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Lori Garton's
Garden Philosophy
"I believe that a garden will flourish if stewarded sustainably. As responsible land care-takers we should be growing our soil -- not depleting it. That means not using any synthetic substances, including pesticides and fertilizers. It also means adding to the soil.
Composting is a key component to our Good Food Project garden. The more biodiverse an ecosystem is the healthier it is. That's why we grow as many different species as possible, including worms, chickens and bees. The more things that we have growing ... the more natural nutrient cycling and weed, insect and disease control there will be (and the less we have to do!).
This type of growing takes patience -- Mother Nature does take her time. So take a deep breath, take one step at a time, and let's grow together!"
-- Lori Garton, Director
Good Food Project
April Gardeners

Petrus Feed & Seed

Offers Organic Products


Petrus Feed & Seed, one of Central Louisiana's oldest garden supply companies, is offering a new line of certified organic items.


The store now carries Dr. Earth products, including fertilizer, potting mix, compost, manure, seed starter mix, herbicide and diatomaceous earth.


"A local market demand" was cited as the reason for the addition of organic products.

April Dirt
April Asparagus
April Color
April Cucumber
April Green Tomato
April Flowers
Thanks to the inmate crew from J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Facility for building the gazebo in the Good Food Project garden. 
-- Thank You --
 The Good Food Project earnestly thanks the following businesses and individuals for their support in providing plants, supplies or services for the community garden.
Acme Brick
Lowe's of Alexandria
Petrus Feed & Seed
Inglewood Farm
Burford Trees
Southern Loggers Co-op 
 Richard "Ricky" Melder
Bruce Richerson
Rebecca Richerson
Calvary Baptist Church

Sustainable Garden

Web Resources 


What Our Garden Needs
 The following items are needed to enhance our community garden.
Cinder Blocks
Plant Growing Containers
Wood Chips
Paving Stones
Please contact Lori Garton at
 or 445-2773 if you are able to donate any of these items.
Thank You! 


Good Food Project Garden News


April 2012

Thank you for your interest in the Good Food Project, which is operated under the direction of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana in partnership with the Central Louisiana Community Foundation and funded through the generous support of Keller Enterprises.
Our Sprout newsletter will keep you current with the Good Food Project (GFP) and provide useful information about growing your own healthy food and enjoying the lifelong benefits of gardening.

Become a

Master Gardener

 New Class Starts Soon

The next version of the 15-month Cenla Master Gardener course will be organized soon.  People interested in taking the class should call Suzanne Brouillette at the LSU AgCenter in Avoyelles Parish, 318-964-2245.


Taught by Dr. Carlos Smith, a retired Avoyelles Parish county agent and horticulture agent for Rapides and Avoyelles parishes, the class meets monthly from 6-9 p.m.  The meeting site alternates between the LSU AgCenter in Mansura and the Dean Lee AgCenter at LSU-Alexandria.


The class, which has a $150 tuition, is limited to about 30 students.  Participants will learn basic botany, insect management, plant disease management, soil science, vegetable production, turf grass management, trees, perennials, annuals and other subjects. 


Specialists from the LSU AgCenter assist Smith with instruction.  The Master Gardener course is part of the AgCenter's educational outreach program.


Approximately 175 people have graduated from previous Master Gardner classes.  Many of those remain active in local gardening projects through the Cenla Master Gardeners Association.


Use Food Stamps
To Buy Seeds & Plants
Food stamps may be used to purchase vegetable seeds and plants, according to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) guidelines.
The SNAP website lists vegetable seeds and plants suitable for eating as eligible items for purchase with food stamps.  Additional information is available at
According to the website, these items have been approved for purchase with food stamps since 1973, but few people are aware of this option.  Not all retailers that sell vegetable seeds and plants accept food stamps as payment, so it's best to check with the store in advance. 
More than 46.5 million people in the United States participate in the food stamp program.

