With the up and down temperatures of recent days, spring must surely be coming.
Sometimes it feels like spring and winter all within the same day. Perhaps lawn and garden pictures or starting garden plants indoors might brighten the day.
Recently, Norma Winn of Brazil stopped by the office and asked that we let the area know about a Lawn and Garden Amateur Photography contest being sponsored for the area by the Putnam County Master Gardener's Association. This contest will occur at the ninth annual Lawn and Garden Show at Putnam County Fairgrounds.
There will be two main classes with one being color and the other being black and white. Within each of the main classes will be two sub-classes. Wonders of Nature will be scenic photos, gardens and landscapes. The second subclass Friends in the
Garden will be photos that include people or pets as the focus of the picture. There are several rules and requirements for the photo contest including, all photos must be taken by the entrant, be original exposures, and have been taken during the past year. For a complete set of rules and registration information, contact Norma Winn at 812-251-7933 for all the details.
Many of us are starting to get the garden itch. Personally my mouth is starting to water as I think about sweet corn. Let's look at some issues to consider for purchasing seed, starting plants indoors or purchasing starters of flower or vegetable plants.
Our average length of frost free growing season in Clay and Owen counties is typically 171-180 days. The average last date of a freeze (temperature at or below 32 degrees) is April 26-30 in northern Owen and Clay counties and April 21-25 in southern
Clay and Owen counties. However the average last date for a light frost (last 36-degrees temperature) is May 1-5. Abnormalities though can and do occur. I will never forget the frost/freeze on the first day of summer in 1992. The key to early planting is to not establish more plants out of doors than you are willing or able to cover. April 6-10 is the average last date for a hard freeze (last 28-degrees temperature) where plants might even freeze when covered.
Also it is important to consider the type of plants that are being established out of doors. Sweet corn, being a warm season grass, does not do well during extended cool spells, yet it can tolerate being frozen when younger than the five leaf stage since the growing point is below ground prior to that stage of growth where new growth can originate. Tomatoes and green beans though have growing points upon emergence that are above ground and are very susceptible to frost and freeze. The cool season vegetable garden items that should be planted early (around April 1) include broccoli, cabbage, onions, radish, and peas. If one can cover items should a frost occur, one is usually better off getting items planted as early as possible so the delicious produce arrives earlier and insect or weed pressures are typically reduced.
Two Extension publications found online, HO-14 "Starting Seeds Indoors" http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-14.pdf and HO-91 "Spring Garden Calendar" http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-91.pdf would be of interest to those of you feeling the garden bug. The HO-14 pub provides dates for starting various plants inside to have them ready for spring planting. It is certainly time to be getting busy with the cool season plants like broccoli and cauliflower but there is still plenty of time to get tomatoes, peppers, etc. started indoors for transplant to the garden this spring. These are two excellent resources to help you get started right this spring in your garden.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 Ext. 14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. Please call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
Feb. 26 -- Private Applicator/No-till Program, Cory, 8 a.m.
Feb. 26 -- Starting Bee Keeping, Session two of four, Spencer, 6:30 p.m.
March 4 -- Regional Dairy Meeting, Rockville, 9 a.m.
March 5 -- Tri-County No-till Breakfast, Greencastle, 8 a.m.
March 13 -- Ag Day Dinner, Brazil, 6:30 p.m.
March 14-15 -- Lawn & Garden Show, Greencastle
March 15 -- Get Ready, Get Set, Go Garden, Terre Haute, 8 a.m.
March 17 -- Owen County Ag Day Dinner, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.
March 18 -- Renewable Energy Grant Workshop, Rockville, 11 a.m.
April 2 -- Starting a Community Kitchen, Indianapolis, 8 a.m.
April 8 -- Bi-State Forestry Workshop, Beef House, 6:30 p.m.
April 12 -- Sheep Shearing School, Greencastle, 9 a.m.
April 24 -- Starting a Specialty Food Business, Indianapolis, 8 a.m.
April 30 -- Fish Cleaning Workshop, Bloomington, 6 p.m.
May 1 -- Fish Cleaning Workshop, Crawfordsville, 6 p.m.