Keep a healthy garden this winter

Botanic Gardens hosts Winter Fire Color Show

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – For gardeners, the 2016 growing season keeps on giving.

However, they’ll eventually have to pull plants if it hasn’t been done already.

Indiana State University Community Garden Manager Patti Weaver says it’s been an abnormally warm growing season.

“It’s very unusual to have tomatoes and peppers, and things blooming and producing still,” said Weaver. “So that’s your biggest challenge this year is tearing out your garden. Compost it down with leaves or straw or grass clippings if you have it, something that will keep the weeds from coming up.”

The added cover will give your plants a head start come spring.

“Protecting the soil from freezing and thawing is actually good for the organisms that live in the soil,” explained Weaver. “They have a nice cover so they can still work through the winter and bring the nutrients to the soil that your plants will take up.”

That protection should be compost including: dead leaves, fruit, and vegetable scraps among others. Rotating your compost pile about once a month and adding moisture should help decrease the decay of the contents, making for better fertilizer.

You also should take note of what’s been pulled before you plant in the spring.

“You don’t want to follow potatoes behind tomatoes,” urged Weaver. “They’re in the same family and they cause the same diseases. So you just need to remember where you planted something and make sure you don’t plant it in that same spot again.”

Follow these tips, and your garden should be primed and ready for spring growing.

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