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Go Green on St. Patty’s Day

March 16, 2012

An image of wild yellow flowers and cattle grazing from my visit in Ireland.

As an agricultural enthusiast, an Irishwoman at heart and a lover of all things green, I must say – St. Patty’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year.

Surprisingly enough, while I was visiting Ireland, I discovered that the Irish don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the way that we do. Many found it silly that we all wear green, search for gold and pinch people. No matter how silly, I thoroughly enjoy this holiday, but I decided to take a different approach to it this year.

This Saturday, go green without spending all of your green. Enjoy St. Patty’s Day by giving back to nature and enjoying naturally green fruits and veggies!

1. Plant Something & Welcome Bugs

For those of you with green thumbs, this is an easy task. Check out this list of Florida native plants  and pick out a few additions for your landscape. Planting Florida native plants may lead to you spending less money on pesticides, fertilizer and water. You can also select plants that attract beneficial insects such as butterflies and lady bugs. Here is a great resource for creating beneficial insect habitats throughout your landscape and the benefits of doing so.

If you’re considering a large addition to your landscape, perhaps palms are a fit for you. A new website was recently created that is devoted to protecting this most recognizable plant group. DPI’s own, Patti Anderson, was part of the team that developed the website and says that it’s a great resource for anyone interested in learning about or planting palms. Click here for more information about the new site.

2. Reuse: Composting & Rain Harvesting

Watching a sunrise over a field in Ireland.

If you are having trouble ensuring fertility in your soil, save your green and start composting. Composting is the biological decomposition of organic waste such as food or plant material by bacteria, fungi, worms and other organisms under controlled conditions. The result of composting is humus (not to be confused with hummus – that wonderful treat you dip your chips in) which can be applied as a soil amendment, potting mix or mulch. Composting is easy, may save you money and reduces waste. IFAS Extension has a great resource for living green by composting.

According to IFAS, rain barrels provide the Florida homeowner with over 50 gallons of free water for their landscape each time it fills up. Thats an easy way to save money and protect the environment, provided that we are graced with rain regularly. IFAS has a website dedicated to helping you build your own rain barrels. If you are interested in storing even more water, it also details how to install an underground cistern.

3. Eat Green: Green Eggs & Guac

So usually on St. Patty’s Day, green food coloring is one of the hottest items around. But why spend all that time dying food and beverages green when Florida produces so many delicious green crops that are just perfect for your celebration? Here is a list of which Fresh from Florida products your local grocery store has on sale this week, courtesy of FDACS. As you read through, you’ll notice some wonderfully green products that would be perfect additions to your St. Patrick’s Day meals: green cabbage, cilantro, parsley, cucumbers, watermelon, green peppers, broccoli and lettuce!

There is one Florida crop that I simply cannot live without: avocado. Nothing says, “Welcome to my humble abode” like a homemade bowl of guacamole made with Florida avocados. Here is a video of Florida’s own Chef Justin preparing a simple and delicious guacamole recipe. DPI works hard to protect Florida’s avocado crops from laurel wilt disease. Learn more about our Save the Guac campaign and how you can help by clicking here.

After crossing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland. The most beautiful of all of the places I've visited.

So now you know, you don’t have to scarf down the black stuff and get fluthered to have a wonderful St. Patty’s day! Have a cracking good time going green tomorrow as you celebrate this national holiday
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