14 common gardening mistakes to avoid

A person excited about agriculture would understand the joy of seeing the first little bud or a blooming flower. The positive effects of gardening go beyond enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your home – they work wonders on a person’s respiratory health. They are associated with mood enhancement and stress reduction. Gardening is a long-term activity demanding commitment and an understanding of each plant’s requirements. Some common gardening mistakes that one must avoid are listed below.

Using too much or too little mulch
Mulch is essential for plants to obtain the required nutrients for healthy growth. However, adding too much or too little mulch can prevent the plant from thriving, as mulch contains nitrogen, and excessive nitrogen levels can harm plants. In contrast, adding too little mulch can deprive the plant of the required nutrition. Thus, gardeners should understand the amount of mulch plants need for healthy development.

Treating all plants the same way
A common mistake several gardeners make is to treat all their plants equally. One size doesn’t fit all, even when it comes to plants. It is important to know the differences in each plant’s requirements and cater to them accordingly. For example, some houseplants, like lucky bamboo, survive in dryer conditions and should not be watered every day, whereas others, like dwarf rose, must be watered daily to survive. Seasoned gardeners understand what every plant needs.

Not considering the climatic conditions while choosing plants
The growth and blossoming of plants depend mainly on the climatic conditions of an area. For example, poppies, European roses, and Alpine plants will not be able to survive in tropical climates, as they require cold climatic conditions to thrive. In contrast, other plants like okra, tomatoes, peppers, and basil require abundant sunlight and cannot sustain in cold conditions. Thus, gardeners must consider the climatic conditions of their area while deciding what plants to grow.

Choosing the wrong spot to grow plants
Some areas of a garden or balcony may not receive the same amount of sunlight as others. Choosing the wrong spot to grow plants can cause them to become weaker with time and eventually wither due to insufficient sunlight. So, it is imperative to designate a spot with adequate sunlight to ensure that plants remain healthy.

Not removing the weeds frequently
Weeds can take up space in the garden and compete with the plant for sunlight, water, and nutrients. With time, weeds may cause plants to grow weak and lack essential nutrients. Therefore, gardeners should remove weeds from time to time. One can set reminders for removing weeds if required.

Avoiding crop rotation
Crop rotation helps retain soil nutrients without needing synthetic fertilizers and other inputs. Therefore, it should be an essential process in gardens to enhance soil health and increase biodiversity.

Not planting flowers that attract pollinators
Pollination is an essential process for plants to produce fruits and seeds. Bees, flies, beetles, and butterflies are common pollinators attracted by plants like sunflowers, lavender, cuphea, and calendula. Gardens should include at least 2-3 plants that attract pollinators.

Not leaving sufficient space between plants
Growing plants in congested environments can hamper plant growth and prevent each plant from receiving adequate nutrients. It can also increase the susceptibility of plants to contracting diseases. Therefore, growing plants 18-24 inches apart in gardens is advisable to ensure the space is not congested.

Placing plants too deeply into the soil
When transferring plants from pots to the garden, it is important to plant them only as deep as they were rooted in the pot. If mulch must be added, it should be placed an inch above ground level. Planting them too deeply in the soil can cause them to weaken and die early.

Pruning too early
While pruning is an essential aspect of gardening, over-pruning or pruning before time may cause one to remove the buds off their branches. Consequently, there may be no flowers in the plant during spring; therefore, it is important to be patient and prune only during spring.

Using too many chemical fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers may help ward off pests and insects; however, they may destroy the plants over time and harm health if any part of such plants is eaten. Therefore, it is advisable to replace chemical fertilizers with organic ones and use fertilizers only if the plants require them.

Working on wet soil
According to experts, working on wet soil can destroy its structure, requiring long recovery periods. So, it is important to wait for the soil to dry a little and begin working it when it is moist but not too wet.

Not harvesting ripe fruits, vegetables, and flowers
It is best to harvest fruits, vegetables, and flowers on time when they are ripe and ready. Leaving them on the plant can cause them to wither or rot eventually and become food for birds and insects.

Not experimenting with different gardening styles and plants
Stepping out of their comfort zone can help gardeners understand the skill better, as each plant has specific gardening requirements. It can serve as an enriching learning experience for gardeners and help them master the skill of gardening “on the field.”