By Kimberly Wallis

Whether you prefer fresh cut flowers displayed on the windowsill or cooking with vegetables you grew yourself, Louisiana’s long growing season will be perfect for you! Either way, there is something truly satisfying about growing your own versus store bought. 

But maybe you don’t garden at all? Well your stay in Louisiana, with it’s subtropical climate, might be the perfect time to pick up a new hobby! For more info on the climate, click here.

The absolute best resource out there for beginning your gardening journey in Louisiana is the LSU Agricultural Center. They offer courses in Master Gardening and if you are already a Master Gardener in another state, you may be able to transfer that to Louisiana. There are also free certificate courses offered on home composting and home gardening.

LSU Ag Center’s program Get It Growing has both a YouTube channel and seasonal archives so you can get timely updates and see how the Louisiana growing schedule may be different from other areas. They also sell the Get It Growing Lawn and Garden growing calendar which will help you while providing some funding for these free programs at the same time. What a great way to pay it forward for future gardeners!

Doug Young Nursery displays its products at the 2019 Nursery Festival in Forest Hill, Louisiana.

Former Get It Growing host, Dan Gill, is a gardening columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Check out this article he wrote on what to plant each month. 

Greater New Orleans Gardening newsletters, also through the LSU Ag Center can be read here and you can sign up for their monthly emails as well. GNO Gardening Newsletters also include listings for garden centers in south Louisiana.

Seeds to Success is Louisiana’s farm to school program. An extremely helpful tool for teachers or those who homeschool, this site contains tips and guides which are useful at home as well.

Another great resource for gardening that works well no matter which hardiness zone you live in is the Farmer’s Almanac. No matter whether you are just starting out or a life long grower, you can find helpful tips, tricks, and growing advice they have been gathering since 1818!

The Good Food Project, in nearby Alexandria, allows you to receive offers, tips, resources, and schedules specific to Central Louisiana gardeners by signing up for the Sprout E-Newsletter.

Less than an hour from here is a quaint little village in Rapides Parish, Forest Hill, known as the nursery capitol of Louisiana because it offers a couple hundred from which to choose. This claim to fame has even gotten it featured in an article for Country Roads magazine. Another article in the Alexandria Town Talk you may find interesting talks about the local nursery that patented the crimson azalea, also one of the few licensed to grow the Southern Living magazine plant collection.

Flowers, plants, arts and crafts, food, and fun for the whole family, even including a carnival, can be found the third weekend of March at the Louisiana Nursery Festival.

If you find that you’ve really got a green thumb and have more vegetables and/or cut flowers than you know what to do with, well take them to a nearby Farmer’s Market!

Any way you grow, growing in Louisiana is tons of fun.