Manning “Pete” Broussard and wife Lona have a garden that would put anyone to shame.
Broussard is 80 years old and his wife is 79, but you can not tell that by the condition of their garden located behind their house.
It’s immaculate, and there is a lot of work that goes into making it look immaculate.
The Broussards, both retired, have turned the upkeep of their garden into a full time job.
Pete spends at least four hours a day in his garden pulling weeds, and watering his plants. When it is time to harvest the vegetables (in two more weeks), Lona also helps her husband pick, clean, peel, smother, chop, shuck, cook, bag, and then freeze the vegetables.
They could spend the entire day picking and preparing their vegetables.
The Broussards have three freezers full of cooked, and chopped vegetables.
Before retiring, Broussard, worked for the state Agriculture Department. He had would commute from Abbeville to Baton Rouge. His wife had to tend to the garden a lot while he was working.
Today, however, he does most of the work outside. He uses his time in the garden as a way to relax.
“It makes me feel better,” Broussard said. “I use it as good therapy. I have lost at least 35 pounds since I retired working in my garden at 80. I can do more now than I could do 10 years ago.”
In his garden today are corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, snap beans, egg plants, okra, a fig tree, a satsuma tree, cucumbers, and muscadine grapes.
He purchases his plants from Eddie Shiner and M.C. Dore in Erath. He said buying Louisiana plants is the best.
Broussard plants them in a special mixture of manure, dirt and a little Miracle Grow. He has an irrigation watering system set up that resembles a golf course.
So what do the Broussards do with all of the vegetables they harvest? They eat them, freeze them and give a lot away.
When Broussard begins harvesting his tomatoes, his wife is waiting in the kitchen to begin making a sauce with the tomatoes. They cook the sauce, bag it and freeze it for whenever they want to cook a tomato gravy.
“We both love tomato gravy,” Lona said.
When he begins picking the corn, they team up to shuck it and she’ll cook it and freeze it.
They have plenty of bags of vegetable soup frozen in the freezer.
“This is something we can do together,” said Lona. “If we would not enjoy it, we would not do it.”