Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011...The Veggies are in Full Swing!!!

It has been entirely to long since my last entry.  I have no real excuse other than I have been lazy.  Any way, I have some new pictures of my vegetables.

The main plot
This has been a great learning experience.  The main thing I have learned is adequate spacing is a must. Having each plant that close not only takes away from potential fruit growth, but also makes it a pain to search for fruit.  At the same time, have them close together did give them a great deal of stability. Next season, I have to plan my spacing better.  I have also learned that caging the tomato plants are much better than staking them.  The cage give the plant 360 degrees of support while the stake barely maintains the weight.  Next season, I will buy all new cages and make sure to get the largest they have.

Bell Pepper
  This is small bell pepper that I picked right after Allison took the picture.  I am a bit disappointed with the size of my bell peppers.  I imagined them to be as large as the ones in the grocery.  I have to do some research on why they are so small.
LA Roma's
My LA Roma's are getting really big. There are so many of them popping up.  I can't wait to they ripen!

Yellow Squash

This picture doesn't do justice to these little guys!  The leaves are so big an prickly around them that it makes it kind of difficult to get a good picture.  Just like the bell peppers, the squash an zucchini (not in picture) are not getting big.  I am not even sure when they should be harvested.  I have had a few that rotted already, so I think they are not going to get much bigger.

The Creole Tomato
Pride of Southeast Louisiana, the Creole Tomato is a favorite among locals.  Each year in late May to early July, Creole tomato's are seen all around Southeast Louisiana.  You can buy them in grocery stores, but the best come from road side produce venders or farmers markets. Restaurants also feature Creole tomato' s in a lot of specials.  My close friend Chef Josh Garic is actually having an entire supper club evening devoted to creole tomato's in June!


I am very proud of my mini farm and I think my dad would be to!  My dad grew up on a family farm in St. Bernard Parish.  After this his family sold the farm and went into other businesses, he still held on to that love of farming.  He and his uncle leased land in Plaquemines Parish and farmed as a secondary income.  I was lucky enough to go a few times before he got sick and could continue farming. 

This project is making me realize how much I enjoy agriculture production.  I am strongly considering working toward starting my own small scale commercial farm.  I cannot stay what exactly I will grow and the method (organic vs. non-organic), but I will not over produce and sacrifice quantity for quality.  The mission on my farm will be something along the lines of to first give my family and my community nourishment that came from their own backyard, and  second give local restaurants the option to buy from an eco-conscious farmer that doesn't deplete our state's renewable natural resources by overproducing for financial gain.

Until next time!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soil Test Results and Veggie Update

Greetings All!

I got my soil test results back from the LSU AgCenter earlier in week. It only took about a week!

According to my local Horticulturalist Russel Harris and the information provided by the LSU AgCenter, all I need to add is 1/2 to 3/4lb of elemental sulfur to off set my 'Very High' pH value of 6.93 to get it down to a reasonable value of 6.6-6.7.  Along with adding sulfur, I must also add between 2/3- 1lb of ammonium nitrate to help regulate the 'High' and 'Very High' levels of Phosphorus and Potassium. Fortunately, having higher Phosphorus and Potassium levels is not all that bad.  With this said, I now know what I must add to the soil when I decide to replant my next crop.

If you decide to have your soil tested (which is recommended) just contact you local AgCenter.  If you live in Louisiana the link to each office is: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/our_offices/parishes/

I just found went my local office, picked up a test kit and brought it back to them.  They did the rest! It was a simple.

As for my garden, it is coming along nice and slow. The tomato and pepper plants are between 4-10 inches off the ground and the cucumber/ squash leaves are on average 5 in L x 2 in W.   I plan to start staking this weekend to give them added stability and be prepared the first sign of FRUIT!

I shall keep you posted! I promise my next post will have Pictures!!!!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Completed March Veggie Garden

Greetings All,

This weekend I completed my veggie garden!

Here are a few pictures taken by my photographer and visual production director ;-) Allison!

My La. Roma's are looking rough =(
Coors Light is an essential tool in perfecting the home veggie garden!
  I planted:
1-Tomato's (La. Roma's, Celebrity's, Creole)
2-Cucumbers ( Dasher II's and this local grown strain called St.....?? I forget the name of it)
3-Bell Peppers ( Red/Green/Yellow...I also don't remember the names of each off the top of my head)          4-Summer Squash ( Yellow Sunburst, and Straight Neck Zucchini)        
5-Sweet Basil

It is a small start, but I got to start somewhere.  I did not use direct soil (which kind of worries me) I opted to go the vegetable garden soil route.  Honestly, I wanted to get started and did not want to wait on the soil to be tested from the Louisiana AgCenter.  I might regret that move, but if all my plants die, I can just chalk the whole thing up to a good lesson learned.  I still plan to have the soil I collected tested.  I will send it off possible tomorrow.  The results will give me a good idea of what I need to incorporate in my next planting.
I am also starting my own compost pile.  It will probably be pretty gross!!! but hopefully the stench will pay off in future planting.

