One of the most popular pastimes among Aussies is gardening, but it can be tricky to get the hang of. Whether you're an avid gardener or just like to putter around the garden, it's essential to know the common mistakes that can hinder your progress. These vary from region to region but considering that Australia is a hot, arid area with soil, climate, and pests that are remarkably different from those in other places, it is not the easiest spot for gardeners. For these reasons, Australians can make certain errors when they go about their gardening tasks. This blog post will help guide you through some of the most typical gardening blunders alongside their corresponding solutions.
1. Not knowing what will work in your area.
The most common gardening blunders often stem from ignorance of what gardening entails and where you live. Every area requires a different type of gardening, which is why it’s essential to know what will work for you before you get started. For example, if you’re living in Sydney, a warm temperate zone, then the plants that would be easy to grow in your area would be different from those that would easily grow in alpine zones, such as Tasmania. If your weather conditions are too hot or too cold, some plants will never grow. Similarly, you need to know which pests are known to target your type of vegetation so that you’d recognize them and find an appropriate solution before it’s too late.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: Gardening is a complex process that requires more than just randomly throwing seeds into the soil. You must first learn and develop a thorough understanding of gardening relative to the area where you live before you can hope to make gardening blunders less common in your experience. If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid of messing up! We’ve all been there. It just takes a little in-depth research (allow Google to be your best friend!) and some mistakes here and there—trust us, it’s a great way to learn as long as you’re willing to put in the effort—to get started.
2. Using the wrong tools.
Another common mistake is not having the right gardening tools for the job at hand. For instance, you shouldn't use a shovel to dig out weeds and a large machete to prune small plants and shrubs. Even though the DIY culture has led to people using random equipment for purposes other than their intended ones, that doesn’t mean that you should follow suit. That is unless you want to end up with excruciating arm pains and a slew of additional issues.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: When gardening, it's crucial to have the proper gardening equipment for each particular task. This will ensure your gardening experience is more enjoyable and fruitful. It is also important not to use gardening tools on objects other than plants and soil as this can damage the gardening tool and may even cause injury to yourself or others around you. For instance, gardening equipment, such as pruners, are primarily for gardening tasks, not chopping wood or opening stubborn jars. In addition, if you're just about to buy new ones, do thorough research, as this will save you wounds and money later. Lastly, make sure that the ones you end up getting are functional and durable enough to last you longer than one season!
3. Using the wrong soil type
Gardening requires using the right kind of soil for your plants and vegetables to thrive in. In spite of what you may have learned in science class, it’s not enough to just know that loam is the best type of soil for planting. Certain types of soil are better suited to growing specific crops than others. To illustrate, if you want to grow tomatoes, you need a type of soil that allows the roots to breathe and doesn't compact easily. Moreover, if you want to grow carrots, you'll need looser soil that doesn't cling to the roots. If your crops don't thrive in dense soil, then more problems will arise as you may not be planting them in the right kind of soil.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: The gardening blunder of using the wrong soil type is especially common among beginner gardeners. It's vital to know which soil best suits your crops before gardening, so you can avoid this. It doesn’t hurt to do a little research before taking action, but it does hurt your plants to be growing in the wrong soil type!
4. Growing plants too closely.
Overcrowding can lead to a wide variety of problems. For starters, plants that are situated too close together compete for sunlight, soil, and nutrients, making it seem as though you’ve got a weed issue! As a result of this competition, both plants become underproductive, producing fewer leaves, fruits, and flowers than those with ample room to grow. It’s also worth noting that in most cases, there will only be one that emerges victorious and manages to survive. Unfortunately, on the other hand, the other plant ends up being shaded by the former. As a consequence, it fails to receive its basic needs and eventually dies.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: If you want to keep your gardening problems at a minimum, then it is important that you plant flowers and vegetables at specific distances from one another in order to allow sunlight and water to reach every part of the plant. Though it's generally advisable to leave at least 18 inches between the tiny seedlings and allow them plenty of space as they grow, you can also tailor your garden design to fit specific types or varieties. Tomatoes, for example, require 24 inches, whereas carrots only require six.
5. Watering inefficiently.
Surprising as it may be, it’s also common for gardeners to make mistakes in terms of watering. Some don't water their plants enough or at all, and this can be a huge problem for gardeners in areas where there isn't much rain, particularly in the hotter months of spring and summer. Contrarily, for gardeners in areas with plenty of rainfall, the likelihood of suffering from inefficient watering is also high. This is owing to the fact that some people tend to overwater their plants, which causes them to die due to root rot or fungus growth (a common problem amongst flower and vegetable gardens).
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: If you live in an area where it’s mostly sunny, then you should make it a habit to water your plants either in the early morning or early evening. Also, keep in mind not to water while in full sun, since much of the water will likely evaporate before entering the soil; or late in the evenings, as the leaves may remain damp overnight, creating an ideal environment for disease and pests to thrive. Finally, remember one of Queen’s iconic songs, Too Much Love Will Kill You? Well, the same goes for plants. Too much water will kill them, so remember not to overwater.
6. Fertilising the wrong way.
Fertilisation is an essential part of maintaining a healthy garden as it provides nutrients to any crops or vegetation which need them. However, when fertilising your garden, you must ensure that it is done correctly to avoid causing damage to your plants. This damage can be caused by over-fertilisation or under-fertilisation.
Over-fertilising will cause damage to any plants which are unable to absorb the nutrients effectively, which in turn leads to undernourished plants. As for under-fertilisation, it’s pretty self-explanatory, so we won't go into too much detail. If you fail to fertilise your plants, they will also become undernourished and yield a low crop. Should they still bear fruits, they won't be as nutritious or taste as nice.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: It’s not enough to just sprinkle fertilizer on your plants. To avoid experiencing the issues mentioned above, take note of the type of fertiliser you're using (and if it's suited for the plant that you'll be putting it on), as well as how much and how often you should apply it.
7. Failing to eliminate weeds.
It’s quite common for gardeners to be complacent about weeds. When they see a small one that's just about to sprout, many people will simply think of plucking it out later on and not worry too much in advance—only giving attention once the weed has grown into an abomination or infestation (or both). However, weeds are indeed a serious problem that should be worried about because they steal nutrients from plants in order to grow, and in turn, kill plants if left untreated.
INSIDE OUT’S ADVICE: The saying that goes “prevention is better than cure” is widely known for a reason. Don't let weeds grow! Pluck them out immediately and apply mulch to prevent them from once again taking root. Mulching can help make gardening easier by providing nutrients back into our soil as well preserving moisture levels where necessary; plus, who doesn't love an easy job with minimal effort involved?! Anyway, we’ve talked about the wonders of mulching in some of our previous blogs, so we won’t elaborate any further. Check out our other blog posts instead!
Have you made any gardening blunders in the past? Let us know how you overcame them! Also, if you’re into landscaping, you might want to check out our previous blog post about typical landscaping blunders!
You're probably looking for a service that can help make your lawn and garden look better. That's where we come in! We have people with green thumbs who will do all of the gardening and landscaping work, so you don't need any expertise or knowledge about plants yourself. Contact us now at 1300 916 767!