Watch for anthracnose on mango blooms this month. This disease appears as small, black, sunken areas on the flower spike. If left unchecked, it can kill the flowers, preventing the development of fruit. Begin treatment with copper fungicide when the bloom spikes first appear and continue spraying at weekly intervals until the fruit is fully formed, then spray monthly until June or July.
Seeds from papaya can be started indoors this month. Clean the pulp off each seed and plant about ¼ inch deep in a container of potting soil. Fresh seeds usually germinate in 10 to 15 days. Under ideal growing conditions, fruit should be produced in eight to 10 months. Seedlings planted in early March should produce edible fruit by November.
There is still time to grow some of your own vegetables. Have your soil pH tested and make any necessary adjustments. The pH range for growing vegetables in sandy soil is from 5.8 to 6.8. Consult the UF/IFAS Extension Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide for the vegetables that can be planted this month. Access it on the Internet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH021.
Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at askextension.org or pinellascountyextension.org.