Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Common Home Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

We have all been there. Making mistakes that we look back on now and say, gees I cannot believe I used to do that. If you are not at that point yet, here are 7 common home vegetable gardening mistakes to refer to.

Mistake #1: Planting Too Much
I was guilty of this one myself. Sometimes I still partake in this mistake but at least I have it a bit under control. Many home vegetable gardeners plant way too much. When this occurs you simply do not have the time to pick it all and/or cannot consume it all or give it away, thereby leading to a lot of waste. This may not necessarily be a bad thing since you can simply compost it, but you are putting a lot of work into your garden, which increases your workload by planting too much. Scale down what you are growing. Grow what you like to eat and what you can handle.

Mistake #2: Planting Too Early
I know that feeling of anxiety after a long, hard winter. You are ready to get your seeds in the ground, or move your indoor plants to the outdoors. Many times, because of this anxiety, some home vegetable gardeners will plant them too early not taking into account that you could be stricken with one more cold night. If you are planting tomatoes or peppers, one cold night could literally wipe you out. Follow the frost chart for your area and then add 2 weeks.

Mistake #3: Planting Too Close
Some are limited on space but want to grow a lot. Therefore they plant things closer together in the hopes of getting everything in there. Some plants will grow and produce, but by planting them too close together you are limiting their root structure and also introducing competition for the soil’s nutrients. The back of your seed packets will give you the ideal distance that the seeds should be planted from one another. When you give the roots plenty of room, this will yield to greater harvests.

Mistake #4: Not Composting
If you do not have a compost pile or simply throw your leftovers away you are missing out on an easy opportunity to add nutrients back into your soil. Compost is the result of organic material breaking down with the end result being humus. That humus is loaded with minerals and nutrients your vegetables need to grow. The best part of composting is there is very little effort on your part. The organic material will be broken down by bacteria, worms and other creatures. All you have to do is feed it to them. Grass, leaves, twigs, food scraps and cow manure make up just a few of the organic items that can be added to your compost pile.

Mistake #5: Too Much and/or Not Enough Water
I own a number of soil testers. They measure the amount of moisture in my soil. This lets me know whether or not I need to water my garden. This tool is truly worth its weight in gold. Too much water could create root rot in your plants, whereas not enough water could stunt their growth.

Mistake #6: Not Knowing the Soil pH
The pH is a reading measuring how acidic or alkaline your soil is. You ideally want this reading to be above 5 but less than 8. However, if you do not know what the reading is, how can you adjust accordingly? There are a variety of pH soil test kits available at any home center, including ones that measure pH, light and moisture, also called 3 in 1 soil testers. They vary in price costing as little as $3 up to $50.

Mistake #7: Killing All Bugs for no Apparent Reason
Not all bugs are bad. Ladybugs for instance eat aphids, which are bad. So if you have loads of ladybugs that is a good thing. Many novice home vegetable gardeners kill bugs because they think they will destroy the plant, but not all bugs are there to do that. If you are unfamiliar with which bugs are good and which are bad, there are a number of excellent books on the subject. Do a Google search on the words, “beneficial insects”.

I am sure we all have our own personal mistakes that we have made in the garden. I found, after talking to many vegetable gardeners on our Facebook page, that the 7 talked about here, are the most common.

About the Author
Michael C. Podlesny is the administrator for the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment