Growing your own vegetables is a delightful way to get back to nature and enhance your table, but vegetable gardening mistakes can damage the experience. Luckily, these mistakes are easy to avoid if you plan ahead and do some basic research.
Not Starting Slow
Trying to grow everything all at once is a recipe for frustration. Especially if this is your first attempt, be realistic about how much time and effort you’ll be able to devote to your garden and choose vegetables that won’t require more than you have to give. Baby lettuce is a great first step, especially if your containers are on the smaller side. Other beginner-friendly options include peas, radishes, and Swiss chard.
Not Considering Your Weather
Your area’s climate partly determines the types of vegetables that will flourish in your garden. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peppers, and zucchini tend to grow best in hot weather, while spinach, carrots, and beets prefer chillier conditions. You’ll also need to find your area’s frost-free date, which determines when you should plant different vegetables. The maps on the back of seed packets are a good start, but you’ll need to investigate local weather patterns as well.Another of the more common vegetable gardening mistakes is choosing plants that require more or less sunlight than your garden receives. Take note of how many hours of light your space gets each day and whether it’s primarily morning or afternoon sun; then, choose plants suited to your conditions.
Not Considering Your Space
How much space do you have for a garden, and what does that space consist of? Plenty of vegetables thrive in containers, so don’t despair if your space is mostly paved. Do, however, research different varieties to make sure your choices won’t outgrow their homes. For in-ground beds, take exact measurements and plan ahead to ensure none of your plants will crowd out their neighbors. Remember to look beyond the soil surface; tomato plants can grow to amazing heights even in containers, and mint will quickly take over a bed and potentially your entire yard if you don’t set physical barriers deep into the ground.
Not Having the Proper Equipment
While most home gardens don’t require tons of equipment, some tools are essential for avoiding vegetable gardening mistakes. A garden hose or watering can tops the list; even in rainy climates, you can’t always depend on the weather to keep your plants healthy. You’ll also need good soil; plan to refresh it at least once a year. A spade or digging fork, comfortable gloves, and garden shears are simple but necessary items. Some vegetables also require specialized equipment, such as tomato cages or bean trellises.
Not Having a Plan for Pests
You’re not the only one eager to snack on your homegrown bounty; a whole array of pests from aphids to slugs to voles can damage your vegetables. Learn which pests you’re most likely to encounter in your area and look for the safest and most eco-friendly means of preventing them. Be especially careful with commercial pesticides as many of them can harm beneficial insects that naturally prey on the unwanted bugs eating your plants.
Not Having a Plan for Weeds
Like pests, weeds are an inevitable reality that can lead to vegetable gardening mistakes. Keep a sharp eye on your beds and pull weeds immediately; experiment with different tools and techniques to see what works best for you. If you decide to use herbicide, make certain the product you choose is safe for edible plants.Growing your own vegetables is a fun and delicious hobby, and a little preparation goes a long way. Be sure to explore Red's Home & Garden for advice, inspiration, and all of your gardening needs.
Everyone is trying to find ways to save money on their food bill these days. Gardening can be a wonderful way to add variety and flavor to your menu. If you’re just starting a vegetable garden for the first time, watch out for these mistakes.
1. Planting Too Far From the Water Source
Water is the key ingredient you’ll need to add to your garden again and again. Make sure your garden beds have easy access to the hose. If you need to, get longer hoses or install a rain barrel near your garden to make it easy to keep the soil moist.
2. Planting in a Place Without Enough Sun
Water and sun are the two most vital elements to growing vegetables. When you’re planting your garden, it’s early spring, so the leaves on the trees may not be fully developed. That could mean too much shade once the leaves do fill in. You also may not realize that the sun’s trajectory may change over the summer. Check the plant tags to see how much sunlight they need. If you’re concerned about a shady garden, set your plants in containers that can be moved around to ensure they get enough sun.
3. Crowding Plants
When starting a vegetable garden, you get excited and want to plant everything you can imagine growing. However, putting too many plants in your space can reduce your harvest when vegetables don’t have room to expand. Check the space that each plant needs and make sure to give them plenty of room in your garden bed. A gardening guide can help you plan out your space more effectively.
4. Planting Your Garden Out of the Way
Putting your garden in a hidden corner in your yard might make you feel as if the clutter is out of the way, but it’s very easy to forget about it. Instead, plant your vegetables where you can see them when you sit on the patio or look out the window. A garden is a commitment, and putting it somewhere accessible helps you keep up with the day-to-day chores.
5. Not Checking the Soil Before You Plant
Plants need to be in healthy and nutritious soil. You can add fertilizer and other nutrients, but you have to know what your plants need and what is lacking in the soil to have healthy growth. Get your soil tested at your local university extension office or get a home garden soil test kit. Use a nutrient-rich soil additive to improve your dirt. You should probably check your soil annually to have the information you need each year to get a better yield from your garden.
6. Planting Too Soon
Even seasoned gardeners get cabin fever and want to get their seedlings into the garden. Many gardeners plant too soon because the warm, spring-like days make us want to get started growing. Unfortunately, the nighttime temperatures have to be warm enough to avoid a frost that can kill new plants. If you’re anxiously awaiting the day you can get your hands dirty, instead of setting out plants, keep yourself busy getting your garden beds prepared by aerating the soil or installing irrigation.
7. Forgetting to Harvest Plants
Beginners often want to wait to pick their harvest to ensure ripeness. Unfortunately, waiting too long to pick that cucumber or squash can lead to unsatisfactory produce. Some plants turn bitter and flavorless as they grow bigger. Those smaller zucchinis may not look impressive, but they will taste wonderful. Check your garden daily. Harvest vegetables and learn from your mistakes, whether it's picking too soon or too late.Your garden can enhance your meals. Let Red's Home & Garden help you get your garden started right. We have annuals, vegetable plants and potting soil to make your garden more successful. Shop today for unique greenhouse selections.