Putnam County Master Gardener Association

Welcome to the Putnam County Master Gardener Association webpage! We're located in Putnam County, Indiana and have a strong and active membership who serve as Purdue Extension Master Gardeners. There are Master Gardener programs, in 49 states that are accredited through each state's land grant university (more info). In Indiana, Purdue University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in West Lafayette, Indiana is the home of the Purdue Extension Master Gardener program

Seed Libraries in Putnam County

Seed Library

The Putnam County Master Gardener Association maintains 8 different seed libraries throughout Putnam County. These boxes contain a variety of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Each box may contain different plants.

Seed Libraries are located at:

  • Bainbridge Christian Church
  • Belle Union Fire Department
  • Cloverdale Christian Church
  • Fillmore - Near the gazebo on the walking trail near County Road 475 East
  • Morton
  • Reelsville Community Center
  • Outside Harris Hall at the Putnam County Fairgrounds
  • Near the covered bridge near the pollinator garden at Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle

Starting Seeds Indoors 

Growing seeds indoors can be very rewarding; however, you may have questions about seed selection, what containers to use, what soil mix to use, how to seed and care for the new plants, along with questions about transplanting the new plants outside during the growing season.  For more information about that starting seeds indoors, please review Starting Seeds Indoors, HO-14-W, from Purdue University Extension.  

Here is information on when to start a few of the common vegetable and annual flowers indoors. For a more thorough list and information about average frost dates throughout Indiana, please review Starting Seeds Indoors, HO-14-W, from Purdue University Extension.  

List of plants and when you should start them indoors.
Time to Seed Before Last Frost  Plant Types  Germination Time (Days)  Growth Rate  Cold & Frost Tolerance After Hardening 
10 weeks Broccoli  6-10  medium good 
10 weeks Cabbage 6-10  medium good
7 weeks Tomato 6-10  medium none
7 weeks Pepper 7-14 medium good
4 weeks  Cucumber 4-6 fast none
4 weeks  Squash  4-6 fast none 
14 weeks Pansy 6-10 medium good
11 weeks Impatiens


medium none
10 weeks Petunia 6-12 slow-medium slight
9 weeks Snapdragon 7-12 medium medium
8 weeks Dianthus 5-7 medium medium
8 weeks Scarlet Sage (Salvia)  12-15 medium  none
8 weeks Statice 12-20 medium slight
7 weeks Phlox, Annual  6-10 medium-fast none
7 weeks Sweet Alyssum 4-8 fast slight
6 weeks Aster 8-10 medium slight
6 weeks Celosia (Cockscomb)  6-10 fast none
6 weeks Marigold 5-7 fast none
4 weeks Cosmos 5 fast none
4 weeks Zinnia 5-7 fast none

Source: Starting Seeds Indoors, HO-14-W, Purdue University Extension, November 2020

Vegetable Production Resources

The Home Gardeners Guide provides new and experienced gardeners with information on planning, planting, and care of vegetables. It is important to note that planning is the first and most basic step in home vegetable gardening.  This publication provides you with information on how to design your garden plot including a table of information on row spacing, plant spacing, yield, number of seeds/plants per 50 feet, when to plant, and days ‘til first harvest for various vegetables.  This table can be found on page 3. Additionally, there is information about soil preparation, insect control, and specific vegetable information.

Timing is a huge factor in the success of a garden.  The Indiana Vegetable Planting Calendar can help you ensure that you are planting your garden at the correct time. This publication provides you with information about average last frost date in the spring and first frost date in the fall.  There is also a table (page 4) of information with optimal soil temperature range for a variety of vegetable plants.

Due to limited space availability and the ease of access, many individuals have started using raised beds and containers for the vegetable gardens.  In the Container and Raised Bed Gardening publication you will find information about ideal material to used for a raised bed or container, what growing media to use, and what vegetable plants can be grown successfully in a raised bed or container. 

Once your plants are growing, an issue that many gardeners face is insect issues. Gardeners’ can decide to tolerate the damage or attempt to prevent it.  Managing Insects In The Home Vegetable Garden will provide you with information about common vegetable garden insects, possible treatment methods, and harvest restrictions.  It is important to note that if you would utilize an insecticide on your vegetable plants, you need to read and follow all label instructions on the product that is used.  The label will have the most up-to-date information about harvest restrictions and application methods.

Tomatoes may be the most popular vegetable in the home garden. There are many tomato cultivars,
many types of tomatoes, and many ways to grow them.

Tomatoes can either be determinate or indeterminate. Determinate varieties reach a certain size, set fruit, then usually decline. The fruit all matures at about the same time; making determinate tomatoes great for preserving. Indeterminate varieties set fruit throughout the growing season over an extended period of time.

When selecting tomato varieties, you may want to look for a variety labeled as VF, VFN, or VFNT.  These abbreviations stand for different disease resistance.  V stands for resistance to Verticillium, F stands for resistance to Fusarium, N stands for resistance to Nematodes and T resistance to Tobacco mosaic virus.

