Experienced gardeners have many things in common—they love plants, they get pleasure from watching them grow, they enjoy working in the soil, and they delight in the harvest and the beauty that their efforts yield.
Another thing you can count on is that these same gardeners have all gained their experiences by learning from their mistakes. And whether you are new to gardening or are an old hand, you can benefit from the mistakes they made and are willing to share with you.
Here are ten of the most common gardening errors that beginning gardeners should avoid. After all, forewarned is forearmed!
1. Spending too much money
If you’re just starting out, don’t get carried away on gardening equipment. All you need right now are a few items:
• Spade shovel
• Garden rake
• Spade shovel
• Garden rake
2. Planting too early
Although you might be impatient to get started planting, resist the urge to put your seedlings into the ground too early, or a late frost could send you back to the garden center for replacement plants.
3. Choosing a bad location
Make sure your garden is handy for both you and your water supply. Also, most plants will require at least six hours of sun each day, so lay out your new garden in a convenient and sunny location with a source of water nearby.
4. Planting too much
Don’t let your enthusiasm for spring cause you to plant more than you can handle. Everything you plant comes with a laundry list of maintenance tasks that includes watering, weeding, feeding, pruning, and harvesting. Start out small with a few rows or a small bed, and expand from there.
5. Planting too closely
Why leave three feet between your tomato plants when you can squeeze them closer? Simply because they are going to grow and will fill in very quickly. Plants that are too tightly spaced can’t get enough sun and air circulation, which can result in disease and a low harvest.
6. Ignoring maintenance
Without regular water and food, plants will stress out and shut down. And with too much competition from weeds for water and nutrients, your plants will not grow properly and will yield less. So, weeding, feeding, and watering are requirements that can’t be ignored.
7. Not putting up a fence
If you choose to skip putting up a fence, the local animals could wipe out your harvest. Deer require a higher fence, but it’s worth it since they can damage your crops severely. Rabbits and groundhogs will be deterred by a short but sturdy fence that’s buried about a foot into the ground.
8. Using invasive plants
Planting invasive plants is a common mistake that gardeners make. Some of these plants will grow out of control, and it can be extremely difficult to get rid of them. Check online to make sure that a plant you’re considering isn’t going to turn into a nightmare.
9. Skimping on soil
If you start off with poor soil, you’ll be toiling against it all season. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into your soil before you plant. Your soil will reward you with healthy plants if you give it infusions of organic matter regularly.
10. Not staggering harvest times
You need to do some strategic planning to stagger your harvest times. Otherwise, you’ll be eating lettuce every night for a brief time but not throughout the season. You can stagger your harvests with succession planting and planting varieties that mature at different times.