Winter Climate Prediction 2012

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a neutral to a slight El Nino weather pattern this year.  Which means slightly cooler temperatures for the fall and winter and a wetter than normal winter.  Although this may change and the climate pattern is not very strong for that region of the Pacific.  Still it is a good idea to be prepared for those possibilities.  Plants might be slower to make the Spring selling season.  Adjust for that by considering fertilizer inputs, temperature modifications and stocking rates and times.  Maybe prepare a little earlier for buttoning up greenhouses.  For more information on this topic and how the climate can affect your crops visit my past article on El Nino   http://hortagent.blogspot.com/2009/08/el-nino-is-back.html  Check out the forecast maps from NOAA Climate Prediction Center.
Just remember climate forecasts are still a prediction...similar to economic forecasting. :)


FNGLA Annual Plant Auction

It's time the annual joint meeting with the Tampa Chapter FNGLA and the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers. This meeting takes place at the Hillsborough County Fair Plant Auction on October 20, 2012. The event starts with a free BBQ lunch for TBWG members sponsored by FNGLA Tampa Chapter at 12:00 noon. These lunch tickets are purchased from the Hillsborough County Extension 4-H Club and given to TBWG members with request. This was an idea from the FNGLA to thank the grower members for their donations of plants for the auction. The money raised from the lunch tickets goes to assist the youth in 4-H clubs around Hillsborough County. At 12:30 p.m. there is a silent auction of allied goods for growers only. Since traditionally not many grower members show up, chemicals, fertilizers, spray equipment, and soil are auctioned off at a fraction of the price you pay from your chemical rep's. At 1:30 p.m. we start our annual plant auction that is open to the public. This money goes to raise funds for the Tampa Chapter FNGLA in support of educational programs and the Carl Cowgill scholarships that go to aspiring, college level horticulturalists in Hillsborough County. The donations for the plant auction mainly come from our grower members of the TBWG. So if you can donate some plant materials this year we really appreciate it. We usually call all the members for their donations. If you don’t get a call from the FNGLA and would like to donate please call Shawn Steed at 813-744-5519. We have nursery drop off points in the four corners of the county and the Hills. Co. Fairgrounds for your convenience. We will need all plant/item donations by Wednesday Oct 17. If you can assist in any way at the auction please call also. We can also use help on Wednesday with the auction set up and pick up and transport of plant donations. Any help given will be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions please give Shawn a ring.

See you at the Auction!


Kudzu Bug is Now Here

Remember my post from back in the month of June (kudzu bug) when I mentioned to be on the lookout for a new insect invader called the kudzu bug. Well, it certainly didn't take long for it to find its way to the kudzu in our area. I just got this e-mail forwarded from a colleague from USDA APHIS yesterday.  This bug will affect legume type plants and will probably be a pest of the cover crops we use in our area.

Last week, the bean plataspid (aka kudzu bug or Megacopta cribaria) was found in both Pasco (US 301 in Dade City) and Hillsborough (Dr MLK Jr Blvd in Seffner) Counties, and has thus made its way to the Tampa Bay area. Pinellas and Manatee Counties were not specifically surveyed, so it is possible that populations are present there as well. In both new counties, the bugs were found on kudzu, their primary host, but they can also affect other legumes and can be a nuisance pest by congregating on or in structures (like some ladybugs or the brown marmorated stink bug). For more info, see: Pest alert-kudzu bug