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Florida Harvest: What's in Season by Month

Florida Harvest

Cooking with seasonal ingredients is one of the best ways to improve the taste and quality of your food. Our real estate agents have been spending a lot of time perfecting their favorite fall recipes, and seasonal ingredients play an important role.  Some of our clients have also been inspired to improve their cooking skills after seeing the big bright kitchens in these Sarasota homes for sale

Because Florida is a tropical climate, our growing season is a bit unique when compared to other areas of the country. The majority of our crops come into season in the fall and winter, which is why now is the best time to start preparing your menu. Here is a quick guide to what's in season by month:

  • November
    As we near the end of fall and those hot temperatures begin to dip, you'll start to see some of Florida's best fruit start to ripen. Mid-to-late November is the start of grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and passion fruit season. Florida is actually one of the leading providers of these crops. You'll also start to see radishes and squash start to mature as well.

  • December - January
    Once December arrives, our grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines are in full season. In addition to our November crops, you'll also start to notice leafy greens like kale, collard greens, lettuce, and broccoli become ready for harvest. These are all great ingredients to use as healthy side dishes or to work into stews.

  • February - March 
    Spring starts early in Florida, and so does the spring harvest. Once February rolls around, it's time to start picking your typical spring fruits and vegetables like strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, cauliflower, celery, and cucumbers. These crops remain in season all the way through May.

  • April - May 
    Towards the end of spring and early into the summer is when you'll start to see hot summer temperatures set in, and some of the more tropical fruit start to flourish. Expect to see fresh blueberries, cantaloupe, and watermelons at the grocery down the street from these Bradenton homes for sale. This is a great time to eat guava, lychees, and longan as well. 

  • June - October
    In mid-to-late summer, tropical Florida weather and the hottest temperatures usually bring an end to the harvest season. However, some fruits like mangos and grapefruit continue to thrive during this time of year. Also, some crops, such as tomatoes, peanuts, avocados, and mushrooms, are in season all year long.

For the freshest produce possible, be sure to stop by the Sarasota Farmers Market, or if you live closer to Siesta Key homes for sale, there's the Siesta Key Farmers Market

Knowing what's in season in your area can help you ensure your family is eating the freshest ingredients all year long. Our climate supports long harvest seasons throughout most of the year. Contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our local listings.


National Garden Month: Florida Gardening Tips

Florida Garden

Spring is upon us, and if you're like our real estate agents, you're probably eager to start gardening. We always believe vegetables taste so much better when they're grown in your garden. Since Florida receives tons of sun, rain, and humidity all year long, gardening in the Sunshine State can be rewarding and challenging. 

April is National Garden Month, so we thought we'd take the time to go over a few essential tips for making your Florida garden a success.

  • Gardening in the Spring
    Certain plants thrive in Florida's spring weather, which starts around mid-February. If you're looking to add vegetables to your garden, consider lettuce, cucumber, sweet corn, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. 

    Some of our favorite Sarasota homes for sale have beautiful flower gardens that they plant in early spring. If you're focused on flowers this year, you'll find that Hydrangeas, Lilacs, Lilies of the Valley, and cherry blossoms are all great choices for the warm Florida spring.

  • Gardening in the Summer
    Hot weather sets in around late March, but things start to get steamy in May. However, you can still plant and garden in the summertime. Sweet potatoes, peas, and okra are all vegetables that do well in the summer.

    If you do want to take a break from gardening in the summer, you can use these months as an opportunity to solarize your garden. During this process, you can clear out your plants, water the soil, cover your garden in plastic, and allow it to sit under direct sun exposure for about four weeks. Solarization will lead to healthier soil while killing pests and weeds.
  • Gardening in the Fall
    One of the great things about Florida is gardening season doesn't end in the fall. In fact, it's a common time to plant vegetable gardens. There are many plants that thrive in mild Florida autumn weather. Brussel Sprouts, as well as root vegetables like radishes and carrots, are great choices for the fall. Fertilizer that has high Phosphorus value helps keep roots strong and healthy.

