We get it, we’ve been there. You’re excited to start gardening and you can’t wait to turn your thumbs as green as they come. If you’re really serious about starting this new venture, it’s important to get on the right track to being a successful grower.
Remember, lots of people can be gardeners, but only some of those are actually “growers,” meaning they grow things worth looking at, using, or eating.
Novice gardeners generally start up with a lot of enthusiasm but you’re bound to encounter some challenges. Stick with our advice and avoid these 10 common mistakes new gardeners make.
1- OVERWATERING. We understand, you’re worried about your plants and you want to do what’s best, which naturally means water, right? Wrong. Overwatering causes more problems than lack of watering. If you’re watering every day, you’re watering too much.
2- OVERSPENDING. This is similar to overwatering in that most people think the more you spend the better off you’ll be. Truth is, you don’t need the fancy tools, clothes, plants, books or magazine subscriptions. If you’d like to get started, check out a book or two from the library. As for tools, you only need a few items including a good garden fork, spade, rake, hoe, trowel and gloves. A nice gardening hat wouldn’t hurt. You definitely don’t need to spend a lot on plants or seeds. Look for seed swaps, or free seeds available from family and friends. You can purchase a few plants, but don’t go overboard before you prove your abilities.
3-OVER-FERTILIZING. Before you just throw fertilizer on everything you buy, you need to take the time to learn the nutrient needs of your plants. If you feed your tomatoes nothing but fish emulsion, you will have lovely, big green plants. But no tomatoes. If you feed your roses lots of nitrogen-rich fertilizer you will have plenty of lovely rosebush leaves. But nary a rose.
4-TRYING TO GROW NON-NATIVE SPECIES. You’re simply not going to grow rhubarb in Texas, cactus in North Dakota, or cranberries in Arizona. Learn what works in your area, and go from there. You can research your zone online, check with a local nursery, or talk to other gardeners to see what works (and more importantly, what doesn’t).
5-TIMING. The time to plant your garden in California isn’t the same time your sister is planting hers in New York. Based on where you live, the timing for your garden will be different. You can research your zone online, or talk to your local nurseries are a good source of information.
6-UNDERSTANDING PESTS AND WEEDS. Dealing with pests and weeds is different from site to site, it can even be different from neighbor to neighbor. Still, one of the best things you can do is talk to the people around you and see what they are dealing with. Pay attention to the problems you see and do research to target your specific issue rather than use blanket weed and pest control.
7-OVERCROWDING. New gardeners often want to pack as many plants as they can to get variety, but overcrowding plants doesn’t do them any favors. Instead, plant a few varieties with plenty of room to breathe and get good air circulation.
8-AVOID WEEDING. We all know you hate weeding. Guess what? We hate weeding too, but all good gardeners know how to get those weeds out before they go to seed. If you can jump onto the weeding bandwagon early, you can eliminate the problem before it takes over.
9-GOING OVERBOARD. Of course we all want a large, lush, plentiful garden. But going overboard on your first time around the block is a big no-no. Decide how much to take on based on how much time you have. If you have only an afternoon per weekend to dedicate to your growing space then you’re going to need to grow hardy plants that can fend for themselves in the week without too much work. You might also be better off with a smaller patch or growing in containers at your home.
10-GIVING UP. Don’t throw in the trowel after your first year without much yield. Sometimes it takes a couple of seasons to get it right, sometimes you encounter unforeseen hurdles. Keep at it and you’ll be amazed at what you can create.
I wish you the best of luck on your new garden and hope this article has given you the knowledge to make it successful! If you have any questions please ask. I love to hear from my readers.