B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension







Follow us online at Purdue Agriculture News Columns


HOME (Indoor plants and activities)

Start seeds of warm-season plants, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias and petunias, indoors for transplanting later to the garden.

Harden off transplants started earlier in spring before planting outdoors - gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight and lower moisture.

Apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions as days grow brighter and longer and new growth begins. Foliage plants require relatively high nitrogen fertilizer, while blooming plants thrive on formulations that are higher in phosphorus.

Keep Easter lily in a bright, cool location, out of direct sunlight. Water as soil begins to dry. The yellow, pollen-bearing anthers inside the flower can be removed by pinching to prevent staining of the petals.

YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)

Plant a tree in celebration of National Arbor Day, April 24. Bare-root stock should be planted before new top growth begins. Balled- and-burlapped and containerized stock can still be planted later in spring.

Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins. Two pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet should be sufficient.

Complete pruning chores, removing dead and injured branches first.

Apply a prebloom, multipurpose orchard spray to fruit trees.

Remove winter coverings from roses, but keep mulch nearby for protection from late freezes. Prune and fertilize as needed.

Apply pre-emergent herbicide to control crabgrass in lawns. Approximate dates of application are late March to mid-April in southern Indiana and mid-April to early May in northern Indiana. Exact timing varies each year with weather conditions. For more precise application timing based on Growing Degree Days (GDD), visit Enter your zip code, and select "Crabgrass Pre." The target GDD window for crabgrass prevention is 250-500. 

GARDEN (Vegetables, small fruits and flowers)

Plant seeds of cool-season crops directly in the garden, as soon as soil dries enough to be worked. When squeezed, soil should crumble instead of forming a ball. Cool-season crops that can be direct-seeded include peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and Swiss chard.

Plant transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and onions.

Plant or transplant asparagus and rhubarb crowns. For best plant establishment, do not harvest until the third year after planting.

Plant sections of certified, disease-free potato "seed" tubers.

Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to remain in place after blooms fade. Leaves manufacture the food reserves, which are then stored in the bulb for a repeat showing next year.

Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.

Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting to garden later.

Remove winter mulch from strawberries, but keep mulch handy in case late frosts are predicted and to help keep weeds under control.

Plant or transplant strawberries, raspberries and other small fruit.

Prune grape vines to remove dead or weakened limbs, and repair support trellises as needed.


March 20-21 - Morgan County Gardenfest, Hoosier Harvest Church, Martinsville,

March 28 - Montgomery County Flower and Garden Show, 4-H Building, Crawfordsville,

March 28 - Monroe County GardenFair, Indiana National Guard Armory, Bloomington

April 11 - Boone County Gardenfest, Boone County Fairgrounds, Lebanon,

April 17-18 - Midwest Regional Daffodil Show hosted by Indiana Daffodil Society, Holliday Park Nature Center, Indianapolis,

April 18-19 - Purdue SpringFest (including Student Hort Show and Bug Bowl), Purdue West Lafayette Campus,

April 25 - Hendricks County Gardening for All Ages, Hendricks County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, Danville,

April 25 - Tippecanoe County Master Gardeners' Garden Expo, Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, Lafayette,

May 2-3 - Indiana Gourd Society State Show, Boone County Fairgrounds, Lebanon,

Cincinnati Garden Show Returns
After being on hiatus for the past few years, the Cincinnati Flower Show returns this spring at a new location. The show will be held April 15-19 at Yeatman's Cove in Cincinnati.

Orchard in Bloom Cancelled for 2015
The 2015 Orchard in Bloom Garden Show, Holliday Park, Indianapolis, has been cancelled due to a revitalization project in the park. For more information, visit


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox