By Colleen Vanderlinden, Planet Green
We were all new gardeners once upon a time. Oh, the mistakes we made. The plants we killed! The dumb choices we made. Mistakes and dumb choices will be a part of your gardening life until the day you set aside your shovel and pruners (or until they day they pry them from your cold, dead hands, in my case) and that’s a good thing. Mistakes help us learn. I can’t imagine gardening without them.
But beginner’s mistakes can be especially disheartening. There’s nothing worse than just getting started in a new hobby and watching everything you’re trying to grow just sit there pathetically when you dreamed of ripe juicy tomatoes and a garden full of flowers. With that in mind, here are the most common beginner mistakes I get questions about most often at the two garden blogs I write, as well as what to do to avoid them. In no particular order:
The Top 10 Rookie Gardening Mistakes
1. Clueless Watering
Many new gardeners kill new plants by either drowning them or letting them dry out too much, too often. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure you’re watering correctly:
- Know your plant’s moisture requirements.Some plants like to stay consistently moist, while others prefer to dry out a little bit between waterings.
- Check the soil regularly. Stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
2. Wrong Plant, Wrong Place
If you’re trying to grow tomatoes against a north-facing wall under a maple tree, you’re not going to have much luck. That’s an extreme example, perhaps, but knowing whether your plant needs sun or shade, or prefers dry or moist soil, and then giving it those conditions, will go a long way toward ensuring success in the garden. Make sure you’re buying plants that fit the conditions in your garden. This will also help you avoid many pest and disease problems, since stressed plants (including those unhappily growing in the wrong conditions) attract pests and are more susceptible to disease problems. This information can be found on plant tags, or in catalog descriptions.