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Edible gardening

By Staff | Aug 18, 2015

Want to know what works when growing herbs in the hot, muggy climate here? You might want to come to this meeting.

Debbie Hughes, senior horticulturist of Edison Ford Winter Estates, will offer her knowledge on herb growing in Southwest Florida at the next Edible Gardening Exchange meeting Thurs-day at 6:30 p.m. inside North Fort Myers Com-munity Center.

“Debbie is known in the area as being an expert on native plants, and I want to get her take on what grows well here in Southwest Florida,” said Karen Harty, who runs the gardening exchange. “Not everything will grow well here.”

“There are ways to grow herbs beneficially in South Florida. You can’t look at it the same way here as you do in the north. People think they know what they’re doing and they have trouble,” Hughes said.

Harty said Hughes was invited because she herself is not entirely up to speed on how herbs grow. She has learned that herbs like thyme will grow well by keeping it dry and in the sun in the summertime. It’s a matter of what you need to know in order to grow certain plants.

Harty also said most herbs will grow during dry season, but are tender in frost. Basil grows well during any time of the year, but will die if exposed to frost in the winter.

“There are challenges growing certain things. It’s not that you can’t grow it, you need to know how to grow it so you’re not putting it out where it gets poured down rain every day,” Harty said, adding that people can expect to learn a lot from Hughes.

“I’m used to talking and telling people how to do things and I get carried away because I’m so passionate about it,” Hughes said. “I’m so lucky to be doing a job that I love.”

Arrive at 5:30 p.m. for an open and informal chat on edible topics. Consider bringing something to share with other gardeners. Bring your own cup for free coffee and tea.

Hughes is a Lee County master gardener, a certified horticulture professional through the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, and Society of Horticultural Scientists.

She loves sharing her knowledge and love of gardening with anyone who will listen.

The membership fee for monthly meetings through September is $10. In addition, a $10 Lee Parks and Rec lifetime membership of is required.

For more information, call Harty at 610-530-8883.