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© 2015 Shanna Lea
There’s nothing more disappointing after all your hard work maintaining a garden, then for something to go wrong due to an unexpected problem or oversight. You worked hard out in the hot sun for hours on your crops and the last thing you want is for something to go wrong. Here are 7 easy to make gardening mistakes to watch out for.
7 Common Gardening Mistakes
- Planting in the wrong place. Decide what crops you want to plant and read up on their sun, water and weather requirements. You’ll need to plan for these for each fruit and vegetable you plant and plan your garden beds and containers accordingly. Before you decide what to plant, determine your available space and examine the soil, drainage and how and where the sun hits best during the planting and growing months.
- Buying diseased or unhealthy plants. Buying starter plants from a greenhouse or nursery is an easy and fun way to get the gardening season started, but you need to pay attention to the health of the plants you are buying. Check the quality and color of the plant’s leaves and look closely for insect damage, especially if you are bringing new plants to an existing garden bed. The last thing you want to do is bring new pests to the garden you’ve worked hard on.
- Not preparing the soil—or—trying to fix a preparation mistake too late! Make sure your soil is prepared and ready for all the plants you are going to plant in it. Soil testing kits are easy to use and cheap and can be found at your local gardening or home improvement store. Soil varies greatly by region, and even yard to yard and each soil type needs improvement to nourish growing plants. If you make these soil improvements after the new plants are established, be very careful not to disturb their root systems to avoid a disastrous affect on their growth and general health.
- Not watching your watering. Each plant has their own needs for watering, so if you are growing a variety of fruits and vegetables in your garden, you need to be careful how you group them together. Overwatering can drown your plant’s roots, leading to rot and death of the plant. On the other hand, not watering enough causes plants to dehydrate and is as damaging as if you had watered too much. Find a balance by grouping plants with similar watering needs together to make it easier. Some gardeners prefer a drip irrigation system to make the job of watering easier. For arid climates, the olla irrigation pot is a highly efficient system that conserves water.
- Not accounting for space. Of course, you envision your garden bursting at the seams with an abundance of fruits and veggies but if you plant too much, you’ll run into trouble with overcrowding. When planning your garden, take into account what size the plants will be when full grown.
- Planting an invasive species. Read the plant’s tags to learn how fast and far they grow. A plant that’s hardy grows well in most climates and spreads easily sounds easy to take care of, right? But if you’re not careful, it can take over your garden and spread beyond the garden perimeter. I planted Morning Glories along the fence row of my garden one year and by the next year it was popping up all through the garden, growing up and choking out the other plants. Always read the tags and keep rampant growers well in check.
- Taking the wrong approach to weeding. Let’s face it; weeds are going to grow in your garden. Instead of making your garden a chemical war zone trying to eradicate them—learn all you can about them! Most “weeds” are actually edible or medicinal herbs (like dandelion) and others are indicators of the health of your soil. By identifying what their purpose is, you deepen your knowledge of gardening, have access to new edible or medicinal plants and become deeply connected with the balance of nature. To keep weed growth down, pick them daily as you tend the garden or mulch heavily. You can lay down layers of newspaper covered with straw hay on paths and in between crops or scrap carpet material.
Gardening is hard, satisfying work and rewards your labor with healthy delicious food. Put your new knowledge into planning and maintaining your garden with the confidence of a pro and you won’t make these easy to overlook mistakes yourself.
Water Irrigation Supplies: