Louisiana Home Gardens Are Valuable

Kathryn Fontenot, Koske, Thomas J.  |  9/26/2007 11:15:00 PM

Kohlrabi in a North Louisiana garden.

A recent LSU AgCenter survey of Louisiana home vegetable gardens shows a "diamond in the rough," claims LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske. The survey estimates that the state had about 333,000 home gardens in 2007.

"Considering our average 400-square-foot garden producing in summer, fall and winter, the value of all these home gardens reaches almost $100 million," Koske says. “The metro New Orleans and Lake Charles areas that were hit by the hurricanes were, in the past, adjusted for recovering their active gardeners which continues. This value also does not reflect the very recent rise in produce prices and value due to the oil value surge of early 2008. These metro portions are still somewhat down, but coming back strong now. The after-tax dollar savings allow the family paycheck to go farther while keeping nutritious food on the table," the horticulturist adds.

Garden surveys in Louisiana regularly indicate that this savings is not the main reason Louisiana citizens grow vegetables. They garden because they enjoy the fresh taste of garden produce and enjoy being outdoors, getting exercise and working with nature. The typical Louisiana gardener is a male senior citizen living in the suburbs. A new survey update will arrive this fall.

The AgCenter noticed this resource several years ago and listed home gardens and home grounds as a priority area for its agricultural support along with traditional commercial agriculture. Its Horticulture Enhancement Initiative and Louisiana Master Gardener programs are two major AgCenter programs that directly support this resource.

Related yard and garden topics are available by contacting an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, look for Lawn & Garden and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site

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