Plan now for your Indiana vegetable garden

Harvest vegetables regularly in order to prolong and increase production. Photo courtesy National Garden Bureau.

Harvest vegetables regularly in order to prolong and increase production. Photo courtesy National Garden Bureau.

With all the snow on the ground and the colder than average temperatures, it’s a good time to sit back, page through seed catalogs or browse them on line and make plans for this year’s vegetable garden.

All early research indicates food gardening will be big again this year, fueled by higher food costs, concern about food safety and the desire for better tasting produce.

For a list of catalogs, visit the Mailorder Gardening Association Web site. You can find reviews of mail order vendors at Dave’s Garden.

Of course, you can always buy high quality food at farmers markets and through community supported agriculture, or CSA, programs. However, there’s an incredible satisfaction in growing your own.

Some tips:

  • Pick a location with at least six hours of direct sun a day. If land is scare, place large containers in sunny areas to grow vegetables. Place tall crops, such as tomatoes and pole beans on the north or east side of the bed so they don’t shade other plants. Check out the free, interactive kitchen garden designs from Gardener’s Supply Co.
  • The garden should have access to water.
  • Plant only what you and your family will eat. If no one likes eggplant, don’t grow it. That said, don’t be afraid to try something new, such as a different tomato or pepper variety.

There are several good guides on the market to help you know when to plant and harvest. A new entry is Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Ron Kujawski and Jennifer Kujawski (Storey Publishing, $14.95). The father-daughter team from Massachusetts and illustrator Elayne Sears tell us when and how to plant. The handy, wire-bound book has a grid for sketching your garden, pages for notes and tips on preserving your harvest.

New and existing farmers can learn about growing green vegetables through Purdue seminars

February 8, 2011 9:30 AMtoMarch 8, 2011 11:30 AM

What: Growing “Green” Vegetable Series, five sessions for current and aspiring vegetable growers to learn from experts about ways to increase the success and satisfaction of quality vegetable production in their gardens and farms. It should be of interest to current and prospective farmers, market gardeners, and more advanced home gardeners. A distance learning program, it will be available at 22 sites across Indiana including Purdue Extension-Marion County, 6640 Intech Blvd., Suite 120, Indianapolis.

When: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Tuesdays, Feb. 8, 15, 22 and March 1 and 8, 2011

Fee: $50 for five sessions; $15 for single session, which includes all handouts and resource materials.

Registration: On line registration deadline is Jan. 28.

For more info: Call 317-275-9286 or e-mail: