“It’s Not Too Late for Fall and Winter Vegetables.”

The East Baton Rouge Master Gardener (EBRMG) Association will offer presentations on ferns and fall vegetable gardens Thursday, September 13, at the Zachary Branch Library (1900 Church Street). The talks, which are scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., are free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

In the first presentation, “Ferns for the Landscape and Patio,” Louisiana Master Gardener (LMG) Terry Rehn reviews a variety of the lush and trouble-free varieties that can be used as groundcovers, fillers, or focal points in beds, baskets, and containers. “Over the years there has been an interesting evolution of ferns that have been marketed locally,” Rehn says, “and to take best advantage of these interesting and beautiful new selections, it’s essential that you understand the site and culture requirements of each individual fern.”

Rehn will explain the importance of sun, moisture, and temperature tolerance and will also identify ferns that survived the flooding and arctic blasts this area has experienced since 2016.

LMG Kerry Hawkins will present the second talk of the evening, “It’s Not Too Late for Fall and Winter Vegetables.” Given this area’s longer, hotter summers, home gardeners are finding it’s better to wait well into October and November to plant many fall vegetables, Hawkins says. He will offer pointers on choosing and tending such cool season favorites as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, lettuces, and kale. Varieties that do particularly well in this area will be highlighted.

Hawkins will review the steps for starting a fall garden and will recommend strategies for enhancing the garden’s productivity while keeping the work of maintaining a garden manageable.

Both men are lifelong gardening enthusiasts who completed the LMG program in 2011 after they retired. Rehn’s appreciation of ferns is perhaps matched by his enthusiasm for growing orchids. Hawkins is president-elect of the EBRMG association and has been active with the Friends of the AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden.

The Zachary program is the 10th program in the EBRMG association’s 2018 Library Series of gardening presentations, which has visited seven East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) locations over the course of the year (the Main Library as well as the Bluebonnet, Carver, Central, Fairwood, Jones Creek, and Zachary branches).

Each program includes two presentations on topics requested by Library Series attendees and/or recommended by researchers for their importance and relevance to home gardening in this region. Two programs remain in the 2018 series. On September 27, the Library Series returns to the Main Library on Goodwood at 6:30 p.m. with presentations on “Growing Ferns Without a Greenhouse” and “Home Composting.” The series concludes at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. October 25 with presentations on “Landscaping a Small Yard” and “A Year in the Garden with Bulbs.”

Library Series presentations are delivered by EBRMGs, all of whom have completed a Master Gardener curriculum through the LSU Agcenter’s or elsewhere in the United States. For additional information on the 2019 Louisiana Master Gardener course, contact Lee Rouse, horticulture agent for East Baton Rouge Parish, by email LRouse@agcenter.lsu.edu or phone 225-578-2413.

The Library Series is an avenue for LMGs to help extend the LSU Agcenter’s mission to share research-based educational information with the people of Louisiana and promote a love of gardening. The EBRMGA Educational Presentations Committee coordinates both the Library Series and the Great Garden Speakers (GGS)program, which offers free garden talks to garden clubs and nonprofits throughout East Baton Rouge Parish on request.

The EBRMG association also conducts plant health clinics at local garden centers and the Red Stick Market, works with school and community gardens throughout East Baton Rouge parish, and conducts a plant sale at the LSU Agcenter Botanic Gardens at Burden each spring.

For additional information on the Fall 2018 EBRMG Library presentations or the association’s other outreach activities, visit the association’s website (ebrmg.com).

Contributed by EBRMG Association