Porch & Parish Magazine - Serving the Zachary, LA Community

Zachary Stories

Release Your Inner Wild Child

Picture it. You’re standing at Home Depot holding a nice big tomato plant that you’re sure will net you a good harvest. “This time will be different,” you think as you swipe your card. Two months later, you’ve brought in two anemic looking tomatoes and the plant itself looks like it’s about to succumb to the Louisiana heat. Are you just a terrible gardener who’s destined to fail?

No! You just need a bit of coaching. Luckily for us, we have a renowned garden coach right here in Zachary.  Kellye Jeansonne grows gardeners. With her Wild Child Garden Club, she preaches soil improvement and plant selection and isn’t afraid to tell you what you don’t want to hear if it’s what your garden needs. One tip? Grow what wants to be grown! Plant things that love our humid, hot climate. Peonies don’t love Louisiana, but Creole Tomatoes sure do. 

If you’re a brand new gardener, the best place to start is with Kitchen Garden Academy. This eight-module course takes you “from a garden dream to harvest on the supper table.” There’s also a special Summer Garden Academy opening in June that will give you the tools that you need to build your garden this summer. After you’ve gone through the academy classes, you can join the Wild Child Garden Club

The garden club has monthly meet ups to help members develop their gardening skills along with weekly Zoom check ins. There was a Spring retreat at Magnolia fields with mentor taught classes.  Each year there’s a plant sale and swap. The crowning event, though, is always the tomato tasting. Everyone brings their prized tomatoes and the Club does a blind taste tasting. The winner is crowned the ‘Mater Queen for the year, a position that comes with massive bragging rights. 

But maybe you just have a tiny patio and a busy job. Could this still work for you? Jeansonne assures us that you can garden in any space with any amount of time. She works with clients who have three pots and clients who have three acres. The most important thing is just a desire to get your hands in the dirt and some fresh produce on your plate. With a coach that’s “a little Martha Stewart and a whole lot of Snoop Dogg,” you’re also guaranteed to have a great time while learning how to take your garden from underperforming to overproducing.

June marks “do-over” season in gardening for those of us who had a disappointing Spring harvest. Instead of buying and killing more plants, do yourself and your garden a favor and release your inner wild child.  By this time next year, you might even be crowned the ‘Mater Queen!


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