There’s a wealth of content available across the internet and in gardening publications, which tells you what you should be doing in the garden.
But with so much information telling you all the things you should do, we sometimes forget all the things we shouldn’t do, especially those of us who are beginners in the garden! Here are some of the most common gardening mistakes people make, and how you can avoid them.
Overwatering your plants
We all know that plants, like everything else on the planet, need water to survive. However, also like everything else, if you give something too much water, it risks drowning. Excess water can also weaken the plant and make it wilt easily.
To avoid this, always do your research! Look up how much water your plant needs, taking into account light and soil type too. Some plants only need to be watered once a week or so, whereas others will need daily watering, particularly if it’s hot.
Also, be sure to buy plant pots with drainage holes at the base, otherwise the water will completely saturate the soil, and your plant will suffer.
Making pesticides your best friend
As we’ve covered in this blog before, pesticides are not the answer to keeping plants healthy that many people think they are. Whilst it is true that they will keep the plants safe from insects, this can also be detrimental to the health of the plant.
Why is this? In simple terms, it’s because pesticides don’t discriminate. So while they will keep slugs and snails at bay, they will also discourage butterflies and bees. This means that the plant won’t be pollinated, and could suffer in the long run.
If you need to protect your plants, try using physical barriers like a wire fence. If you must use pesticide, be sure to use it sparingly.
Buying in bloom
If you’re in a garden centre looking for new flowers for your garden, ignore the ones that are in full bloom. If you buy food from the supermarket with the longest use-by date, it gives you more time to enjoy the product before it spoils.
The same principle applies to flowers. If they’re already in full bloom, it won’t be long before they start to die off. Look for young plants that are yet to bloom with healthy looking leaves and stems and plump buds. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the flowers for much longer.
Borders fit to bursting
We all need a little bit of space from time to time. This is true for plants as well. When you’re planting in your beds, be sure to leave ample space between your seeds or plants, as putting them close together will leave them fighting over water, light, space and nutrition, and they will all suffer as a result. To get your plants to grow strong, be sure to space them out to ensure that they aren’t fighting for space.
Taking a little too much off the top
When you’re growing hedges and bushes, there is an urge to cut the plants into the desired shape very early on in their life. Try to resist this urge.
Without giving the plant time to grow properly, you risk severely weakening it. Be sure to give it ample time to grow before starting to shape it.
When you do begin to shape and prune your hedges and bushes, take only a thin layer off each time. This is the same principle as cutting grass, as taking too much off in one go risks shocking the plant and exposes it to frost damage and rough growth. If in doubt, check out our blog all about how to get the best from your hedge trimmer (link).
We’d love to hear about your own garden experiences – what have you learnt that you wish you had known when you first started gardening? What are your top tips and tricks for gardeners who are just starting out? Share your comments on Facebook and help your fellow fledgling gardeners.