7 common gardening mistakes to avoid this spring 35



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If you’re getting out in the gardening now that it’s hotter, make sure you know what not to do so you can avoid any garden mishaps.

There’s a lot to learn in the garden but the benefits outweigh any small issues.

Here’s how to make the most of your gardening to prevent and fix some common gardening mistakes:

1. Not properly preparing the soil

Without good soil, no garden can thrive and look wonderful, so before you plant, you really need to prepare your soil. Disturbing seeds after they’ve been planted will not allow them to grow properly and you’ll have wasted time and money.

Prepare the soil as early in spring as you can by digging the holes and filling with 50 per cent native soil and 50 per cent manure. Let the soil rest until the weather is warm enough and then you can plant your seeds.

2. Not enough light

It’s a no-brainer that plants need sunlight to grow properly and process soil and water nutrients. When choosing where to plant your seeds or pot plants, make sure that the area gets enough sun. Check the needs of your plant as some plants require more sun than others.

3. Over or underfertilising

Too much, too little or the wrong type of fertiliser will kill your plants. Make sure you check at your local gardening centre about which will be right for your plants as it’s all about the amount of nitrogen in the formula.

4. Planting too deep or too shallow

In general, the larger the seed, the deeper it needs to be planted. The back of the seed packets offer information about how deeply to plant the seeds. Make sure you pay attention to this information, because planting too deeply will cause seeds to fail to sprout or tire out the young seed sprout.

By the same token, planting seeds too close to the surface can cause the seed to dry out quickly and fail to sprout.

5. Getting too excited

It’s spring and it’s a wonderful time to be in the garden but with all the excitement it’s easy to forget that every planting comes with a commitment. Before you know it, you need to weed, water, thin, plant, prune, stake and harvest, all at once! If you’re a novice gardener, start small with only a few rows or beds, allowing yourself to focus on the plants you’re growing and learn more about them.

6. Planting too close together

It’s important to follow the planting directions on seed packets and seedlings. But if you choose to plant more, experiment by (for example) rowing shrubby plants such as basil under tall vining plants like tomatoes.

7. Accidentally pulling flowers instead of weeds

You might find that when all the flowers sprout, along come some weeds. Be careful not to pull out your flowers’ roots when you’re weeding – it can be easy to do. The most efficient way to mark your plants is to use the nursery tags your plants come with so you’re very sure that the pretty looking weed or ugly flower is not the opposite way around!


Tell us, what gardening mistakes have you made? What other tips do you have?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. in the warmer/hotter months, garden early or garden late. Don’t do stuff in the middle of the day – it’s too hot!! Wear a hat always, sunscreen, gardening shoes and old clothes! Water early or water late, no point in the middle of the day!

  2. Buy a kneeler with sides to use when weeding. Don’t bend from the waist to pull up weeds. I pulled muscle ini back doing that’!!

    2 REPLY
    • I used my gardening kneeler for cleaning the bath. Now we don’t have a bath, I can’t find where I put it. D’oh!

  3. I started three weeks ago getting my veggie patch ready. Threw the remains to the chooks and turned over the soil. Was going to add pelleted fertilizer, but when I saw how easy the soil was to break up and the amount of worms present, I held back on fertilizing. Left it for a week and turned it over again. It a long, waist high raised bed, which makes it easy for me. After another week, yesterday in fact, I planted cabbages, lettuce, dwarf beans, 3 types of tomatoes, cherry, medium sized and large fleshy ones. 2 types of cucumber, Lebanese and apple. In the corner closest to the kitchen, behind the parsley and the mint, I put in petunias, just for a burst of color I can see through the glass door. I then put netting over the lot, with a few snail pellets as the birds can’t get to them. So, all set for a summer of good things. No room for much more. So enjoyed going out this morning and giving everything a drink. Even the beans, which were actually planted on Tuesday. My men can’t help, so I have to do this myself, which means doesn’t look pretty, but it works.

    6 REPLY
  4. My family installed raised beds, waist high. Best thing ever, no stooping, no digging. I can easily get around them to weed etc. they were Apple crates. All my vegetables are flourishing ESP now it’s sunny. Such a joy to go out each day and pick beautiful organic food.

  5. I suffer from Munyana Disease. My weed infested vege bed proves this.

    4 REPLY
    • Just spent $270.00 at Bunnings includes 30m garden hose (Gardenia of course, Australian made) plus fittings and a drip hose – for the vege bed and a watering can with a rose spray that won’t fall off in the first week and a plastic long spout watering can or watering my much loved, late, MIL’s crab cactus. There’s a dozen of them, so I wonder what the plural of cactus is?. Can of ceiling pain for bathroom ceiling – we’re still fighting over the colour for the walls – plus brushes, paint mixers, masking tape, sugar soap, plastic paint buckets, Bunnings basket ball for junior – (I’m beginning to regret that already) All I need now is some anti-munyana tablets and we’ll be away.

  6. My best tip is just do it. I go out early to avoid the heat but thats just common sense, most over 60’s have enough of this not to need advice and instructions for evetything in my opinion.

  7. My tip is to get him to do it lol. When living with Dad we did most of it for him, he did the directing thank goodness, he had lots going on and being an account he weighed everything every year for 40 years gotta love dedication. He was having a few falls so we banned him from any arduous labour, we loved it and found it relaxing and interesting he taught us a lot plus leaving worries at the door didn’t hurt.

    2 REPLY
    • Yes. I could get him to do it. That means it is done how he wants it – not how I want it. He doesn’t know the difference between “helping” and “totally taking over”

    • Ahhh yes it’s a terrible affliction it’s because they know it all but there’s no cure I’m afraid.

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