5 Mistakes Commonly Made By Beginner Gardeners
Today, I want to talk to you about 5 mistakes that I made as a beginner gardener and give you some tips to help you not make those same mistakes as well.
The first mistake I made was being disorganized and not having a much of a plan. I bought seeds. I bought dirt. I had pallets. I knew I wanted to grow in that, but that was reallly the extent of my planning. It became overwhelming. I was doing a lot of learning along the way, failing along the way, all of that. A tip I want to give you is to ask yourself certain questions so that you have an idea of what you are working with and how you want to get your garden started. What are you going to grow? Where will your garden be located? How much space do you have to work with for your garden? How much space do you have for any of the types of crops that you are growing? When will you have time to garden? Why is the location that you chose a really good one? Asking yourself these questions will really help you not feel so overwhelmed as you go into the growing season. Having a journal is very helpful too, as well as maybe making a photo diagram of stuff like the space you are working with, and drawing out and placing where you will put your vegetables and fruits on there. That is something I am utilizing this year and it has definitely been way more helpful.
My second mistake I made was not providing my crops with adequate lighting. There was places that I had put certain fruits and certain vegetables that they were not getting enough sun. Most crops need 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. When gardening, it is not about what we want, especially when we think about placement. It is about what is going to be good for the crop and putting it in a place where they are going to grow abundantly and efficiently. Make sure, with anything you are growing, that you pay attention to the light requirements. If it needs full sun, give it that full sun. If it needs less, then pay attention to that as well.
The third mistake I made also has to do with plant placement. That was just planting things too close to each other. When I had my transplants from seeds I had cultivated or transplants I bought, I would bunch them up. I did that with my tomatoes. I did that with my squash. I just kind of had them all close together. When you read the packets though, a lot of these say they need to be 3 feet apart. Because everything was so small, I was not thinking about the end goal. This stuff is going to grow so it needs room. Especially vining vegetables like squash, pumpkins, and watermelon, they are going to vine out. They can go up to 30 feet I have heard. I say all that to say make sure you are paying attention to the placements of your plants, your seeds. Whether you are planting small or big. That placement will determine how well everything is going to grow. It will also make sure the plants are not fighting for nutrients, fighting for space, fighting for resources. Make sure you give them that room so that they can grow abundantly and well.
The fourth mistake I made was not keeping up with weeds or grass maintenance. I had put down cardboard, put my pallets on top of my cardboard, put the dirt in it, and that is where I put my plants. Once the cardboard broke down, it allowed the grass and the weeds to grow up. Even around the perimeter of the garden, I had put cardboard and a little bit of mulch. I did not put enough and it got overwhelming and it grew wild. Weeds were coming up in the beds, grass on the perimeter. Very hard to maintain, especially when it got to that point. This year, something I am going to be doing in all of my beds and around the perimeter of my garden is adding mulch. Mulch is so good, not only for keeping moisture in the soil when you water, but it is also good for keeping weeds away. If you can pile it up to 4 or 5 inches, or even higher, then no weeds or grass or anything will be able to grow up through it. I am going to be mulching this year. Mulch is going to be a really great remedy to help you keep those weeds and grass down in your garden. Also just having a raised bed off the ground. That is very helpful.
The fifth mistake I made was not being patient. I was very impatient at times, especially when I was making seedlings. If they did not sprout, I would throw the dirt in another container, only to see it sprouted later. Or I would water when I did not need to water. Or I would pick tomatoes that were not ready. They were not fully red. They were not ripe or anything. Different things like that. As someone who struggles with patience already, gardening has definitely given me the space to really become more patient, and let things grow. and trust in the process. I want to encourage you to be patient with yourself and with the garden this year. Most crops even take about 90-100 days to fully mature. That means that they need time to grow and develop. We did our part by planting, giving them nutrients, and a good space to grow. Now it is time for them to do their part. Be patient. Trust the process. It will all go well.
I hope this helped you think of things to avoid or things that you had not thought about as a beginning gardener.