11 Gardening Mistakes You Should Avoid
Green fingers are not made overnight. Even the most prolific, most experienced of gardeners have committed beginner mistakes at least once in their gardens. From planting the wrong variety to overwatering to buying poor quality seedlings, mistakes are common and oftentimes necessary to improve your gardening skills.
Check out the 11 most common gardening mistakes almost every gardener makes and how you can avoid them:
- Not priming your soil before planting.
Many newbie gardeners get too giddy about planting that they plant without making sure that the soil they have is primed and conditioned. Preparing your soil goes beyond shaping and raising your beds; it involves making sure that your soil is healthy enough. Add mulch, add homemade compost, and make sure that your soil is loose and fertile. If you can, use a soil testing kit to find out the actual pH levels and nutritional content of your soil so you can adjust accordingly.
- Overpaying for equipment
Most newbies roll up at their local garden centre and pay top dollar for their equipment and seeds. One thing new and old hands should remember is that there are lots of discounts to be found online such as at places like Total Discounts. You should always shop around when buying your equipment and ensure you pay what you ought to pay.
- Overwatering or under-watering your plants.
Different types of plants have different water requirements. Location and climate also affect how much or how little water should go into the plants. Underwatered, plants are dehydrated and they end up wilting. Overwatered, the plant ends up rotting and dying. A good gauge of your soil’s hydration levels is to take up a bunch of soil. If you can’t pick up a bunch to roll in a ball, it is too dry and needs watering. If it rolls up in a ball, it’s just right. It is also important to make sure your soil has a good drainage system to avoid overwatering it.
- Crowding your plant bed.
We can’t blame you for hoarding on your new bulbs and seedlings at the beginning of planting season. It can overexcite anyone. But a lot of gardeners make the mistake of planting too much on too little space and they end up with malnourished plants at best, wilted ones at worst. While keeping the gaps between your plants narrow enough to avoid weeds, make sure you still leave enough space between each to allow for the plant to spread its leaves wide enough and soak in all the sunlight it needs to survive.
- Putting your plants in the wrong location.
Some plants need more sunlight than others. If you put a sun-loving plant in the shade, you will end up with a malnourished plant or it might not even survive the rest of the season at all. Plants that are made for the shade will also wilt when given so much sun. To prevent this, make sure you research about how much sunlight your plants need. You can also ask your local nursery prior to buying about how much sunlight a specific plant can handle and make sure your garden can provide it.
- Picking diseased seedlings.
Many beginners fail to differentiate between a healthy seedling and an unhealthy one. When buying your seedlings, make sure to look for green, lush leaves, plump stalks, and plants devoid of signs of wilting or discoloration of any kind. Also, avoid buying plants that have tangled roots because these tend to die before they can take root in the new soil due to suffocation.
- Ignoring the labels that your seeds/seedlings come with.
Each plant comes with different growing requirements and therefore come with different care instructions. Make sure to read the label thoroughly as it is the best way for you to know how to keep your plant alive and lush throughout the season.
- Not putting enough protection around your garden against animals.
Flora and fauna are designed by nature to need and want each other, but where your garden is concerned, certain types of animals must be kept away. Make sure to create enough barrier between your garden and animals. Larger animals like rabbits and squirrels are best kept out with a fence; slugs and snails can be kept out by using broken eggshells to line the perimeter of your garden. Making your garden a thriving paradise for natural predatorscan also keep the pest population in check so you would want toads, frogs, lizards, and certain birds as your friends to keep small bugs away.
- Putting together incompatible plants.
Just because you want variety in your garden bed does not mean that you can just haphazardly put together everything you want in it. Some plants are better off paired with others; while some can prove fatal for one or more types of garden plants. Ask your local nursery about which plants go well together in the same season. A good start would be putting together onions, tomatoes, and basil.
- Planting out of season.
Climate is practically the biggest factor in the success or failure of your garden. It decides on how much sunshine and moisture your plants get. That is why timing your gardening is essential in succeeding with your desired plants for the year. Ask around your local nursery or your local gardeners about which plants are better put off for another season and which ones would give you the best results.
- Not pruning enough or pruning at the wrong time.
For ornamental, non-blooming plants, pruning may seem like a purely aesthetic method. But for vegetables, fruit- and flower-bearing plants, pruning makes all the difference between getting fruits/flowers/produce or not. It is essential to know when to prune and how much to prune to avoid losing essential nutrients and food-making capacities due to overgrowth and over-cutting. Read the label or research about pruning requirements for each plant.
Which of these mistakes are you most guilty of?