IFAS Publication Raises Concerns About Effects of El Niño

The UF-IFAS/Miami-Dade County Extension Office – IFAS for short – publishes a very interesting and informative quarterly newsletter, Miami Green Bytes. Among subjects addressed in the Winter 2015 issue is the influence of El Niño, which so far is more than living up to its advance billing as a major weather-maker. Generally speaking, most of us think of El Niño as a beneficial phenomenon in our part of the world. It tends to produce greater than normal rainfall, keeping our lawns green during the winter, as well as to reduce the likelihood of frosty temperatures.

But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing – How many Kardashian sisters do we really need? – and what we’ve experienced so far in December proves that. Farmers have lost significant percentages of their winter crops to the 10 inches or so of rain that fell during the first week of the month. But it doesn’t take that much extra rainfall to negatively affect vegetables as the winter progresses; even heavy dew can contribute to the spread of plant diseases. We encourage you to read what IFAS recommends for backyard vegetable growers. (The Winter 2015 issue will soon be available at http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/Pubs_NL.shtml. Meanwhile you can enjoy reading the past issues of Miami Green Bytes that are posted there.)

One final observation: Miami Green Bytes states that our winter will be not only wetter than normal, but also cooler. That’s in line with the projections that most weather-related entities have made for the past several months. But there is at least one dissenting voice: Just this week, the Weather Channel announced that temperatures in southern Florida for January through March will be simply . . . normal. However that turns out, Richard Lyons’ Nursery urges you to keep your eyes open for plant diseases and try to enjoy the ride.

The management and staff of Richard Lyons’ Nursery wish you a wonderful holiday season. We will celebrate along with you by closing the farm on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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