Eco Minute

Producer and Host
Dr. Enid Sisskin received her PhD from Columbia University in Pathobiology. She has worked as an environmental activist for more than 20 years. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the creator of the Eco Minute and has produced & hosted the series since 2005. Her interests include continuing to garden despite yearly failures and she continues to work for environmental protection with her husband and children.

Click on the dates below to listen to each Eco Minute.

When I lived up north, knowing that the tulip and daffodil bulbs I planted in the fall would be blooming in the spring helped to get through the long, cold winter.  This is the EM and I’m ES.  In NW Florida, we don’t have the long cold winters and tulips don’t do well here, but you can still plant bulbs now that will welcome the warm spring weather.   According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences or IFAS, Florida's climate lets growers raise a variety of tropical and subtropical bulbs in their gar

If you’re a gardener, the website is a great source of information.  This time of year you can use to check for the average date of the first frost, check out the USDA hardiness zones to decide what to plant this fall, or check the distribution of Florida native plants  - among other available maps.  What I found when I looked at the site, was that in NorthWest Florida, our average first frost is between December 1 and December 10, plenty of time to ge

Although vegetable gardens are associated with summer, not all vegetables grow well in the Florida heat.  In Northwest Florida we can get in a crop of fall and winter vegetables.

Get creative with your outdoor Halloween and other decorations and keep the three R’s in mind.  Reduce the amount or money you spend on decorations by looking for reusable items and make sure that if you are using one-time use decorations be sure to use only recyclable or compostable material.   Autumn decorating practically screams for the use of natural objects as outdoor decorations.  You can be stylishly savvy with cornstalks, branches, colorful leaves, and of course the traditional Halloween pumpkin — all of which can be composted when you’re taking down your Halloween scene.  And las

Yard and landscape maintenance don’t have to be a lot of work.  This is Carrie Stevenson.  The University of Florida’s Florida-friendly landscaping program is based on common sense principles.  The first is right plant, right place; which means making sure the soil and light conditions match your plant’s needs.  Next is water efficiently.  Proper irrigation can make or break a new plant, especially a tree.  The third is fertilizing appropriately.  Many native species don’t require much fertilizer at all, but if your vegetables, turf, or flowers do need extra nutrients, make sure you use th

If you are planning to have a fall/winter vegetable garden, here are a few suggestions.  Select the sunniest spot for your garden.  Check your soil’s drainage by digging a hole about a foot deep, filling it with water and see if it drains in a day.  If it doesn’t drain, consider a raised bed.  About three weeks before you’re ready to plant, till the ground to a depth of 6 inches, incorporate 2 inches of compost, some fertilizer and check and adjust the pH if necessary.  For information on fertilizer and pH requirements, planting dates for selected vegetables in Florida, and garden pest con

Welcome to October.  It’s the first full month of fall, the weather should be getting cooler and although you may still have some summer vegetables growing in your garden, it’s time to start thinking about cooler weather and the coming holiday season.  This month with the change of seasons we’ll be discussing winter gardens, preparing your home and car for cooler weather, a few more back to school ideas and some ways to have a greener Halloween.  As usual, if you have any ideas for the EcoMinute, or want to write and record a couple of EcoMinutes yourself, contact me at