According to the National Gardening Association, more than 30% of American households garden in some capacity. That’s a lot of thumbs up! Even the most experienced gardeners, however, can make mistakes. Gardening errors can be aggravating, costly, and even fatal to your plants. Gardening mistakes, in addition to killing your plants, can waste your time and money.
Everywhere you look, there are articles and blogs about the latest gardening trends and how to create the ideal garden. However, not all of this advice is sound, and some of it can be harmful. We’ve compiled a list of the most common gardening mistakes below to help you avoid making costly ones.
Equipment and tools
Any gardener should invest in high-quality tools and equipment. Cheap tools will only last you a season or two before they need to be replaced. In the long run, buying one good pair of pruning shears is less expensive than buying five cheap pairs. You get what you pay for when it comes to equipment. A low-quality wheelbarrow will fall apart after a season, whereas a high-quality wheelbarrow will last for years.
Similarly, when it comes to lawnmowers, it’s better to buy a quality one that will last rather than a cheap one that you’ll have to replace every few years. However, you can find used zero-turn mowers that are just as good as new ones. The reason for this is that many people only use their lawn mowers for a few years before selling them. So, rather than purchasing a new low-quality lawn mower, opt for a good tool, even if it is used.
There isn’t enough light.
Plants require sunlight to grow, and one of the most common gardening mistakes is not providing enough light. If your plants do not get enough light, they will become etiolated, which means they will become leggy and weak. When deciding where to put your plants, make sure they get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. You may need to supplement your plants with grow lights if you live in an area with long winters and short days. However, avoid placing the grow lights too close to your plants, as this can cause them to scorch.
There isn’t enough fertilizer.
Plants require nutrients to grow, and one of the most common gardening mistakes is not providing enough fertilizer. Fertilizer provides the nutrients that plants require to grow, and without it, they cannot reach their full potential. The reason for this is that plants can only absorb so much fertilizer before it runs off, wasting money and polluting the environment. When selecting a fertilizer, make sure it is designed specifically for the plants you are growing. There are fertilizers for roses, tomatoes, and lawns, for example. Too much fertilizer can burn your plants, so follow the directions on the fertilizer label.
There isn’t enough mulch.
Mulch is essential for plant health, and one of the most common gardening mistakes is not using enough of it. Mulch helps to retain soil moisture, prevent weed growth, and protect plants from extreme temperatures. Apply mulch in a layer two to four inches thick. Applying too much mulch, on the other hand, can suffocate your plants. Furthermore, make certain that the mulch you use is appropriate for your plants. Cedar mulch, for example, is ideal for acid-loving plants like azaleas. Concurrently, pine straw is ideal for vegetable gardens.
Planting too soon or late.
Planting too early or too late in the season is one of the most common gardening mistakes. Your plants may not survive a late frost if you plant too early. Your plants may not have enough time to mature if you grow too late. Pay attention to your local frost dates to avoid making this mistake. The average last frost date in spring is April 15th, and the average first frost date in fall is October 15th, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Plant two weeks after the last frost date in the spring and two weeks before the first frost date in the fall.
You are overwatering your plants.
Water is necessary for plant growth, but too much water can kill them. Overwatering can cause root rot, which can be fatal to your plant. Before watering your plants again, make sure the soil is dry. You should also think about using a moisture meter to help you determine when to water. The most important tip is to understand your plant. Some plants, such as succulents, can withstand prolonged drought, whereas others, such as ferns, require constant moisture. When in doubt, it’s better to be underwater than overwater.
You are not pruning your plants.
Pruning is critical for plant health, and failing to do so is one of the most common gardening errors. Pruning your plants promotes new growth, removes diseased or damaged leaves, and shapes them. Always use sharp, clean pruning shears when pruning. Also, make sure to prune at the appropriate time of year. Most plants benefit from pruning in late winter or early spring. A few exceptions, such as lilacs, necessitate pruning as soon as they bloom.
You are not cleaning your tools.
Another common gardening blunder is failing to clean your tools. Garden tools can be a breeding ground for diseases and pests that can harm your plants. To avoid this, make a habit of cleaning your tools after each use. You can do this by spraying a disinfectant solution on them or wiping them down with rubbing alcohol. It would be beneficial if you cleaned your tools before using them on another plant, as this could spread disease.