Spring brings thunderstorms, new life, seasonal allergies, blooming flowers—and a new chance to grow fresh, delicious vegetables at home. Whether this is your first year planting a garden or you’re an experienced green thumb, follow these tips to lay the groundwork for your best harvest yet.
A big part of successful gardening is knowing the best time to plant. In Indiana, that’s typically sometime between April and July. Different veggies mature at different rates, so keep a calendar for the best times to plant each vegetable and follow the schedule this season.
And know that the heartiest plants for spring are lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes, kale, and broccoli. Be sure to rotate the seeds when you plant them so they aren’t in the same spot as last year!
Tidying up the garden bed can help new plants grow. Remove leaves, weeds, debris, and dead growth from last season for a fresh new space: The borders and beds should be back to bare soil. Check for pests such as snails, slugs, and even larvae that eat plant roots, and remove them from the garden.
Also, remember to clean your gardening tools to prevent spreading bacteria to your plants. Hot water and a strong detergent should do the trick.
Work the Soil
When the frost has lifted, it’s time to till the soil. Winter weather compacts soil, so you’ll need to loosen it with a shovel about a foot underground in the garden bed. If the soil is dry and crumbly, it’s ready for vegetables. If it’s wet, wait before planting those peppers.
Create a Compost
A compost will break down organic food waste and create rich nutrients for your garden. Composting your own grass clippings, vegetables peelings, and woody pruning cuts down on trash sent to the landfill and saves you from having to buy compost: Everyone wins! You can either use a pre-built compost bin or make your own wood box. Mix it all up once a month with a pitchfork to let the compost get oxygen.
So don’t be shy. Break out the seed packets and shovels and start preparing your garden for growing. You’ll reap the benefits this summer! And if you’re looking for more info about how to get started, check out our “Fresh Ideas for the Family Garden.”