Are you interested in gardening? What about recycling and composting? Want to save water or know more about drought-tolerant plants? Do you have an hour to learn something new that is beneficial to the environment?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, we have a great suggestion for you: check out your county’s calendar of events. Each of the 67 counties in Florida has one. In your web browser, look up ‘UF find your local office.’ Upcoming programs are listed on the calendar with a link for registration. Many are free, and some have a small fee.

Examples of upcoming events in Hillsborough County follow:

Triple Workshops: Composting, microirrigation and rainwater harvesting workshops are offered monthly from February through October. Learn how to create your own soil amendments and save water by using a microirrigation kit and rain barrel. Attend one, two or all three workshops.

Compost attendees receive a compost bin, kitchen bucket and compost thermometer. Microirrigation attendees will take home a traditional micro kit, rain gauge and hose timer. Rainwater harvesting attendees will receive a food grade barrel that has been drilled and spigoted as well as learn how to use the water and on which plant materials. Reference materials are provided to attendees for each of the presentations, and there is a drawing for giveaway items at the end of each class.

Recycle Your Yard and Recycled Yard Art: See how much fun you can have creating and using items you are recycling in your landscape. Repurposing items will add humor to your life. This presentation will definitely give you ideas and make you laugh.

Vegetable Microirrigation: This kit is a great addition to your vegetable garden. You will learn how to connect the kit to a hose bib and appropriately water vegetables.

Patio/Container Microirrigation: It works well for patio, container and hanging plant containers. This kit can connect several pots/containers on your patio, lanai or front porch.

Tips to Help Your Yard Weather Dry Conditions: Gain useful ideas to help your landscape survive Central Florida’s dry spring season and conserve water in your landscape. This class will provide information to help you determine when, how and why you should take specific actions during our dry months.

Vermicomposting (Composting With Worms): Find out how to create the bin, what these specialty worms eat and how to harvest the castings. The nutrient-rich worm byproduct works very well in any garden, and you can make your own worm tea for watering plants … not drinking!

While not necessarily an upcoming event, we also offer in-ground irrigation evaluations (telephonic or in person) for high water users. Contact Paula Staples at

For more information on environmental horticulture, contact the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Hillsborough County at 744-5519, visit its office at 5339 County Rd. 579 in Seffner or check out its website, calendar of events and Facebook pages.

Lynn Barber is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ agent for UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County. Contact her at

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