Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

May 8, 2013

Spring’s been slow to arrive

I found my first two tiny, gray sponge mushrooms Thursday, April 25. With relatively warmer weather over the weekend, this should be the prime week for the Central Indiana mushroom hunter.

Spring 2013 is as late as spring 2012 was early. Last year, all the Boone County corn crop was planted at this time; this year, less than 1 percent of the local corn crop has been planted.

Some song birds are making their way back from the South to Boone County. Brown thrasher, catbird, bluebird, tree swallow, phoebe, chipping sparrow and warblers have also been spotted locally. Hummingbirds should be appearing any time now. One of their favorite early season flowers is the columbine. One columbine is native to Indiana, and numerous other hybrids have been developed. Wild columbine is the flower at which we usually see the first hummingbirds of the spring in our yard, often during the first week of May.

COOL-SEASON VEGETABLES

We planted onions a month ago. Despite more than 6 inches of rain during April, they are off to a good start. Our two favorite varieties are Candy and Yellow Granex, both very mild, sweet onions. Granex is a Vidalia onion type. Early-planted onions will put on more growth prior to flowering, resulting in a larger bulb. It’s also time to plant other cool-season vegetables if you haven’t done so already: leaf lettuce, beets, cabbage, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower, as examples.

WHAT’S THAT PURPLE WEED?

Each year at this time, I receive numerous questions. One is: What’s the purple weed blooming all over farm fields and other bare areas? It is purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum). The short, 12- to 16-inch-tall plant is a winter annual. It germinates from seed in the fall or very early spring. By the time fields and gardens are dry enough to work, these plants are already full size and ready to flower. Being in the mint family (Labiatae), the stems are square. Distinctly triangular leaves are crowded near the upper portion of the stem. Lower leaves are larger and have longer petioles than upper leaves. Flowers are light purple. Each plant produces thousands of seeds that can persist in the soil for several years.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.



 

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  • Public safety workers close ranks around gay, lesbian colleagues Jason Miller has spent 15 years in a job he loves. He’s an emergency medical technician working two jobs as a first-responder, and he’s training to become a firefighter in Kokomo. Miller loves the reward of helping others, he said, and the camaraderie among people whose inclination is to run toward danger. For police, firefighters and EMTs, he said, backing each other up is “second nature.”

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  • Colleagues of indicted sheriff feel the glare of distrust Last Tuesday didn’t go the way Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit thought it would. He was in Indianapolis in the morning in his role as president of the Indiana Sheriffs' Association, to listen to a speech by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett about his high-profile crackdown on public corruption.

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  • Simple tips for packing healthy school lunches It’s time for the kiddos to go back to school, and you’re committed to packing their lunches this year. For those who haven’t packed lunches before or are getting tired of the same old stuff, it may seem a bit daunting to think about planning yet another meal each day.

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