5 Common Mistakes New Gardeners Make

3 comments by Halley -Author at MIGardener

I must admit, being a gardener for most of my life I have made a TON of mistakes. I understand where people are coming from. But I also understand when I say that you will have to make these mistakes yourself before you realize it. So allow me to tell you 5 mistakes every gardener makes in his/her life. Then when it happens (if it hasn't already) you won't feel like such a screw up.

1. Overwatering - Plain and simple, the more water you give a plant, the more it is likely to die. As much as you have the urge to, DO NOT water your plants until you are 100% sure they are dry. There are a few ways to tell this, here are a few.
+Stick your finger in the soil about 2 inches. If it's dry, give your plants some water. If it is damp to the touch, leave it.
+Buy a moisture meter. I know this seams lazy, but it really helps!

2. Over-Fertilizing - The same as the watering. The more you fertilize the more the plant will grow right? WRONG. Plants don't have the typical American diet where we eat more than our stomachs can handle. Plants are very smart and extremely efficient with the amount of nutrients they need to grow. Follow what your fertilizer packet says, and put it away. Trust me, the urge will seem unbearable at first, but it is one of those things where you will end up killing your plant trying to help it.

3. Overcrowding - Boy oh boy if this wasn't the most frequent problem I ever had. The seed packets must be crazy! are you kidding me? 2 feet for a tomato plant?!? Nawww they are being wimps!....... this is what went through my mind the first couple years growing my own vegetables. Until I found out that yields can be decreased by a huge amount if they are crammed too close together. The problem with it comes from lack of nutrients. There is a shortage, and therefor only a few plants will take the nutrients leaving to wasted plants, space, and reduced air circulation between plants.

4. Compromising the garden to save money - I am not able to buy 10 bags of compost, so I think 10 bags of top soil will work.... No... please no. It is better to start smaller if you can't afford what you would want. If you have to jeopardize the success of your garden just to have a bigger garden, you will be selling yourself short, and getting poor results that are very displeasurable to get. Start small, but start right.

5. Starting out just plain too big - When I first began I started with 30 square feet, and then worked up to 100, and then 500, then 1200, and now I have close to 4200 square feet. I did not do it overnight, and had I tried, I might have failed miserably. Many young gardeners try so hard to have a big market garden that when it fails they become so discouraged that they don't return. This is unfortunate but true.

So I hope you enjoyed those quick 5 mistakes every gardener has made and will make. Until next time,
~Grow Big or Go Home


  • Lou Cortez

    We live in California and I am ready to plant my tomatoes. I heard that it is not good to plant tomatoes in the previous year. My tomatoes last year was a bust so I am thinking not to plant in the same location as last year. I put greenbeans to replenish the soil and onions and green lettuce.
    I there any suggestions to refurbish the soil to plant my tomatoes?

  • T.W.

    I haven’t grown a garden in the past 4 years and I miss it, but I totally agree with the 5 Common Mistakes New Gardeners Make. I made some of those mistakes in the beginning when I first started gardening. Thank you!

  • Sarah Milling

    Great advise. I have struggled with whether to water or not and whether to fertilize. My seedling were looking yellow and some bottom leaves fell off so I thought I was overwatering. I just used an organic fertilizer so will see what happens. This is my first time starting seeds and I’m just playing it by ear. Hope they continue to grow. All of my seeds are tomatoes.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published