How to Start a Home Garden in Indiana (IN) from Scratch: For Indoors, Outdoors, Backyards, and Containers

Now can be an excellent time to plant a vegetable garden for those staying at home more often in Indiana. Healing effects on the body and mind can be gained by gardening, in addition to the obvious nutritional advantages of eating more fresh vegetables. The ability to grow plants requires time, patience, and effort on the gardener’s part. The key to a successful gardening activity is careful preparation.

How to Start a Home Garden in Indiana (IN) from Scratch
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Below we learn about home gardening in Indiana, different types of home gardens for Indiana, how to set up an indoor home garden in Indiana, how to set up a backyard home garden in Indiana, and how to set up a container home garden in Indiana, about the planting zones of Indiana, and different fruits and vegetables for Indiana home gardens.

How to start a home garden in Indiana (IN) from scratch

When should I start my garden in Indiana?

When the chance of frost in the morning has passed, we can’t wait to go outdoors and enjoy the weather. While it’s true that some of your garden’s perennial favorites won’t do well in the milder temps of early spring, there are plenty of alternatives that benefit from the reduced heat. Vegetables that grow well in mild climates and mature rapidly might help you get an early start on the season’s bounty in the kitchen.

The final frost in Indiana occurs at the end of April, allowing the growing season to kick off in May. Vegetables that grow quickly but need a chilly climate, such as radishes, chard, beets, leafy greens, carrots, and turnips, are ideal for the cool season. You can plant the seeds now, and by the time the weather warms up, you’ll be able to pick the fruits of your labor. These nutritious veggies are the ideal way to enjoy garden tastes early in the season.

Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage that mature early in the year should be planted in the first half of May. Even though they don’t reach full maturity until late June, they can withstand the heat better and will continue to thrive until you pick them. Planting and harvesting our favorite hardy veggies doesn’t have to be limited by the calendar or the weather. As a result, we like to plant our onion sets and potatoes in the spring, giving us a longer harvest season.

While the cooler temperatures are ideal for our spring veggies, many grocery and household items must be imported from warmer regions. Hot summer days are essential for the optimal development of heat-loving plants. Most plants need soil temperatures of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth, so holding off on planting until after a few days of warm, sunny weather is recommended.

Planting the summer heat-loving beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, melons, watermelons, squash, and pumpkins are best left until late May or early June. Seeds or starters can be used to get a head start on the season, and transplanting outside can be delayed by up to six weeks. To avoid wasting time and effort on plants that won’t be ready for harvesting by the time the first frost hits in the autumn, it’s essential to keep track of when they’re expected to mature.

Choose plants at home here in Indiana, where the growing season spans 173 days from frost to frost. Apples, cherries, blueberries, grapes, and raspberries are just a few of the tree and bush fruits at their peak for picking in the late summer. They’ll have had all spring and summer to spread their roots and produce fruit, so choose carefully, so you don’t consume them all before they’re ripe!

While autumn is often associated with the reaping of harvest crops and their subsequent consumption, it also provides a last chance to have a good laugh before the onset of colder months. Early spring favorites that can withstand cold and develop quickly may be replanted in the autumn for a second harvest in the late fall. To get the most out of your garden’s taste in a single growing season, you should plant fast-growing carrots, leafy greens, and radishes in late August when the temperature drops a little.

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Sprinkler
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What vegetables do well in Indiana?

Beans, cucumber, eggplants, okra, spinach, peppers, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon, beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, parsnips, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, peas, radish, turnips are among the vegetables that do well in Indiana. 

When can you start planting indoors in Indiana?

Starting seeds inside in April is a great time to grow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Basil, cilantro, and parsley are just a few of the herbs available. Refer to the instructions on the seed packet for the precise times to begin planting. Sowing these starts begins in early to mid-April. 

If you want to plant your veggies or herbs outside in May and start them now, you’ll have to give them supplemental light, water, and fertilizer until then. The packaging also includes a helpful timeline for when to expect the seeds to support. However, the equipment and materials needed to plant seeds inside might overwhelm novice gardeners.

What zone is Indiana for planting?

