Lasater gardens year round
When you are raised on a farm, planting and growing is just part of life and Don Lasater of the Blackwater Community calls himself a country boy. Lasater worked for 25 years for the Mississippi County Road Department, the last 17 as road superintendent, he still loved working in the dirt and growing large gardens.
Lasater retired in 2002 and with more time on his hands, he decided to expand his seasonal gardening and build a greenhouse.
A friend, Winston Little, gave some very good tips on what he needed and how to get a greenhouse up and running.
Except for the three years Lasater served in the military, he has lived on the same farm for almost 70 years. He said after the military he was ready to come back to Blackwater and has never wanted to leave.
He and his wife, Barbara, built a house next to his home place. Lasater is the son of T.G. and Marie Lasater.
They both agree they have wonderful neighbors making it a good place to live.
"Most of us have lived here all of our lives," Lasater said.
He never remembers not having a garden growing up. His parents raised nine kids on a 40 acre farm. He learned gardening from his mother.
"We worked in the garden and Mom canned everything," he said. "Back then all mothers canned. It was not a hobby, it was a necessity. Homegrown vegetables were good back then and they are still good today."
The greenhouse did not take the place of the garden as they still grow a large garden each year. Mrs. Lasater canned 160 quarts of tomatoes this year. Today they use the freezer to put up vegetables more than canning.
Lasater has enjoyed learning and raising tomatoes, onions, lettuce and radishes in the greenhouse. He has plans to plant squash.
"We have one Texas Blue Bonnet plant we are trying to see what it will do in the greenhouse," he said.
The Texas Blue Bonnet came from his sister's in Texas.
Lasater's tomatoes are doing great in the greenhouse. He prunes the plants and puts the cuttings in pots so they are ready to replace the plants as they get older. He has had his greenhouse up and running for four years. It is heated with an electric furnace.
Lasater had an aneurysm in 1996, heart surgery in 1998 and open heart surgery in 2008. Mrs. Lasater is a breast cancer survivor. They are both doing well and try to maintain a healthy diet. He uses minimum chemicals on his garden or in the greenhouse. Most of the foliar feeder and insecticides comes from home remedies he mixes himself.
He has one mixture using mouthwash, liquid dishsoap and chewing tobacco. He said he puts the tobacco in the leg of pantyhose with ends tied into knots. Soak in a coffee can of hot water, let steep overnight then squeeze out tobacco juice, put back in water squeeze again, mix in with miracle grow and water in a 55 gallon barrel. Stir each time it is used. He sometimes uses liquid seven for bugs or adds it to the other ingredients in the barrel. To keep the slugs and snails out of the greenhouse he uses a mixture of brown sugar and yeast in a gallon of water. He has a lot of mixes he uses that works well.
Lasater's greenhouse allows him to enjoy gardening year round and has become the perfect hobby for him. He also enjoys having ripe tomatoes all 12 months.