Lynn Barber, Hillsborough County Extension

Hard to grasp that the New Year is upon us already. What new opportunities are you seeking? You may want to install microirrigation in a landscape bed, a compost bin or rain barrel. Maybe have less lawn and more groundcovers or learn how to improve your vegetable gardening skills. Our landscaping opportunities are pretty much limited to our imagination, and in some cases, homeowner association rules and restrictions.

At the Extension office, we offer workshops on composting, vermi (worm) composting, microirrigation and rainwater harvesting. We provide many free items to Hillsborough County residents one time so they can conserve water and recycle kitchen and yard waste at home to use as soil amendments. There is a small fee for worm composting.

Our office has many publications you can browse and take that will help you identify some home gardening projects you may want to undertake. We have vegetable gardening guides, schedules of upcoming workshops, rain garden manuals, University of Florida calendars and brochures about different types of mulch and benefits of each.

There are several demonstration/teaching gardens at our office which you can walk through and enjoy. These gardens showcase Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM principles which include right plant-right place, water efficiently, fertilize appropriately, mulch, recycle, control yard pests responsibly, reduce stormwater runoff, attract wildlife and protect the waterfront. For groups of ten or more, we can arrange docent tours of the gardens.

Many of us at Extension present a variety of horticulture/gardening related topics in the community, to schools, hospitals, at libraries, gardening related events and more. Contact our office if you have an interest in our presenting at an upcoming event.

We hope you will stop by our teaching/demonstration gardens at the Extension office to view our plant selections. Check out our calendar of events at: http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml

For horticultural assistance, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, 744-5519, or visit us at 5339 CR 579 in Seffner.