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Landscapes, Gardens & More in the Florida Panhandle

February 2018

Memories from mom says that it is time to get the ground ready for Irish potatoes. When mom was still alive, this would be dad’s cue to get the tractor ready for use and prepare the garden for us to plant the potatoes. Mom used this area for the garden every year and was careful to move the vegetables to new spots so as not to deplete the fertilizers. The Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (IFAS) recommends that we rotate plant families. These families being:

Night Shade – Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, egg plants.

Mustard Family – Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes, mustard, collards, rutabaga.

Cucurbit family –Cucumber, melons, watermelons, squash, pumpkins.

Legume Family – beans, peas, lentils, peanuts.

Grass Family – Corn

Knotweed Family – Rhubarb.

Lilly Family – Asparagus, onions, chives, garlic.

Mint Family – Lavender, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, mints, catnips.

Goose foot Family – Spinach, beets, chard.

Carrot Family – Carrots, parsnips, celery, dill, chervil, cilantro, parsley, caraway, fennel.

Sunflower – Aster Family – Sunflowers, lettuce, endive, artichoke, chicory, tarragon, chamomile.

What all of this means is if you planted corn there last time, be sure to plant something from another family in that place this time. Maybe peas or beans from the Legume family. I hope this helps you with your crop rotation.

While we are discussing families, let’s look at these for fruit trees. It is important to understand fruit tree families for many reasons, but the most important one is grafting. You can graft many trees that are in a family on the same rootstock. You see the example of this with apples in most of the magazines. In our area you can graft Anna, Golden Dorsett, Ein Shemer and Fugi on the same tree. They are all in the rose family.

It is important to remember to check with your local nursery concerning the right species of fruit trees for your area. The average number of chill hours for the panhandle is about 600. Knowing this, we look for fruit trees needing 350 to 600 chill hours. Trees with lower hours will bloom too soon and frost will kill the blooms. Those with higher hour requirements will not bloom because their chill hour need has not been met. Visit us at Maphis Nursery and Tree Farm for a selection of fruit trees for our area.

Here are a few of the fruit trees you should be looking for.

Apple – Anna, Ein Shemer, Fugi, Golden Dorsett.

Blueberry – Austin, Brightwell, Climax, Powder Blue, Premier, Tift Blue.

Fig – Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Celestial, LSU Purple.

Peach – Florida King, Florida Queen, La Feliciana Suwannee.

Pear – Baldwin, Florida Home, Hood, Kieffer, Orient, Pineapple.

Plum – Methley, Santa Rosa, Scarlett Beauty.

This is just the tip of the information you need to know before buying a fruit tree. Come by the nursery or visit us on line at

You may also reach us at 850-638-8243. This number also accepts text. Let us help you be successful.

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