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Kids can get down, dirty at gardening camp

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Just recently I was thinking of my childhood when I used to throw rocks in the creek. That was a fun thing to do. So simple, yet a satisfying way to spend time outdoors.

I wonder if there is a virtual app for people who don’t live near a creek nowadays. We have received enough rain, though, that no one should have any trouble finding water.

Here’s an even better idea for Johnson County youth who enjoy playing outdoors: Summer Garden Camp at the extension office. Registration will begin soon, but space is limited. You can reach us at 736-3724 or come into the office at 484 N. Morton St. in Franklin. The camp takes place from 9 a.m. to noon June 17-21.

Summer Garden Camp is for youth ages 8 to 12 and costs $15. Campers will learn about plants, soil, food, nutrition and worms. Each day campers have class, snacks and crafts.

And for the adults, make the best of rainy days by collecting all that precious water in a rain barrel. Did you know that more than 30 percent of household water usage in the summer goes toward lawns and gardens? Rain barrels offer a way to conserve water by holding it for later use, instead of it running off an impervious surface (usually your roof). Rainwater is also better for lawns and gardens, as it does not have the additives that tap water does.

A 2,000-square foot roof can accumulate over 40,000 gallons of rainwater a year in Indiana. You can use the water to supplement natural rainfall that your outdoor plants receive. Be sure to water deeply, once per week rather than frequent light sprinkling. The Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District sells rain barrels at its office, 550 E. Jefferson St., Franklin. Also check out the website swcd.org/.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1, you can visit the gardens at the historic Heck-Hasler House, 6612 N. County Road 575E, in Clark Township, for a tour of flowers, shrubs and trees while listening to the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. This fundraiser benefits music education youth programs put on by the Symphony Orchestra Association. The cost is $10 per person. Contact Joanna Weiler for tickets at 445-8531 or joannaweiler@comcast.net.

Be sure to visit the Antique Machinery Show at Johnson County Parks in Edinburgh on June 14-16. The event will feature a display of antique tractors, gas engines, old trucks and cars, garden tractors, etc. There will be a flea market, food vendors, antique tractor pulls, horse pulls and games for kids. The website is jcamach.org/annual-show.

But if you are more inclined to stay home and enjoy your yard, go right ahead. Houseplants can be moved outdoors once night temperatures stay above 55 degrees.

Plan now for your Halloween pumpkin. Determine the days to harvest for the particular cultivar you want to plant, and count backward from mid-October to determine the proper planting date.

We’ve all been waiting for this nice warm weather so we could enjoy the great outdoors. Please make sure you take advantage of it.

Sarah Speedy is the agricultural natural resources extension educator through the Johnson County Purdue Extension. She has a master’s degree in animals and public policy from Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Purdue University.

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