Many think they have a brown thumb for they are not able to keep their garden alive. The truth is that anyone can grow a garden if they follow the right approach. Gardening is not an exact science, it is rather an adventure a person takes to connect with nature and escape from the hassle of life. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might be killing your garden.
#1 Not doing your homework
The common thought is that gardening is about putting a seed or a plant in soil, water it, and watch it grow. The reality is that there is a lot of science behind it. It is crucial to aducate oneself on how to start a garden and how to maintain it. Starting by learnig about your growing zone or region and distinguihing its growing seasons.
After that you should learn about your soil and its properties, such as structure, texture, and components. This will help you with the following step , which is deciding on the growing methods and plant selection.
After knowing your growing seasons, soil, and deciding what growing method to use, it is time to make the plant selection.
#2 The wrong plants choice
Different plants grow in different seasons. Growing seasons are slightly different from the common ones. In gardening, we talk about cool-season and warm-season crops. Planting the wrong crop at the wrong time will certainly have deceiving results.
Wrong growing requirements
Growing requirements include sun exposure, soil quality, and water needs. It is important to provide the proper environment for the plant not only to keep it alive but for it to thrive. A sun-loving plant like tomato will live in a part shade spot, but it won’t reach its optimum size and won’t be productive.
In a home garden, we tend to plant more than one kind of plant in the same area just to save space. There is nothing wrong with that if we do it properly. When planting two crops close to each other, make sure they have the same growing needs. For example, don’t place a water-hogging plant with one that needs very little water.
High maintenance plants
New gardeners tend to want to grow everything they dream of. The problem is that some plants need a lot of care and attention, such as pruning, trellising, pest control, and deadheading. When starting a garden, it is best to choose plants that are somewhat easy to grow.
#3 Too much love
I met quite a few clients that think gardening is all about water. So, they water their plants constantly until they drown them. Yes, water is crucial to keep your garden alive, but overwatering is just as bad as less watering. It oversaturates the soil and reduces the amount of oxygen in it, which the plant needs for its lively functions. This may cause several problems such as root rot, fungal diseases, and eventually the death of the plant.
The best practice is to check soil moisture before each watering. Insert your finger an inch deep into the soil, and if it comes out moist no need to water. There are also soil moisture meters if you prefer to be more accurate. After a few times of practice, you will understand your soil better and will be able to set the proper watering schedule.
Too much fertilizer
This is another wrong practice I noticed in some of my clients. It is usually recommended to add a dry fertilizer to the planting hole. Some new gardeners feel generous and think the more they add, the faster the plant will grow, which is wrong. Think of the transplant as a baby. You need to feed it only the amount it needs. Adding too much fertilizer may cause root burn and stunt the plant’s growth.
Make sure to use fertilizers wisely by following the instructions on the label. Also, try to opt for organic choices over salt-based fertilizers, which tend to cause this issue more often.
Having a garden requires some work in the beginning then it will become more of a routine once established. The first three years of gardening are a discovery phase. This is a period of learning through trial and error, which you can not skip. After it, you will be more confident and might be able to set a few tasks on autopilot. Once again, consider your new garden a baby. It needs all your attention at first, then slowly, it will take care of itself.
#5 Excessive pest control
When you become a gardener, you should realize that you are becoming nature’s partner, not a regulator. Working in the garden will expose you to many pests and weeds, and there is no way you are going to exterminate them. The excessive use of herbicides and pesticides creates an imbalance in nature.
We have to understand that everything is created for a reason. Just like animals, insects also have prey and predators. So, learn more about the insect you meet before deciding on killing it. Some easy solutions are encouraging beneficial insects in the garden or using physical barriers. If the problem is overwhelming, the use of chemicals should be with care and wisdom.
Weeds, also, are a nuisance in the garden, but that does not justify the excessive use of herbicides. The latter are non-selective and can destroy a landscape after several applications. Rather, use an organic approach and feed your soil to make it a good environment for your desired plants. Also, try to pick the weeds regularly before they reseed to reduce their come back. On a different note, you might consider having peace with most weeds once you learn that they are good for you.