Every gardener, whether a beginner or a seasoned one, makes mistakes. The process of digging up your backyard and growing plants and vegetables can be intimidating and daunting. But don’t be discouraged! We’ve listed some gardening mistakes you can avoid to grow your best garden yet.
Make Gardening Easy by Avoiding These Mistakes
Megan Gilger, a gardening blogger, says that “A bigger garden isn’t always better, at least if you’re a beginner.” While a larger garden may sound good on paper, it doesn’t hurt to start small. Too much garden space may take away a portion of your lawn or patio, which may mean less space for entertaining or creating seating areas. You may want to start using trellises to train vine vegetables or mixing vegetable plants with existing flower beds. Overall, when planting, think about what your goals are three to five years from now because gardens, especially large ones, are a long-term investment.
Interplanting is a term that means growing two or more different types of plants in the same bed or garden area. While interplanting comes in various forms and techniques, its main goal is to combine plants in synergistic relationships that do not compete for nutrients, water, space, or sun. Interplanting flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs enhances the overall success of any garden. It attracts pollinators and beneficial insects. Also, it leaves fewer resources for weeds and less room for diseases.
Mixing plants together is a great technique in gardening, however, you have to be mindful of spacing. Inadequate spacing between plants increases their competition for water, sunlight, and soil nutrients. Overcrowded plants also do not produce as many flowers, leaves, fruits/cones, or seeds as compared to plants that have sufficient sources of soil, air, and light. It is recommended that plants be at least two to three feet apart for them to have room to grow and spread naturally.
Planting too much
Having a garden may tempt you to plant everything. But it’s better to keep it simple. Focus on growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers that bring joy to your plate. Consider the number of plant species you'll grow based on how much you want to harvest and how much area you have to grow each plant. Also, consider how many plants you’ll need for each person in your household if you plan on growing a variety of plants to match what your family eats.
Not knowing when to harvest
Avoid damaging both the plants and the produce by learning the right time to harvest. Some kinds of vegetables mature quicker than others. Some even pass the point of peak tasting or ripen quickly within a matter of days. Make sure to check the back of seed packets and plant tags to know when the produce will mature so you can harvest in a timely manner.
Be involved in the garden industry at GARDEX 2023!
October 11-13, 2023 | Makuhari Messe, Japan
The success of your garden lies in your understanding of plant growth. Plants grow differently in terms of height. Some are shorter than one foot, while others grow up to 12 feet. Knowing how tall plants grow can help you determine which plants to include in your garden and which ones will fit into your space. Before starting, consider if you only want to grow short types of plants, tall ones, or a combination of both. If you’re planning to grow a mix of different plant heights, you can arrange them in a short-to-tall format to get a more balanced look.
Plants survive on food and water. However, improper watering kills most plants. Jessica Walliser, co-owner of Savvy Gardening, recommends doing a deep, thorough watering once per week rather than splashing on a little daily. If the soil is not wet several inches down after watering, then you are not applying enough water. That said, you also have to be careful not to overwater the plants, as this can lead to rotted roots and yellow leaves.
Planting seeds once per season
Gardens have production power, and you should not miss optimising it. Niki Jabbour, co-owner of Savvy Gardening, suggests amending the soil and re-planting for late summer and autumn harvesting once the first crops have been harvested. The practise of succession planting encourages gardeners to seed crops in intervals of seven to 21 days to maintain a consistent supply of harvest throughout the season. Homegrown vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, scallions, peas, beets, and carrots are good choices.
Not keeping a garden journal
The key to ensuring future improvements on your gardening journey is to keep a garden diary. This journal documents your trial-and-error process. Here, you can record high and low temperatures in your garden and phenophase or the stage in a plant’s life cycle. You may also want to list down what you’ve bought, where you planted it, and how well it’s done. You'll be able to grow a better garden by being reminded of the plants you tried, the experiments that worked and didn’t, and the overall joy you experienced.
Fear of failure
There are various drawbacks associated with gardening. At the same time, even the most seasoned gardeners experience roadblocks along the way. Don't let these fears stop you from exploring the wonders of gardening. Gardening is both a success and a failure. It’s trial and error, and you should be focused on development. Take inspiration from beautiful gardens and images, but be ready to embrace failure to some degree.