September is National Fruits & Veggies Month!

The Martin County Public Information Office suggests we eat more fruit and vegetables in September. So why not go big…and go exotic?

Exotic Fruits of South Florida

Jaboticaba

One of the most unusual fruit trees that have adapted to south Florida is the Brazilian Jaboticaba tree. It’s exotic grape-like fruit grows along the tree trunk and branches making it quite the conversation piece when guests come to visit. The red variety tastes like blueberry yogurt; the purple like grape candy. It’s also grown for jams, wines, and liqueurs.

Loquat

Over 1,000 years ago Chinese cultivated the loquat and often mentioned it in their early literature. Somewhere at the end of the 19th century, this tree with the fragrant flowers and fuzzy yellow fruit found its way to south Florida. Loquats taste like a blend of apricot, peaches and plums, and like most fruit, the riper the fruit, sweeter the taste.

Black Sapote

Known popularly as the Chocolate Pudding Fruit, this tropical version of the persimmon is full of black, sweet, creamy pulp that tastes like, well… chocolate pudding! Try this apple-sized fruit when it’s extremely ripe, when the outside is very dark green and the fruit appears well past its peak.

Jackfruit

Fruity and pungent and the size of a watermelon! Some say the fleshy fruit of a ripe jackfruit tastes like Juicy Fruit gum or bubble gum. Unripened jackfruit has a meat-like musky taste and is used to flavor curry dishes for centuries. You can juice it, freeze it, and even make ice cream with it.

At a time when we are craving togetherness and ways to improve our health, check out some inspiration and creative food hacks from Have a Plant Nation.

Do you have one of these fruit tree exotics? Take a photo and share it with our Facebook fans.

Sheamus — A Jenkins Legacy

Bull Terriers are described as playful, charming, and mischievous. Steven Jenkins’ dog Sheamus could have been the Bull Terrier Poster Child!

When Sheamus was still a puppy, Steven personally installed a new irrigation system at his home. Digging trenches and laying the pipe took 3 days under a hot Florida sun. It took Sheamus less than an hour to wrangle 30% of the pipe out of the ground. Mischievous – check! 

After Sheamus was a bit older, Steven took him to the Jenkins nursery off Powerline Road to “just to hang out and enjoy exploring the grounds”. Shamus wasted no time before he fearlessly jumped in the pond to chase after alligators. In fact, Sheamus loved to play with any living creature, even the poisonous Bufo toad. Bufo toads are usually toxic to dogs who bite or lick them. The poison contains hallucinogenic and cardiac toxins! A dog who chases alligators isn’t expected to back down to a frog, even a poisonous one, and sure enough after the third time of wiping and washing his mouth out after another Bufo encounter, Steven just let him at it. Sheamus was never sick nor did he ever show signs of distress. Playful – check!

Sheamus was always happy and loved all people and all dogs…even the aggressive dogs who snipped or bit him were greeted by a happy, playful Sheamus. Harold Jenkins once described having Sheamus as “having a friendly pet-cow-stubborn pet dog that wouldn’t hurt a fly”. He passed away from old age on Valentine’s Day 2019. Charming – check!

Sheamus lays at rest on the grounds of the Jenkins Nursery, the place that gave him so many hours of pure joy!

SHEAMUS  July 16, 2007 – February 14, 2019

Fertilization & Site Evaluation

CUTTING-EDGE EDUCATION
It’s more than mowing.

FNGLA CERTIFICATION – PART 2
FERTILIZATION & SITE EVALUATION

FERTILIZATION

To pass, technicians must pass a written exam to show that he or she fully understands safety procedures associated with fertilization, including reading labels, material safety data sheets, and proper attire and PPE (personal protection equipment). The technician must use a fertilizer label to calculate pounds per 1,000 square inch, and be able to calibrate and apply fertilizer using a broadcast spreader. They must also demonstrate knowledge of fertilizer contamination and an understanding of the effect of stormwater runoff on the environment.

Did you know? FNGLA uses kitty litter to simulate fertilizer during testing.

SITE EVALUATION

To pass, the technician must complete a written form that records the placement of the right plant in the right place, note potential deficiencies with weeds, pests, and turf, and note potential issues with hardscapes in terms of water features, retaining walls, lighting, and pavers, and be able to recognize and remedy issues with bed lines, pruning, turf heights, and irrigation.

The test requires identifying at least 20 maintenance issues. And yes, good handwriting counts!

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In future issues, we’ll be sharing more about FNGLA Professional Development Certifications designed to measure the skills of practicing landscapes. Certification relies heavily on Green Industries Best Management Practices.