6 Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re new to gardening, and itching to plunge your hands into the earth, now’s the time – while everything is frozen over – to plan for spring. And while you’re at it, make note of these very common beginner mistakes that you won’t want to make! Trust us, we’ve been there!

1. Planting without preparing your beds

We know, you want to plant RIGHT NOW! But before poking random holes in the ground, you’ll want to aerate and till your flowerbeds to loosen up your soil, especially if it’s clay. Bonus: you’ll get rid of stubborn weeds! Also, when you have young plants, be sure you dig deeply enough, while adding in plenty of compost so your seedling roots penetrate the soil.

2. Skipping soil amendment

Because soil conditions can change depending on rainfall or lack of drainage, your plants will require more nutrients. Test your soil and boost it with organic matter, especially if you’re planting a vegetable garden.

3. Squishing too many plants together

Newbie gardeners want a full, vibrant bed of flowering beauty. So they tend to jam a bunch of seedlings closely together, but this can result in straggly, weak plants. If you’re scattering seeds, remember that vining plants such as watermelons and cantaloupes will become gigantic, so follow the planting directions on the tag or seed packet so your plants have plenty of room to spread out. Don’t forget to add a layer of mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out!

4. Not watering enough or watering too much

Under watering will dehydrate plants, but overwatering will drown them. The secret to garden success? Knowing when and how much to water! Consider installing a ‘smart’ irrigation system, which adjusts watering levels based on moisture sensors, or a sprinkler. Pay attention to your soil: When it’s rock-hard, it needs water. If you can squeeze a handful of soil into a ball, put away the watering can. Water your plants deeply in the morning; evening watering could encourage fungus growth.

5. Planting in the wrong place

The tags attached to the plants in the garden center tell you exactly how much sunlight is required – so don’t toss them! Sun-loving plants will wither in the shade and vice-versa. Veggies need at least six hours of direct sunlight a day, so most won’t flourish under a tree! Lettuce and peas can tolerate shady areas, but tomatoes and eggplants need full sun.

6. Planting ‘bullies’

Before you toss a gorgeous-looking flowering perennial into your shopping basket, do a little research to make sure it’s not an invasive plant that will choke out the rest of your flowerbed! Avoid planting English ivy, spiderwort, and horseradish, for example, and look for these telltale words in plant descriptions: ‘prolific re-seeder’ and ‘vigorous growth’ – they’re code for… bullies!

What lessons have you learned in the garden?

PHOTO CREDIT INFORMATION:

Watering Can: Courtesy of Pexels.com

Dead sunflower: Photo Credit: annkelliott Flickr via Compfight cc

Hand with seeds: Photo Credit: commonearthgardens Flickr via Compfight cc

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