Only zones 5 and 6 are present in Indiana, which results in a very narrow range of USDA Hardiness Zones for the state. The farther a gardener travels south into the state, the warmer the climate becomes and the more zone they enter. The extreme north-eastern corner of the state and some areas of the very point of the state are also included in zone 6. 

Aside from those places, zone 5 encompasses the majority of northern and central Indiana, while zone 6 comprises the whole of Indiana’s southern half. The first frost date does not occur until October and may occur anywhere between the beginning and the end of the month, depending on the zone in which you live. The dates of the last frost might range anywhere from the middle of April through May. The earliest frost date in Indianapolis is October 7th, and the final frost date is May 9th.

When should I plant tomatoes in Indiana?

Regardless of their specific characteristics, all tomato cultivars are warm-season plants that need to be planted after the particular date of the last frost in your region has passed. In the southern part of the state, this period often falls between the middle and end of April, whereas in the northern part, it occurs between the beginning and middle of May. 

The day when Indiana typically experiences its last light frost registers at 36 degrees Fahrenheit. In any case, the soil temperature is very crucial. Soil temperatures this spring are significantly below the optimal 60 degrees Fahrenheit for tomato growth.

What kind of fruits can you grow in Indiana?

Indiana is home to a wide variety of fruit trees, from apples and pears to cherries and persimmons. If you wish to establish fruit trees in your backyard, it’s essential to do so in sufficient numbers. For certain fruit trees to bear fruit, they need to be near others of the same species. Other fruit trees don’t need a second tree nearby to reproduce.

When should I start my seeds in Indiana?

Timing is essential to ensure the transplant reaches the appropriate size for planting. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant seeds should be planted approximately seven weeks before the last frost date. It is best to start pumpkins, melons, and squash inside about four weeks before putting them outside. Depending on the kind, planting flower seeds might take anywhere from four to fourteen weeks. The backs of seed packs often provide such information.

As soon as the soil has dried sufficiently to be handled, plant the seeds of cool-season vegetables straight in the garden. Soil should disintegrate rather than ball up when pressed. Peas, spinach, carrots, lettuce, beets, turnips, parsnips, and Swiss chard are just a few examples of cool-season vegetables planted directly into the ground.

What can I plant in April in Indiana?

Prepare your garden for the chilly weather by planting transplants of vegetables that mature later in the year. Arrange for the planting or replanting of rhubarb and asparagus crowns. For optimal plant establishment, wait three years to harvest. Set in the ground potato “seed” tubers that have been verified as disease-free. 

After the spring bulbs’ flowers have faded, you can let the foliage stay. Produced by the leaves, the food reserves are put away in the next year’s bulbs. Grow tough perennials like lilies and delphiniums. To have blooming caladiums and tuberous begonias in your yard later, start them inside.

How do I start a backyard home garden in Indiana?

Choosing an ideal location 

The site of an urban garden is still one of the essential aspects in determining its success, despite the restricted options available to urban gardeners. We must choose a spot with rich, deep soil that drains properly. Moreover, it would bask in the sun’s rays for the better each day. For the site to be shadow-free, it must be situated near a water source. Raised beds can be challenging to build when the soil is formed of thick clay and has inadequate drainage. You can build a raised bed using concrete blocks, railroad ties, or landscape timbers.

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Pot Garden
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Prepare the soil in your backyard. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many good vegetable-growing locations due to the lack of healthy soil. Soil amendments to boost drainage and airflow will be necessary as a result. Adding organic matter or sand might be beneficial when working with dense clay. If you want to improve the physical qualities of your soil, cover your garden with sand and organic matter of good quality and then turn it over in the fall or spring.

Instead of getting the soil ready for planting in a single or even a couple of growing seasons, let it be time to improve on its own. Compostable organic waste can be added to the soil, such as nut hulls, rice hulls, and grass clippings. The ideal depth for a soil turn is between 8 and 10 inches. Gypsum improves the soil in two ways: its structure and its drainage. For every 100 square feet of land, 2–3 kg of gypsum should be added to clay soil. However, it can be challenging to work on clay soil.

