City Social Magazine

MAR 2013

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Sitting down with Bob Souvestre, extension horticulturist at the Burden Center, offered us the perfect opportunity to pose the long-professed gardening rule—nothing should be planted before Good Friday, since it is believed that there will not be a freeze after that date—and its validity, if any. "I truly believe that if a person embraces this faith-based schedule, it seems fine that they abide by it," said Souvestre diplomatically. On a serious note, he added, "In march, for instance, if the weather is warm, many will plant vegetables such as tomatoes. If planting is delayed to April, a month's growth is lost, resulting in decreased production, and the potential for disease problems exists because as warmer weather arrives, so do insects and disease. We are here to improve the art of successful gardening." Souvestre explained why march is prime time for plantDr.JeffKuehny ing vegetable gardens: that month's second and third week is preferable for in-ground or containers. he also suggested that herbs and flowers can be interspersed with them. As Souvestre was speaking, he brought out what he described as "the best piece of vegetable gardening information that LSU has ever put forth." Available at the Burden Center office, the eight-page letter-sized booklet is crammed with detailed instructions regarding seed planting, their depth and proper spacing between them, along with cultural recommendations, suggested varieties for Louisiana, and general fertilizer data. Another must-have for novice gardeners is the calendar on the last page listing the year-round vegetables from January through December that have proven to do best in each month. As the weather warms, flowering annuals—periwinkle, begonias, and impatiens—are excellent for this climate as are the no-fail coleus. "Roses are king here in the area; nurseries are well stocked with them now; they are all in containers and they are rooted," said Souvestre. "early march is too early to expect flower buds, but late in the month and into April, expect blooms." The LSU Ag Center Botanic Gardens at Burden is one of Baton Rouge's most delightful sites. Visitors will marvel at the many extraordinary varieties of plants that have made Louisiana a stand-out among beautiful flora and other plant life. Out-ofstate travelers have often marveled at the many stunning yards of homeowners and the delightful blooms that blanket many of our public buildings and grounds. Blessed with a friendly and accommodating weather system, we have taken advantage of that boon as we amateur and admired professionals continue the most pleasant task of gardening. 12 Read us online at www.citysocial.com

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