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Some gardening hints before rainy season storms in

May 16, 2014
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

I know, it is not quite the rainy season yet but there are things to do before it actually starts with the steady downpours.

June 1 is the official date for the rainy season and that is only two more weeks. The cloudy days and light amount of humidity we are experiencing right now are just a taste of what is to come.

The most important thing besides a working air conditioner is to remember the Lee County Fertilizer Ordinance, number 08-08. This ordinance applies to all homeowners, residents and professional landscapers in Lee County.

You do not need to be living on a lake or canal, or pond to be affected. The ordinance regulates landscape management, and sets rules for the application and the use of fertilizers that contain nitrogen and/or phosphorus.

Our professional landscapers must register with the county and display a county decal on vehicles and trailers. Classes are provided for landscapers and homeowners through the Lee County Extension Service. You may pick up a copy of the ordinance at City Hall.

The ordinance will explain rules of who can fertilizer and where and what kind of fertilizer to use. This is a good ordinance in place to protect the quality of our coastal waters which is critical not only to the environment, but the economy and recreation of our area. We need to reduce the nutrient pollution that flows into our waters.

Of special interest to homeowners is fertilizer may not be applied within 10 feet of a water body, seawall or wetland. Grass clippings and vegetative trimmings may not be swept or blown into ditches, drains water bodies, roads or sidewalks.

Improper use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers are outlined explicitly in this ordinance. Fertilize Smart and Do Your Part.

This ordinance remains in effect June 1 through Sept. 30.

Other things to tend to besides reading the ordinance are checking the lay of your land for low spots now so that you do not have to worry about little ponds all over your yard where mosquitoes like to breed, and where plant life may just plain drown.

Are your down spouts leaking instead of draining off the heavy rains that will be coming?

You may need to do some extra pruning because along with heavy rains we might just happen to have a big wind blow through here. I mean really big winds, like the unwelcome hurricanes we are subject to.

There's no guarantee we will have any hurricanes right here but there is always a strong possibility and you need to be prepared for that kind of event also.

Hurricane seminars will be advertised and they are a good event to attend. You will have lots of questions, especially if you are a new resident here. These seminars are the place to have them answered or to just review what you think you know and to see new products that may be available.

Tomato lovers don't despair, the cherry tomatoes do well in the heat I also do bell peppers also. I am not into beans, peas or radishes but they do well as hot weather plants.

The pesky mosquito will thrive in this hot wet environment, right now keep all pots and containers emptied of water. Protect yourself from these hungry critters. I have just read that only female mosquitoes bite us, they need that source to be good breeders. The male is not out for blood; they get their nutrition from plant nectar. Always good to know your enemy!

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is a past president of the Garden Club Cape Coral.



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