October 18, 2018–Brian Patterson, Hydroponics

This month we learn from the experience of Brian Patterson, who grows heirloom tomatoes and greens using hydroponics. Brian was born and raised in West Palm Beach and found his passion for farming when he purchased some land in Indiantown, Florida in 1994.

“I originally started with fish farming growing tilapia and red claw lobsters. However after visiting a hydroponic tomato farm, I was hooked on this high tech method of farming. I quickly purchased a greenhouse and started to produce red tomatoes for several years. The production was phenomenal, but market prices were low. We then switched over to heirloom tomato production and haven’t looked back since.

We love to grow the great varieties and are able to command a much better price for our product. We grow our tomatoes in perlite under greenhouse cover. I also started another greenhouse for a hydroponic tower system growing a variety of specialty lettuces and recently we started to grow vegetables in the ground as well. We have grown zucchini, eggplant, purple beans, purple scallions, red kale and many other specialty vegetables. We utilize our own blend of liquid fertilizer in all of our growing systems. This blend is one I mix and I keep the recipe my secret with the intention to commercially produce it some day. This blend of fertilizer produces the best tasting vegetables at a tremendous growth rate. I am still farming with my wife and daughter and we are looking forward to a great year.”

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September 20, 2018–Ann Nyhuis, Microgreens

Even though everyone in our club is interested in rare tropical fruit, a few members are currently without a place to grow trees. Apartments with no yard, landlords that don’t want any changes, restrictive HOA rules. What to do with that green thumb?
This month’s speaker is Ann Nyhuis (Ni-hice…long i sound) of “A Garden’s Glory“.
The topic is microgreens along with a microgreen demo, something every one of us can benefit from learning about. Folks near Stuart may have already seen Ann’s web site or her booth at the Stuart Green Market with her Piatto FrescoTM takeaway microgreen plate. These fresh plates of Microgreens simply sit on your kitchen countertop continuing to grow with daily watering in the bottom tray and with a minimum of four hours of indirect light (either sunlight or kitchen lighting). They’re perfect for any kitchen! And no need for a yard.

Ann leads workshops in the community. Be sure to keep a look out for A Garden’s Glory Microgreen Thumb Club invitations on their website, Facebook and Instagram pages.
     A Garden’s Glory    Website     Facebook     Instagram

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August 16, 2018–Alex Salazar, Growing Mangos

Alex Salazar grew up in south Florida and has had a long time passion for mangos. In 2011 he founded Tropical Acres Farms, Inc now in West Palm Beach. Over the years he has collected over 250 cultivars of mango, and is still planting more.

Alex will return this month to teach us the best horticultural practices for growing mangos. He will cover planting, choosing varieties, preventing disease, fertilizing, pruning.


7:00 p.m. at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden,
2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd. PSL

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July 19, 2018–Mike Winterstein, Subtropical Horticultural Research Station

Mike Winterstein has worked at the USDA Subtropical Horticulture Research Station (SHRS) in Miami since 1994, the last 17 years as an Agricultural Research Technician (essentially a grower who collects and maintains a lot of data). Mike specializes in their subtropical and tropical fruit, cacao, and sugarcane collections. His work includes following Best  Management Practices, propagation (IE: grafting), setting up and executing collection and research plantings, collecting Continue reading

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Citrus greening control

Summary: If you have citrus trees, you can get predatory wasps that help control the insect that spreads citrus greening. Schedule: end of July. Survey participants will be notified.

If you are interested and would like to be part of the wasp release program, please take this brief survey (http://bit.ly/HLBsurvey) for us to be able to know your interest. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact St. Lucie Extension Office at 772-462-1660, Dr. Garima Kakkar or Kate Rotindo.

The UF / IFAS – St. Lucie County Extension requests homeowners to join hands in fighting against the destructive citrus disease, huanglongbing (HLB), or better known as citrus greening. We are coordinating with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Plant Industry for the release of Tamarixia radiata; a wasp known to control Asian citrus psyllid responsible for citrus greening in Florida. Continue reading

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June 21, 2018–Dr. Ann McMullian, Professor, IRSC

Our speaker this month is Dr. Ann McMullian, professor and department chair at the Agricultural Department of Indian River State College, Pruitt campus in PSL. She grew up in Surinam and is knowledgeable in tropical fruits.

Anke will speak about horticultural education at IRSC, their teaching garden, and the types of training programs we might be interested in.  In addition, she will offer practical advice on how we can grow our gardens better–common mistakes and how to correct them–what is easiest to grow vs. what requires more skill and is best left to experienced horticulturists.

At IRSC Dr. McMullian counsels agriculture and horticulture students, oversees all Agriculture programs including the Aquaculture program, and teaches a variety of Horticulture and Biology classes.

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May 17, 2018–Nathaniel Reed, Florida Conservationist

Update: Nataniel Reed passed away July 11, 2018
It is an honor to have as our speaker this month, conservationist Nathaniel P. Reed.
The topic is The politics of agriculture in Florida.
(CBS Interview on saving the Everglades)
It is impossible to overstate the contribution Nathaniel Reed has made to transforming the culture of Florida.  When he arrived more than six decades ago, Florida was continuing a long-held belief that Florida, its land, water, wildlife, other natural resources with few exceptions, were commodities to be used and disposed of at the will of the current generation of state residents.  Nathaniel and a small band of his disciples in less than a decade evolved Florida to a new definition – a treasure for which each generation has a responsibility to protect for future Floridians.Amazon book review Continue reading

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