Top 3 Mistakes When Starting New Gardens

A garden is a place of peace, beauty, and serenity. The perfect opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and nature. A place where you can escape from your everyday life for a while and find some tranquility in the midst of all the chaos that surrounds us. One that brings an unparalleled sense of calmness to your soul as it soothes away any worries or stresses you may have had before visiting it.

But what if I told you that there are many things happening in your garden right now that could be threatening this tranquil experience? What if I were to tell you about common mistakes people make when they create their gardens that could jeopardize not only their enjoyment but even the plants themselves? This article will discuss three of the most common mistakes made when starting a new garden.

Mistake #1: Choosing a bad location

This is the most common mistake in gardening and it can really set you up for failure. Many people make the mistake of choosing a location without taking into consideration what plants need to grow best or even where they want to go. Here are some common mistakes related to location:

  • Choosing a shady location: Many people like to plant by the house because it is convenient but they fail to realize that shade provides for poor soil conditions.
  • Choosing a windy location: Wind is bad for your garden because it causes stress on plant leaves and blown away seeds.
  • Choosing the wrong size:  It is also important to consider the size of your garden. Too big and it becomes too difficult to maintain, too small and there will be a loss of productivity.
  • Not considering your neighbors: Make sure your community allows for gardens. Also, make sure your new garden isn’t growing into someone else’s property by consulting a land surveyor.

Mistake #2:  Choosing the wrong plants

Plants are a great way to bring nature into your life but they require a lot of work and dedication, so it is important to choose carefully. Simply put, you can’t just pick any plant and expect it to thrive or even survive. Here are some big mistakes people make when choosing plants:

  • Not considering the environment: Make sure the plant you choose can grow in your area. For example, if you live in a hotter climate avoid plants that require cooler temperatures.
  • Not considering the season: The planting season is different throughout the year so make sure you pick plants that are appropriate for what time of the year it is.
  • Not considering the preparation required: Depending on what kind of plants you choose they all have different needs. Some need soil deeper in their roots, some need to be watered differently and some have special lighting requirements.

Mistake #3: Not considering maintenance

Gardening is more than just selecting the plants, it requires a lot of maintenance to ensure that you are providing proper care. This is where doing your research can really pay off as it will give you the knowledge necessary to properly care for them. Here are some of the most important maintenance requirements:

  • Having a plan: You will need to create a plan that details the timing of care. For example, when do you fertilize and how much? 
  • Not considering pests: No garden is safe from damage caused by insects and other pests. It is important to have an effective yet sustainable pest control plan. Beyond Pesticides is a great resource that you can use as you create an environmentally friendly garden.

Avoid These Mistakes and You’ll Be Much Happier

If you want to enjoy a tranquil garden that soothes away any worries or stress, it is important to try to avoid mistakes from the start. These common mistakes people often make when starting their gardens are often related to choosing an inappropriate location, selecting plants that can’t grow in your area, not considering maintenance requirements, neglecting pests, and harming friendly insects. If you avoid these things, then chances are high that you’ll be much happier with what your new garden becomes!

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5 Ways to Transition Your Green Spaces from Winter to Spring

While your lawn and garden don’t need much care through winter, springtime gets everything buzzing in a hurry. However, as young plants begin emerging and lawns start turning green, there are some steps gardeners need to take to ensure plant health. Later, as your green spaces grow, so will your home’s value thanks to curb appeal. 

Ask for Help When Necessary

Not everyone has a green thumb. If you struggle to keep shrubs trimmed or can’t coax flowers into bloom, consider hiring a gardening service to help. Hiring a landscape professional can help you get a hold on your garden before the season gets away from you. From planning out usable garden space to reviving or weeding dormant plants, professional help can eliminate many of your seasonal challenges. Plus, you won’t have to get your hands dirty, unless you absolutely want to.

Use Prevention When Possible

While spring tends to sneak up on gardeners across the globe, planning your landscaping has multiple benefits. First, you can prevent weed growth before it starts by taking proactive measures. Hand weeding in your organic garden is often the safest way to keep overgrowth at bay. However, for especially tough weeds, consider using a homemade weed killer featuring salt or vinegar in place of harmful herbicides.

