Good Food Project Garden Newsletter
 December 2016 Sprout  
Gardening in the Winter
Winter Vegetables - Left Top: Savoy cabbage in the GFP demo garden - Top Right: L. S. Rugg garden sponsor, Emily Murphy and students harvesting mustard greens - Bottom Right: Huge head of broccoli at Phoenix Academic Magnet - Bottom Left - L. S. Rugg students from Colleen LaCour's class  harvesting radishes

We at Good Food Project sometimes hear comments about not having much to do during the winter months, "there's not much to grow, right?" Well, no, there's lots to grow! In fact, we love growing vegetables in the cooler months!
 With proper planning and preparation many of us gardeners planted our winter crops back in August through October and are already harvesting tender broccoli, fresh cabbage and lettuces. It's not too late, even now, to get seeded crops or transplants into the ground if you have well-prepared beds or containers. Look for those warmer days in the south during December and January and you can still plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, snow peas, and a vast array of nutritious vegetables! (See a full list below) Those cool weather crops like warm soil in the beginning, but need cooler temperatures in order to develop and mature.
An important tip for a winter garden is to keep a close eye on your crops. Those sudden warm days after a cold spell can cause the tender spinach, lettuce, even broccoli to bolt! Harvest frequently and pinch back to keep the greens tender and not bitter-tasting. Try direct seeding lettuce seed in a big container for a quick harvest of butter crunch or peppery arugula. Lightly sprinkle the seed over the soil; don't push the seeds deep into the soil, being careful not to cover them. Lettuce seed needs lots of sunlight to germinate.
Another reason to be watchful in winter is that mild temperatures can bring the pests out just like in the spring and summer. Cruciferous plants like cabbage and broccoli are subject to insects such as cabbage looper that burrow deep into the plants. Keeping a watchful eye allows a gardener to use organic products like Dipel or Bt to control the pests before they go deep into the plant. Aphids and whiteflies can also present problems, monitoring gives you time to chase the critters off with a spray-on solution of mild soap diluted in a bottle of water.
Good mulching with pine straw or woodchips can help reduce diseases that can occur even in winter. Mulch helps reduce the winter weeds and keeps root temperatures moderated. It can help prevent diseases carried by the splashing of soil from overhead irrigation. The foliage gets wet, but can leave the plant much more susceptible to disease hidden in the soil.
  Remember to water! Container gardens dry out quickly in winter winds, thus needing more frequent watering. Vegetables still need about 1- 1 1/12 inches of water to produce well.
If you don't like the idea of braving the winter cold, but want your garden ready for the spring, consider planting a winter cover crop for your beds. Planting winter peas or red clover will help build and protect the soil for your next growing season.
Please join us at Good Food Project for more gardening information!

For information about partnering with the Good Food Project, or for other GFP program opportunities, contact the Good Food Project staff at 318.445.2773 or via email: fboudreaux@fbcenla.org, or cbaker@fbcenla.org,  and on the web: www.goodfoodprojectcenla.org    
Recipe of the Month
Old-Fashioned Cranberry and Popcorn Garland
The "Garden Club" children of Pineville Youth Center made old-fashioned cranberry and popcorn garlands for their Christmas tree this month
Did you know?
  • Cranberries help lower the risk of urinary tract infections
  • Cranberries help prevent certain kinds of cancers
  • Cranberries improve the immune system and decrease blood pressure
  • Plain popcorn provides whole grains, fiber and antioxidants
What you will need:   
1 or 2 bags of popped pop corn
1 or 2 bags of fresh cranberries
Optional - Cinnamon sticks or dried apple slices
 Blunt-ended tapestry needles
Waxed (unscented) dental floss
  • Cut about a 4 foot piece of dental floss - double it
  • Thread the needle as you would for a sewing project, secure the floss with a large knot.
  • Use the needle to puncture through the cranberry lengthwise. Pull it down to the knot, working carefully not to pull through the knot
  • Pierce a kernel of popped corn gently, as they will easily snap
  • Make a pattern of your choosing
  • Place the individual sections on the tree or join together for a longer garland
  • Great to decorate outdoor trees for the winter birds!


In December plant:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage (Seed, plants)
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard, Swiss
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onion, Leek (Sets)
  • Peas, Garden
  • Radish
  • Rutabagas
  • Shallots (Sets)
  • Spinach
  • Turnips


 In January plant:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli (Seed) 
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard, Swiss
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Eggplant (Seed indoors)
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onion, Leek (Sets)
  • Peas, Garden
  • Pepper, Hot (Seed indoors)
  • Pepper, Bell (Seed indoors)
  • Potatoes, Irish
  • Radishes,
  • Rutabagas
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes (Seed, indoors)
  • Turnips



Pitkin High School students preparing and planting their winter crop of lettuce. (Photo courtesy of Science teacher, Jerome Henson)



Garden News

In observance of the Christmas and New Year's Holidays, Good Food Project of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana will be closed Friday December 23 and Monday, December 26 as well as Friday December 30, 2016 and Monday, January 2, 2017.






For more information about how your organization can partner or volunteer with Good Food Project contact us at goodfoodproject@fbcenla.org or call 318-445-2773 

Workday Wednesday


Join us any Wednesday at the Good Food Project demonstration garden at 3223 Baldwin Avenue  from 7:30-11:30 AM for WORKDAY WEDNESDAYSCome out and harvest with us and learn new things about gardening and make new friends!

If Wednesdays aren't good for you, call us to set up another volunteer day! 318-445-2773 


Volunteer of the Month, Jane Fillette, Good Food Project Director, Frances Boudreaux, and Community Gardens Manager, Cindy Baker having a little light-hearted fun on a Workday Wednesday at the Good Food Project!




Garden Tips:
Listen to the plants for they will teach you. Job 12:8
Gabriel Conley, a student in Chasity Sherrill's class at Goodpine Middle School learned a great deal about gardening by observing his father in their family garden.
Volunteer of the Month
Jane Fillett

Jane Fillett  harvesting  turnip greens at the Good Food Project demonstration garden of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana


Good Food Project has been fortunate to have some awesome young women serve as volunteers on Workday Wednesdays in the last several months. Jane Fillett has become a welcome addition to our roster of volunteers. Her good nature and meticulous skills have been tremendous assets to our program. When asked what brought her to Good Food Project, we received this gracious reply.


" I have been following the activities of the Good Food Project for over a year in anticipation of moving back to my hometown of Alexandria. I started volunteering the same week we came to town. It's inspiring to see all of the great work that GFP is doing to address hunger in our community and I'm excited to be a part of it. I've had so much fun learning about organic gardening from the knowledgeable staff and volunteers at GFP. I've also gained a deeper understanding of the widespread need in our community and the challenges we face to respond. I hope to become more involved in the amazing network of food growers that GFP has created in Cenla. It's been an empowering experience for me and, best of all, NO experience is necessary to join in--just ask my husband!"
We sincerely thank Jane and her husband for making a commitment to serve their community with the Good Food Project!
GFP welcomes  individual and organizational volunteers at our community gardens and at the Good Food Project on Wednesday mornings in the demonstration garden, 3223 Baldwin Avenue - Food Bank of Central Louisiana 71301 - 318-445-2773.

Foundation Logo