A few little missteps won’t derail your garden, but understanding how to avoid the most common garden planning mistakes can lead to a more productive & enjoyable gardening experience. Here are some helpful tips…
Whether you are starting a brand new garden or simply expanding upon the one you have, there are plenty of garden planning mistakes to be made! But don’t worry – making mistakes isn’t the end of the world when it comes to gardening. In fact, your garden will be much more forgiving than you expect in many cases. Indeed, making mistakes is just a part of gardening, and it’s nothing to fear!
However, by learning from the experience of others, you may be able to head off many of the most common garden planning mistakes, and achieve a better garden with fewer frustrations and disappointments. In the podcast episode below, fifth-generation gardener and homesteader, Melissa Norris shares some tips she has learned along the way that can help you head off some of the top garden planning mistakes.
For example, she says that many people starting a new garden simply choose a location as their starting point. While you certainly need to have a spot to grow your plants, she contends that this is the wrong place to start. Instead, you should think about WHAT you want to grow, and WHY, before you move to the WHERE:
You are missing a lot of key elements if that’s where you start because it’s not taking into account growing food that’s going to take you through a year. Elements that are missing that need to be considered in your planning:
- Pick crops that your family eats the most of on a regular basis.
- Pick crops that will actually grow well in your gardening climate and gardening zone.
- Of the crops you want to grow, pick varieties that are best suited to the number of growing days you have in your warm-weather growing season.
- From there, decide how many of those specific crops you need to plant in order to feed your family for an entire year.
It’s also imperative that you have an understanding of your soil. As Melissa says,
I think soil health is probably the number one issue when it comes to people having problems with their plants.
Now, of course, watering and the proper amount of sunlight come into play. But we can almost always pinpoint it back to something lacking in the soil. Or not the right soil conditions for that plant.
If leaves are turning colors, or pests and disease are present, it goes back to your soil health.
A mistake that’s often made is using the wrong soil for the wrong usage. For example, using a potting mix in an outdoor garden, or using soil from the garden in containers. Or growing in straight compost or manure thinking it’s soil and not just a soil amendment.
Too much of a good thing isn’t always good!
Don’t assume if your plant is struggling that it’s because it doesn’t have enough of something. Sometimes plants struggle because of too much of something.
Other common mistakes include watering too much – or too little, planting in an area without enough sunlight, and even planting in the wrong direction (yes, it matters!). Listen to the podcast here to learn more about these mistakes and more: