5 common Gardening Mistakes

There are many silly garden mistakes you can make in gardening. I know I have made most of them. My philosophy is as long as the plant did not unduly suffer, my yard is still in one piece and as long I can laugh later I guess, “It’s live and learn.”

And I must admit I have killed a few amazing plants and trees.

Here is  my list of top 5 silly garden mistakes.

1.   Not having a landscape plan. I know its sounds boring but a garden plan lets you know what you planted and where. This is important if you are growing a new plant. You will know to leave it there and not pull it as a weed! It will also save a new small shrub or tree placed in a yard if someone else is mowing.

2.   Not addressing drainage issues. If you plant on a slope, in a hollow in the yard or in an area that may have a flash flood, you could have a problem. These issues may not show up in a normal summer, but a soggy cold summer will cause water to puddle in area you would never think of.

I remember one year I let my nephew play with a toy backhoe at the lower edge of my garden. It had been a wet summer and I knew the drainage here was not as good at it could be. But I never expected him to hit water. I had a mini fountain at the bottom of the garden.

He was having fun so I just dug a few mini trenches around the plants and let him play. The next year I put raised beds in that area.

3.  Not properly preparing the soil. Your garden is only as good as your soil. All plants, trees and shrubs need nutrients and if they are not in the soil the plant will either grow slowly or die. Adding compost, fresh soil or fertilizer will improve you soil drastically. Take a soil test (available at garden centers) and find out if your soil is good or needs help.

4.  Not spacing plants properly. Plants need a certain amount of space to grow. If they are crowded they will either not produce or flower or they will be sickly and prone to disease. Seed packets have direction for spacing and other plants will have planting instructions. If in doubt look the information up online or at your local library.

5.  Overestimating your gardening skills. Gardening should be fun. If you take on a large yard or garden and it’s all work you will begin to avoid the backyard and garden areas. And if you have high maintenance plants they will take away from other yard tasks and even family time.

If you’re a first time gardener my recommendation is to keep it simple. Have a small garden and a few flowers and vegetable and go from there.

And if you find you have a gardening problem contact the local Extension Office or find a source for reliable information online or in a gardening book.

There are many different garden challenges and mistakes we can make. Lighting, maintenance and costs are just a few more. Your garden challenges will vary with your location, gardening knowledge and skills.

But overall, my best advice is to keep your gardening fun. Knowledge and a green thumb will soon follow

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Denise

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