TOP 3 GARDENING MISTAKES

 

Gardening is a lifelong activity with layers of skills and information. There’s always something more to learn, which is why we love it — it captures our attention while giving us more to figure out along the way. But when new gardeners are just starting out, there are common mistakes that foil their attempts at having a successful, beautiful garden. Here are the top 3 mistakes that I see new gardeners making — and don’t be embarrassed if you’ve made them all. I did, too.

 

1. Not understanding soil — There are all different types of soil, and each plant has specific soil needs. For example, cacti and other drought-tolerant plants prefer soil that is light and well-drained, while impatiens need soil that hold extra moisture, and potted plants demand potting soil rather than the soil straight from your garden. The bottom line with soil is to know what your particular plants need, and to commit to a schedule of adding organic matter to your soil to keep it thriving and healthy.

2. Ignoring plant information — From mature plant height to sun or water requirements, failure to pay attention to these details dooms your plants from the start. When I was a new gardener, I plant sun-loving zinnias in the shade, then was surprised when they refused to bloom and developed powdery mildew. Do your research ahead of time, read the plant tags, and ask questions of your garden center staff.

3. Watering incorrectly — Again, this was a mistake I made at first. I dragged the hose out and watered the plant. As in, the leaves. Then I put the hose up, feeling proud until my plants started withering away. I didn’t understand that proper watering meant watering the soil, not the actual plant. Your plant’s roots are in the soil, so that’s where the water needs to go. And a light daily sprinkling of water won’t do it, either — aim for a once or twice a week deep soaking for your landscape plants, and daily or every other day deep watering for your edible plants.

 

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