Garden News: Give vegetable gardening a go this year – The Advocate

Vegetable gardening is one of the most rewarding types of gardening. If you have never tried your hand at it or have had little luck, I encourage you to give it a go in 2019.

You can find many excellent books on vegetable gardening, but, honestly, my best advice is to jump right in.

Here’s some tips to help you gain some gardening know-how:

Start small — Quite often, a gardener successfully grows one tomato on their patio, and, the next thing you know, they are ready to sell the house and start a farm. I appreciate the ambition, but leaping from a pot to an acre is huge. A 4-by-8-foot raised bed is a great starting size for new gardeners. It’s just enough room to give you a meaningful harvest but small enough to manage.

Know where to get the best info — You could fill the Library of Congress with all the books, videos, articles and blogs on how to vegetable garden. And, you certainly might want a few books or to peruse a few websites, but some of the best and most concise information is in the “Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide” found at Also know how to get in touch with your parish extension agent, which also can be found at the AgCenter’s website.

Where’s the water — Before choosing a location to start your vegetable garden, determine the closest water source. There is nothing worse than having to haul pails of water to the garden or needlessly connecting multiple hoses and dragging them across the yard every time you need to water.

Tried and true varieties — Most vegetable are annual crops, and new varieties come out each year. But, just because there’s a new variety of tomatoes or peppers does not mean it is necessarily better, especially here in Louisiana. Again, check out the “Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide,” where you’ll find the varieties the LSU AgCenter has tested in Louisiana and that have performed best.

Failure is also a success — I always emphasize to gardeners that they should keep a gardening journal. It allows you to record what did well in the garden so you can repeat it the following year. But, more importantly, it allows you to keep track of what didn’t do well and what you may need to do differently next time. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn.

Email [email protected]. Follow Lee Rouse on Instagram, @rouses_horticulture.

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