  • Gardening in the Winter
    Areas of Florida have a traditional winter, and temperatures drop below freezing, but you can garden well into the winter months in our corner of Florida. In most cases, you'll want to plant your vegetables around October or early November. Some vegetables that grow well in cooler winter months include beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

    Leafy green vegetables such as kale and arugula also grow well during Florida winters. If growing leafy greens, we recommend using a fertilizer that has a high nitrogen value. With good soil, sun exposure, and regular watering, there is no reason to think you couldn't keep your garden active through February.

Keeping Your Garden in Good Shape
It might go without saying, but proper care is essential for creating a good environment for your plants to flourish. Don't forget to fertilizer regularly, keep your plants watered, and keep pests and weeds out of the garden. For inspiration on how to take great care of your plants, check out some of the gardens at these Bradenton homes for sale.

For more tips on gardening, landscaping, or boosting your home's exterior, contact us today.


Plant a Flower Day: What to Plant in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Planting om Bradenton

If you're new to Florida, you might be surprised to learn that yes, we do get the occasional frost here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in the late winter and early spring. This is just one of the things you need to know as you embark on gardening in your new home, acquired either from Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale. Fortunately, frost is rare and not much of an impediment to producing fabulous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in Florida.

While we suggest Floridians start planting long before National Plant a Flower Day, which is March 12, this national celebration, which promotes looking forward to spring by encouraging flower planting, is a great reason to jump right in.

And the good news is, after mid-February, the chances of a frost damaging seedlings or other plants are very low. So feel free to head to your local garden center and acquire some fabulous flowers to celebrate March 12 with a burst of color in your yard.

But before you start, a little planning is in order. What can you plant in our region of Florida? So many things, from tropicals to perennials, lush annuals, flowering shrubs, and glorious flowering trees. The key is making sure whatever you choose can tolerate our heat and humidity. 

What to Plant

The flowering plant palette for Florida is extensive. Among the most common flowering plants, you'll note are these.

  • Pentas. Also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, Pentas are evergreen perennials and come in pink, magenta, lilac, and white. They prefer full sun and are seasonal bloomers. An added bonus is they attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis. You can't not plant Florida's state flower, the Coreopsis. It's a member of the aster family and has bright golden disk and ray flowers. It's a brilliant addition to any garden. 
  • Blue Salvia. Although native to the Southwest, Salvia farinacea does well in South Florida and can flourish in a hot, dry location. Low-maintenance Blue Salvia (also known as Mealycup sage) is an annual further north but blooms like a perennial in our climate. Pollinators love it.
  • Mexican Heather. A low-growing ground cover, Mexican Heather or Cuphea loves full sun, although partial will do. Plant it in a well-drained location. It produces lavender-pink to white flowers almost all year long.
  • Bougainvillea. One of our most spectacular bloomers, Bougainvillea's showy display isn't actually flowers at all, but rather colorful leaf bracts. It needs six hours of sun a day, and for that, you get an explosion of color most of the year.
  • Lantana. Another pollinator attractor (including hummingbirds), Lantana is available in pink and yellow or bright orange and yellow, and more. Deadhead flowers to keep the plant producing most of the year. Be sure to water Lantana when the weather is dry; mulch and fertilizer help promote abundant flowering.
  • Periwinkles. Also known as Creeping Vinca, Periwinkle is a creeping vine with pretty blue flowers, often used as a ground cover, and which can choke out weeds. Best blooming will occur if it's planted in partial shade.
  • Plumbago. This sprawling shrub is grown for its clusters of blue, phlox-like flowers. Plant Plumbago over a stone or wood retaining wall for a beautiful effect. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Our real estate agents have more tips for how you can improve your property, indoors and out. Contact us today.


6 Natural Remedies for Eliminating Summer Bugs

Summer Pest Removal

While the warm summer weather is perfect for tasty cookouts and swimming, it also brings a variety of pests who want to make your house their new home. Don't let summer bugs distract you from your summer fun.

