I’ve lived in Lake Charles almost five years, and I’m still trying to figure out how to garden here in the south. It’s completely different from gardening in the northeast. There are two growing seasons here instead of one – that’s a bonus. But I’ve struggled to get the knack of starting so early. Planting a garden in February just feels . . . wrong. In Pennsylvania, no one in their right mind plants a seed or puts in a flat of flowers before Memorial Day. Never know when you might get a rogue frost. It’s not unusual for it to snow on Easter back east. So until this year, I never got most of my plants in early enough, and before they’d start producing, the heat sapped the life right out of them. I’ve managed to grow peppers, cucumbers, spinach, and, to a lesser degree, lettuce. Oh, and a couple radishes. Herbs have done well. But strawberries? Withered away. Tomatoes? The plants grew but bore little fruit. And don’t dare take a vacation in June. We completely missed our blueberries last year. And the green beans succumbed to the heat and died of thirst.
This year, I planted the tomatoes early.
Because I love to garden, I went to the Garden Show at Burton Coliseum today. The flats of strawberries were oh so tempting. But unless I made jam, which I don’t, what would I do with that many? It was great fun to peruse all the beautiful plants. Such a wonderful assortment . . . orchids, bromeliads, perennials, vines, bonsai, herbs, hanging baskets, vegetables, trees.
A couple things I was interested in but didn’t see – composting ideas and rain barrels.
Worst aspect of gardening? Weeding. Especially when the beds are beleaguered with fire ants. I’d love to know how to get rid of these vicious pests. Most fire ant killers only make them move their mound over a couple feet.
Got any gardening tips for me?