Archive for January, 2011

The Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival inside the Burton Coliseum is celebrating gardening with its 12th Annual Show and Plant Extravaganza about gardening, flowers, trees, shrubs, garden accessories, books, demonstrations, educational lectures, and general garden tools. Area, regional and interstate exhibitors and vendors will be there to assist you with your plant and garden needs including The Federated Garden Clubs of Southwest Louisiana who will present: “Lovely Louisiana” their 2011 flower show theme. 

Educational garden seminars will be on-going throughout the two day event and the 4-H ‘Rent-A-Kid’ will be there to help festival-goers carry out items to their vehicles. Educational programs include Home Vegetable Gardening and Fruit Production held on Friday while programs on Ornamentals and Landscape Gardening & Herbs being held on Saturday.

There will be a Plant Health Clinic with professionals from the LSU AgCenter as well as Master Gardener volunteers who will help diagnose plant problems and answer garden questions. The SWL Master Gardeners will present their Garden Fest Preview Party with a Gumbo Supper & Silent Auction in the Chalkley Room of the Burton Colisem on Thursday, March 24th, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Donation of $10.00 in advance  for admission.  Tickets can be purchased at the LSU Agcenter, 7101 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles.  Attendees will enjoy the gumbo supper, participate in the Silent Auction, allow to preview the Garden Show and purchase from the Garden Fest vendors that evening.

Regular Garden Festival hours are Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and free for children 12 and under. For more information, visit www.gardenfest.org, or, contact Robert Turley or Pat Ortego at (337) 475-8812.

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LSU AgCenter Researchers, Dr. Regina Bracey and Dr. Allen Owings will  host a Louisiana Master Gardener Appreciation Day and extend their invitation to Master Gardeners throughout the state to come spend a day in the beautiful gardens at the Hammond Research Station. 

This special event is scheduled for May 13th,  9 A.M. to 3 P.M.  The program will include guided tours through Sun Garden and Margie Jenkins Azelea Garden, presentations by Dan Gill, Ron Strahan, Don Ferrin, Alan Morgan, Kathryn Fontenot and Gary Bachman.  Included will be a complimentary lunch and door prizes. 

Master Gardeners planning to attend are asked to register their name by May 1st with their parish LMG coordinator.

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Do you enjoy the taste of a homegrown tomato but have a small yard or no yard at all? If yes, then this is the research study for you. Twelve hybrid varieties of tomatoes from Burpee Seed Company were grown to determine the ultimate tomato for patio growers. Seeds were purchased from Burpee Seed Company because it caters to the home growers. The tomato plants were grown in three-gallon containers and plants were trellised with 56-inch standard tomato cages, available at most local nurseries. A peat-based soil was used as the medium, and the pots were all fertilized with Osmocote Plus Multi-purpose Plant Food (15-9-12) at a rate of 1 tablespoon per container.

Fruit were harvested, counted and weighed once a week from June 7 to July 12. The 12 varieties studied were Supertasty, Health Kick hybrid, Sweet Tangerine, Patio Princess, Fresh Salsa, Bush Steak, Ensalada, Italian Ice, Celebrity, Heat Wave II, Yellow Magic and Porter House. The roma types were Health Kick hybrid, Ensalada and Fresh Salsa. Yellow Magic, an indeterminate tomato, is a yellow, bell pepper-shaped tomato, Sweet Tangerine is an orange tomato, and Italian Ice is a cherry tomato that was light yellow to white when harvested.

To learn more about the study and which varieties were the top producers visit:


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As demand for blueberries keeps increasing so does the need for more people to grow them.  A new website, www.eXtension.org/blueberries developed by the LSU AgCenter, promotes both the production of blueberries and their nutritional value.

The website is part of the eXtension.org national website and is populated with articles on how to grow blueberries, both conventionally and organically. Topics covered include site selection, soil testing, treating diseases, weeds, insect pests and much more. The website has information on the health benefits of eating blueberries as well as how to select fresh berries, cook with them and preserve them through canning, freezing and drying. A recipe section includes salads, pies, drinks, muffins and even a blueberry soup.

If viewers want to know something about blueberries they can’t find on the site, they can “Ask an Expert” by going to a link on every page where questions can be posted.The LSU AgCenter’s four partners in the project are the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Poplarville, Miss.; Mississippi State University in Starkville; Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

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The LSU AgCenter and the St. Tammany Master Gardeners Association will hold a gardening seminar Friday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p. m.  The meeting will be held in the Bogue Falaya Room in the Greater Covington Center at 317 N. Jefferson Ave. in Covington.

Seminar topics will include roses – something old, something new; azaleas – selection, care and maintenance; planning and preparing for spring vegetable gardening; Southern lawns vs. weed battle, and edible landscaping.

The registration fee of $20 includes lunch.   Deadline for registration is Feb. 4.  Make checks payable to STMG and mail to STMG Incredibles and Edibles Seminar, c/o LSU AgCenter, P.O. Box 5438, Covington, LA 70434.  For additional information contact Rusty Batty at 985-875-2635 or rbatty@agcenter.lsu.edu

See the latest LSU AgCenter News at www.lsuagcenter.com.

Writer: Johnny Morganjmorgan@agcenter.lsu.edu

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The Piney Hills Master Gardeners will host their 6th annual Buds and Blooms on February 5, 2011 from 9 A.M. until Noon at the First United Methodist Church located at 903 Broadway in Minden, Louisiana. Each year, seminars are provided for the public to help enhance their education in all things horticulture related.

Presenters this year will be Michael Seal of the Funny Farm in Poplarville, Mississippi who will speak on “Beautiful and Bizarre Bromeliads”; Christy & Nick Walker from Joy Walk Day Lily Farm in Vernon, Louisiana who will teach “How to Grow and Hybridize Day Lillies”; Steve & Betty Fowler of the Piney Hills Louisiana Master Gardeners with a presentation on “Plant Hospital – do your plants need one?”; and parish 4-H club members Mikaela Carender and Sarah Patterson who will teach a program on “Recycling”.  Marilyn Lee also will be giving demonstrations on dried-flower arranging during the event. Both the Joy Walk Day Lily Farm and the Funny Farm will be selling plants.

Plant booths, a raffle, door prizes and, of course, delightful refreshments will also be in the mix!  Cost of the seminars is the same as always… $5 at the door. All proceeds go to support the Webster Parish 4-H Gardening program.  For more information contact Sandra at 318-927-4055 or Linda at 318-927-2488.

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The LSU AgCenter and the Tangipahoa Master Gardeners Association have scheduled a spring vegetable garden workshop from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Feb. 1 at the Hammond Research Station.

The workshop will cover topics on how to grow a vegetable garden, organic gardening, insect control, growing vegetables in raised beds and container gardening, according to Sandra Benjamin, LSU AgCenter county agent.

“We will have AgCenter professionals on hand providing the latest research-based information to help you get an early start on your spring vegetable garden,” Benjamin said. “We will also provide lunch for those in attendance.”

Registration is $15 and is due by Jan. 24. Make checks payable to TMG and mail to TMG c/o LSU AgCenter, P.O. Box 848, Amite, LA 70422.

The Hammond Research Station is located at 21549 Old Covington Highway (Louisiana Highway 1067) east of Hammond.

For additional information contact Benjamin at 985-748-9381.

See the latest LSU AgCenter News at www.lsuagcenter.com.

Writer: Johnny Morgan jmorgan@agcenter.lsu.edu

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