I have yet to meet a gardener who wants a messy, ugly garden. Most gardeners would like to have a beautiful landscape.

Readers of this column and other gardening guides know many of the different tools, techniques and methods used to obtain a lush landscape. While “how to garden” is extremely important, it's really all about timing.

Plant or prune something at the wrong time and let's just say, your results can be less than optimum.

Planting times and maintenance schedules are crucial to the development and management of insects and other pests. For example, I received an email this week from someone wanting to know why his bell pepper leaves are beginning to curl. After examining the pictures, I determined the plant had cold damage as well as mites. The plant could be sprayed with a miticide, but a better approach would be to understand the ideal time for bell peppers, and December is outside of that range. It would prove more beneficial to pull out the peppers and replace them with winter vegetables at this time.

There are many planting and pruning dates that gardeners need to be aware of. Because of this, the LSU AgCenter has developed the Get It Growing Calendar. Elma Sue McCallum of LSU AgCenter Communications, who serves as the calendar’s coordinator, tells me many Louisiana gardeners eagerly anticipate the calendar’s new edition each year. It's been published since 2005.

The just-published 2018 Get It Growing Lawn and Garden Calendar provides both knowledge and inspiration for gardening with tips for experienced and novice gardeners along with stunning photos of plants, flowers and gardens from photographers across the state.

In addition to monthly gardening tips, the calendar features a how-to section on building raised beds for vegetable gardening with advice from LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill, a widely respected regional gardening expert.

The calendar also includes helpful information for projects, like when to plant tulips and tomatoes, and when to look for Louisiana Super Plants, such as the Little Gem Southern magnolia and the Limelight hydrangeas.

The full-color, 32-page, 9-inch-by-13.25-inch calendar also includes an illustrated step-by-step guide to solarizing garden beds to reduce fungi, nematodes and weed problems. And, the calendar provides a list of AgCenter lawn and garden publications along with information on the LSU AgCenter Master Gardener program and the AgCenter Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic and Soil Testing and Plant Analysis labs.

The Get It Growing calendar costs $11.95 and is available online lsuagcenter.com/getitgrowingcalendar or by calling (225) 578-2263. It also can be found at bookstores, garden centers and gift shops across Louisiana.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.