We all had to be a beginner gardener at some point. Michal is one of us who faced this common beginner gardening mistakes We’re sharing his account with you to read – perhaps it will stop someone from making the same gardening mistakes.
Before I started my very first garden two years ago, I read a lot of gardening blogs with advice for beginners and gardening hacks. Most of them seemed either obvious or logical and were in one way or another a variation of something I’ve seen in allotment gardens back home. Still, there’s nothing like a little research before a new project! All of this reading, however, did not prevent me from committing some major flops. Here are the worst of them.
It’s easy to get carried away buying seeds for the new growing season. The earlier you start, the bigger the choice and you may end up with too much to handle. This is exactly what happened to me. I planted too many vegetables and some of them were simply wasted. Either because I lost track of them and they got mixed up with weeds, or because I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would. Before you decide on any particular plant, ask yourself this: am I going to eat it? If not, what do I need it for? If you don’t have a clear answer, put it away. Sure, it’s great to experiment, but if you’re just starting your gardening adventure, it’s better to stick with things you actually like and will surely consume.
Spending time in the garden is an amazing way to unwind, but in order for it to grow, you need to commit yourself to tending it on regular bases. Planting the seed is the easy part. It’s what comes after that determines the outcome. There’s watering, weeding, fighting insects, trimming, dealing with diseases… What’s more, you need to account for the growing cycle of each plant as certain actions have to be done at precise moments of the year. If you can’t find time for all of this, your garden will become shabby. I often found myself too drained after work to do anything more than check on plants and water them, leaving the other chores for the weekend. When the weekend came, it turned out there was more to do I could possible handle. I had time, but I lacked regularity and could not use it wisely. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead and divide the garden tasks into smaller segments. It’s much better to work it four times a week for half an hour than once a week for two hours straight.
Speaking of time, much of it can be spent on somewhat useless projects. Gardening means spending time outside, which can awaken some dormant childhood urges and distract you from the important work. For example, I was delighted to find many paving stones and bricks lying around and spent hours moving them from one place to another. I used them to mark the borders and paths in the vegetable patch and in the greenhouse. It looked nice – for a while. After some time they got covered in dirt and served no purpose whatsoever. I had fun, true, but I could have also spent the time much more effectively focusing more on the plants themselves.
Out of all the pest issues that haunt the gardeners, so far the slugs have proven to be the most destructive in my experience. I learned it the hard way after much of my early spring crops were devoured. They appeared out of nowhere in massive numbers within a couple of days. My mistake was not to act on it immediately, partially due to the fact that I couldn’t maintain a regular gardening schedule. When I finally got down to it, it was already too late for many plants. It was a huge blow, especially at the beginning of the growing season. The garden recovered, but it could have done much better if I had not neglected the slug invasion in the first place.
There were several occasions when I was away for a couple of weeks and had to ask friends to take care of my garden. It was great to have a backup and not to worry, but I was naive enough to assume they would know how to do it properly. What was obvious to me was not necessarily obvious to them. It turns out that even the simplest gardening chores can be messed up with by someone with no prior experience. My garden survived, but it was hard to look at all the evidence of lousy maintenance. If you need to ask someone for help, try looking for fellow gardeners in your area first – communities like UGR are a great place to start. If that’s not an option and you have to rely on friends, make sure to show them exactly what needs to be done and how. Organize a little training session and watch them do it – that way you’ll be able to correct potential gardening mistakes before they cause damage.
All of these flops had quite an impact on the quality and quantity of my crops. All of them could have been easily avoided. Still, making them was a valuable lesson and I enjoyed it all the same. I’m sure there’ll be more failures ahead. After all, isn’t it what gardening is all about – trial and error?
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