Guest blog by: Deeya Patel, from Tulane University, who was an intern at RecircFarms Growing Local NOLA Farms, spring 2022
For those worrying that the deadline for starting an urban garden this season has passed, fret not! May is still a great time in New Orleans to begin a summer garden, since we no longer have the danger of hard freezes. Before you start your at-home garden, it’s important to test your soil. Though this feels like an extra step, it’s better to save yourself the worry of toxins such as lead going straight into your produce. Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans write, “A soil test is recommended when starting a new garden bed or if you’ve had problems with growing plants in the past. A soil test can tell you the pH (if your soil is more acidic or alkaline with 7 being neutral on a scale of 10-14 where one is acid and 14 is alkaline) of your soil. An ideal pH is slightly less than neutral for most plants about 6.0-6.5 pH but there are exceptions, depending on the plant. The soil test results will tell you if your soil is in need of amendments, nutrients and what, if anything, is needed to improve it. Get a soil test kit and instructions from the LSU Agriculture Center! Once the results come back, find information on interpretation or call your local extension service to speak to your Parish agent for help.”
Once you determine your soil is safe, you can begin deciding what produce you’d like over the summer. According to Nola News, recommended vegetables to plant in May include (and check out the Louisiana Vegetable Planting Guide for more information):
● Cantaloupe ● Cucuzza ● Cushaw ● Eggplants ● Hot peppers ● Lima beans ● Luffa gourds ● Okra ● Peanuts ● Pumpkins ● Southern peas ● Sweet potato ● Watermelon
Looking for a year-round guide to at home gardening in Louisiana? This planting guide serves as a reference for common vegetables grown in the state, with planting dates, spacing between plants, days until harvest, and more.