UF 2010 Bee College

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Published in Yardsteading News

On March 12-13th, the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension lab will be offering the 3rd annual Bee College at UF Whitney Marine labs in St. Augustine, FL. The Bee College is Florida’s largest educational honey bee event, and is open to all ages and all experience levels. There will be beginner and advanced tracks, as well as classes for those who don’t even keep bees (gardening for bees, bumble bee biology, native pollinators of Fl, etc!).

There will be over 20 speakers from around the country, several hands-on workshops, and of course our annual honey show. A complete schedule, speaker bios, general info, and honey show rules can be found at www.UFhoneybee.com (click Bee College on the left). There is a discount for County Agents, Master Gardeners, Master Beekeeper program participants, Students, Kids, and Master Naturalists.

In addition, UF will be offering a restricted use pesticide certification class, African bee training for First Responders and Pest Control Operators, and USDA-ID/FABIS African bee identification training, with anticipated CEU credits offered.

For a complete brochure, please see www.UFhoneybee.com!


The Incredible Edible Lawn

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Published in Yardsteading News

Edible Front Lawn Kathleen sent me this article today from Time.com about a man who has ripped up his lawn and planted a garden in its place.  It is really a good idea and Kathleen has been trying to do the same thing for a long time now (or trying to get me to do it).  We are firm believers in edible landscaping and have edible plants in our 'flowerbeds' and most of our trees bear fruit, but we still have several large patches of green lawn that we have not replaced with edibles....yet.

As you can see from the picture above this gentlemans yard is no ordinary vegie patch.  It's a rather 'artistic' arrangement that manges to produce enough vegetables for the homeowner as well as his neighbors.  He is one of a few homeowners in the US participating in a project called 'Edible Estates'

The gardening 'movement' is seeing growth right now at a rate compareable to the 1940's when the US Agriculture Secretary encouraged Americans to plant 'Victory Gardens'.  According to the National Gardeners Association, 25 Million US households planted fruit or vegetable gardens in 2007. 

Gardening StoreWith the economy getting worse seemingly everyday, home vegetable gardens are becoming more popular.  Agriculture industry analysts have noticed an increase in gardening related sales.  Agriculture Extention agents nationwide have also reported increased interest in home vegetable gardening.  Interest in vegetable gardening has spiked overall, due to tighter budgets and several other factors.  Food sanitation and safety is another big concern for Americans as contaminated food imported from other countries sickens thousands of people.  American farmers are also getting hit hard and suffering from contaminated food issues. 
Seed companies are seeing large increases in sales as more people become interested in gardening.  Ferry-Morse Seed Co.  has seen a 30 percent increase in sales this year, with increased interest over the last several years in their organic product line.  Hardware stores are also reporting increased sales of gardening equipment such as tillers.  The National Gardening Association statistics for 2007 show 22 percent of American households maintain a garden.  That is about 25 million gardens nationwide.  This year the number is expected to increase.