If you are planning to plant a garden this spring of 2011, then the weather we have had for this March 2011 should be getting your green thumb a little itchy. Hopefully, you have tested your soil and have adjusted your soil pH to the proper level. If you do not understand soil pH, you may ask yourself what exactly is pH? It is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity (base) of a solution.
The measurement scale for pH is 0-14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral for water. Remember, plants usually grow best in a pH range of 6.0 – 6.5. If the pH of your soil is low then you will have to add lime. If the pH of your soil is too high then you may need to add sulphur. Adjusting the pH of your garden soil is an important practice that will help you to increase the production of vegetables in your garden. Practices which are recommended to improve your overall production of your garden are known as Best Management Practices or BMPs.
Once you have adjusted your soil pH to the proper level, the next thing that you will need to do is determine what vegetables you will plant, when to plant them, how deep to plant the seeds, how far to space between the plants and what varieties of the vegetables should you plant. These considerations are known as cultural practices and the LSU AgCenter has made it easy for you to answer these questions with the Louisiana Vegetable Production Guide – Publication # 1980.
This publication lists the recommended cultural practices for each vegetable. It also has a list of recommended varieties and general fertilizer recommendations. The recommended varieties are the different kinds of vegetables that have been grown and tested by the LSU AgCenter and have proven to produce well in Louisiana’s climate. The Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide is available at your Parish Extension Office. It can also be copied or ordered on the LSU AgCenter’s website: lsuagcenter.com. Some local garden centers may also have the publication.
So, if you want to get your garden started properly, make sure that you get a copy of the Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide and sit down and look through it to properly plan your garden plantings. You will want to make sure that you plant the proper vegetables at the proper times and that you follow the proper planting recommendations. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and help you grow that beautiful garden that friends and neighbors will envy.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture