Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top Four Mistakes a Home Vegetable Gardener Makes

It does not matter whether you have been vegetable gardening for twenty plus years or twenty plus minutes, you will invariably make some mistakes along the way that will lead to a less than hoped for production in your harvest. Here are the most common mistakes that I have seed many people make.

Wrong Seeds
Sure I like to eat oranges, bananas and kiwi just as much as the next person, but lets face it, I have no chance of growing any of them here in New Jersey. Just like someone who lives in an area of the world where the temperatures are always hot, they will more than likely lack the ability to grow cool weather crops such as spinach or lettuce. Plant the seeds to the vegetables that are indigenous to your area. You will have a greater chance of success.

Too Much Water
As crazy as it sounds, yes you can over water your plants. When you over water your vegetable plants you can cause root rot, an environment susceptible for fungus growth, and also wash away valuable nutrients your plants need like nitrogen. Most plants require moderate watering and what that means is the ground is moist but not wet. You can simply pick up the first couple of inches of your dirt and if it is crumbly or sandy then it is too dry and if water comes out when you squeeze it, then it is too wet. If you do not want to go that “unscientific route”, then spend a couple of dollars at your home or garden center and pick up a soil moisture sensor. You will get a much better reading, and they come with instructions to help make sure your plants are getting ample amounts of water.

Not Composting
One of the easiest and best things a home vegetable gardener can do to ensure optimal growth of their plants is to add a fresh supply of compost on a constant basis. Compost is nothing more than taking organic material such as grass clippings, leaves and your left over dinner, and allowing nature to take its course and break it down into what is called compost. There are a variety of methods for composting that go beyond the scope of this article, but you need to add compost to your soil throughout the year. Compost adds the many nutrients your plants will need to grow thrive and survive in a safe, affective and environmentally friendly way.

Late Harvesting
This is one I have been guilty of myself and that is not harvesting my vegetables when they should be. Of which, for me, are my zucchini plants. On Tuesday they could be ten inches long (I like to pick them when they are about twelve), and two days later when I go back they are near twenty inches. With zucchini if you let them get too big they will develop way too many seeds and that takes away from a lot of the “edible” portion. The same holds true for many other vegetables. The longer you wait to harvest the more flavor the fruit or vegetable will lose and even worse it literally rot right on the vine.

Home vegetable gardening is meant to be a fun and rewarding hobby but like all other activities it has its share of opportunities to make mistakes. Now that you know the common ones, you can fix these and move on to making some new ones, well, hopefully not.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

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