Planting Too Much or Too Little
I cannot tell you how much money I wasted when I first started vegetable gardening by going crazy at the nursery buying cartloads of vegetable plants only to either kill them or end up throwing away the harvest because I didn’t plan for how much our family would need. When you are a beginner think about what fruits and veggies your family will actually use and plant conservatively. You may want to consider staggering your planting so that your plants mature one after the other to extend your harvest as well.
When it comes to landscape gardening, the exact opposite is true-most beginner gardeners vastly under estimate how many plants to put in the ground! For a well developed garden bed consider planting at least 4-6 of each type of plant-you’ll be surprised the difference it makes!
Not Using Quality Soil
Why waste your money buying plants if you’re going to plop them into poor quality soil? Take the time to remove weeds, turn the soil, and incorporate organic matter into the soil before planting. For vegetable gardens, consider creating a raised bed for optimal control over the soil.
Not Having a Plan
One of the reasons I like to shop for my plants online is the ability to really plan out what I want and order the exact plants I need. So many times I’ve planned my garden and gone to the nursery and been unable to find what I was looking for. Planning your planting space helps you to research the needs of the plants you want, account for spacing, and increases the likelihood of a successful garden.
Over or Under Watering
When I first started gardening I would swing between extremes or drowning my plants or totally forgetting to water them and having them shrivel up and die on me. Consistent, appropriate watering is key to successful gardening. Over-watering encourage root rot and fungus while under-watering dehydrates the plants. Most plants thrive best by allowing the soil to dry out totally prior to a thorough, deep watering-this encourages deep root growth.
Not Reading Tags
When I was pregnant with my oldest son my husband and I bought our first house-I carefully lined the front walkway with beautiful red flowers…it was gorgeous. For three days. Then everything withers and died. I had lined my full sun front walkway (in Florida, in the summer no less) with shade plants. Yeah. Those tags are in the plant pots for a reason! Make sure to read the tags and choose the appropriate plants for the area you wish to plant them. Before shopping for plants pay attention to how much sun your planting area gets each day, then choose carefully!
Planting Too Close Together
Those little tags plants come with are a wealth of information-be sure to pay attention to them! Know the final dimensions of any plants you grow so that you can appropriately space them in your garden. Overcrowding your plants is a waste of time and money-allow your plants to reach their full potential by giving them the proper amount of room to grow.
Picking the Wrong Plants
Being in the military, our family has moved all over the place and it’s taught me that you need to plant things appropriate to your location. What grew beautifully for me in Florida was not going to cut it in Kansas! Knowing your growing zone is essential (they just revamped the lines-you can find your zone by entering your zip code here and then see what plants are appropriate for your location!
Mulching your garden provides so many benefits, it’s a shame not to do it. Mulching keeps roots cooler in the heat, holds soil moisture, suppressed weeds (and reduces the time spent pulling them!), protects your soil from wind and hard rain, and provides a habitat for all the good organisms that improve your soil quality.
Not Asking for Help
It’s okay to be a novice gardener! There’s no need to go at it alone though. Take advantage of knowledgeable friends, nursery staff, or local extension offices for information about your area. Join a garden club or attend master gardening lectures if they are available in your area. Read books about gardening-you can do this!
Did you know that many fruits and vegetables require pollinators to produce? Without attracting those pollinators to your garden you’re cheating yourself out of a harvest. Incorporating some flowering herbs like basil and oregano into your garden or other bee attracting plants is beneficial to your garden. I’m planting yarrow this year to hopefully get some butterflies heading to my patio container garden!
So there you have it, my top 10 mistakes of beginning gardeners. Have you made any of these mistakes? Would you add any others to the list, let me know in the comments!