Commentary by Noah Herron
After the holidays, it seems like your garden is the last thing you want to think of, especially with an Indiana winter fast approaching. But in order to have a prosperous spring season, there are some things you can do now to prepare.
Start by clearing out weeds, debris and dead vegetation. Invasive weeds can continue to sprout, therefore removing them now will prevent them from disrupting your upcoming plants. Make sure to put the weeds in the trash or burn them because they can continue to sprout in a compost or weed pile. Remove any dead plants from the soil’s surface because they can be home to pests and diseases.
If you have not done so already, now is the time to make sure your soil is ready for spring by adding nutrients like fertilizer, compost and mulch. Even in the coldest weather, the organic matter in compost can be kept alive by insulating it with leaves, newspaper or cardboard. Maintain your compost pile throughout the winter by covering it with a large, dark tarp. Mulching your garden also can prevent water loss, weeds from popping up and soil erosion. Mulching will help keep any winter cover crops from being pushed up out of the ground. Make sure the soil is dry before you spread out your mulch because you do not want to work with wet soil.
With Indiana weather constantly shifting, you will want to start a garden-maintenance routine. This can consist of pruning dormant trees, shrubs and perennials. In the chance of snowfall, a snow blanket will provide good insulation and will not harm any plants unless there is a buildup, so be sure to brush off plants if they become weighed down. However, leave the plants alone if the snow has become frozen because it could cause damage.
No matter what Indiana winter will bring, doing these things will not only give you a flourishing garden come spring but also can improve the well-being of your garden over the long term.
Noah Herron is the owner of Urban Farmer Seeds, which supplies garden seeds, plants and supplies on ufseeds.com.