The good news is you don't need harsh chemicals to get rid of these unwanted pests! Instead, check out these natural remedies for eliminating summer bugs. All of these remedies below are kid and pet-friendly, and they won't cover your home in chemicals. 

  1. Use Dish Soap Where Bugs Have Been Spotted
    Dish soap is a cheap, quick way to eliminate pests from your home. Plus, you likely already have dish soap in your home. Grab a spray bottle and fill it 3/4 full with water. Then, add 10-20 drops of your favorite dish soap. Spray the solution in bug-prone areas. This option is especially effective at killing ants.
  1. Break into Your Spice Collection
    Spices aren't just for cooking; they can also help you deter bugs from entering your home. The smell from your spices acts as an insect deterrent. Bay leaves are one strong-smelling alternative. Sprinkle the bay leaves in your cabinets and pantry to ward off Indian meal moths and other hungry pests. 
  1. Trap Flying Pests with Apple Cider Vinegar
    Apple cider vinegar is an economical way to fight back against flying pests such as houseflies and fruit flys. You can use the fact that these flies are often attracted to apple cider vinegar to your advantage. Pour a little bit of apple cider vinegar in an old bowl or cup. Cover it with plastic and poke a few small holes so that the flies can get in. Once they're in, the flies won't be able to get back out. Some people also like to add a few drops of dish soap to the trap so that the flies drown quicker. These jar traps will work rapidly to get rid of flying pests. 
  1. Slice Up an Onion
    Want a natural way to deter spiders? Slice up an onion and put the slices in a bowl of water. Put the bowl wherever you've noticed spiders entering your home. The smell from the onion will deter the spiders and encourage them to stay outside.
  1. Raid Your Cat's Supply of Catnip
    Catnip isn't just a cat-friendly herb; it's also a pest repellent. The pungent smell discourages icky pests like cockroaches from living in your home. You can sprinkle catnip directly in areas where you've spotted cockroaches, or you can soak cotton balls with catnip oil and put them in pest-prone areas. An advantage of this option is that it's easy to clean up the catnip when our real estate agents notify you that a potential buyer wants to see your home. Just sweep up the catnip or cotton balls, and your home is as good as new. 
  1. Pick Up a Bag of Cedar Shavings
    You can buy a bag of cedar shavings for under $10; this is the bedding commonly used in small animal cages. Grab a handful of cedar and sprinkle it in your bug-prone areas. Silverfish and spiders are just a couple of the pests who dislike the smell of cedar. 

Ready to sell your home? Contact us today to have our team help list your home among the many wonderful Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale


How to Grow Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps

Regrow Vegetables

The return of springtime has our real estate agents thinking about gardening again! Whether you have a huge yard with lots of room for planting, or simply want to try out container gardening on your back patio, you might be surprised how much you can grow. 

Did you know that some of the most common fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be regrown from kitchen scraps? It's true! Those kitchen scraps can create a fun project that entertains and educate kids, and gives your old veggies a new lease on life!

Are you wondering which plants can be regrown? You'll be amazed… 

  • Onions. Members of the onion family (including garlic, scallions, and leeks) are some of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. Save a small piece of the base of the bulb or stem, with the roots still attached, and place it in a shallow container of water. New shoots will start to come up very quickly, and you can harvest them as needed, or plant the whole new bulb in your garden. 
  • Potatoes. You've probably had the experience of leaving potatoes in the bag too long and seeing them start to sprout. To get them to regrow, all you have to do is cut potatoes into pieces so that each piece has at least one "eye" (the indentations that the sprouts grow out of). Plant the pieces in the soil with the eyes facing up. 
  • Celery. Simply cut off the stalks so that you have an inch or two left at the base. Set the base in a shallow dish with a bit of warm water at the bottom, leave it in a warm, sunny place, and wait for new leaves to start. Once they do, you can replant the celery in the garden, where it will become a new, full-sized plant. 
  • Carrots. Keep the tops off your carrots. Just place the tops in water, and they will start to grow new roots, as well as greens that you can harvest as needed. 
  • Leafy Greens. Lettuce and most other head-forming greens can be regrown simply by keeping the rooting portion of the head and leaving it in water so that new leaves can grow. Lettuce and bok choy can also be regrown from a single leaf. Just place the leaf in a bowl with a little water in a sunny spot. Mist the leaf every day to keep it moist, and eventually, new roots will start to grow. 
  • Herbs. Many herbs can be grown from scraps too, including basil, cilantro, and mint. All you have to do is place 4 inches of the stem in a glass of water so that the leaves are above the water. Roots will start to grow, and soon you will have whole plants that can be transferred to the garden. 

