Ascension Parish Vegetable Garden Field Day and Garden Contest winners presented

Belinda Champton Administrative Coordinator Ascension Parish Extension Service
Judging was conducted by four Ascension Parish Master Gardeners 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.

The LSU AgCenter and Ascension Master Gardeners held a Vegetable Garden Field Day June 11 at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. 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. Red Bounty came in second. 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 2015 Ascension Parish Garden Contest winners were announced. Judging was conducted by four Ascension Parish Master Gardeners 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 2015 Ascension Parish LSU AgCenter Vegetable Garden Contest were:

4-H Youth:

1st Place – Sean Turner - $50 Cash Award and 1st Place Plaque

2nd Place – McKenzie Latino - 2nd Place Plaque 3rd Place – Camille Russell - 3rd Place Plaque (Not pictured)

Adult Small Garden:

1st Place – Dale Doty - $50 Cash Award and 1st Place Plaque

Adult Medium Garden:

1st Place – Mika Whittaker - $50 Cash Award and 1st Place Plaque (Not pictured)

2nd Place – Shafter Kling - 2nd Place Plaque (Not pictured)

3rd Place – Dale Falcon - 3rd Place Plaque (Not pictured)

The Ascension Farm Bureau and Ascension Master Gardener Association sponsored the awards for the Garden Contest for 2015. Their commitment to supporting the LSU AgCenter Extension Service Programs is appreciated.

Preparations are underway for next year’s garden contest and field day. We encourage Ascension Parish residents to begin the planning process to compete in the 2016 Garden Contest.