I talk a lot about what you should be doing in your garden and landscapes. There are some gardening don’ts that you should be aware of as well. Avoiding these common errors in your garden can make your life much easier and your plants much healthier.
Gardening Don’t Number 1
Don’t use non-organic man-made synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and pre-emergents. Using these products does more harm to your soil than good to your plants. Our goal is to build a healthy soil biome and you cannot do this if you are applying toxic chemicals to your soil. Remember that you feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants.
Gardening Don’t Number 2
Overwatering is one of the biggest problems we see in landscapes, more so than in gardens. The cause is the use of automatic irrigation systems that come on regardless of the soil conditions or the actual soil moisture content. Plants need the cycle of soil drying and then moisture introduction. As the soil dries, it pulls fresh air and oxygen into the spaces between the soil aggregates. The cycle of drying and watering promotes the micro-life in the soil. Water only when your landscape needs it. Turn off that automatic sprinkler controller and develop a habit of watering only when the top inch or so of the soil is dry.
Garden Don’t Number 3
Another watering problem. Water slowly so that the moisture has time to infiltrate deeply into the soil. Quick heavy applications of water are ineffective. Most of the water runs off the landscape and never reaches the deeper parts of the sub-soil structure where the roots and mycorrhizae fungi exist. You are wasting water and not helping your soil or plants at all
Garden Don’t Number 4
Plant according to the directions on the seed package or that came with the transplant. Planting too deep is the biggest mistake I see. Many seeds will sprout quite readily in the shallowest of soil depth. Follow the instructions on the seed package. If you are transplanting from your sprouting, let the plant be your guide. Plant no deeper than the plant was rooted in the pot. One exception to this is tomatoes. If your tomatoes are long and leggy, planting them in a trench and covering the bottom few leaf buds will help stabilize the tomato plant and let it develop a more robust root system.
Garden Don’t Number 5
Don’t crowd your plants. This is especially true in vegetable gardens. Plants need light and air. Planting too close together prevents good airflow around and through the plant. Crowding plants together can also prevent adequate sunlight from reaching the leaves, resulting in stunted or slow growth and poor fruit production. Plants jammed together also is an invitation to diseases and pests. Plants under stress are much more likely to be attacked by diseases and pests. Crowding stresses plants as they are forced to compete for air, sunlight, and water.
Garden Don’t Number 6
Don’t overextend yourself. Many beginning gardeners, be they growing ornamentals or vegetables, try to start too big and get overwhelmed. Establishing a garden or landscape is not a quick process. It takes time to build soil and establish plants. Chose your spots carefully, size them wisely, and nurture them. Each season you can add a bit more expanding your landscape or garden over time. You will be much happier with the results.
Links and Resources
For more information about organic gardening, lifestyles, and living, visit our website at West Texas Organic Gardening.
If you found the information here helpful, you might also find these articles on our website of interest.
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