Here in Louisiana our winters and early springs are usually wet which delays tilling and preparing the soil for our transplants and seeds. In the fall while conditions are usually much drier some farmers will disc and row up their fields, letting them sit during the winter. In the spring it’s simply a matter of re-hipping those rows which are many times dry enough to work without the need to break up the entire field. Those of you who use a tractor to work your garden can easily apply that same practice and get those vegetables that benefit from early plantings in the ground a lot sooner.
Fall: The first step is optional but recommended. When conditions are dry (not wet) use your middle buster to break up the area you’ll be planting your early vegetables. Run that middle buster as deep as the tractor can pull it. This will break up any hard pan that has formed beneath the surface during the summer. Once that’s done attach your tiller and break up the soil until it can easily be worked. Hook up the row hipper and draw your rows as high as possible. If you have any low spots you may want to open ditches to allow excess water from heavy rains to drain. We sometimes get some dry spells during the winter, this would be a good time to dress up those rows with your hippers, taking out any winter grass at the same time. Now let that area of your garden sit till the spring.
Early Spring: The rows will be the first thing to dry in early spring so when the time is right attach your hippers to the tractor and re-hip those rows. If you start bringing up large chunks of wet dirt the soil is still too wet to work, allow it to dry out a little more. Once your rows have been worked the finishing touch is running the tiller over the top 1/3 of the row. This will give an excellent seed bed to plant in. Unless it’s an abnormally wet spring this will get you in the garden a lot sooner.
The Fall is also a good time for testing your garden soil. Soil Savvy Soil Test KIt by Unibest is an easy to use kit, just add your soil. Samples are mailed to Unibest in a postage paid envelope and tested in their lab. Watch Video
December: Place order for fresh seeds
January: Start pepper plants under lights
February: Start tomato plants under lights
Over the years I've come to favor certain varieties that I'd like to share with you. Flavor most often determines my choices but in some cases production is also a factor.
Beans, Snap, Bush … Contender (production) Blue Lake (flavor)
Beans, Snap, Pole … Blue Lake (flavor)
Beets … Detroit Dark Red and Bull’s Blood (flavor)
Broccoli … Packman (flavor and production)
Cabbage … Copenhagen Market (flavor and holds well)
Cantaloupe … Hales Best Jumbo (flavor and production)
Carrots … Danvers 126 (production)
Cauliflower … Amazing and Snowball self-blanching (flavor)
Corn, Sweet … Incredible (flavor and production)
Cucumber … Just about any Burpless (flavor)
Eggplant …. Black Beauty (flavor and production)
Lettuce … ButterCrunch (flavor and production)
Mustard Green … Southern Giant Curled and Tendergreen (flavor and production)
Okra … Cowhorn (flavor and production)
Onions, Bulb … Candy (flavor, production and they're huge)
Onions, Tops … Evergreen White Bunching (production)
Peas … “Top Pick” pink eye purple hull and Zipper Cream (flavor and production)
Peppers, Hot … Hungarian Hot Wax (mild flavor and production)
Peppers, Sweet … Bull Nose (flavor and production)
Potatoes, Irish … Red Lasorda (only kind we can get locally)
Spinach … Bloomsdale (flavor)
Squash, Summer … Early Straight Neck and the Crookneck (flavor and production)
Squash, Winter … Butter Cup (flavor and production)
Tomatoes … Cherokee Purple and Black Krim (flavor)
Zipper Cream Peas
Incredible Sweet Corn
Candy Onion Transplant
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