April 19, 2018–Garima Kakkar, U.F. citrus agent

7:00 p.m. at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden
2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd
Port St Lucie, FL 34952

Our speaker in April is Garima Kakkar. The topic is the work UF does on citrus problems and possible solutions.

Ms. Kakkar has been a part of University of Florida/IFAS since 2008 when she started her master’s degree program on integrated management of horticultural pests at the TREC-University of Florida in Homestead. Her research was focused on invasive whitefly and thrips management on several important vegetable crops including beans, cucumber, pepper, squash, and tomatoes grown in Miami-Dade area. On completion of MS program, she proceeded with her doctoral research at FLREC, UF focused on the management of Formosan subterranean termites. During her brief Post-doctoral research period at USHRL, Ft. Pierce, she worked on vector-mediated plant diseases of tomatoes and beans in South Florida. Currently, she is stationed at St. Lucie UF/IFAS extension office and her primary responsibility is to help citrus growers in Indian River and St. Lucie counties.​

• If you have any fruit to spare, or a new recipe you want to share, please bring something for the tasting table.

• Don’t forget to bring items for the raffle table, or seeds for the seed-sharing table.

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March 15, 2018–Louise King of Fruit & Spice Park

Our March speaker is Louise King, a staff member at the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead. The topic is how the Park prepares for hurricane season to minimize damage and how we can apply the principles to our own fruit trees. The 37 acre county park is a Florida treasure with an extensive collection of mature fruit trees, along with herb and vegetable gardens. Our club has visited the F&S Park as a group several times; it is worth a trip anytime, and especially during one of their many events.

Ms. King is a Redland resident and tropical fruit grower for more than 20 years. Louise has had a career dedicated to the enjoyment of the natural world. Prior to coming to the Fruit & Spice Park, Louise worked with the National Park Service, serving in Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, and most recently at Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of Maryland.

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February 15, 2018–Darryl McCullough of Sweet Song Groves

A former math professor at Oklahoma University, Darryl McCullough planted a few varieties of fruit trees in 2012. By 2016 it had grown to 150 fruit trees on just two acres and he launched Sweet Song Groves. Now the treasurer of the Sarasota Garden Club, he eats great things for breakfast, lunch and dinner, does a lot of public outreach, and is living the dream. Darryl also conducts 3-hour Fruit Tree Paradise Workshops each spring and fall to help new-to-intermediate growers avoid some of the pitfalls of growing tropical fruit trees in the Sarasota area. Click the workshop link for the current version of his notes and a basic-info spreadsheet of fruit commonly grown in our region. Darryl will condense his workshop for us and promises to provide something for everyone–philosophy, technique, and ideas for making the world better. And lots of photos. In addition, Darryl regularly conducts a one-hour walking tour of his fruit farm in North Sarasota County. Oops; just missed the one on Feb. 4th. Check his website events page for more.

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January 18, 2018 Dr. Ronald Cave: UF Research

Ronald D. Cave, PhD {bio} is an entomologist (insect scientist) specializing in biological controls, an Associate Professor and now the director at the University of Florida Indian River Research & Education Center in Fort Pierce (where we used to meet each month). He will talk about the activities at the Center that affect us as growers of tropical fruit.

Remember to bring your best fruit and treats for the tasting table, and also bring any extra plants for the raffle.

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December 21, 2017 Christmas Feast

Our annual holiday feast this year is Thursday, 12/21 at 7:00 pm at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden Pavilion. As usual, it is open to club members and their immediate family. Guests can also attend for $10. The club will provide the main dish of ham and turkey. Please bring a main vegetarian dish, kosher meal, appetizer, vegetable, side, salad, drinks or dessert. Let us know if you will attend, how many in your party, and what you plan to bring so we can coordinate and plan the main dish quantities and so we know how many tables to set up.  RSVP to TCRFClub@gmail.com. Thanks, and hope to see you there.

We will not have an auction, but we will have a door-prize raffle (one ticket per guest). The club will bring some special prizes, but if everyone can bring an interesting plant, cutting or seedling, more people will go home with something for their garden or table.

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November 16, 2017 Larry Zimmerman–Cold Protection

Larry Zimmerman will go over how to winterize your cold sensitive tropical fruit trees to keep them as healthy as possible when we get severe winter weather. PDF of the Keynote presentation.

• We will have our usual fruit tree auction.
• Don’t forget to bring something for the tasting table and raffle table.

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October 19, 2017–Grafting 101

UPDATE: Slide presentation from the meeting (PDF).
Check out the grafting videos (under the VIDEOS tab above)
as well as the top working video.
Propagation chart.
We have gotten many requests for a grafting class. Grafting is when you take a branch from a desired variety and splice it onto a seedling of the same species to make a new identical plant. If you have a favorite unusual mango variety that is only found in your Aunt Martha’s yard, grafting is the best way to make your own clone that will have all the same characteristics of flavor, texture, growth habit, etc. This month, club president Larry Zimmerman will go over the theory of grafting, the advantages of grafting, the tools needed, when to graft (which varies depending on the plant species), which trees to graft versus using other propagation methods, and demonstrate cleft & veneer grafts, the two most common grafting techniques. In the photo, note the swollen buds at the tip of the stem and base of leaf nodes. This is a mango in growth mode, ready to send out stems on a new graft.

• Remember the limit of 3 items for the auction (members only) so we can finish on time.
• Don’t forget to bring something for the tasting table and raffle table.

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