The amount of daylight we are experiencing is increasing every day, possibly making you develop the urge to garden.
Yet, that might not be the best idea since our chances for frost are not over. On average, the last date for a freeze (temperature at or below 32-degrees) is between April 21-30. Yet, a light frost can occur after those dates.
Therefore, when deciding to start your garden, it is best not to place any plants outside that you are not able to or willing to cover up in order to prevent from being destroyed. By now, you are probably thinking that if there is all this chance for a frost to occur, why on earth would you start your garden in March? Well, the answer is quite simple.
At this time, the best thing to be doing if you are a true fan of gardening is to plan your garden, select and purchase seeds, and start growing any plants you can indoors. When planning your garden, you need to determine how big of a space you have for your garden, what you want to plant and when should the item be planted. The size of your garden determines how many different varieties of plants you can grow. Make a list of the different plants you want to grow, their spacing requirements, light requirements, and when the best time to plant them is. All of this is important because you don't want to plant something in a shady place in your garden and find out it needed as much direct sunlight as you could have offered it or that you didn't give it enough room to grow. It might be of some help to actually draw a diagram of your garden at this stage to get a visual idea of what your plan of attack will be.
Once you know what you want to plant, start looking for seeds. While looking for seeds, make a list of when those plants can be planted. Realize that not all plants can be grown indoors and transplanted and that not all plants can go into the garden at the same time.
Take for instance sweet corn. Sweet corn is a warm season plant that does not grow well during extended cool spells. Just remember you might want to cover them at night to prevent frost from damaging them if it is likely to occur.
A way to speed up your time from planting in your garden to harvesting your wonderful produce is through the use of an indoor garden. Starting Seeds Indoors is an excellent extension publication that you can obtain online for free from Purdue University to help you get started with growing your garden indoors. It provides you with steps on how to get the garden started, what and when to plant the seeds, and how to transplant them into the garden. A few of the plants that they list as good ones to start growing indoors include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, head lettuce, and tomatoes. The Starting Seeds Indoors publication can be located at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-14.pdf.
If you aren't interested in growing your plants indoors before transplanting them to your garden, then planning is the only thing you can do right now. However, some of the things you might want to include in your plan is where you are going to get your transplants and when you should plant them in the garden. For help on when to plant, check out the free Spring Garden Calendar from Purdue University, found at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-91.pdf.
Many individuals have a passion for gardening and enjoy seeing their plants grow before their eyes. Like most passions, it is time consuming and requires a lot of hard work.
Therefore, to help make the work load lighter, know where you are going to plant your plants, where you are going to obtain them from and when you can plant them in the garden. If you are interested in selling your produce at the Farmers' Market in Owen County, please attend the Vendor Meeting at 6:30 p.m., March 24, in the Farm Bureau Office. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this week's column or agriculture, horticulture, or natural resources, please contact your local Purdue Extension office at 448-9041 in Clay County or reach me directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* March 12 -- Last day to enter a photo in the Owen County Ag Day Photography Contest. Bring a 5-by-7 or 8-by-10 photo to the Owen County Extension Office by 4 p.m., if you would like to enter,
* March 18 -- Clay County Adult Ag Day Dinner. Doors open at 6 p.m. Contact the Clay County Extension Office or a local First Financial Branch to purchase a ticket,
* March 19 -- Clay County Youth Ag Day,
* March 19 -- Soil Health/Cover Crop Roundtable, 9-11:30 a.m., Terre Haute. Bring your Pesticide License and $10 if you would like to receive PARP credit,
* March 22 -- Owen County Adult Ag Day Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Owen County Fairgrounds. Pick up tickets at the Owen County Extension Office for $5, and
* March 24 -- Farmers Market Vendor Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Farm Bureau office in Spencer. Call 812-829-2307 for more information.