You can protect your garden against nematodes by being careful when you add soil or compost. When possible, stay away from wet garden soil. Pick up a fistful of soil and squeeze it together to see whether it crumbles easily in your palm to find out if the ground is workable. If you can wrap up a handful with your fingers and thumb, it’s too damp to handle.

Seeds germinate more quickly in well-prepared soil than in soil that has not been adequately prepared. The amount of work needed to sow and manage a crop decreases dramatically when adequate preparation has been carried out. However, certain soils may require too much work to be ready for planting. A soil with a granular texture is preferable to a fine, powdery one for planting.

Plant your backyard garden 

The optimal conditions for your plants’ continued growth and development until maturity can be ensured if you get a head start on planting in the spring and fall. Harvest times can be advanced by transplanting plants as soon as they are ripe; planting immediately when transferring is impracticable or impossible. To maximize germination, the seed should be covered twice as long as the seed when planted.

Large-seeded plants, including watermelons, green beans, and cantaloupes, benefit greatly from this. However, there is a sweet spot between a quarter and a half an inch for growing lettuce, carrots, and onions. With this in mind, it’s best to scatter the seeds in a crowded area from which you’ll be able to pick out the individual ones afterward.

When transplanting, it’s crucial to get the depth of the hole just right. Roots might dry up and die if containers are set at an inadequate depth. Although most plants need a new container before being transplanted, a few can be relocated in their natural state. Before you move any plants, particularly ones that need a lot of heat like tomatoes and chilies, apply a starting solution.

Water your backyard garden 

A plant’s root system is best nourished when water is applied slowly, deeply, rarely, and directly. It prevents water from evaporating or flowing from the soil’s top and allows it to soak deep into the ground. The efficiency with which you water is highly dependent on your irrigation method. Drip or trickle irrigation systems work best for tree, shrub, flowerbed, and vegetable gardens cultivated on soils with greater amounts of organic matter.

The emitters in some drip systems are spread out evenly throughout the line length. Water seeps out of a soaker hose slowly and uniformly throughout its length. The gentle flow of water from a garden hose is another alternative. Larger trees and plants may need you to shift the hose around to provide enough coverage. For really massive trees, this procedure may take many hours. To avoid overwatering the top, one alternative is to rinse the soil under the surface.

Juice or coffee cans with their bottoms punched out can be buried 6 to 12 inches underground. Put water in the cans. The water will slowly trickle from the bottom to the soil around the plant’s roots. There will be much less water lost to evaporation and wasteful watering of the soil around your plants. Plants in sandy soils benefit more from a pop-up watering system or micro spray emitters. Although they are not as effective at saving water as a drip system, they give the uniform coverage that plants in sandy soils need.

In addition to wasting water via evaporation, sprinklers linked to a hose can waste water by spraying it in unneeded locations. Sprinklers can be the only viable option for some applications, like watering grass. There is a higher propensity for waste with automated sprinkler systems. Therefore, it’s essential to keep tabs on and manage them effectively. 

Automatic subsurface watering systems have been shown in studies to consume up to two times as much water as traditional methods of watering, such as hoses and sprinklers. While automatic irrigation systems are convenient, they might lead to overwatering if you stop paying attention to your system. Use a rain gauge to evaluate the performance of your sprinkler system in various garden spots.

Maximize output by ensuring the excellent working order of every machinery. With automated sprinkler systems, this is crucial. Check the timing mechanism and rain shutoffs, fix any broken nozzles or heads, and measure the amount of water being used. If you find that you are overwatering, check your system once a week and alter the days and hours it runs.

Deep, infrequent waterings should be given to plants before and during drought. Soaking the root zone completely will cause roots to extend deep into the soil, where water will be retained for longer. The plant’s ability to withstand drought will improve thanks to these deeply rooted anchors. The target is a depth of 8-10 inches of saturation. Watering huge trees and plants might take many hours, depending on the soil type (Figure 2). Regular, light watering causes plants to have weaker root systems, making them more vulnerable to drought.

