By Steve Borel
Gardeners get ready! Spring is one of the busiest seasons for vegetable gardeners. Pending how much rain your yard received, you may or may not have had time to turn over the garden soil and prepare rows. Gardeners should try to get this completed before mid-March in south Louisiana. This is our average last frost date. Recognize that late freezes can and do occur.
In March direct-plant snap bean, Swiss chard, radish, lettuce, collard, mustard, turnip and sweet corn seeds into the ground. Plant tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants after March 15. Cantaloupes, squash, cucumbers and water melons really need warmer soils to perform their best. Make sure all frost is over before planting these.
Tomato vines may be determinate or indeterminate. Indeterminate types have a vegetative terminal bud that continues to grow they may reach 8 feet or taller. Determinants have very productive vines that grow to heights of 4 feet. Determinants should be pruned only once or twice up to the first cluster.
Soil test will tell you how much fertilizer your garden will need and if the PH needs to be adjusted. Soil samples can be brought to the County agents office. If you don’t have a soil test, a general recommendation is to apply 6 to 7 pounds of 13-13-13 per 100 feet of row and work in into the soil before planting. Applying a side dress of1 to 2 pounds nitrogen when plants are 3 weeks old.
The West Baton Rouge County agents Office has LSU recommended varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant for sale between 8 to 4:30 Monday to Friday.