Here is a link to the La AgCenter's website.  It has a lot great resources and this particular link is to a pdf for La vegetable planting guide:


I will keep all posted on my progress!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Renaissance Frontiersmen: PreVegetable Garden continued....Part II

The Renaissance Frontiersmen: PreVegetable Garden continued....Part II: "Good Morning All! Yesterday evening was a success! I plotted out my garden space, cleared out unwanted vegetation, turned up the soil..."

PreVegetable Garden continued....Part II

Good Morning All!

Yesterday evening was a success!  I plotted out my garden space, cleared out unwanted vegetation, turned up the soil and built the planter box.
                                                                          (I'm Ready To Dig!!)

Have no fear Dirty Matt is Here!!! It wasn't until I was covered in dirt that I finally found the large ground hoe =). 

And after a hard evening of work.....the finished product!!! Well..almost finished. 

Next on the list: 1- purchase transplants 2-lay soil 3- plant!


(Photography thanks to my lovely girlfriend Allison!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PreVegetable Garden continued....

Now that Mardi Gras is finally over, I can get back to my vegetable garden preparations.  It rained really hard this morning making it perfect for me  to prepare the land and take soil samples.  The idea is simple.  Wet soft earth  = easy digging....dry hard earth = sweat and back pain!

It has actually been a blessing in disguise not being able to get to the garden prep these last few days.  The weather has been pretty inconsistent.  In just one week it has gone from highs in the 80's down to low 50's at night. As for precipitation, it has down poured at least 3 times in the last 5 days.  With that said, not having the garden set up really worked out.

Hopefully I will have some productive news SOON!


Friday, March 4, 2011

PreVegetable Garden and Hunter Safety Class Scheduled

Greetings fellow frontiersmen,

I accomplished a bit since my last post.  On April 8-9th, I will be attending a Louisiana Hunters Safety Coarse.  Here's the link if any out there live in Louisiana and want obtain their hunters licence:


I am looking forward to learning the necessary skills to make me a safe efficient hunter.  Now most of the real hunting skill I will have to gain over the coarse of numerous hunts.  I find the best way to learn anything is to experience it first hand under the guidance of a seasoned vet. I have a few friends that hunt different types of game.  Once I have my license, I hope to accompany them on their trips.

My vegetable garden has been delayed by the New Orleans holiday Mardi Gras.  For those frontiersmen who have never experienced Mardi Gras, it is quite the adventure.  I recommend to take part in the celebration at least once in your life.

Back to the garden. The other day I visited my local Ag Center and picked up soil testing kits.  I am using Dan Gill's "Month by Month..." (basically a Louisiana gardening guide for the year) to start this garden. In the book Dan stress the importance of soil preparation. Soil is sometime lacking in mineral or to rich in others.  It is important to test the soil before planning to ensure your produce not only grows, but more importantly is safe to eat. 

I have a rough plan as to how I am going to set up the garden.  First, I will break up the soil and take the necessary sample amount and ship it off for testing.  Once my results come back, I will be ready to go into bed preparation.:
Step 1) remove all unwanted vegetation and turn soil up will be a raised bed.  I do not have a lot of space, so a raise bed will keep things proportional. 

To Be Continued....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 1 "Game plan and the Start of my Produce Garden"

Today my journey begins with figuring out what I want learn and taking a first step toward reaching the goal.

Big picture view of the subjects I plan to learn:
    a)Farming b)Medicinal c)Foraging d)Survival  
    a)Skills/Techniques b)Game Knowledge
III. Cooking
    a) Butchery b)Preserving c) Preparing d)storing
IV. Survival Techniques
    a)Shelter b)Fire c) Clothing d) Eating e)Navigation f)Water Purification g)Location ETC....
V. Natural Energy Use
    a) Wind b)Solar c) Water d)Earth
VI.First Aid/Medicine
    a)Bandaging and healing b)Herbal and Man made Medication Practices
VII. Mechanical/ Engineering/ and Architecture
    a)Mechanical Operation/Repair b)design and construction of anything needed.

Today I am starting simple. I have already purchased an above ground vegetable planter I plan to get started on my very first garden.  My dad grew up on a farm when he was little boy and  even shared some land with his uncle and a few friends when I young.  Unfortunately he passed away when I was 12 and never taught me any of his farming practices.  It is always been a dream of mine to follow in his footsteps and I am glad to stay that today is my beginning.

What knowledge I have, I obtained from "Month by Month Gardening in Louisiana...." by Dan Gill, a brief pdf by the LSU school of agriculture.  So to get some hands on knowledge, I made arrangements this afternoon to visit my old roommate and close friend Chef Josh G.

Josh and I have been friends or years and I learned a lot about cooking  and more importantly life from him while we lived together and when I worked under him at a local restaurant.  He has a lot of passion for both cooking and obtaining food, and he  is one of my biggest influence for taking this journey.

Today he promised to give me a tour of his garden. I am super excited! I'll recap tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Welcome fellow Frontiersmen of  the 21st Century!  I have lots of topics to discuss in the near future. I can't wait to get started!