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ANR Newsletter 2021 - Johnson County

ANR Newsletter 2021 - Winter Edition

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ANR Newsletter - Winter Edition 2021

Mark your calendar for the Ag Day Breakfast on March 16th in Scott Hall at 7:30 am. Our committee is planning for a great morning.  Congratulations again to the 2021 Farm Family of the Year —David and Janet Esteb!

In September of 2021 we had 450 students visit our 12 stations at 4th Grade Agriculture Days. With the help of about 40 volunteers and some great sponsors, this program was executed fabulously. Students learned about modern agriculture —from field crops to fruit and from goats to chickens. In general this program is for 4th graders, but we also welcome home school groups.

Keep an eye out for summer  youth camp registration coming with a gardening and agriculture twist. We are partnering with the Franklin Community High School to have amazing things going on in June and July.


Holiday Gifts for the Gardener

By Rosie Lerner, retired Purdue Horticulture Specialist

Why not give a gift that lasts all year? A plant is a special gift that brings beauty as you help a living thing grow. The poinsettia is undoubtedly the most popular gift plant, but many others are equally festive for the holiday season. Christmas cactus, begonias, cyclamen and azaleas offer attractive blossoms and can brighten any room in the house. Jerusalem cherry and ornamental pepper plants feature fruits in celebration of the season. Christmas cactus will need bright sunlight to continue blooming after the holidays, as will Jerusalem cherry and ornamental pepper plants. Most flowering plants, including azaleas, begonias and cyclamen, will tolerate indirect light but demand cool temperatures, especially at night. Jerusalem cherries are poisonous, so they are best suited for families that do not have young children. Some gift plants will continue to bloom throughout the new year if given proper care. Others may need a period of rest before they can be brought back to life. Include a book on plant care as part of your present. For those who don’t happen to be endowed with a “green thumb,” consider a flowering bulb that can be discarded after blooms have finished. Florists will have a good selection of potted bulbs already in bloom. During cold weather, even the healthiest plant can be damaged during delivery. Cold and wind exposure for a couple minutes can damage some plants. Be sure the to protect it with wrapping. If the temperature is below freezing, preheat the car beforehand. If giving a plant isn’t feasible, there are many other ideas for your gardening friends and family. A sturdy new rake, hoe or spade can save both time and a tired back for the busy gardener. Pruners, trowels and cultivators are handy.  If you’re still undecided on a garden gift, try a gift certificate to a seed company or garden shop. Give a membership to a nearby conservatory.


Beginning Farmer Virtual Series

Interested in starting a farm but unsure of how to get started or where you can find help? Are you already a farmer but eager to enhance your management practices? Purdue Extension’s Beginning Farmer Workshop can help put you on a path to success!

  • Address the realities of starting a farm
  • Assess your farming assets
  • Define realistic goals
  • Create feasible plans to achieve your goals

 Sessions start January 13 and run each Thursday evening. Check our next newsletter  


PARP Credits?

  • Checking Your Status Online
  • General Pesticide Licensing information and questions, including continuing education for commercial applicators (CCHs) and private applicators (PARP)
    Cassie Davis, 765-494-9563,
  • Farmers and Restricted Use Pesticide Dealers
    Laura Fritz, 765-494-6271,
  • Commercial Applicators and Businesses
    Jill Davis, 765-494-1594,


Indiana Horticulture Conference and Expo

We are happy to announce that registration is open! Welcome attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors for our in-person event January 19-20

 2022 Conference Tracks
Fruit Production
Food Safety (FSMA, consumer)
Fresh Vegetables (open field and high tunnel)
Controlled Environment Agriculture (greenhouse, indoor vertical farming)
Urban Ag Workshop
Purdue Institute for Family Business Workshop


The Master Gardener training series begins Wednesday, Jan 12 in the Extension Office from 6—9 pm. The course is open to anyone-regardless of skill level. Participants will learn about insects, weeds, lawn, fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants, landscape design, soil, and more. Cost is $185 and includes materials and refreshments for the 14 weeks. Spots will fill up soon. Register today!

 Purdue Extension Master Gardeners help meet the gardening information needs of the community by volunteering on various projects (providing direct education or assisting indirectly with educational projects).


Purdue’s Center for Commercial Ag


Take part in one of the most successful and longest—running management programs geared specifically for farmers  - The Purdue Top Farmers Conference, featuring faculty and staff experts from Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. Surrounded by farm management, farm policy, agricultural finance and marketing experts, and a group of your peers, the conference will stimulate your thinking about agriculture’s future and how you can position your farm to be successful in the years ahead. 