If you are interested in finding out more about the different types of tomatoes, soil preparation, caging, staking, and general care of tomatoes, please view Tomatoes from Purdue Extension. 

For an in-depth look at the steps required to grow healthy tomatoes, view Five Steps for Healthy Garden Tomatoes from Purdue Extension.  This publication looks at the steps needed to have a healthy tomatoes and discussions some of the common issues gardeners face throughout the growing season.  The five steps discussed include: 

  1. Diagnose the problem correctly.
  2. Plant resistant varieties.
  3. Practice crop rotation, fall tillage, and sanitation.
  4. Maintain plant vigor.
  5. Use fungicides as needed.

Cucumbers are part of the Cucurbit family, which includes cucumbers, all squashes, and melons.

Cucumbers can either be vining or bush. Vining varieties can be trained on a vertical support. Varieties generally used for pickling produce small cucumbers with thin skin, while slicing cucumbers are larger and generally used fresh.

Squashes can be summer or winter varieties.  Common summer squash varieties include zucchini, cocozelle, caserta crookneck squash, straight neck squash, scallopini, and patty pan.  Summer squash varieties are more bush type. Examples of winter squash varieties include acorn, butternut, hubbard, Turk’s turban, and cushaw.  Winter squash can be vining, semi-vining, and bush type.

Common melons that are grown in the garden include honeydew, crenshaw, and casaba.  These varieties take much longer to reach maturity when compared to muskmelon. Muskmelons are ripe when the rind between the netting turns from green to tan or yellow. Honeydew and Crenshaw are cut from the vine when they have turned completely yellow.

There are several different varieties of pumpkins a gardener can grow.  They can be small decorative pumpkins, pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins, and jumbo pumpkins that require mechanical assistance to lift.  Pumpkins are ready to harvest when they are a deep, solid color. Different varieties may be
orange, tan, white, or striped. 

Plants in the Cucurbit family are monoecious (each plant has both male flowers and female flowers). Early in the growing season, the plant will only produce male flowers.  These male flowers will not form into a fruit to harvest.  It isn't until later in the growing season that female flowers will be produced that will eventually become fruits to harvest.  This is why a gardener may see flowers fall and no fruit produced on their plant at specific times of the growing season. 

If you are interested in finding out more about different types of cucumbers, melons, squash, and pumpkins you can grow in the home garden, along with information about site selection, saving seeds, and general care, please view Growing Cucumbers, Melons, Squash, Pumpkins and Gourds from Purdue Extension. 

There are several different varieties of beans available for the home gardener to produce.  Modern cultivars of green snap beans no longer have strings. Yellow wax beans are a color variant of green snap beans with a slightly waxier pod. Purple beans and Romano beans (flat-pod beans) are also available.

Beans can be bush or pole type.  Bush type beans are shorter and have a shorter harvest period compared to pole beans.  If you want to extend your harvest period, plant repeatedly until mid-summer.  Pole type beans are tall and usually need support since they can reach 6+ feet in height.  Pole type beans usually have a longer harvest period compared to bush beans.

If you are interested in finding out more about different types of beans, site selection, weed control, and general care, please view Growing Beans in the Home Vegetable Garden from Purdue Extension. 

A number of vegetables are grown just for their leaves including lettuce, spinach, arugula, endive, escarole, chard, and mustard. There are four common types of lettuce.  They include looseleaf, butterhead (also known as Boston or Bibb), Cos (also known as romaine), and crisphead (also known as iceberg). Iceberg is the most difficult to grow because it is extremely sensitive to the heat. 

Most leaf crops can be harvested every few days by removing just the oldest, outer leaves. New leaves are produced from the center of the plant, allowing for a longer harvest period.

If you are interested in finding out more about planning, planting, caring for, and harvesting different types of leafy greens, please view Leafy Greens for the Home Garden from Purdue Extension. 

Home gardeners can utilize herbs as a way to add flavor to the food or enjoy as part of their ornamental landscape.  Herbs can be grown in the garden or in containers.  Some varieties of herbs are perennials, while others are annuals.  Common herbs include basil, cilantro, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. 

Basil is grown for its leaves.  To ensure leaf production, you should pinch (remove) any flowers when they start to form.  Pinching will allow the plant to become bushier.  Basil is sensitive to temperature and will discolor when temperatures drop below 40. 

Cilantro can be harvested  for its leaves.  If it is grown for its seeds, then it is considered coriander. Cilantro and coriander are common herbs utilized in cooking. 

Chives are a hardy perennial that can benefit from dividing every couple of years.  It is grown for their tender leaves. 

Dill can be harvested for its foliage or for its seeds.  The seeds are considered more potent than the foliage.  Seeds should be harvested when they are flat and brown. 

Oregano can be grown from seed.  There are two common types.  The types are common oregano and greek oregano. 

Parsley leaves are harvested the first year. Curly parsley is mainly used as a garnish, while flat leaved, Italian parsley is utilized for its flavor. 

