The September meeting topic is Growing Vegetables in Florida, speaker is our own Kevin Hook. Kevin is a long time and successful vegetable gardener here in Sarasota. He will speak about the basics of growing vegetables in our difficult climate.
Every July the Tropical Fruit Society of Sarasota hosts a mango tasting event. This is by far our most popular meeting of the year.
This year it will be a “members only” event, but not to worry, our dues have been lowered to just $10 per year, or $20 for a family – and you can join the night of the event.
Even if you can attend only this one meeting for the entire year, the opportunity to taste and compare dozens of different mangoes is well worth the $10.
Last year we had over 30 varieties of mangoes to sample, from the ordinary to the rare and exotic and even some that were previously unknown to all in attendance!
We hope to repeat the same experience this year. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn all about the many complex flavors and subtle after tastes in the world of mangoes.
Lemon Zest, Coconut Cream, Sweet Tart, Orange Essence – these are but a few of the varietal names of gourmet mangoes that might make their appearance at our most popular meeting of the year. A fabulous event not to be missed!
Join us for our June speaker Gene McAvoy, award winning agricultural educator and director of the Hendry County IFAS office (the agricultural extension office). He will be speaking to our club about dragon fruit, or pitaya as it is known in Spanish speaking countries.
Gene has several growers of dragon fruit in Hendry County. He will be sharing with us their experiences on how best to grow this unusual cactus that bears its exotic fruit.
He will discuss the basic horticultural requirements of growing pitaya, and the pros and cons of different cultivars.
Our club has many members who grow this fruit, so no doubt it will be a lively and interesting evening. We hope to see you there!
Many gardeners underestimate the value of bats and their role in keeping unwanted insects under control. But do you know who we have to THANK for keeping the bug (mosquito) population down (in a sustainable and ecological way)?? BATS!!! Bats are JUST amazing, little, flying mammals!
Through careful placement of “bat houses,” some farmers have completely eliminated any need for spraying insecticides! The bat population suffers from inaccurate myths, insecticides and pollutants, and loss of habitat. All of these factors are working to decrease the bat population. Our rapidly changing world is leaving bats poisoned, stressed, and homeless – all major factors in the decline of these irreplaceable animals.
Please join us to hear Shari Blissett-Clark’s colorful and engaging program. This presentation is wonderful for kids, too!
Sharri will dispel the many erroneous myths about bats and replace them with the fascinating facts about bats and their irreplaceable contribution to Florida’s habitats. Bats provide important environmental services that factor heavily into human health, including benefits to commercial agriculture, stock growers, and backyard gardeners.
This program will cover methods gardeners can use to encourage bat activity, along with conservation strategies that anyone can use to help conserve these beneficial mammals. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet live Florida bats after the program. “Bat houses” will be available for purchase or to order for those interested in helping our winged friends. Hope to see you there!
Shari Blissett-Clark is a founder of Bat Belfrys, Inc. — A florida non profit dedicated to conserving Florida’s bats.
April’s talk will feature a trip to the opposite side of the world, to an area known as the Indo-Malay Arc. There are many fruits that originate from here, as it is the most biologically diverse zone on earth – on land and in the sea!
Fruits from the genus Artocarpus – jackfruit, breadfruit, Kwai Muk, Marang, chempedak, cheena, and other lessor known fruits, all call this area of the world home.
While most of these fruits are ultra tropicals and cannot be grown here, several do quite well with a bit of planning and a steady supply of water.
This talk will provide a survey of the most important fruits from this genus, with an emphasis on those that can be grown in Florida, and in particular, Sarasota. These include jackfruit, Kwai Muk, Marang, cheena, and chempedak.
Dr. Stephen Brady, physician, fruit hunter, and Curator of Tropical Fruit at the Naples Botanical Garden, will speak about the best avocado varieties for the home landscape and how to grow them.
About Dr. Brady: Since planting his first mango seed at the age of 7, Dr. Stephen Brady has had a passion for growing tropical fruits. A retired physician with an undergraduate degree in botany, Stephen has a small urban farm just a mile from Naples Botanical Garden that is home to a collection of 600 fruit trees and 300 coffee trees. Stephen was one of the many local fruit enthusiasts featured in the documentary The Fruit Hunters (2012), which follows exotic fruit cultivators and preservationists from around the world. Stephen has traveled the world searching for new fruits and new varieties.
Do you want to add a fruit tree to your yard, but think you don’t have room? Try a container! This month our speaker, Will Wright, a Master Gardener and our Society Chairman, will show us how it’s done!
On a trip to Venezuela in 1992, Will sampled many fruits he had never heard of, but it was one taste of a Sapodilla fruit that launched his passion for raising tropical fruit trees. However, Will was living in Houston, and even though it’s hot and muggy during the summer, the winters are too cold for tropical fruit trees.
Will met this climate challenge head on by growing citrus and a few other tropical fruit trees in containers. That way he could grow more trees and they could be moved indoors during the winter and the rest is history. Will officially opened his own tropical fruit tree nursery, Tropical & Rare Fruit Trees, LLC in Florida a year ago.
This summer he will complete a graduate course in tropical fruit horticulture at the University of FL in Homestead. This is quite a tasty change from a career as a Geological Engineer who specialized in hazardous site remediation!
More than 30 years ago Dell tasted his first loquat. He describes the unique flavor of a fully ripened loquat as a cross between a peach and a plum, only sweeter like candy!
The loquat tree became even more intriguing to Dell when he discovered how easy it is grow. The loquat tree even flourishes in urban environments and our humid Florida weather.
The loquat tree is a native of China. It is not a citrus tree. It is an evergreen tree with large, stiff leaves and the ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures and soils. It is a reliable and plentiful producer that does not require fertilizer or water once established.
As the board president of Ecology Florida, Dell has long been a champion for locally planting these trees because they’re so easy to care for. He’ll be providing us with all the information we need to enjoy this wonderful tree.
This month’s speaker will share his tropical fruit tree growing experience, philosophy and vision for promoting locally grown tropical fruit in our area markets and restaurants.
Not only is Darryl busy tending 150 fruit trees on two acres at his SweetSong Groves, he also serves as our club Treasurer!
Tropical fruit trees became a post-career passion for Darryl, beginning with a few varieties of tropical fruit trees in 2012, by 2016 he had grown to 150 fruit trees and launched SweetSong Groves.
TFSS is back after our August recess and September’s blast from Irma.
Our October meeting will feature an expert on herb horticulture, Dennis Gretton. Dennis and his wife Donna are the owners of D&D Nursery in Lithia.
They grow and sell herb and small flower plants, marketing in festivals and events throughout Florida. They were also the suppliers of the very popular herbs at last spring’s TFSS tree sale, and will be again be a vendor at our coming sale in February. Dennis is a colorful and engaging speaker who will share some of his knowledge from many years growing in Florida.