It seems that no matter how long you have been gardening, there is always something to learn. After all, making mistakes is just part of the learning process.
Here’s how to avoid making some common gardening mistakes and steering you along the way to that green thumb!
Did you know that more plants are killed by overwatering than from underwatering?
Overwatering can also increase harmful fungus issues and drown out your plants. To prevent this, test the soil by putting your fingers into it; if it is drying out, then your plants need water. In most climates, watering a few times a week, approximately an inch of water at a time should suffice.
2. Crowding Your Plants
Overcrowding leads to unhealthy plants and less production. Plants need sufficient room to grow, their leaves shouldn’t be blocked from getting sunlight, and they need room to spread their branches and roots. To solve overcrowding, follow the directions on the seed packets or plant tags regarding spacing and spend some time consistently thinning out the seedlings.
3. Using Too Little Or Too Much Mulch
Besides using mulch to suppress the weeds which compete for nutrients, mulch helps retain moisture. With too little mulch, the moisture will dry up and evaporate. And if you have too much mulch, the water won’t reach the soil so the plant roots will mostly dry out and die. So spread your mulch out without smothering the plants to allow room for the water to get down to the roots.
4. Failure To Plan
It’s always good advice to be realistic in the number of vegetables that are planted each year. The goal of gardening is to be a positive experience. You certainly don’t want to get worn out or harvest vegetables that you don’t enjoy eating.
5. Not Trying Natural Fertilizers
Since soil is the most important element for your garden, you need to find a quality natural fertilizer to use. There are natural ingredients to make your own fertilizer at most local feed companies. Chemical solutions to handle the weeds and pests feeding on your plants only leads to you ingesting pesticides into your body when you consume the produce which can lead to ill health.
Just think, natural fertilizer yields better tasting and better quality food… and a better you!
Related: The Ultimate Guide To Composting
6. Planting Seeds Too Late
The winter season is a great time to look through seed catalogs. When ordering, allow enough time for the seeds to sprout for 6-8 weeks before planting. Consider using grow lights and seed trays with warmers or if you have a greenhouse, that is a wonderful setting to start seeds before the planting season.
7. Not Purchasing Quality Plants
In the early month of planting, visit a reputable nursery that is more likely to supply a healthy stock. This product quality correlates to a higher success rate for the plants. Even if you pay more money for these plants, the results will be well worth it!
8. Ignoring Weeding
Weeds will choke your plants and compete for water and nutrients. Try to keep up your weeding regimen so you can contain the weeds and eliminate the chance of having larger weeds with undoubtedly larger roots to pull. Also, try using mulch between the rows of plants to smother the weeds.
9. Not Planting Flowers To Attract Pollinators
Some plants are self-pollinated, but most edible plants need to be pollinated to produce fruits and seeds. These plants need butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies, and bees to carry pollen from plant to plant. To help these creatures find your garden, plant a mixture of pollinator-friendly plants in your yard such as lavender, bee balm, catmint, and herbs such as oregano, fennel, dill, and thyme.
Your garden will thank you for this!
10. Adding Potting Soil Or Peat Moss To Your Planting Holes
Adding potting soil or peat moss is not recommended when planting your plants. This may lead to drainage problems and confining the plant’s roots to the hole instead of allowing them to spread out into the surrounding ground. Inevitably, the stalk of the plants will be weaker. To avoid this, dig your hole about 2-3 times wider than the plant and fill the hole with only the soil that you removed from the ground so the plant remains in the native soil and becomes as strong as possible.
11. Not Staggering Harvest Times
Strategic planning with harvest times (planting vegetables that mature at different times) helps you to have more variety of vegetables over an extended time. Some vegetables will grow better in early summer before the temperatures soar and other plants can wait to be planted later. Some other vegetables will only produce for a limited time and can be sown in staggered plantings. This way your garden space is maximized and you can look forward to eating scrumptious vegetables for a longer time period.
12. Not Checking A Plant’s Hardiness Zone
Double-check the plant tags and descriptions. If you are planting seeds, read the seed packets carefully. Make sure your plants are best matched to the hardiness zones of where you are gardening before purchasing and adhere to the recommended timing of planting.
13. Not Having Suitable Fencing
Herbivores like groundhogs, rabbits, deer, etc. will be attracted to your plantings so you need a sturdy fence. Depending on the animals that live in your area, you can install a fence that will do the job. Sometimes, angling the top part of the fence, burying a portion of the fence, and even having a double fence will be enough of a deterrence.
14. Not Spending Time In Designing Your Gardening Space
There are many considerations to take into account before planting your garden. Some of these involve pathways, spacing, sunlight, proximity to a water source, etc. You might enjoy looking through some vegetable garden photos and gardening articles to get helpful ideas to plan an optimal area for your plants to grow.
15. Tending Your Garden
You’ve succeeded in getting your garden planted. But don’t forget that your garden needs routine maintenance. The plants need to be watered, staked, and harvested. To prevent your vegetables from going to waste, you need to spend time in the garden on routine chores.
Then you are sure to reap the rewards not only of a bountiful harvest but you will also have the confidence in gardening which will inspire you for next year’s gardening project.
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