Thomas J. Koske | 4/22/2005 12:54:16 AM
There are many ways to contribute to the economic well-being of your family, parish, state and country. Producing fresh, healthy garden produce is just such a way, according to LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske.
"Vegetable gardening helps us all to better health with exercise and good nutrition, but it also keeps money in our pockets, which gives us more to spend on other needs or wants," the horticulturist says.
"Considering our state average of a 400 sq. ft. garden producing in summer, fall and winter to varying degrees, the value of our Louisiana home gardens last year is estimated at $103,475,700," Koske says.
Parishes reported 344,919 home vegetable gardens in Louisiana in 2004. This number is down 12.7 percent from 2003. Every parish has home gardens, some having a lot more than others. The highest concentrations of gardens, almost 40 percent of state total, are found in the three metro areas around New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport.
Garden surveys regularly indicate that this savings is not the main reason Louisiana citizens grow vegetables. They garden because they enjoy the very fresh taste of garden produce, enjoy being outdoors, getting the exercise and working with nature. The typical Louisiana gardener is a male senior citizen living in the suburbs.
The LSU AgCenter observed that situation several years ago and listed home gardens and home grounds as a priority area for its agricultural support. Its Horticulture Enhancement Initiative and Louisiana Master Gardener programs are two major AgCenter programs that directly support this resource, Koske explains.
Related yard and garden topics are available by contacting an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture