Proper planning assures good garden start

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2012

If you are planning to plant a garden this spring, then the weather we have had for the past few weeks should be getting your green thumb a little itchy. Hopefully the soil has been tested, and the pH has been adjusted to the proper level. If soil pH is not understood, one may ask what exactly is pH?  PH is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity (base) of a solution. PH is measured on a scale of 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 lime will have to be added. If the pH of the soil is too high, then sulphur may have to be added to the soil to reduce the pH. Adjusting the pH of the garden soil is an important cultural practice that will help to increase the production of vegetables in the garden. Practices that are recommended to improve your overall production of the garden are known as Best Management Practices or BMPs.  

Once the soil pH has been adjusted to the proper level, the next thing that needs to be   done is to determine what vegetables to plant, when to plant them, how deep to plant the seeds, how far to space between the plants and what varieties of vegetables should you plant. These considerations are known as Cultural Practices, and the LSU AgCenter has made it easy to answer these questions with the Louisiana Vegetable Production Guide – Publication no. 1980. This publication lists the recommended cultural practices for each vegetable – when to plant, how much seed you will need, the depth to plant the seed, the spacing between seeds and plants and the days to harvest. It also contains a list of recommended varieties and general fertilizer recommendations for each vegetable.  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 each Parish LSU Ag Center Extension Office.

It can also be copied or ordered on the LSU Ag Center’s website at Some local garden centers may also have the publication.  

So, to get the garden started properly, make sure to get a copy of the Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide, and sit down and look through it

to properly plan the garden plantings.  Make sure to plant the proper vegetables at the proper times and

to follow the proper planting recommendations. This will save a lot

of money in the long run and will help to grow that beautiful garden that friends and neighbors will


For more information contact

your local LSU Ag Center Parish County Agent or contact David Pichon, LSU AgCenter county agent for St. John Parish at dpichon@  

If you have any questions, please contact your local LSU Ag Center County Agent. You can contact David Pichon, County Agent-St. John Parish at 985-497-3261 or by email at