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Mint Garden
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As the season develops and your plants establish deep root systems, you can reduce the frequency with which you water them. Less water evaporates when temperatures are colder, higher humidity, and winds are calmer. However, if your water before or after daylight, you won’t be able to see your system in action, making it difficult to determine if you are over- or under-watering your plants without regular inspections of your soil, plant health, and water output.

Mulching your backyard garden 

Mulching’s many benefits include limiting decay-related losses and lowering soil temperatures to suppress weed growth. Sticks, bark, and sawdust are common examples of organic mulches that can be recycled—using organic mulch to improve soil health after harvesting is highly recommended. One to two inches of organic materials should be sprinkled around actively growing plants. However, this will vary by species. 

Soil preparation can be aided by adding half a kilogram of fertilizer per 100 square feet of land and rotating organic mulches. In addition, increasing soil microbial activity reduces decomposition-related nitrogen loss.

Fertilize your backyard garden 

Water can be saved via effective fertilization. However, it’s possible to overfertilize a plant, causing it to produce excessive new growth that ultimately results in a higher water bill. Lack of water causes drought stress in plants. In addition, plants have a more challenging time using any available moisture when excessive amounts of fertilizer are applied. In times of drought, it’s best to hold off on or completely halt tree and shrub fertilizer. This will result in slower plant growth and reduced water needs.

Manage diseases and pests in your backyard home garden 

Spray with utmost care and only with legally allowed pesticides. These are the only plants that need to be treated with pesticides since they are the intended targets. Pesticide labels include essential information that must be followed exactly. The primary goal of disease management is disease prevention rather than disease cure. When a disease shows symptoms, it has often done significant damage.

As a result of plants’ susceptibility to pathogens, gardeners need to be aware of the conditions that either encourage or discourage the spread of disease. Gardens are perfect for cultivating various microorganisms because of the favorable temperature and humidity conditions. Therefore, it is critical to monitor for signs of the disease and provide therapy when environmental factors are favorable for its spread.

How do I start container gardening in Indiana?

Choosing the right containers

Your creativity only limits your options for planting containers. Plants can be grown in variety containers, including clay pots, wooden ones, plastic ones, cement pots, and metal ones. In addition, many common household objects, such as pots, tubs, crates, buckets, bushel baskets, whiskey barrels, tires, wheelbarrows, and hanging baskets, can be repurposed to hold plants. Whatever the material, a good container should include drainage holes and room for the roots to spread.

Roots will rot from a lack of oxygen if water accumulates in the soil because it cannot drain out of the container. Three or four little holes (about 1/4 inch in diameter) drilled into the container’s base will do the trick for drainage. Larger than 1/4-inch holes allow too much soil escape. To prevent soil from eroding through bigger holes, fill the container’s bottom with pebbles or shards of broken pottery.

To keep their contents dry, wooden containers should be crafted from redwood, cedar, or synthetic timber with similar water resistance. Choose alkaline copper quaternary or copper-containing pressure-treated hardwood (ACQ) for chemically protected wood. Wood that has been painted with a preservative containing copper or zinc has less of an impact than untreated wood. Creosote and pentachlorophenol (Penta) are wood preservatives that should be avoided because of their potential toxicity to plants, especially those cultivated in confined spaces.

For further reading on treated lumber, go here. Vegetables and flowers typically have roots that extend no more than three feet deep in top-notch soil, but they can thrive in a wider range of soil depths. Plants unable to spread their roots widely can be stunted in growth and yield smaller than average fruit. Plants in smaller pots need to be watered more often since they dry up more rapidly. Most plants subjected to drying wind and sun should be grown in containers with a depth of at least 10 to 12 inches at the very least.

Choose the soil mix for your container garden 

The soil must be nutrient-rich and well-drained to prevent plants from drying out in between waterings. Your container garden at home will flourish if you provide it with steady hydration and enough drainage. A growing medium that can function without soil is ideal. Soilless mediums do not contain any weed seeds, pathogens, or insect pests. Hence they are suitable for planting.

