Archive for Potatoes

Beauregard Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens Closing

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 Beauregard Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens Closing

by Ms. Emily Shirley, President, Beauregard Parish Master Gardeners

I almost started this paragraph with “On a sad note…” but I corrected myself – it is not on a sad note, it is on a note of appreciation and thankfulness. There was so much that was accomplished, good times, sharing, and lots of learning that too place in the Demo Gardens.  Last month the Beauregard Master Gardeners made the decision to close the Demonstration Gardens that have been in existence for approximately five years.  This was a wonderful and successful project and now we are ready to move on to other projects.

There are so many of you to thank and recognize for the work that you did, as well as the time, money, and energy you spent to make this project so successful, I can’t begin to name everyone.  We have money in our account at this time because you so willing to spend your own personal money to pay for things in the gardens. I want you to know that that has not gone unnoticed.  There are a few that spent a considerable amount of time and personal money and I do want to publically acknowledge them.

George and Merlyn Giltner spent so much in terms of money and time that I cannot begin to list all the things they did or all the things they paid for.  There were times when it was so hot and some days when it was so wet and ugly, but you could pass by the gardens and you would see George and Merlyn out there working.  On those hot days when things needed to be watered every day, we could always know that things were being taken care of because George and Merlyn would be there to water things.

The same goes for John Markham.  I even joked one time that I really thought John was living the potting shed in the Demo Gardens and had not informed any of us.  He was there almost every day working and taking care of things.  Not only did John oversee the installation of the irrigation system, I never worried about the system in the winter time because I knew John would take care of it.  The same for the raised beds.  John was always around to plant, fertilize, water and harvest the vegetables.  John and Dale Vincent raised some beautiful corn that we were able to sell at the Farmer’s Market and made money for future projects.

Jimmy Cooley installed an awesome Muscadine orchard and showed us all how it is done and what materials to use.  It was a wonderful teaching project and we so appreciate all the time, money and energy that went into that project.

Chris Krygowski came along just as we were all talking about a Children’s Garden.  She not only volunteered to help with this project, she agreed to head up this project and made it into something the rest of only dreamed of.  We all have commented on the energy Chris seemed to always have and the number of hours she spent making that area into what it is.

Dana Whittington took over an area of the garden that was difficult to garden for a number of reasons, but she certainly showed us that it can be done — if you have a difficult area you can always garden in containers.  In addition to the onions, garlic in the ground, she demonstrated how to grow purple potatoes and carrots in containers.  I harvested some of her onions and carrots for a wonderful soup one day last year.  Fresh from the ground is always good!

Allen Wells demonstrated how to grow vertically with his “Arbor Garden”.  His use of cow-pen panels is a unique way to have things growing overhead while other plants in-ground below.

And who can forget John Hendrix’s okra – we thought he had some type “Jack-And-The-Beanstalk” type okra out there.  And he harvested okra right into the fall.

Shirley Corda spent a considerable amount of time helping us get our Five-Year-Plan on paper to be presented to the Fair Board.

Keith Hawkins has been our MG Coordinator from the beginning and we appreciate what he has done for this program.  And to ALL the others not mentioned above, THANK YOU for all your contributions of time, money and sweat equity.  A job well done!

Ms. Emily Shirley is a Master Gardener in Beauregard Parish. She also publishes the BEAUREGARD MASTER GARDENER NEWSLETTER.

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Planting Tips & Community Gardening Plots Available in DeRidder for 2013

By George Giltner, Master Gardener

LSUAC4C72-80px[1]MasGarTM5x7_w85[1] A Blog from the LSU AgCenter and Beauregard Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners welcome gardeners to grow and care for vegetable plots in DeRidder.  Master Gardeners or community gardeners can obtain plots by calling the AgCenter, 463-7006, or George Giltner at 460-1715.  Corn, early tomatoes, a row of blackberries, broccoli, lettuce, snap peas, etc. are suggestions.  Our aim is to grow healthy, nutrient dense foods, and to support our LSU AgCenter.

A healthy potato variety, Nicola, will be trialed this spring in two sites in the Master Garden.  This potato has a low glycemic index and a buttery flavor that is great for potato salads and mashed potatoes.  One planting site is the primarily clay soil on the west end, and the other in a sandy loam site in the center of the garden center.

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Santa visiting a winter garden in Beauregard Parish

Potato planning tips:

  1. Be sure to order your potatoes early.  Many heirloom and hard-to-find varieties sell out quickly.  Ask about the delivery date.  This is important because potatoes do not do well when the temperatures reach the 90’s.  If a late planting runs into hot weather while the tubers are in the early bulking stage, you may get a low yield.
  2. When your seed potatoes arrive, store them in the refrigerator until the week before you are going to plant them.  To break their dormancy, take them out of the refrigerator, and place them on a bright and warm place, like a window seal.
  3. Plan on where you want to plant your potatoes.  The critical consideration for planting is good soil drainage.  Heavy spring rains can soak soil and turn it to anaerobic conditions and rot,  without proper drainage.  Do not plant potatoes where tomatoes or other members of the Nightshade family grew the previous year.  Plant them in spots where cabbage, mustards or other brassicas were grown for their fumigant and disease resistant properties.
  4. The right time to plant is determined by weather conditions.  Potatoes should be planted in soils that are dry enough to be cultivated without heavily sticking to cultivating tools.  The target date for our Nicola potatoes is Feb. 14.  However some may be planted under hoop wire and cover cloth for an earlier start.
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Containerized beds with hoop covers for winter gardening.

More planting and gardening tips will follow next month.  Gardening is fun.  You get mental and physical exercise, but the best part is really great food at the end of the day.  An outstanding web site is www.healthy-food-site.com/food-nutritional-value.  All of us want good health.  So think about a New Year of discovering ways to live a healthy life style.

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