Some common gardening mistakes

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Planting too close together

Many gardeners tend to buy smaller plants because they are more affordable. Sometimes however, they end up planting them too close together or too close to walls, fences, and foundations. Not a problem with a number of vegetables though. Many of those can be planted happily close together.

Planting one of everything

Planting one of everything gives a garden the "flavor of the month" look. It's fine to showcase specimens, but in nature, most plants grow together in groups. Aesthetically speaking, odd numbers look best, for example 3 or 5 plants.

Not understanding existing site conditions

It's important to take a walk around your property and look at the existing site conditions. Is the soil wet? Dry? Is that location you envision planting those shade-loving plants shady or is there too much sun? Knowing your site conditions ensures that your plants will thrive.

For growing food crops the rules are the same though you will have to consider that most vegetables and fruit require lots of sun and warmth, thus shade is not a good option.

There is an exception or two and that is, if like me, you happen to also grow wild edibles in your garden. Many of those, such as, for instance Sorrel (Rumex) will happily grow in the shade, as sorrels would in woodland environments.

Planting too deep

It's always difficult to gauge how deep to dig a hole for planting, too shallow and the roots are exposed, too deep and the plant may not get the oxygen it needs to thrive. Most people can see if the hole is too shallow and can remedy it; a hole that is too deep is more tricky so it's important to measure the height of the root ball and if the roots are curled up, loosen them up.

This rule has some exceptions though as to planting too deep and that is with plants of the brassica family, that is to say all cabbages. When you plant greenhouse grown plugs – though ideally those are even bigger than the plug stage before you put them out – it is good to bury some of the stalk in the ground.

Not watering enough

Many people go to the trouble of watering every day, but make the mistake of not watering enough to thoroughly saturate the soil so that the plant's roots remain moist at all times.

There is, however, also another way of killing your plants and that is watering them too much, especially in the stage when they grow from seed to plant. Many a plant is killed by over-watering at that stage than by getting not enough, according to gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh.

© 2010