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Seedlings
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Because of their lightness and porous nature, they work well in a spongy but well-drained combination. You can buy mixed and ready-to-use potting soil at a garden center for your potted plants. Compost, perlite or vermiculite, peat moss, and coarse builder’s sand are some materials you can use to create your unique mix. Planting and watering a wide variety of plant combinations available for purchase is simplified with the help of a wetting chemical.

Gels can retain four times their weight in water. This polymer breaks down slowly enough that it won’t harm the environment. Check the label to see how much polymer you should put in a jar. Root-bound plants might result from a lack of room or compacted potting mix. Therefore it’s essential to spend some time outside tending to them. Do not forget to replenish your storage containers at least once every year, preferably twice. A plant needs a root cut after a year in the same pot.

Plant your container garden 

It’s not much different from planting on a garden bed to growing plants in containers. Depending on the pot’s dimensions, seeds can be sown either singly or in rows. Transplants offer plants a head start on the growing season compared to planting seeds. The limits of a container garden are naturally more suited to smaller plants. However, large plants like tomatoes, melons, and squash can still thrive in a well-sized pot.

Compact flower and vegetable varieties that thrive in containers and other limited places can be found in many garden catalogues. Planter arrangements that include both flowers and vegetables are becoming more popular. However, you should consider the light needs of each plant when combining varieties. For example, veggies need between 6 and 8 hours of sunshine daily to thrive. Indeed, many types of flowers do well in direct sunlight, but some can’t survive without some level of shade.

Water your container garden 

More regular watering is required as the light, wind, and heat can be more intense in a container garden than in a garden bed. Depending on the conditions, smaller pots can require watering twice a day. However, if the soil is overwatered, it might cause problems. To know when to water, you should stick your finger into the soil and see how dry it is. Use enough water, so it drains through the openings. This will guarantee that the roots are watered thoroughly. If you use a soilless medium, keep an eye on the peat moss moisture level.

Control pests and diseases in your container garden 

Plants grown in containers are just as vulnerable to pests and diseases as those in ground-level gardens. However, some soil-borne diseases and pest issues can be avoided using clean, pasteurized soil. To pasteurize your garden soil, heat a pan of soil to 180 °F and keep it there for 30 minutes. Only partially dry soil will produce more steam, making heating more efficient.

When heating dry soil, add one cup of water per gallon and stir well. Don’t plant anything until the soil has cooled completely. Check the leaves of your plants often for signs of pests and disease. Reducing the number of little pests can be as simple as picking them out individually as they are seen. Pests can be reduced by removing decaying matter, such as leaves, blossoms, and mature fruit. Insecticides can be required to keep unwanted critters from devouring your crop before you can get to it.

Whether you must use chemicals, check to see if the label specifies that they are safe for use on the whole container’s worth of vegetation. Remember always to follow the directions on pesticide labels. Weeds are not as big of a concern in containers as in garden beds, but they can swiftly overtake a container and starve your crops of water, nutrients, and space. Weed-infested soil should be avoided before planting.

When weeds emerge in a container, pluck them out when they are still young and have shallow roots. To protect the surrounding attractive plants from harm, cut weeds instead of pulling them if they have grown too large to be pulled. Because of their nature, herbicides are not an option for container gardens.

How do I get my container garden ready for winter?

Applying a layer of straw mulch around the containers will help keep the contents warm. When days of sustained frigid weather are expected, take your container plantings inside. The primary concern with winterizing container gardens is maintaining a warm environment for the plant’s roots. Roots and balls require cold protection more than leaves, so wrap them. If days are below freezing, cover plants with fabric at night, taking care not to rip off any plant tops. 

The best time to water is when the temperature is above freezing, and the sun is shining. Do not water if the temperature is below freezing. During periods of heavy precipitation, it may be necessary to tilt containers so that water drains out of the bottom drainage hole; you do not want water to pool in the container, as this may lead to root damage from freezing temperatures.

While the growing season in the winter can be shorter and more challenging than the spring season, healthy plants can still be grown. Following these three steps, you can protect your container garden from harsh winter conditions and still reap the benefits of your labors throughout the season.

Should you mulch container plants?