Rosemary is grown for the leaves.  Depending on the environment, rosemary can be a perennial.  Rosemary does need good drainage and air circulation to prevent issues from arising. 

There are over 300 different types of thyme.  Thyme can be used for an herb or ground cover.  It is drought tolerant and can be easily propagated. 

If you are interested in finding out more about planting, caring for, harvesting, and preserving different types of herbs, please view Growing Herbs from Purdue Extension. 

There are several different varieties of corn, including sweet corn, field corn, popcorn, ornamental
corn. There are three general types of sweet corn.  These types include normal sugary, sugary enhanced, and supersweet. Make multiple plantings across multiple weeks for continuous harvest all summer.

If you are interested in finding out more about soil preparation, types of corn, fertilizing, pollination concerns, caring for, and harvesting sweet corn, please view Growing Sweet Corn from Purdue Extension. 

Additional Gardening Resources

Annual flowers complete their life cycle in one year going from germination to seed production in one growing season.  Annual flowers are some of favorites of many home gardeners.  In the Growing Annuals publication, you will find information about site selection, soil preparation, planting, and maintenance of annual flowers.  Additionally, you will learn about specific gardening terms such as thinning, pinching, and deadheading.


Not sure what annual flowers will work best in your location?  Review the information provided in the Annual Flowers publication to expand your knowledge of the different annual flowers that can be grown in Indiana.  This publication has information on the sun requirement, height, when the flower will bloom and what color bloom the flower will have for over 30 different annual flowers.

Perennial plants traditionally live three years or longer under normal growing conditions.  Many gardeners have numerous perennials in their home landscape.  In the Growing Perennial Flowers publication, you will find information about site selection, soil preparation, planting, and maintenance of annual flowers.  Additionally, you will learn about specific gardening terms such as staking and propagation.  

Roses are a common perennial that many gardeners have in their garden.  There are many types of roses including hybrid teas, hybrid perpetuals, floribunda, grandiflora, polyantha, miniature, standard, and several different climbing roses. Purdue University’s Roses publication has information on the different types of roses, roses type selection, planting, rose care, winter production, insect issues, and disease issues.  This publication has several images to help you understand planting, pruning, and staking issues you may face while caring for your roses.

The Peony: State Flower of Indiana publication provides you with information about the different types of peonies, where you should plant them, soil preparation, and caring for the plants. Detailed information is given about the soil preparation and planting depth for new and recently divided plants in regards to crown placement.

Daylilies are an easy perennial to grow and a common perennial found in many landscapes. There are several different types of daylilies.  The Daylilies publication will provide you with a little history of the plant and how to care for the plant.  Detailed information is provided on how to divide daylilies.

Pollinator refers to an animal that assist plants through the pollination process. They do this by moving pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. Indiana is home to 430 different species of bees, 144 different species of butterflies, more than 2,000 different species of moths, and many different species of flower-visiting flies, wasps, ants, and beetles who serve as pollinators. If you would like information about why we should care about pollinators and the different types of pollinators, please review Why Should We Care About Pollinators? from Purdue Extension. 

To help pollinators thrive, many individuals have designated a portion of their property as a pollinator habitat. Pollinator habitats are often made with a variety of native plants that bloom in different colors, shapes, and sizes. This is important because different pollinators like different types of flowers. For example, red tubular flowers with a nectar reward tend to attract hummingbirds. Bees and flies with shorter mouthparts often visit daisy-like flowers that provide nectar and pollen in shallow flowers.

As you consider planting more pollinator friendly plants on your property, you may want to take the time to look at Recommended Indiana-Native Plants for Attracting Pollinators from Purdue Extension. This publication will provide you with a list of plants that you may want to consider planting. It provides you with information such as when it blooms, what color it blooms, what growing conditions it needs, and if it is hard to find

Soil helps anchor and support plants and provides the nutrients and water that plant roots absorb.  Ideally, you would like for your soil to be soft, crumbly, and well to moderately well drained.  Soil that is dense and compacted makes it hard for roots to grow. 

Nutrient levels, pH, and organic matter content can vary throughout a property.  To help ensure that your soil contains the nutrients it needs, is of the correct pH, and has organic matter in it, is is best to do a soil test.  Soil testing is simple and can be done utilizing a soil probe or a spade, a plastic bucket, and a plastic baggie.  Once you have your soil sample, you would then take the sample to a local co-op to be sent to a lab for testing.  Information on how many soil samples to take, the depth the soil sample needs to be, and how a soil test is performed, can be found in Collecting Soil Samples for Testing from Purdue Extension. 

For a list of places to take your soil test locally, please contact Purdue Extension at 765-653-8411 or smith535@purdue.edu

Maintaining a healthy lawn can be time consuming and frustrating.  Taking Care of Your Yard can help you understand a variety of lawn care issues including fertilizing, mowing, seeding, and pest control.  There is also information out tree selection, placement, pruning, and caring for ornamental plants in your landscape.  

To help you maintain a healthy lawn, Purdue Extension does have a few calculator programs or tools that you can utilize on your computer to help.  These calculators/tools include: