Avoid Huge Mistakes With These Expert Gardening Tips

Shannon Quinn - May 14, 2021
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Make sure to label your seeds. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Forgetting to Label Your Plants or Seeds

If you are willing to put in the time and effort into planting your seeds in the early spring, just make sure you have labels ready. After you put the seeds into your pots, all of them are going to look exactly the same. And even when they start to grow to be a few inches long, you probably still won’t be able to identify what it is. This is why it’s crucial to label all of your seedlings, and have a good organization setup. 

 

Plant labels are actually a great gift to give someone who is thinking about getting into gardening. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and some of them are even reusable. Some people also save the pictures from the seed packet so that they have a visualization of what the plant is eventually going to look like.

A flat of annual flowers. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Only Buying Annual Flowers

Something I see people do every single spring is that they only buy annual flowers and put them in pots. There is nothing wrong with doing that. It’s quick and easy for you to have some annuals in your yard if you just put them in a pot. However, you should really consider buying perennials that will grow back every single year. You only need to buy them once, and you have those flowers forever, so long as you take care of them properly. 

My mom’s garden has been planned out so perfectly, there is always a new flower blooming every month of the spring and summer. Obviously, not everyone is going to have the time or budget to do this in one season. But it’s something you can work on over the years. My mom has been working on her garden for over 30 years. Garden features like this actually add to your property value. Her work added thousands of dollars to the value of the land, compared to just having grass and annual flowers in pots.

Make sure you harvest all of your vegetables without letting them go to waste. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Failing to Harvest Your Vegetables

Out of all of the gardening tips so far, this one might seem fairly obvious. You need to harvest your vegetables. But people get busy, especially if they are beginner gardeners. There are a lot of reasons why some people fail to harvest their vegetables properly. Maybe you tried to plant something, but your family doesn’t actually enjoy eating it.

 

No matter what the reason may be, failing to harvest is bad news. Those fruits and vegetables will begin to rot. This smells very bad, and it can also attract flies, bugs, rats, maggots, and more. Eventually, you’re going to have to clean that up. The only way to avoid this is to simply plant the vegetables you are absolutely sure that you are going to eat.

Watering your flowers like this doesn’t always make sense. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Spending Hours Watering Every Day by Hand

When most people imagine gardening in their backyard, they might picture themselves with a cute watering can and a pair of new rubber boots. However, using a watering can is actually one of the least efficient ways to water your garden. You need to fill the can up and then walk to your plants. It runs out of water a lot faster than you might imagine, and then you’re walking back to the water source. Obviously, it makes a lot more sense for you to use a hose with a spray attachment. There are also hose attachments made specially to spray your garden with liquid fertilizer. 

 

Even when you use a hose, this is not always the most efficient way to water your garden. Depending on the amount of plants you have on your property, this process could still potentially take you an hour or more. (Unless it rained that day.) Professional gardeners install a water drip system on their properties, instead. This is actually a lot cheaper than you might imagine. The Garden Answer YouTube channel has covered drip systems quite a lot, so I recommend going to check out their videos.

Sometimes a hole is far too deep for a plant to be healthy. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Making a Hole Too Deep 

When you plant something in your garden, the size of the hole matters. When a hole is too small and shallow, you’re not giving your plant enough space for their roots to grow. But if the hole is too deep in the ground, it won’t germinate properly. 

Before you get started, do a little bit of research before you dig a hole. Most of the time, you can read the tag that comes with the plant and find out that information. If it’s not included, you can look online to find the answer.

Wild animals are going to want a piece of your produce. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Failing to Protect Your Veggies from Wild Animals

If you plan to create a garden filled with fruits and vegetables, you need to protect them from animals. Chicken wire, fences, and tall planter boxes are all methods of keeping plants away from animals. Obviously, birds can fly, so sometimes they will still get into your stuff.

Keep in mind that if you have a chicken coop in your backyard, this can be an even bigger problem. Chickens love to get into your gardens! So make sure you protect your garden with chicken wire. The good news is that you can give the chickens the leftover veggies as treats if you want to get rid of peels and scraps.