The Indiana Master Naturalist program will be offered in Johnson County in 2022. The Johnson County SWCD is partnering with Johnson County Parks to educate participants on fish, trees, water, birds, pollinators, and more. The class will meet monthly for 8 sessions. For more info contact Blair at  317-736-9540. Space is limited.


4-H Enrollment is open. 4-H can be found in communities across Indiana including urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards, and rural communities. 4-H is open to all youth in grades 3-12 (Mini 4-H is offered to grades K-2 in most counties).

4-H is for everyone! Here is the link to access your account or start a new one

$25 4‐H fee (Grades 3-12);  Mini 4-Hers (Grades K -2) no fee.


Youth Garden Camp

Youth garden camp was held in 2021 for 5 sessions (every Wednesday morning in June). Our campers learned about native plants, insects, vegetables, herbs, botany, nutrition, etc. Participants got to do hand-on activities to make learning fun. We had Master Gardener volunteers assisting with crafts, snack, curriculum, and more. The ANR Educator and HHS Educator were involved as well. One day we had a visit from Fresh Way Farm and his mobile garden. Another day we held our activities at Province Park. For 2022 we are hoping to team up with Franklin High School students to make Youth Garden Camp even bigger and better! If you want to know more, please let us know.


From Purdue’s Home Horticulture Specialist, Rosie Lerner

December tasks in the YARD (Lawn, woody ornamentals & fruits)

  • Prevent bark splitting of young and thin-barked trees, such as fruit and maple trees. Wrap trunks with tree wrap, or paint them with white latex (not oil-based) paint, particularly on the south- and southwest-facing sides.
  • Protect shrubs such as junipers and arborvitae from extensive snow loads by tying their stems together with twine. Carefully remove heavy snow loads with a broom to prevent limb breakage.
  • Protect broadleaves, evergreens or other tender landscape plants from excessive drying (desiccation) by winter sun and wind. Canvas, burlap or polyethylene plastic screens to the south and west protect the plants. Similarly, shield plants from salt spray on the street side.
  • Provide winter protection for roses by mounding soil approximately 12 inches high to insulate the graft union after plants are dormant and temperatures are cold. Additional organic mulch such as straw compost or chopped leaves can be placed on top.

GARDEN (Flowers, vegetables and small fruits)

  • To protect newly planted or tender perennials and bulbs, mulch with straw, chopped leaves or other organic material after plants become dormant.
  • Store leftover garden chemicals where they will stay dry, unfrozen and out of the reach of children, pets and unsuspecting adults.
  • Once the plants are completely dormant and temperatures are consistently below freezing, apply winter mulch to protect strawberries and other tender perennials. In most cases, 2 to 4 inches of organic material such as straw, pine needles, hay or bark chips will provide adequate protection.
  • Check produce and tender bulbs in storage, and discard any that show signs of decay, such as mold or softening. Shriveling indicates insufficient relative humidity.
  • Clean up dead plant materials, synthetic mulch and other debris in the vegetable garden, as well as in the flowerbeds, rose beds and orchards.


Indiana Small Farm Conference

Working with team members on the Content Committee for the 2021 IN Small Farm Conference (virtual), I planned and executed the marketing track with sessions on market displays, tax planning, e-commerce platforms, and telling your farm story. I also conducted an interview with a local goat farmer that was part of the virtual farm tours. In 2021, the virtual conference impacted 613 participants total. They received education about diversified farming, sustainable practices, business operations, available assistance, local food systems, soil health, etc. The 2022 ISFC will be in-person.


The Ag and Natural Resources  (ANR) Program in Johnson Co. is built around the needs of the community. To ensure that programs address these needs, I am constantly seeking input from the community that I serve! I’m asking that you give feedback. The Extension Service is just that, a service for all residents.



The 2022 Indiana Small Farm Conference (ISFC) will be March 3 & 4 in Hendricks County. Please plan to join us for learning about fresh produce food safety, pasture-based livestock systems, farm viability and financial management, urban agriculture, and a farm tour. Find out more details and register here

The ISFC is a great way to learn what’s new and what’s next in production, marketing, and other areas to make the most of your efforts in 2022 and for years to come! This year’s conference offers twelve tracks.


The Johnson County Local Food Council received a grant from the ISDA (Indiana Grown program). Next summer at the Franklin Farmers Market, we’ll be piloting a ‘double up’ bucks program for those using SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) dollars. The objective is to get more fresh food to the homes of those in need. Customers can double their spending power and farmers still receive their original asking price for local produce, meat, eggs, etc. We also hope to roll out our website in the coming months to help all folks with a directory of places to buy local food.



Sarah Hanson - Ag & Natural Resources Extension Educator

484 N. Morton St. Franklin, IN 46131 Johnson County


It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action institution. This material may be available in alternative formats.



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