Extension Connection
Pasco County Master Gardeners

Check out our New Blog!
A new article on Olive Pests by Dr. Whitney Elmore and Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman

Welcome our new Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Shari Bresin!

    Shari has been with UF/IFAS Extension since May of 2014, starting at the Orange County Extension office in Orlando with the Family Nutrition Program. In May of 2016, she was promoted to lead Pasco County’s Family Nutrition Program, before becoming an agent. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Science and just recently received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in public administration, both from the University of Central Florida. Before her Extension days, she interned as a Wellness Coordinator with an Orange County school’s wellness department, teaching kids about nutrition, and fitness and taking their BMIs, and also volunteered with a YMCA learning about wellness coaching. Shari is passionate about health, and enjoys healthy eating and fitness and loves inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle.

Welcome our new Community Gardens Program Assistant, Eden Santiago-Gomez!

    Eden Santiago-Gomez, a graduate from the University of South Florida, joins the UF/ IFAS Pasco County Extension office as the Community Gardens Program Assistant. Majoring in Environmental Science and Policy, her interests concentrate on small food production systems. Interning at Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa, Florida, she learned to propagate, plant, maintain, and harvest vegetable plants. She is returning to Florida after working as a Restoration Horticulturist in the high desert mountain ranges of Patagonia, Arizona. Her main focus at UF/IFAS Pasco is to create sustainable community gardens throughout east Pasco County by engaging and involving the community; thus helping low-income communities diversify and increase their nutrition intake, while also increasing financial security. Along the way, she is indulging her gardening passion by planting pollinator gardens at home.

USDA Announces Rural Energy for America Program

Bromeliads and Mosquitoes

Pasco Master Gardeners Hit the Road with New Mobile Plant Clinic

~ Expert plant advice can now be found at many festivals and special events ~

    Pictured from left to right: Pasco County Master Gardeners - Deb Hamilton, Dorothy Moore, Liz Angelini, Dr. Whitney C. Elmore (Pasco County Extension Director & Master Gardener Coordinator), Lorne Becker, Adah Weitzel, Jim Moll (Master Gardener Instructor) and Corrine Goodman.
    The University of Florida/IFAS Pasco County Master Gardeners are proud to announce the addition of a new Mobile Plant Clinic. The Mobile Plant Clinic, funded by Pasco County Master Gardeners, the UF/IFAS South Central Extension District, UF/IFAS Communications, and sponsored by Local Wraps, Inc. of Pasco County, will be available at various festivals, special events, and activities held throughout the year. Pasco County Master Gardeners will be on hand to assist homeowners with plant and landscape related issues wherever the Mobile Plant Clinic is seen. Special thanks go to the sponsors and to Michele Wood, with UF/IFAS Communications, for designing wonderful graphics for all to see. Stop by the Mobile Plant Clinic for expert plant advice and to learn more about Florida Friendly Landscaping™.

UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County Receives USDA Grant to Develop a Community Garden at the Boys & Girls Club of Lacoochee

    Students attending the Boys & Girls Club of Lacoochee, in Pasco County, now have their own community garden and 4-H Club. Students are learning to grow their own veggies and enhancing their knowledge of food systems. Students are working with UF/IFAS Pasco Extension Agents Dr. Whitney Elmore (Urban Horticulture) and Jean Hink (4H and Youth Development) and Pasco Master Gardeners as well as Tabitha Villa and Linda Tesar (Program Assistants) from the UF/IFAS Pasco Extension Food and Nutrition Program to enhance their knowledge of healthy eating and physical activities. Jim Moll, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator, is also teaching the students how to conserve and protect valuable water resources.

Just the Facts: What you need to know about the Zika virus

    Many of you have no doubt read about the Zika virus, and you may be a bit concerned. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly by those within the Aedes genus common to our area. The virus is very similar to dengue fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever, etc. but it’s not a new virus. In fact, it’s been known throughout the tropics since the 1940’s. It has an interesting history with the name referring to a forest in Uganda, the Zika Forest. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred for years, but in 2015 the virus had spread into South and Central America and the Caribbean.Read More...

The Pasco County Reclaimed Water System Reuses 22 Million Gallons of Water Every Day

    With statistics like that, it’s not surprising that The Pasco County Reclaimed Water System is saving approximately 7 billion gallons of potable water (drinking/well water) every year. Pasco County reclaimed water reservoirs, which include a 100 million gallon reservoir and a 500 million gallon one in design, store irrigation water during low demand periods of wet weather and supply water for periods of high demand during dry weather. Reclaimed water can safely be used for irrigation on golf courses, school grounds, agricultural lands, industrial complex grounds, and rapid-rate infiltration basins (RRIBs) based on Florida Department of Environmental Protection rules and guidelines. While reclaimed water is great for irrigation, it is not suitable for consumption by humans, bathing, cooking or flushing toilets in homes, recreational use such as swimming or outdoor showers, irrigation of vegetables or other edible crops that are not peeled or cooked prior to consumption, interconnection with other water sources, or in areas where above-ground hose connections might be used or confused with hoses used for any of the above. With drinking water levels at a critical low point, alternative sources of water must be efficiently employed. The use of reclaimed water for irrigation is obviously an important alternative. However, we all must do our part to eliminate wasteful use of drinking water. The most important thing you can do is to use the following watering guide, and always keep in mind that irrigation is prohibited between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. If you have a property with two or more acres and use reclaimed water irrigation sources, you may irrigate between the hours of 12:01 AM to 10:00 AM or 4:00 PM to 11:59 PM using the schedule below. Remember to only water once on your designated day. WATERING DAYS AND TIMES