Many plants will grow larger than you think. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Underestimating the Full Size of a Plant at Maturity

Earlier on the list, we mentioned how it’s important to plant things with enough space around them. You don’t want to plant to grow up and be knocking into something that you planted next to it. Another issue arises when you completely underestimate how tall the plant is going to be. For example, a lot of people love to plant hydrangeas in front of their house. However, they don’t realize that hydrangeas become huge bushes that grow up to 15 feet tall. This can cause a huge issue, especially if you don’t want it blocking the view of your house. 

 

Yes, it’s possible for you to prune the bushes and keep them smaller. However, this is a huge undertaking to maintain the size of a plant. And it’s a lot more difficult to move a fully grown plan that has rooted itself into the soil. Always figure out how big a plant is going to be before you actually put it into the ground.

If you harvest all of your vegetables at once, you won’t have any left. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Failing to Stagger the Times You Harvest Your Vegetables

If you’re starting a vegetable garden, you might get overly excited about harvesting your veggies. However, this is where a lot of mistakes happen. You shouldn’t necessarily pick every single fruit or vegetable as soon as you see it. To give you an example, tomato plants grow their fruits at different rates. So you can pick the fullest, ripest tomatoes, and leave the smaller ones for a few days or weeks until they are ready to pick.

Some produce needs more planning ahead of time if you want to harvest them properly. For example, you shouldn’t put all of your potatoes into the ground at the exact same time. If they all reach maturity at once, you are getting an overabundance of potatoes that you couldn’t possibly eat. But if you plant each of them a week apart, you’ll set yourself up to have free potatoes for the entire growing season. I personally made this mistake. Then, I looked up gardening tips on how to grow potatoes on YouTube. But by then, it was too late.

If you get too excited about produce, you can easily go overboard. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Growing More Than You Can Keep or Preserve 

When some people start a vegetable garden, they can sometimes go overboard. They get so excited by the idea of having fresh fruits and vegetables on hand, that they want to plant as much as possible. However, this can sometimes lead to issues.  Make sure that you are not letting your vegetables and fruit go to waste. Try to eat everything that you grow in your garden. If there is too much access, give it away to your family and friends. Or, you can learn how to start preserving and canning those vegetables and fruits for the winter time. 

If you have recently started a farm, you may want to consider starting a roadside vegetable stand. This can be a great way to make a little bit of extra money. Even if you don’t make a lot, this can at least make your money back for the investment you put into growing your garden.

Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you should buy it. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Buying Plants Just Because They’re on Clearance 

If you’re new to gardening, you might want to start with cheaper plants. This is common, because a lot of people are not sure if they have a green thumb or not. So they usually go for the plants that are on sale or clearance. However, if you’re only buying a plant because it’s cheap, that’s not necessarily a good reason to own it. When you don’t really care about a plant very much, it’s a lot easier to neglect and ignore it. 

According to the National Garden Association, house plant sales surged by 50% in 2019. The number grew even higher after the start of the pandemic. Instead of buying a plant on clearance, I suggest doing a little bit of research and finding a plant that you genuinely love. Even if it’s slightly more expensive then another plant option, all that matters is that you love it.

You don’t have to be perfect when you try to implement these gardening tips. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Trying to Be Too Perfect

Last but not least is that you should not get too caught up in trying to make your garden perfect. There are a lot of people out there who get into gardening as a hobby at first, and then they become obsessed. And if you watch gardening YouTubers all the time, you might also feel motivated to get to their level. If something is out of place, some gardeners spend hours trying to make it right. On one hand, this is good exercise, and it’s great for your mind and body. So time spent gardening is never a waste. This is a much healthier obsession than a lot of things in life.

 

But on the other hand, it can be a huge waste of time to worry about your garden being too perfect. Remember that your garden is a living thing. Plants are going to grow and eventually die. Weather could completely ruin your garden, and wild animals might get into your fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing you can do about the forces of nature. Just get out there, have fun, and enjoy nature to the fullest.

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