Regrowing veggies in your kitchen is fun, but when you're ready to expand your gardening horizons, we're here to help. Our team has helped countless families find beautiful Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale, including houses with ample room for backyard gardening! 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and talk to our team about finding your dream home.


Florists for Valentine's Day Bouquets in Manatee and Sarasota

Sarasota Florists

Love is in the air as Valentine's Day approaches — make sure this lovely occasion smells just as sweet by gifting the special someone in your life a beautiful bouquet. Sarasota and Manatee counties are blooming with flower shops offering a variety of dazzling daisies, perfect poinsettias, and amazing asters to show your partner how much they mean to you. Let these florist shops around town help make your Valentine's Day truly memorable.

  1. Sue Ellen's Floral Boutique — 3522 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34237
    Having worked in her family's flower shop throughout her life, Sue Ellen has spent the last 20 years serving the floral industry of Sarasota. Her new floral boutique strives to deliver exceptional service by going the extra mile to ensure that every order is fresh, on-time, and one-of-a-kind. Their delivery area encompasses the city, including the top neighborhoods with Sarasota homes for sale, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and retirement centers. 

  2. Josey's Poseys Florist — 6100 Manatee Ave., W., Bradenton, FL 34209 
    Serving areas near Anna Maria Island homes for sale, this locally owned shop is sure to please! Josey's Poseys Florist will deliver to your valentine a hand-arranged floral display they'll cherish this Valentine's Day. Choose the perfect one from their Valentine's Day bouquet options, and their team will do the rest!   

  3. Ellenton Florist — 6214 US-301, Ellenton, FL 34222
    Deliver something extra special this Valentine's Day with a little help from Ellenton Florist. Located near Ellenton homes for sale, this local florist offers free same-day delivery in the Ellenton area. Plus, their Deal of the Day makes it easy and affordable to surprise your valentine throughout the year with a beautiful bouquet crafted by floral experts. 

  4. Fantasy Flowers of Lakewood Ranch — 8111 Lakewood Ranch Main St. Building J, Suite 101, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Fantasy Flowers of Lakewood Ranch is ready to craft a dream bouquet for your significant other this Valentine's Day. They can create any sized bouquet featuring romantic roses, playful daisies, and caring carnations. Located on Main Street just feet away from brand new Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, Fantasy Flowers will help you express the feelings in your heart.

  5. Bradenton Flower Shop — 5262 State Rd. 64 E., Bradenton, FL 34208
    For over 30 years, Bradenton Flower Shop has made Valentine's Day memorable. Many of their "flowers in a gift" sets include a beautiful vase that can be reused all year long. Imagine getting your partner a gorgeous group of flowers for Valentine's Day then filling the vase with more fresh florals throughout the first year you spend in one of our lovely Bradenton homes for sale.

  6. Flowers By Fudgie — 6119A Clark Center Ave., Sarasota, FL 34238
    Impress your valentine with a bouquet hand-arranged by the professional florists at Flowers By Fudgie. Servicing areas near Siesta Key homes for sale, their staff is committed to customer satisfaction and crafting beautiful floral displays. Make sure to order a day in advance for Valentine's Day!   

Looking to share a home with the person you love? Contact us, and our REALTORS® will help you find a loving home.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 11/26/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 11/26/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Stellar MLS (last updated Sat 11/26/2022 12:03:11 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Wagner Realty may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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