DIG IN, GARDENERS/DIG INTO SPRING

Tribune Staff Writer

jrutherford@tribtown.com

With spring here, gardening is on the minds of many.

Some people would love to start a garden but don’t have the room in their backyards. Others may already have a garden at home but would like to be able to grow even more fresh produce for their families or to sell at local farmers markets.

Either option is available through the Seymour School and Community Garden.

For a second year, Seymour High School FFA and the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce are partnering to offer garden plots to the public at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School.

The location is moving slightly to the south due to ongoing construction at the school but remains in the same general area as the previous year.

“Last year was a learning experience as we rushed to start the garden,” said Jeanna Eppley, agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor.

With the help of engineers from Cummins Seymour Engine Plant, FFA members prepared the area and transferred plants from the school’s greenhouse. Produce harvested from those plants was provided to faculty and staff at the school.

The high school students also planted popcorn and pumpkins, Eppley said.

She expects a more successful outcome this year and plans to have students in charge of the garden, even during the summer through the school’s new supervised agriculture experience. She also hopes to be able to have master gardeners available on some days to offer advice and tips to people.

“We have started advertising and signing up individuals early in hopes to have better enrollment,” she said of the garden. “There seems to be a lot more interest this year.”

School board president Art Juergens said he was in favor of the school and community garden project as a way to teach people about sustainable food and hard work.

Although he didn’t like having to pick beans when he was young, Juergens said, he appreciates that job now.

“I think every kid should have a garden,” he said.

The school is providing water to the site and temporary fencing to make it more secure.

Small plots (10 feet by 20 feet) are available for $10, and large plots (20 feet by 20 feet) are $20. The maximum number of plots one person can reserve is four small plots or two large ones.

Registration forms are available at the chamber, 105 S. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour.

The first day of planting will be April 18, and a special kickoff event has been planned for May 2. There will be FFA plants for sale and a plant swap, and Purdue Extension staff along with master gardeners will be on site to answer gardening questions. Refreshments will be served.

Gardening will be allowed until Oct. 24, and plots are accessible from dawn until dusk every day.

For everyone to enjoy the garden and reap the benefits of a good harvest, there are some maintenance requirements people must follow:

All gardeners are prohibited from using herbicides, insecticides and black plastic mulch to control weeds and insects. Only natural pesticides will be allowed.

Gardeners are expected to keep weeds and insects under control and take care of their plants by watering them regularly and removing dead plants.

Weeds and plant overgrowth should not be allowed to cover pathways and common areas in the garden. All plots will be tilled and marked with stakes before the garden opens for the year.

Gardening tools should not be left in the plots.

No pets are allowed in the garden, and no trash or other nonbiodegradable material should be left at the site.

At the end of the season, gardeners must clear out their plots.

Gardeners who no longer can maintain their plots should contact Debbie Hackman at 812-525-9367 or Barb Cummings at 812-216-5659.

At a glance

For more information about the Seymour School and Community Garden or to reserve a garden plot, call the chamber at 812-522-3681.

Small plots, which measure 10 feet by 20 feet, are available for $10; and large plots of 20 feet by 20 feet are $20. The maximum number of plots one person can reserve is four small plots or two large ones.

Registration forms are available at the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce, 105 S. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour.

The first day of planting will be April 18, and a special kickoff event has been planned for May 2.

Gardening will be allowed until Oct. 24, and plots are accessible from dawn until dusk every day.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.