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Mass Action 2012

In 2012 Indiana proudly celebrated its gardens.

Indiana is fast becoming a national leader in gardening. To prove it, Hoosiers threw a statewide garden party in August of 2012 to recognize existing gardens and to provide mentoring for gardeners of the future.

About 2012 PLANT A GARDEN:
Plant a Garden: Gardening is on the rise (backyard, school yard, church yard, vertical, container, community, etc.) Why? It helps the family budget. It builds community as people work together and share their produce. It helps us re-connect to the land. It contributes to food security and self-sufficiency. Take a look at the varieties of gardens below and choose one that fits your interests and circumstances.

SCHOOL GARDENS If you’re in the education arena, you might be interested in utilizing the planning and planting of a school based garden as a helpful hands on adjunct learning device. If so, there’s a remarkably comprehensive website at www.schoolgardenwizard.org CONTAINER GARDENS Sometimes space is not available for a conventional garden plot. That alone shouldn’t keep you from growing a good many edibles inasmuch as there are many kinds of vegetables that can be relatively easily grown in containers. Normally it takes five hours or more of full sun, and special attention should be given to the selection of the proper container, soil mix, fertilizing and watering.

RAISED BED GARDENS (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia….) “Raised bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in 3–4 foot (1.0–1.2 m) wide beds, which can be of any length or shape. The soil is raised above the surrounding soil (6 inches to waist high), sometimes enclosed by a frame generally made of wood, rock, or concrete blocks, and enriched with compost. The vegetable plants are spaced in geometric patterns, much closer together than conventional row gardening. The spacing is such that when the vegetables are fully grown, their leaves just barely touch each other, creating a microclimate in which moisture is conserved and weed growth suppressed. Raised beds produce a variety of benefits: they extend the planting season; they reduce the need to use poor native soil; and they can reduce weeds if designed properly. Since the gardener does not walk on the raised beds, the soil is not compacted and the roots have an easier time growing. The close plant spacing and the use of compost generally result in higher yields with raised beds in comparison to conventional row gardening. Waist high raised beds enable the elderly and the sick to grow vegetables without having to bend over to tend them”.
See the following Purdue University Cooperative Extension website for more detailed information as to Container and Raised Bed Gardens: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-200.pdf If you do happen to have access to a more conventional place to garden, but are constrained by the square footage available, you might be in good stead to obtain more details as to SMALL PLOT and INTENSIVE GARDENINGSEE Purdue site: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/Pubs/HO/HO_124.pdf

MULTI-OR EXTENDED SEASON GARDENS
For a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s desirable to start the growing season a little earlier or extend its duration. In some circumstances this can be accomplished through the usage of hotbeds or cold frames. SEE the following Purdue website for additional information.
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/Pubs/HO/HO_053.pdf
And if you’re interested in ORGANIC GARDENING, you might look at the detailed info on that subject available at Purdue University Cooperative Extension weblink at:
http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/ID/ID_316.pdf
VERTICAL GARDENS

HYDROPONIC GARDENS
“Some of the reasons why hydroponics is being adapted around the world for food production are the following:

  • No soil is needed
  • The water stays in the system and can be reused – thus, lower water costs
  • It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety – thus, lower nutrition costs
  • No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system
  • Stable and high yields
  • Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container’s mobility
  • It is easier to harvest
  • No pesticide damage

Today, hydroponics is an established branch of agronomy. Progress has been rapid, and results obtained in various countries have proved it to be thoroughly practical and to have very definite advantages over conventional methods of horticulture.
There are two chief merits of the soil-less cultivation of plants. First, hydroponics may potentially produce much higher crop yields. Also, hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening are not possible.”
(from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics).

Lead in your garden  (Read full article HERE)
Since lead resides in the top four-to-six inches of the soil, gardeners are at risk of consuming lead. Before I scare you away from gardening this year, let me tell you how to take a few extra steps so that your garden can become safer and healthier for the environment at the same time. First, have your soil tested. One can do so by contacting Latimer by email at ISU-lead@mail.indstate.edu or 812-237-2254.

Some guidelines on how to read the results:

  • Lead is naturally present in soil at 10-30ppm.
  • Less than 200ppm: Having anything higher than what is natural in soil can be alarming, but anything less than 200ppm has not been directly linked to negative health outcomes. Make sure all parts of your property are less than 200ppm. If some areas are higher, you may want to cover these areas with ground cover or mulch to prevent contaminated dust from blowing on your plants and food.
  • 200-400ppm: Build a raised-bed garden and mulch the surrounding 10 feet to suppress any dust from blowing onto your food.
  • 400-600ppm: Follow all recommendations listed above. Leafy green vegetables should either not be grown, or washed thoroughly because they have tiny hairs that trap soil particles. Root vegetables should be peeled and washed thoroughly.
  • 600ppm or higher: Consider relocating your garden or overhaul your property to remove hazardous lead levels.

“Lead is not usually taken up by plants,” Latimer said. “If you are exposed to lead from your garden it is from the soil left on your vegetables. If you can clean or peel your vegetables, it decreases the lead consumption.”

Now what?
One can never be too cautious when dealing with lead. The side effects are damaging and can be life altering. If you believe you have been exposed to lead, consult your physician. In addition practice the following steps:

• Keep your property damp to prevent lead-rich dust from blowing in the air and potentially leading to exposure.
• Wash produce thoroughly.
• Put gardening clothes in a bag upon entering the house and wash separately.
• Leave gardening shoes outside.
• Wash hands and exposed body upon returning from the garden.

If the lead levels are extremely high on your property, don’t worry. You can still satisfy your need to garden by either obtaining a plot at a local community garden or by growing fruit trees. Fruit trees do not carry lead to the produce. Remember, by making a few changes to your yard, you can increase the safety to your yard, your kids and for yourself. Happy, safe, gardening!

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