Mulching is beneficial for potted plants because it slows the rate at which the soil dries up. Mulch regulates soil temperature. Sunlight won’t reach the roots. The plants in their containers will also look better as a result.

Can you grow an indoor garden in the winter?

It is possible to grow a garden inside over the winter. Doing so is a great approach to seasonal combat depression while ensuring your family access to nutritious food. Involve the kids in sowing seeds and maintaining a watering schedule, bring in plants growing outside, or start seeds inside to be transplanted in the spring.

Even though you won’t be able to harvest a cornfield’s worth of kernels or squash the size of your fist during the winter, several plants thrive when brought inside for the season. A southern-facing window or artificial light in the form of grow lights will allow you to cultivate edible plants inside throughout the winter. Fluorescent bulbs that emit light over the whole spectrum are readily available and inexpensive.

What vegetable can you grow indoors in the winter?

Instead, grab some greens like romaine, spinach, baby kale, or sprouts. The key to growing root vegetables successfully in the winter is a large enough container to accommodate the plant’s growth. Try radishes, small carrots, or half-long beets instead of large carrots or big beetroots.

How can I grow vegetables indoors without sunlight?

Fluorescent bulbs provide a cool blue light and are both simple and cost-effective. To germinate seeds or young greens, fluorescent lighting is ideal. Their heat won’t harm your plants, so feel free to put them right over them.

Can you grow vegetables indoors without grow lights?

You can use almost anything to grow your veggies inside so long as the containers include drainage holes. Terra cotta pots, plastic pots, hardwood planters, window boxes, and my favorite cloth pots are just a few typical container options.

How do I start an indoor garden for beginners?

Locating a suitable area is the first point for any indoor garden. The area with the greatest light would seem the best option, but you shouldn’t set your plants directly against a window in case the temperature is too low or high. Plants are just as susceptible to the effects of heat and sunlight as they are to the effects of cold weather. Growing herbs indoors is often less complicated. Herbs, mostly grasses, perform well in closed environments, provide abundant harvests, and need little area.

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Seedlings in Pot
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It’s much simpler to grow and tend to them in smaller containers. Some excellent choices are basil, oregano, parsley, chives, mint, sage, and thyme. Bay leaves and rosemary are a little trickier to keep alive and healthy, but they will provide results if given the necessary attention. Scallions, which are similarly compact, quick to mature for picking, and easy to grow in a glass cup with half an inch of water, also belong here. Watering and fertilizing an indoor garden is tough to summarise.

Although watering frequency varies from plant to plant, it is generally recommended to water your plants daily. Water evaporates fast in dry, stale indoor air, so make sure to water your houseplants often if their roots aren’t sucking them up. You can know by observing the soil and the plant’s leaves. Plants need fertilizer immediately, but after they show signs of life, you can add extra compost like crushed eggshells, used coffee grounds, and vegetable scraps to the pots. Don’t forget to mash everything and incorporate them into the soil gradually.

Conclusion 

The key to a successful gardening activity is thorough preparation. If you want to get your garden off to a good start, choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunshine each day. Ensure water doesn’t pool after heavy rain or watering to ensure adequate drainage at the location.

If you want your garden plants to have a good chance of surviving, you should avoid planting trees and bushes nearby. If you live in the following cities/towns/counties of Indiana (IN) in the United States of America, this article might be helpful with the basics of setting up a home garden indoors, outdoors in backyards, and in containers.

IndianapolisFort WayneBloomington
EvansvilleGarySouth Bend
Terre HauteMuncieCarmel
ElkhartKokomoMichigan City
ValparaisoHammondNoblesville
FishersMerrillvilleJeffersonville
New AlbanyWest LafayetteGoshen
PlainfieldNotre DameCrown Point
VincennesMishawakaCrawfordsville
LogansportMunsterSchererville
WabashConnersvilleBrownsburg
ZionsvilleEast ChicagoNorth Vernon
DyerScottsburgSaint John
Columbia CityKendallvilleSellersburg
WinchesterNappaneeRushville
ElwoodCentral IndianaEast Indiana
West IndianaSouth Indiana

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