Revised 1999 March

Indiana Biolab Farm

Indiana Biolab Virus-free Sweetpotato Out-yielded others 300% in university tests. Visit our new sweetpotato website.

Our virus-free Beauregard sweetpotato outyielded the best North Carolina Certified plants 3-fold in field tests by North Carolina University spanning several years. We supply virus-free micropropagated strawberry and caneberry plants to America's leading nurseries. In a peak year, 10% of the strawberries planted in the USA came from Indiana Biolab foundation stock. The plantlets are grown in sterile agar medium in baby food jars under fluorescent lamps and then rooted in greenhouses under mist or fog. Farmers and nurseries then set our plants in their fields and sell the daughters or granddaughters to commercial growers and home gardeners. We offer the plants at 45 cents each in lots of 100 with discounts for commerical quantities. Samples of 10 plants cost $5 postpaid. You may order by E-mail. These pages will explain how we do this work and show our laboratory facilities.

Indiana Biolab is the remainder of a 160 acre general grain and livestock farm. We use the ground intensively and work year-round. Our facility consists of a residence, 34 by 36 foot laboratory building, four greenhouses, nursery and garden areas used for testing small fruit and breeding new cultivars. All this is located on scarcely more than an acre. When Indiana Biolab moved into this facility in 1965, two people lived in this area. Palmyra has grown around Indiana Biolab and that area contains 45 people.

Much of the testing of new varieties is done in cooperation with gardeners and small fruit growers and we always welcome new cooperators. These pages will tell you about the work done at Indiana Biolab and farming around Palmyra. Students can get lots of ideas for science projects from these pages.The brief notes below will eventually be linked to full pages giving complete information. As soon as those pages are written links from this page will take you to them.

This section will also describe the geology and agriculture of our county. We live in a karst geological region having underground drainage by caves; no surface streams. The former general farming is changing to grassland cattle, urbanization, and entertainment farming.

Indiana Biolab also does much work in microbiology. Since 1960 we have offered cultures of bacteria, fungi, insects and supplies to students, schools, colleges, and industry for education, reference, and research. We printed catalogs at irregular intervals. Now all that and much more is available on our web pages. We especially want to help teachers and students develop outstanding science projects. Home and commercial gardeners will find useful information and supplies from Indiana Biolab on these pages.

Indiana Biolab Research and Production

Indiana Biolab is located in the southwest corner of Palmyra. The old rambling farmhouse was the headquarters of the large Weber Farm. The laboratory has been expanded from the "powerhouse" that served the farm. The original building, still in use, is constructed with square-cut nails which were last made in late 1800s.

The micropropagation lab is where we grow virus-free, insect-free, disease-free sweetpotato and small fruit plants in baby food jars containing sterile nutrient agar media.

In cooperative field tests with North Carolina State University, sweetpotato plants micropropagated by Indiana Biolab outproduced the best North Carolina Certified Beauregard plants 3-fold. The yield increase was probably due to the absence of disease in Indiana Biolab micropropagated plants and the use of a superior clone. The North Carolina extension reports will be republished here soon.

Virus-free plant production. How we test for viruses and obtain plants free of virus.

Analytical lab: environmental testing, fertilizer assays, soil testing.

The greenhouses where the plantlets are rooted; rooting chambers use artificial fog or mist.

Strawberry production guidelines.

Canefruit production guidelines.

Grape production. Correct pruning is the most important aspect of grape production.

Bacteria culture collection info will be published during autum of 1997 on this site.

Farming in Harrison County, Indiana, USA

Harrison County lies in a region of karst. Karst is a type of geology found in many regions of the world. All these regions have thick layers of limestone near the surface. Water laden with dissolved carbon dioxide is mildly acidic and as the acid water percolates through the limestone along the natural joints of the layers, limestonce is dissolved to form caves. All the surface water finds its way into the subsurface drainage via sinkholes and there are no surface streams, except where a layer of shale or other impervious formation prevents the water from sinking. The village of Palmyra was built on such an island in a sea of sinkholes. Pages on the geology and agricultural consequences of the Norman Upland will be added in 1997.

Harrison County is one of the largest agricultural counties in Indiana. Much of the land is in hardwood timber and grassland/beef cattle, but farmers grow soybeans, wheat, maize, and hay. General farming with grain, hay, and livestock was common forty years ago, but most of the dairy cows are gone and hog production has concentrated from 2 or 3 sows per farm to large operations. Poultry production in large buildings became common after World War II, but is now taken over by large companies which advertise for local farmers to build a building and begin growing broilers for the companies. After a decline in the 1960s, the poultry industry has revived because the large slaughter houses have developed convenience foods and more appealing, but calorie-rich products. Hog and beef packers could learn lessons from the poultry packers.

Our forests lie in America's best hardwood region which runs from Virginia through Kentucky to Missouri. Our forests are notable for black walnut, oaks, hickories, and some maples. There are no native conifers except a few scrub Virginia Pine mostly at the edges of the 300 foot thick New Albany Shale escarpment. Because shale if somewhat soft, the edge of the shale outcroppings along the Ohio and Muscatuck Rivers weather to steep forested cliffs known as "knobs".

Most Harrison county soils are very red and filled with inch-sized rocks, but plenty of 6 to 10 inch sized rocks are present and cause equipment problems. The rocks are fossil-filled limestones and quartz geodes. Coral fossils (1 to 5 inches) are easily picked up in any cornfield but few are perfect. Indians mined flint from the caves and formerly farmers found many arrowheads. Arrowheads have become rare in the fields because erosion has been reduced by improved farming practices.

I am an avid bird-watcher like many others in Palmyra. About 10% of the families in Palmyra regularly feed birds. I will relate my experiences and those of others. Bird Notes is a preliminary accumulation of sightings to give you an idea of the birds of our fields and gardens. Several hundred Sandhill Cranes migrate through here each fall and spring.

Louisville, Kentucky, lies just across the Ohio River from Harrison County. After Interstate Highway 64 opened a new bridge across the river and made travel up the Floyds Knobs Escarpment easy, population from Louisville spilled into Floyd county, filling it, and is now spilling into Harrison County and the infertile farms are rapidly being broken up into homesites with room for a pony and garden. I am told there are now more pleasure horses in Indiana than dairy cattle. One farm grows American Bison and features programs for the public. Entertainment farming is becoming a feature of our region.

At a Purdue University Research farm 50 miles west of Palmyra, dual crop aquafarming is being studied. It may be possible to grow trout during the winter and grass carp during the summer. In Kentucky, shrimp are being grown during the summer. Few farmers know about these fish farming studies.

Related pages on this Website.

Other Web Sites Offering Information on Small Fruits and Their Viruses


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Written by Harold Eddleman, Ph. D., President, Indiana Biolab, 14045 Huff St., Palmyra IN 47164

Suggestions, corrections, and comments are appreciated: Contact Harold Eddleman