Vegetable gardening is a avorite pastime ormany individuals and amilies. Homegrown vegetablesare better because they are resher and have highernutrient value since they are harvested closer totheir peak ripeness. Homegrown vegetables usuallycost less than i they were bought in the store.Gardening provides a means o exercise, recre-ation, therapy and an opportunity or many to expe-rience a closeness to nature. Statements such as “Letme show you my garden” or “I grew that,” give asense o sel-satisaction on which a monetary valuecannot be placed.Gardens may range in size rom a single pot-ted tomato plant to a large amily or truck garden.However, remember to make your garden just largeenough so that it will meet your needs but will notbecome a burden to care or.Plan ahead. Locate the garden in as sunny alocation as possible. The ruit-bearing crops, such astomatoes, peppers and squash, need ull sunlight orbest production. Too much shade results in a verydisappointed gardener because o limited produc-tion. However, the leay vegetables will tolerate moreshade than the root or ruit-bearing crops.In Louisiana, something can be planted everyday o the year, so make use o all the garden spaceyear-round. As soon as one crop is through bearing,pull it out, rework the row and plant something else.For example, ater Irish potatoes are dug in May or June, rework the row and plant peas, okra or sweetpotatoes. Successive plantings made a week or twoapart provide a means o having a continuous reshsupply o certain vegetables such as bush snap beans,peas or greens. Also, planting early, midseason andlate-maturing varieties at the same time will extendyour harvest. O course, some o these practices willbe limited by available space.This publication should be used by the vegetablegardener as a guide to a successul garden. The inor-mation contained herein has been developed aterconsiderable research and practical experience.The ollowing comments about each item mayhelp you to better understand and use this inorma-tion so that you can get the greatest benet rom it.
With the spring planting, thesouthern-most parishes may use the earliest datesgiven or their rst plantings. Gardeners in centralLouisiana should plant about two weeks later thanthe earliest dates given and north Louisiana aboutour weeks later. For example, snap beans may beplanted on February 15 in New Orleans, but aroundMarch 1 in Alexandria and about March 15 in Shreve-port or Monroe area. Generally, with the springvegetables, the rst planting should be made ater thedanger o rost is over.
Seed or Plants 100 ft. of row
– The amounto seed given here is the minimum amount requiredto plant 100 eet o row.
Depth to Plant Seed
– This will depend uponthe seed size and soil type. Small seeded crops areplanted shallow and larger seed crops are planteddeeper. Heavy (clay) soils require a more shallowdepth o planting than do lighter (sandy) soils. I irrigation water is not available and the soil is dry,your seed may have to be planted a little deeper thannormal.
Space Between Plants
– Correct spacingbetween and within rows is important to allow orproper growth, cultivation and ecient use o space.Leaving plants spaced too close will result in poor,weak growth and lower yields. It is a common prac-tice to sow seed thickly and then thin to the properspacing.Rows are spaced 3 to 31/2 eet apart. For water-melon, pumpkin and cantaloupes, plant every otherrow.For intensive culture or ‘wide row’ gardening usethe larger ‘in row’ spacing and allow enough roombetween rows so that when the plants are mature,they will barely be touching the neighboring row.Remember that yields, quality and pest control willnormally be superior i plants are given plenty o room to grow.
Days to Harvest
-The number o days to har-vest depends on the variety selected, the seasonaltemperatures, seasonal rainall, cultural practices andwhether direct seeded or transplanted. The numbero days indicated on the chart is an average rangewhich can be expected.For the gardener who is interested in the de-tailed culture o a certain crop, gardening hints orthese crops are available rom your county agent’soce.
Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide