Most gardeners learn by example or read about gardening and then get out and do it. But they can still make some common mistakes. Here are some common garden mistakes and possible solutions.
Planting Garden Plants Too Early
Even the most cold hardy plants have a limit. Each plant has a climate they prefer and if the guidelines are not properly followed, the plants can suffer. Drops in production and even death can be the result.
Avoid planting too early. Make sure you read the instructions carefully. If in doubt, do some research. Ask an expert. Call a local greenhouse or visit the library to find a book on the particulars of the plant you plan to grow.
Solutions for Planting Too Early
Once you’ve planted too early, it’s usually too late to do anything about it. But there are some things that might help keep the plant alive and more healthy.
A cold frame can be used to keep the plant warm. A cold frame is usually a box with a window or some plastic that absorbs heat from the sun and traps it inside the box along with the plants. This allows to keep the temperature warm around the plant. There are many types of cold frames available commercially so check out the local home and garden stores for the best selections.
Two liter soda bottles can be used in place of the cold frame to keep the plant warm. This can only be used on plants that are still small, smaller than the two liter bottles. Using green bottles is better because it regulates the temperature better than clear bottles. Used as a makeshift greenhouse, the two-liter bottle solution is practical and cost efficient.
Weak or Leggy Stems on Garden Plants
Leggy stems are stems that are too long. This can cause a weakness in stem strength and can cause moderate to severe harm to the plant’s productivity. They can cause some plants to droop and bend over. This allows an increased risk of soil borne diseases because there is a likelihood that the plant parts are touching the ground.
Solutions for Weak or Leggy Stems
This condition is commonly caused by lack of proper light. Place the plant in a higher light concentration. If need be, supplement the plant with artificial lighting.
Plants like tomatoes and peppers get leggy stems more often than others. If this happens, transplant it into a bigger pot. When you replant it, make sure you try to place the stem as far down into the soil as you can. This will help strengthen the remaining stem and plant.
Sporadic Seed Germination
Most seeds have a shelf life. They won’t last long even under perfect conditions. This can cause sporadic germination, when a lot of the seeds don’t grow.
To test whether seeds are in good condition, do the seed germination test. Get a good sample of seeds. Ten is ideal. Put the seeds in between two wet paper towels and place in a bag. Put the bag in a dark setting for a few days. If more than six of the seeds sprout then your chances of good germination are high. But if less than six sprout, it’s probably time to get new seeds.
Solution to Sporadic Seed Germination
You could plant more of the seed but it could be a waste. The only good solution to this problem is to buy new seeds. Try a different brand if you have problems with certain ones. Try a different type or variety of seed.
Using Too Many Chemicals in the Garden
Some gardeners use sprays and other chemicals to deter pests such as insects and rodents. But using too many chemicals can be harmful not only to humans but to your garden as well.
Too many sprays that harm insects can harm beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis. Spraying too much can also allow certain insects and pests to become resistant to the sprays thus rendering the sprays ineffective for following applications.
Some chemicals are harmful to humans, especially those with immune problems and younger children.
Solutions for Too Many Chemicals in the Garden
Using natural pest deterrents is the best way to avoid the dangers of chemical sprays. Some common natural sprays and deterrents could include garlic spray and pepper sprays. Infuse some water with garlic or cayenne pepper. The best way would be to boil some water and add in garlic or cayenne pepper. Then let it cool. Add a few drops of dish detergent to the mixture. Then spray it on the plants. It won’t harm the plants and you can easily wash it off once harvest comes around.
Some plants can be deterrents in their own right. Basil helps repel certain insects from tomatoes and peppers. So do onions and the rest of the onion family (chives, garlic, leeks). Do some research on companion planting such as planting onions with roses to keep the Japanese beetles at bay or other companions such as marigolds around vegetables to keep soil insects away.