10 Common Mistakes New Gardeners Make

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

Planting a garden or flower bed might seem daunting when you are a new gardener. Committing the time and muscle is easy. But, if you arm yourself with knowledge and avoid some of the pitfalls of new gardeners, your efforts will be richly rewarded! Overwatering
Most new gardeners think that more water is better when usually, just the opposite is true. Take the time to learn the water needs of your plant and count to ten before turning on the hose. If you are watering anything daily -- you are probably watering too much.

Fertilizing
Once again, more is not always better. Find out the nutrient needs of your plants and the differences in various kinds and levels of fertilizer. If you feed your tomatoes nothing but fish emulsion you will have big, green plants but, alas, no tomatoes. Feed your roses lots of nitrogen-rich fertilizer and you will have lots of lovely rose leaves. But, nary a rose. Growing Non-Native Species
It is almost impossible to grow rhubarb in Texas, cactus outdoors in North Dakota, cranberries in Arizona or Vidalia onions in Michigan. Since the plant has to grow where it is planted, you dramatically improve its chances (and yours!) by growing what is native to your area. Checking with a local nursery or supplier, using a seed catalog company from your region, and talking to other local gardeners can save you lots of heartache and backaches. Do You Know Your Zone?
June might be the peak of gardening season in New York, but not in southern California. If you have moved recently, what you planted in May in Illinois isn't the time to plant in Florida. Neighborhood gardeners, your county extension, local nurseries and garden clubs are always a good source of information. Beware Of Overly Invasive Plants
Often plants are listed in catalogs as: Readily reseeding. Vigorous. Spreads easily. Extremely hardy. Sounds great, right? Proceed with caution! These terms often mean the plant can become invasive and spread well beyond your intended area. Catalogs are wonderful resources for finding special plants, but sometimes they can go too far with their colorful descriptions, implying that a plant is carefree or practically perfect in every way. Plant Lust
New gardeners would do well to avoid the I-just-gotta-have-it syndrome. Purchasing plants that require a growing environment that you cannot possibly provide is not only costly but frustrating. Think of going to a nursery like going to the grocery store. Make sure you have a list and stick to the list!

Kill All Bugs
Those new to gardening often feel that 'the only good bug is a dead bug.' Not true! A healthy garden will always have a population of insect life that is both positive and negative. The key is balance. Remember, the garden isn't your house, it is theirs and most of the insects in the flower bed and vegetable garden are good guys. They may nibble on the occasional leaf or bud, but they more than earn their keep by eating up the...

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