Garden Crop of the Month
Asparagus is native to western Asia, northern Africa and most of Europe.  The herbaceous, perennial plant will grow to a height of nearly five feet with stout stems and pronounced feathery foliage.
Although asparagus has been used in the United States only since the mid-1800s, instructions for cooking the vegetable are included in the oldest-known recipe book dating to the third century AD.
The only part of the plant commonly consumed are the tender young shoots, which quickly become stalky when the buds open.  Shoots are typically eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, steamed, grilled, or as an ingredient in stew and soup.  Asparagus also can be pickled and stored for several years.
A variety of white asparagus -- also known as "white gold," "edible ivory," and "the royal vegetable" -- is very popular in Europe.  It often is sold from roadside stands.
Asparagus stalks are rich sources of antioxidants, folate, potassium and Vitamin C.  Studies have shown that folate is critical in protecting developing babies against neural tube defects during pregnancy, and it also seems to have properties that defend against heart disease in adults.
Cooked asparagus and its watery juices reduce levels of uric acid, the primary cause of gout.  The vegetable also is used effectively to control hypertension (high blood pressure) when there is an imbalance between sodium and potassium in the blood.
Asparagus "crowns" are planted in winter, and the first shoots appear in spring.  The plant is considered an excellent companion for tomatoes because it repels certain harmful beetles and root nematodes.
China produces three times more asparagus than the next leading country, Peru.  The United States, where most of the vegetable is grown in California, Michigan and Washington, is the third-leading asparagus producer, but production is only about 15 percent of the Chinese total.


Bicentennial Lagniappe

Festival Coming to Mansura on April 21 


 Presented by Cenla Master Gardeners Association


Belinda's Dream Rose, Louisiana Super Plants Available at Festival


A comprehensive plant sale, including the coveted Belinda's Dream Rose developed at LSU Research Center in Hammond, will highlight the Bicentennial Lagniappe Festival in Mansura on April 21 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


The festival will be held at the Daisy house on the corner of L'Eglise and Large streets in downtown Mansura.


Master Gardner members will sell their favorite plants, including herbs, daylillies, flowering shrubs, border plants, bromeliads, vines, bushes, flowers, trees and other varieties.


Activities also include a composting seminar taught by Good Food Project director Lori Garton, a plant clinic led by Avoyelles Parish country agent Rob Ferguson, a seed germination "class" for children, and petting animals for kids.  Dr. Carlos Smith, who teaches the Cenla Master Gardener class, will hold an orientation session on the educational outreach program.


Prizes will be won through raffles, and local crafts will be sold.  Homemade cracklins and deserts, red beans and rice, and soft drinks will be available.


Admission is $1.  All proceeds will be used to support Cenla Master Gardner Association projects and Daisy, a center to teach quilting, sewing, gardening and canning.


GFP Class Schedule
April 14, 10 a.m.
Homemade/Organic Pest Control
April 23, 9 a.m.
April 27, 9 a.m.
Water Harvesting/Irrigation
May 12, 9 a.m.
Garden Animals/Wildlife
June 16, 9 a.m.
Garden Herbs
GFP Garden
Gets New Look
If you haven't seen the Good Food Project community garden lately come by and take a look.
Not only is the garden bursting in the aftermath of spring planting, several physical improvements have been added to the site at The Food Bank of Central Louisiana.
The most obvious addition is a beautifully crafted gazebo, built by an inmate crew from J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Facility, which "anchors" the one-third acre plot.  The structure is roofed and features benches which can be utilized as a small meeting place or used as a location for rest and reflection in the garden. 
"We are grateful for the continued support of the team from J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Facility," said Jayne Wright-Velez, executive director of the Food Bank.   "In addition to the everyday support of our work crew, Warden Sandy McCain provided a team to construct the beautiful gazebo for the Food Bank and the Good Food Project," continued Wright-Velez.
A sizable portable building has been installed on the side of the site.  It will serve as an office for Good Food Project personnel and can be used for classes and other gatherings.  The building is handicap accessible.
Other soon-to-be-completed improvements are an irrigation system and a fence around the entire garden.
The garden also continues to take shape with additional landscaping and multi-use gardening techniques. 
Sustainable Garden
  Tip of the Month


Most people aren't aware of it, but there are easy and inexpensive ways to make your own fertilizer.


A mix of one tablespoon of sea salt or Epsom salt to one gallon of water will provide essential minerals to your house and garden plants.  Do not, however, use table salt!


You also can use leftover coffee or tea to fertilize berry bushes, citrus trees, tomatoes and other acid-loving plants.  Coffee grounds and tea bags can be used as mulch, which will add acid and nitrogen to the soil and provide mulch.


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