LSU Ag Center: Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide

Baton Rouge, LA (KPLC) – Growing vegetables is a favorite hobby for many people. Home-grown vegetables have better flavor because they are harvested closer to their peak ripeness, allowing for the production of more of their natural sugars.

Plus, there’s total joy in watching a tiny seed turn into a delicious treat!

Gardening provides a means of exercise, recreation and therapy, as well as opportunities for many to experience nature. Statements such as “Let me show you my garden!” or “I grew this!” give a feeling of self-satisfaction.

Home vegetable gardens vary in size, from a single potted plant to large gardens. Make your garden the size that will meet your needs without becoming a burden. Remember we can plant and harvest 12 months out of the year, and some of them are very hot and some are cold, so don’t overdo it!

Plan ahead. Place the garden in a sunny location. Six to eight hours of sunlight per day is best. Fruit crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and squash, need full sun for best production. Otherwise, too much shade results in very little production for these crops. If you only have shady spots to garden, leafy vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage will tolerate more shade than fruit crops.

In Louisiana, vegetables can be planted year-round. As soon as a crop has finished producing, pull it up, rework the rows and plant something else.

For example, after harvesting Irish potatoes in May or June, rework the area and plant peas, okra or sweet potatoes. Successive plantings made a week or two apart provide a fresh, continuous supply of snap beans, peas, greens and other certain vegetables. Additionally, planting early, mid-season, and late varieties at the same time will prolong your harvest.

This pdf should be used as a guide to growing a successful garden in Louisiana.

The information has been developed after considerable research and practical experience. Comments on each item in the following tables can help you better understand the requirements for growing vegetables. But remember, this is only a guide. Always pay attention to local forecasts as they will help you decide whether to plant on the suggested dates or perhaps wait a bit if the weather is not acting predictably.

Planting dates – We have included a table that has columns for gardeners in North and South Louisiana. Those who live in central Louisiana will do better if they postpone planting dates from northern Louisiana for spring vegetable crops, but they can use dates from northern or southern Louisiana for spring vegetable crops. ‘fall.

Generally, with spring vegetables, the first planting should be done after danger of frost has passed (March 15 for South Louisiana/April 1 for Central/North Louisiana). Figure 1 is the most recent plant hardiness zone map published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It shows that Louisiana has four zones: 10a, 9b, 9a, 8b, and 8a. These zones represent the average annual minimum temperatures.

Seeds/plants per 100 feet of row – The amount of seeds (or number of plants) given is the minimum amount required to plant a 100 foot row.

Depth for planting seeds – This will depend on the size of the seeds and the type of soil. Small-seeded crops are planted shallower and larger-seeded crops are planted deeper.

Heavy (clay) soils require a shallower planting depth than lighter (sandy) soils. Indeed, clay soils tend to form a crust. If irrigation water is not available and the soil is dry, your seeds may need to be planted a little deeper than normal. Generally speaking, most seeds should be planted two to three times as deep as they are wide.

Space between plants – Correct spacing between and within rows is important for efficient growth, cultivation and use of space. It’s also important to follow the recommended spacing, as planting too close together can attract more insects and allow disease to spread between plants more easily. Additionally, planting too close together will result in poor, weak growth and lower yields. It is common practice to sow the seeds in thick then thin layers at the proper spacing. Provide unplanted rows between watermelon, pumpkin, and cantaloupe plantings. In the vegetable garden, you can plant in every other row and space these plants 4 to 6 feet apart.

For intensive cultivation or “wide-row” gardening, use the widest “in-row” spacing and leave enough space between the rows so that when the plants are mature, they barely touch those in the neighboring row. Remember that yield, quality and pest control will normally be higher if the plants have enough room to grow.

Days before harvest – The number of days between planting and harvest depends on the variety selected, seasonal temperatures, seasonal rainfall, cultural practices and whether the crop was direct sown or transplanted. The numbers of days indicated in these graphs are average ranges that can be expected.

For more information on individual cultures, you can read more HERE.

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