friday, breakfast from 9-10 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

Pictured: Summer meals at the Century Branch Library. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

So This Beaver Heads Down To The Liquor Store On Highway 29…

July 3, 2018

A larger beaver was spotted alongside Highway 29 at Old Chemstrand Road, right in front of a liquor store, and it’s getting a lot of attention (and a lot of bad puns) on social media.  Rick Littlefield said he was surprised to see the beaver, and it retreated into the drainage ditch shortly after these photos. Other local residents say they have seen beavers by the busy highway before.  Photos courtesy Rick Littlefield for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

New Little Free Library At Cantonment Park

July 2, 2018

There’s a new Little Free Library in Cantonment. Ascend Performance Materials donated the new library at Carver Park on Webb Street.

The Little Free Library concept is simple — anyone from the community may borrow a book  or add a book to the library. Anyone taking a book or two from library does not need to return that exact book, and there are no due dates.

Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Ransom Teacher Receives Holocaust Education Fellowship

July 1, 2018

Ransom Middle School teacher Lauren Samoszenko was recently selected as one of 29 Holocaust educators from 12 states, Croatia and Poland, as a 2018 Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) Alfred Lerner Fellow.

As a newly minted fellow, Samoszenko took part in the JFR’s Summer Institute, an intensive five-day course for Holocaust educators held at Columbia University last week. She was able to explore the complex history of the Holocaust as well as discuss new teaching techniques for introducing the subject of the Holocaust into her classroom.

Teachers selected for the program must be English or social studies teachers at the middle or high school level, have taught at least five years, are at least five years from retirement and currently teach the Holocaust in their classroom.

Participants each come from a region of the country where the JFR operates Holocaust Centers of Excellence in conjunction with a local Holocaust museum or center. International educators were first invited to join the seminar in 2001 at the request of the U.S. State Department. Samoszenko was nominated by the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education.

Kids Show Off Their Artistic Skills During Library Summer Reading Program

June 28, 2018

Summer Reading Club program participants had a chance to show off their artistic skills Wednesday at the Century Branch Library.

Mike Artell, author of “Petite Rouge The Cajun Red Riding Hood”, visited the library to share his unique talents including cartooning and music.

Artell also appeared Thursday morning at the Molino Branch Library.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Do You Know The Difference Between Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke?

June 25, 2018

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body’s ability to cool itself is challenged  according to the National Weather Service.

When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps. Some of these symptoms and steps are listed below. Click on the infographic below for a full size version.

Source. National Weather Service

Molino Preschool Students Receive Letter From Donald Trump

June 24, 2018

A Molino preschool class recently sent their artwork and a letter to President Donald Trump to wish him a happy Presidents Day.  And to their surprise, the Tinker II Childcare students e received a letter back from Trump on Friday.

“Thank you for taking the time to write me. I always enjoy hearing  from young Americans like you.  As your President, I want you to know that I am listening and will  always work hard for you. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many years to come, and we will create a better future for you and your family,” the letter stated.
“I encourage you to do your best in school each day, never stop  learning, and look for ways to make positive changes in your  community. With best wishes, Donald Trump.”

Pictured below are students (L-R)Gannon Lepley, Breylin Few, Brantley Driver, Taylor Stokes and Josie Brasch. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Molino’s CrossFaith Church Serves Up Lunch For Escambia Sheriff’s Office

June 23, 2018

CrossFaith Church in Molino fed deputies and staff at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. The church served a free pulled pork BBQ lunch. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

ECUA Helps Prep Local 4-H Students Headed To Legislative Program

June 22, 2018

Escambia County 4-H students are scheduled  to take part in a mock legislative program next week in Tallahassee. In preparation Larry Walker,  ECUA District 5 board member, hosted the students Thursday in the ECUA board room to allow the students to practice their legislative skills in a governmental chamber environment.

The training prepared the students for the upcoming 4-H Legislature and gain an understanding of board proceedings similar to legislative committees that happen in organizations in all forms of government and private corporate enterprise.

The local students have participated in an intensive five-part training program, which was  directed by 4-H agents and adult volunteers, who contributed their knowledge of parliamentary procedure, research, debating, the art of persuasion, and formal presentation in committee and chamber sessions.

This year’s 4-H Legislature is set for Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30.

The civic education event allows students to write bills, act as lobbyists, pass the bills through various committees and debate the potential laws on the Capitol House and/or Senate Floor as acting representatives and senators. This exercise provides the 4-H’ers an opportunity to debate issues and experience the legislative process first-hand.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

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