Ascension Parish Vegetable Garden Workshop and Garden Contest Winners

Craig Roussel Horticulture Agent, Ascension/St. James Parishes
Jamie Trisler, President, Ascension Master Gardeners; Kole Guerin, 4-H'er, 1st Place; and Horticulture Agent, LSU AgCenter, Ascension, Craig Roussel.

The LSU AgCenter and Ascension Master Gardeners held a Vegetable Garden Workshop at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales on June 11. An educational program was provided by Craig Roussel of the LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service. Topics covered included general requirements for growing a vegetable garden, new tomato, bell pepper, and cucumber varieties, disease management, insect management, and pesticide usage. Attendees also participated in a blind taste test evaluating the flavor of the 6 tomato varieties planted this year. Mountain Glory, a hybrid tomato developed by North Carolina State University, ranked as the best tasting variety to participants. The group also visited the Demonstration Garden to get a good look at the varieties and their plant characteristics. The Florida weave system of staking and supporting determinate types of tomatoes was demonstrated.

As part of the program, the 2014 Ascension Parish Garden Contest winners were announced. Judging was conducted by Ascension Parish Master Gardeners on May 19 and criteria included record keeping – 30 pts., insect control – 15 pts., weed control – 15 pts., disease control 15 pts., productivity – 15 pts., site selection – 10 pts., and varieties recommended by the LSU AgCenter – up to 10 bonus pts.

Record keeping is a critically important step in gardening because it allows producers to provide information to extension agents, chemical company representatives, or LDAF field agents if problems arise. Additionally, gardeners can refer back to their records from year to year to anticipate what problems to expect and when to expect them. It is also good to have records about which varieties of vegetables performed well and which ones didn’t.

Home gardening provides a source of fresh, healthy vegetables for family consumption, as well as some cash from excess produce. Caring for a vegetable garden provides physical exercise for youth and adults and continuous learning experiences.

The winners of the 2014 Ascension Parish LSU AgCenter Vegetable Garden Contest were:

4-H Youth:

1st Place – Kole Guerin - $40 Cash Award and 1st Place Plaque

2nd Place – Kinslei Scroggs - $20 Cash Award and 2nd Place Plaque

3rd Place – Sadie Bourgeois - $10 Cash Award and 3rd Place Plaque (Not present awards ceremony)

Adult Small Garden:

1st Place – Jessica Frederic - $40 Cash Award and 1st Place Plaque

The Ascension Master Gardener Association sponsored the awards for the Garden Contest for 2014. Their commitment to supporting the LSU AgCenter Extension Service Programs is appreciated.

Preparations are underway for next year’s garden contest and workshop. We encourage Ascension Parish residents to begin the planning process to compete in the 2015 Garden Contest.