5 Gardening Mistakes You Dont Have to Make

by on June 17th, 2013
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After years of living in a tiny, two bedroom apartment in the middle of downtown, I moved to the suburbs where I had my very first garden. I use the term garden loosely; it was a very narrow patch of soil that hugged my back patio fence. In my naive attempt to master gardening, I learned a few lessons along the way:

1. One of the first issues I noticed with the garden was that there was no barrier between the flower beds and the patio. The person who lived there before us tried using bricks, but didn’t put enough soil underneath for them to properly form a fence, so I thought. After painstakingly going through and pulling out all the bricks, laying new soil, then replacing the bricks it finally looked like a nice flower bed. It was 3 days before the first rain, and 4 days until I noticed that all the bricks were sinking into the ground. I quickly learned that simply laying bricks on-top of soil does not provide a proper barrier.

Lesson learned: Invest in a fence, or piece tall enough to still serve as a barrier after sinking 2 inches.

2. I’m a fan of bright, bold colors; not just for my plants, but for my soil and mulch. My least favorite affect of the sun, is when it dulls the color of my mulch. To keep my black mulch, black, I often go through and rake the entire flower bed to rejuvenate the color. The problem with this process was that I was using a plastic rake. Gardening equipment can get expensive; I thought a good corner to cut was on a cheaper rake. I very quickly regretted this decision when my red, plastic rake broke into hundreds of pieces, littering my garden.

Lesson learned: don’t skimp on necessary equipment.

3. To create a multi-dimensional look, I add potted plants throughout my garden. I’ll make this lesson short and sweet; if you don’t move a pot for the entire season, the roots can and will go through the bottom of the pot and into the ground. I recommend rotating potted plants at least once a month to make sure that if you do go to move it, your arm isn’t suddenly jerked back because it’s stuck.

Lesson learned: rotate potted plants.

4. My first year having a garden, I went a little flower crazy. I had 14 plants, which was a lot for the tiny space I had available. I didn’t think to look around and find a hose hook-up prior to planting all my flowers, which was a huge mistake. Every time I wanted to water the flowers, it took 12 trips inside to fill the pitchers enough times.

Lesson learned: only plant what is realistic to water.

5. I have 3 rose bushes in my garden. I love roses; while there are tons of reasons why I love roses, the most important is that there is no way to mess them up. They don’t die if you don’t water them, or over water them and they come back and bloom every year.

Lesson learned: PLANT ROSES!

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