Gardening guide

Gardening guide: the biggest mistakes you shouldn’t make

Magazine

This gardening guide aims to help you get the most out of your green space. Gardening can be a challenge. However proficient we may be outdoors, there are always new techniques to learn, and mistakes to avoid. From preparing your top soil to savvy planting, here’s what to watch out for to ensure your garden is in the best shape possible.

Thinking that you don’t need to prepare flowerbeds

Just because the soil is soft in spring when you’re preparing your flowerbeds and planting seedlings, it doesn’t mean that you can simply make little holes in the earth and sow. The damp topsoil will soon harden as the drier months arrive, and if the soil becomes too firm, roots won’t be able to penetrate deep enough for flowers to grow strong. Make sure you dig down and lay in compost and leaf mould to prepare the soil and allow a way for roots to reach down for nutrients.

Not thinking about how much sun your plants need

If you’ve got some beautiful new plants and you’re ready to see them flourish in your garden – be careful not to make the common mistake that many people make when placing their flowers and foliage: forgetting about sunlight. Your garden probably gets different amounts of sun in different areas.

The advice of our gardening guide is simply to remember how important it is to plant your sun lovers in pockets that see plenty of light and warmth. Your other hardier varieties can then be planted in places which spend more time in the shade, like under trees or next to fences.

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Planting out of season

Continuing on the subject of planting, remember that different plants crave different seasons, and are better suited to certain times of the year. Seasons play an integral role in plants’ and flowers’ development. If you plant tender seedlings too early, for instance, they might suffer from late frosts. And a special gardening guide tip regarding vegetables: it is vital to ensure you sow them during the right part of the season. Edible plants are often very reliant on the time of year if they are not being grown in a temperature-controlled environment.

GARDENA Spiral Hose

Overwatering

You probably don’t need our gardening guide to tell you that overwatering is one of the most common gardening mistakes. It’s so easy to do. Enthusiastic new gardeners are often too trigger-happy with the watering can, resulting in drowned plants and swamped earth. Instead, get to know your garden. How high is the water level? Which sections retain more moisture? Areas of soil might appear bone dry on top, whilst actually holding significant amounts of water beneath the surface. Get to know and understand the layers of your soil.

Not pruning

Another common mistake which this gardening guide hopes to help you avoid is failing to properly prune bushes and trees. New gardeners often overlook this. Some fruit and berry bushes need meticulous care and attention, and it’s important to know how much to take off. Pruning, like planting, is seasonal, so don’t forget to do some research about when you should take bits off which plants. You want to encourage new growth in your bushes and trees, and by taking off old, dying ends, you’re allowing new life to begin.

Overdoing weed killers

Don’t go crazy with the weed killers and herbicides. Nobody wants weeds, but it’s a mistake to be too slapdash with prevention measures. If you think spraying is necessary, make sure you do it when there’s no wind. Also, don’t use chemicals when rain is forecast, as the water runoff can spread through your garden, carrying chemicals to areas you didn’t want them in. Sunny, warm, dry days are best for spraying.

Forgetting that your garden is an ecosystem

Perhaps the greatest mistake our gardening guide would like to protect you from, is forgetting about the importance of ecological balance in your garden. You might do this by accidentally stopping your space from being a welcome home to friendly, helpful guests, for example. All gardens need bees and pollinators, and driving them out is damaging to your garden, as well as to them. Make sure that, if you do feel you need to use pesticides, they are friendly to pollinators and won’t affect their habitat.

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In terms of plant life, it is important to make sure the plants you’re using are going to perform well where you are, but not so well that it is to the detriment of everything else growing there. Some tropical plants may delight you at first, for example, but then spread further than intended, taking space and water from smaller or slower growing native species. Try to think about how different plants and animals in your garden will coexist. If you remember only one thing from this gardening guide, let it be ‘balance in all things’!