The Top 5 Rookie Gardening Mistakes
Spring has finally sprung, and with it weekend activities like gardening. Gardening can be really fun and a great way of going green! When I started I found myself wondering why my plants weren’t growing how i wanted them to. I later realized I was making some very simple mistakes that could be fixed with a few gardening tips. And making sure I had the right gardening tools is important. Luckily, Care2 has compiled a list of the top five rookie gardening mistakes
1. Clueless Watering
Many new gardeners kill new plants by either drowning them or letting them dry out too much, too often. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure you’re watering correctly:
- Know your plant’s moisture requirements.Some plants like to stay consistently moist, while others prefer to dry out a little bit between waterings.
- Check the soil regularly. Stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
2. Wrong Plant, Wrong Place
If you’re trying to grow tomatoes against a north-facing wall under a maple tree, you’re not going to have much luck. That’s an extreme example, perhaps, but knowing whether your plant needs sun or shade, or prefers dry or moist soil, and then giving it those conditions, will go a long way toward ensuring success in the garden. Make sure you’re buying plants that fit the conditions in your garden. This will also help you avoid many pest and disease problems, since stressed plants (including those unhappily growing in the wrong conditions) attract pests and are more susceptible to disease problems. This information can be found on plant tags, or in catalog descriptions.
3. Not Giving Plants Enough Space
That ‘Doublefile’ viburnum looks so cute in its little black pot. Surely, you don’t really need to give it 15 feet of space the way the tag says. So you plant it between a couple other cute little shrubs (that also said they needed at least ten feet of space) and within a few years, you have a tangled mass o’ shrubs on your hands. It’s not pretty. The same can happen with perennials, which often look so dinky in their nursery pots (and even more so when you buy them bare root) but, in a few seasons, are choking each other out competing for sunlight and nutrients. Pay attention to the instructions on your tag or in plant catalogs for spacing your plants properly. If you don’t like how much space there is between them for the first couple of years, simply plant a few annuals between them. They’ll fill the void, and within a few years, you’ll find that your perennials, trees, and shrubs have filled in enough that you don’t need to plant them anymore.
4. Haphazard Fertilizing
If one dose of fertilizer is good, two must be better, right? WRONG! First of all, we’re obviously talking about organic fertilizers here, not any of that Miracle Gro garbage. But even with organic fertilizers, you want to make sure you’re using the amount recommended on the package. Ideally, you’re practicing deep organic methods and making your own fertilizers from compost and compost tea, which is hard to go overboard with. Too much of any fertilizer can cause fast, spindly growth that is more susceptible to pests and diseases – not to mention the danger of runoff into our water supply, where it wreaks havoc on the ecosystem. Just make sure to read the directions and stick to them!
5. Not Mulching
Mulching with organic mulches such as wood chips, leaves, or grass clippings, does several things. It reduces evaporation, keeping moisture in your soil where you need it. It discourages weeds, and helps keep the root zone of your plants cooler, which makes your plants less stressed. And, as it breaks down, it adds more organic matter to the soil. Mulch everything – vegetables, herbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs, with at least a three-inch layer of mulch.
Avoid these rookie mistakes and you’ll be on the fast track for having a great garden. As always, make sure to check out Stock N’ Go for the best prices on all your health and beauty products. Let us know if you have any other good gardening tips everyone should know about by leaving a comment below.
(Image courtesy of Care2)