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Vegetable Gardening Tips

ˇ     Size: Gardens may range in size from a single potted tomato plant to a large family or truck garden. However, when establishing your garden, remember to make it large enough to meet your needs but not so large as to become a maintenance burden.

ˇ     Location: Plan ahead, locate the garden in as sunny a location as possible. The fruit-bearing crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash need full sun for best production. Too much shade results in a very disappointed garden, because of limited production. However, the leafy vegetables will tolerate more shade than the root or fruit-bearing crops.

ˇ     Crop Rotation: In Louisiana, something can be planted every day of the year, so make use of all the garden space year-round. As soon as one crop is through bearing, pull it out; rework the soil and plant peas, okra, or sweet potatoes. Successive plantings made a week or two apart provide a means of having a continuous fresh supply of certain vegetables such as bush snap beans, peas, or greens. Also, planting early, midseason, and late-maturing varieties at the same time will extend your harvest. Of course, some of these practices will be limited by available space.

ˇ     Spacing: Correct spacing between and within rows is very important to allow for proper growth, cultivation, and efficient use of space. Leaving plants spaced too close will result in poor, weak growth and lower yields. It is a common practice to sow seed thickly and then thin to the proper spacing.

      Rows are spaced 3 to 3 1/2 feet apart, if you have the space. For watermelon, pumpkin, and cantaloupes, plants every other row.

      For intensive gardening, use the smallest in row spacing. You should allow enough room between rows, so that when plants are mature they will not be touching the neighboring row of plants. Remember that yield, quality, and pest control will normally be superior if plants are given plenty of room to grow.

For the gardener who is interested in more details of a certain crop, gardening hints for these crops are available from the county agent's office. Please call the Jefferson Parish office at 736-6519 or visit the AgCenter website at www.lsuagcenter.com



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