Monday, May 20, 2024

Gardening with Dr. White: Gardening is a labor of Love 

by BPT Staff
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Dr. Joe W. White is a retired horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Those who have grown a garden before know that a lot of work is involved and that it can be a year-round project. So why do they continue to do it? Actually, it is a labor or love, but it offers many rewards such as fresh produce or flowers and in quantity which saves a lot of money and it provides the opportunity to benefit from several forms of exercise. Did I mention that tomatoes from a garden have a superior flavor when compared to those bought at a grocery store?

While experienced gardeners have already planted and by now are probably harvesting some cool season vegetables, those who don’t grow vegetables are likely looking on in amazement of what can be accomplished before April which is when non-gardeners consider the start of the gardening season.

But not every would-be gardener has the opportunity to grow a garden because they live in apartments or other places where garden space is either not available or very limited. Also, not everyone has the time to benefit from a garden because of their work schedule

Another, but usually not recognized accomplishment that gardens can have is that they  can bring families together as they combine their efforts to reach a common goal. 

Gardening can be fun and creative if you are not too set in your ways. Perhaps you have never grown anything but vegetables. So why not try flowers for a change? A good supply of flowers from your garden would give you or some member of your family material to decorate your home. And if you didn’t know, some flowers or parts of flowers are edible.

And like cats, some people have a natural curiosity which can make gardening fun. Maybe you would be interested in trying some form of gardening that you’ve never tried before. Pot gardening is a good method when space is limited and the perfect answer for persons living in apartments or condos. Plant breeders have developed varieties and cultivars of vegetables that stay small and are ideal to grow in pots. Another form of gardening is vertical gardening which is another good fit where space is limited. You simply use posts, fences or some other kind of support for growing vining type vegetables and flowers.

There are still flower growers who have not adopted the practice of pinching back the growing points of selected flowers. Such a practice is very beneficial because it’s an easy and sure way of increasing foliage density and of controlling shape and size of both annual and perennial flowers. Indeed, there are many interesting things you can do when you are a gardener.

Other things you can do when you have a garden would be to try growing a vegetable or flower that’s new to you or one that’s you have seen in a catalog or magazine. Check the results on plants when using different kinds of fertilizer.

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