All of us experienced gardeners can tell you, you are going to make mistakes! It’s inevitable. No matter how much planning or forethought you put into your garden you WILL make a mistake! How’s that for thinking positively? You positively will make a mistake, and you know what? That’s OK! We’ve all done it – albeit some more than others – but we’ve all had issues in our garden that we could have controlled with a little extra care. Today for the Friday Fives I’m going to mention 5 Beginning Gardener Mistakes. I’ve done most of these at some point so feel free to fess up in the comments if you have too!
5 Beginning Gardener Mistakes
- I suspect (although I have no studies or data to cite) that the most common mistake gardeners make is not watering properly! Every plant is different and so are their water requirements. Too little water and the plant will shrivel up and die. Too much water and the plant will rot! You have to water with Goldilocks in mind and get it just right! So how do you know if you’ve watered enough? Experience is one of the best teachers but you could destroy a lot of plants to get that experience! The best way to start with is to check the soil. If you stick your finger in the soil and it is damp about and inch to two inches below the surface you probably don’t need to water. Often the soil surface can appear different from what is below. It may look wet but be completely dry where the roots are or it might be completely dry but the soil underneath is soggy. A lot of this depends on the type of soil you have. Compost is such a great soil conditioner since it balances water retention with good drainage. Continue to top dress your garden with compost periodically – and don’t forget to mulch!
- Putting the wrong plant in the wrong place! I’ve made this mistake many times, and will do so again! Usually it’s because I have an idea of how I think the plant would look in a pot but it really isn’t the best place for the plant. Sometimes its because the plant is small to start with but gets too large for a location. Other times its because I’ve made a judgement error on the site and it gets too much sun, or too little sun. The only way to avoid this issue is to really know your garden. But I’ll say this, even if you site your plant perfectly you may end up moving the plant somewhere else anyway, just because you changed your mind!
- Not weeding often enough is another big problem. A daily weeding works very well to keep the weeds at bay. It really doesn’t take much time each day and you can enjoy your garden while your at it. Too often I play catchup on the weed issues because I get busy and distracted with other life issues – or plant propagating! Take a garden each day to visit and cycle through them. Eventually you will have your gardens under control so that all you need to do is pull a weed or two then enjoy the garden!
Have you ever bought a plant on impulse? You wouldn’t be a gardener if you didn’t make this mistake! When you walk through a nursery and see a plant that you just have to have, have you thought about where you’re going to plant it? This mistake can easily lead to mistake number 2 – Planting the Wrong Plant in the Wrong Place. To avoid this mistake (or perhaps just mitigate it) I built a holding bed to put plants in where I can eventually move them to a new home when I’m ready. If you leave a plant in a nursery pot too long eventually you’ll forget to water it. Then your poor plant because a container of purchased material for your compost bin. Another idea is to make a giant list of all the plant you like at the garden center then go to your garden and right down where you want to place those plants. Bring the list with you as you visit your favorite nurseries and when the impulse strikes you you already have a plan!
- The mistake that happens probably more than any other mistake to new gardeners is this: giving up. I don’t believe that there is anyone out there who can’t garden. I think that beginning gardeners tend to make a few mistakes and get frustrated. My advice: stick with it! Once you start having a few successes everything gets easier. But trust me on this: you will still make mistakes!