What about these colder temperatures?

In the Garden
Ralph Purkhiser, Purdue University Master Gardener

     Cold temperatures came to the Hoosier Hills this week, effectively ending the growing season.  However, that does not mean an end to the gardening season.  You will need to make some decisions about clean-up.  If you have had plant diseases or a lot of insect damage, you may want to clear the spent foliage and get rid of it away from the garden.  However, if your garden has been relatively healthy, you may want to delay clean-up to allow the birds and other wildlife to make use of the garden remains over the winter.  Many insects, including butterflies, will over-winter in the old leaves and stalks, so delaying clean-up will increase their populations next spring.  The garden debris also offers food in the form of seeds and shelter during the cold months ahead.
     However, there are other things to consider about clean-up.  Do you prefer that the garden look neat during the winter?  Would the dry foliage present a fire danger to your home?  I usually choose to clean up areas near the house and other buildings, but leave wilder areas for the wildlife.
     This has certainly been one of the most beautiful autumn seasons in recent memory.  We have not had any storms to make the trees lose their leaves before turning colors, and conditions have been favorable for cool color.  Get out and do some leaf peeking.  With high gas prices, I would suggest combining your trip with some other tasks.  I would also recommend sharing a ride with a friend, so you may share in the beauty of creation.  My Sunday trips to church (Orleans in the morning and Leipsic in the evening) afforded me a great opportunity to see the beauty.  It is one of the times when living in Orange County’s Northwest Township is wonderful.  Much of the area is National Forest, so there are a lot of trees and shrubs that provide good color.  If you wish to share my view, take Sandhill Road off of U.S. Highway 150 in Prospect.  Continue to Sandhill and keep to the left when the road forks in the middle of the hill.  Enjoy the scenery until the road comes to a T intersection.  If you turn left, you will have several options that will take you to Huron or the U.S. Highway 50.  Turning right will lead you to State Road 37 in Orleans.  
      Another of my favorite drives for leaf watching is taking State Road 145 south from French Lick.  This highway will lead to Patoka Lake.  I am especially fond of the Tillery Hill area, which has a great selection of trees, offering many colors to reflect in the lake.  However, and place you can pull of and see the reflection in the water will be like a picture in a travel magazine.  Good leaf watching will continue as you drive on to Interstate 64 to head east to Corydon or west to St. Meinrad or Ferdinand.  Whatever destination you choose, you will find some great places to eat and, at this time of the year, you may happen upon a good arts and crafts show or other shopping opportunities.  
     New England and the Smokey Mountains are touted as great places to see the beauty of autumn leaves, but I do not think they are really that much better than southern Indiana.  Whether you prefer the hills or the plains, you will find a place to view the changing season.  I urge you to get out soon.  The show will not last long, and it will be another year before it is repeated.  Soon you will out raking or blowing the leaves that have fallen.  Take the time to enjoy the beauty.



Please Login for Premium Content

Site Login Help

For current subscribers to The Salem Leader and The Salem Democrat, you can login to the site using the following information:

Username: Please use your full email address associated with your account
Password: Please use your last name. Passwords are case sensitive, so please capitalize your last name (eg: Smith)