The Spruce notes that by using natural bug control — such as planting companion species near one another — you can sometimes prevent pests from creeping in. For example, planting chives, coriander or nasturtium can deter aphids, while tansy may ward off ants.

Introduce Plant-Friendly Critters

Introducing veggie garden-friendly bugs into your garden can make a huge impact on this year’s crop yield, and doing so early in the spring may mean avoiding challenges later in the season. For example, aphids are a favorite meal for ladybugs. Other beneficial insects — such as aphid midges, braconid wasps, damsel bugs, ground beetles, lacewings, soldier beetles, and tachinid flies — can protect your fruits and veggies by snacking on harmful pests, explains Good Housekeeping.

Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize

Giving all your shrubs, trees, flowers and edible plants nutritious and well-drained soil is crucial for a healthy garden. After a long winter, the soil likely needs a boost, so your first step before planting (or reviving the lawn) is to fertilize everything.

Depending on the nutritional profile and pH of the soil, you may need to add more nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus or other nutrients. In some cases, crumbling winter’s leftover leaves for mulch can help with fertilization. Organic fertilizers are ideal, and local options are better.

As for timing, if a soil test shows that your dirt is deficient, make sure to leave plenty of time for corrections before you plant. Otherwise, Almanac notes, you can fertilize right before planting your annual flowers and veggies.

Tend to the Lawn Later

While feeding your garden soil needs to go by your planting schedule, lawn fertilizer is a different story. You’ll need to wait until the grass greens up on its own, reawakening after the dormant winter period. Then you can add fertilizer as necessary.

You may also want to aerate your lawn, a process that involves punching holes in the dirt so roots can spread out and the nutrients, water and air can get around. Bob Vila recommends aerating cool-season grasses — like ryegrass, bluegrass and fescue — in the early spring (or early fall). If you notice symptoms like dry or compacted dirt, bare patches on the lawn, or water pooling in some areas, aeration might be the perfect remedy.

Keep Curb Appeal in Mind

As you follow the tips above, your home’s curb appeal will raise your property’s value. If the time ever comes to sell, a well-kept yard and healthy landscaping is among the top amenities in the eyes of potential buyers, raising your home’s appraisal value. 

Reviving the landscape in preparation for spring is one of the best parts of keeping a garden and lawn. Though transitioning your lawn and garden from winter into spring isn’t necessarily easy, watching new life unfurl is worth all the hard work.

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How To Winterize Your Garden To Protect The Bees

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When you think of winterizing your garden, you probably don’t think about bees. In order to help the honeybees survive, you should make sure your garden can support your local honeybee population during the winter. The following tips can help your garden become a bee-friendly sanctuary. 

Why We Need Bees

Honeybees are crucial to food production all over the world, which is why colony collapse is a dangerous issue. More than one-third of all crop production in the U.S. requires pollination. Wilson Bros Gardens recommends you avoid any herbicides, insecticides, pesticides and other chemicals on either your garden or lawn because even small amounts of these chemicals can be fatal for bees. 

Interested in learning what pest control is safe for your garden? Mother Earth News says it depends on the pest. For example, diatomaceous earth is fairly effective against slugs, while row covers help protect against aphids.

The Dangers Of Herbicides

Herbicides can be a serious problem for humans as well as bees. Some studies indicate that Roundup, one of the most popular herbicides, might be linked to Parkinson’s, cancer and other health problems. Instead, they recommend using organic weed control methods. These include easy solutions such as mulching and treatments like boiling water, vinegar or corn gluten.

One of your best defenses, though, will be hand-pulling weeds, as long as you make sure to get the root. 

Winterizing Your Garden

Meanwhile, you can help sustain local bee populations while also protecting your garden from the elements. The first step is to safely winterize using healthy, sustainable choices. 

  • Plant cover crops that build up the soil and prevent weeds such as garlic.
  • Prep your garden tools by cleaning them to prevent rust. This will also help extend the life of your tools.
  • Start a compost pile. Include dried leaves instead of throwing them in the garbage. You want a healthy mixture of browns, greens and seed heads.

Don’t overlook steps that help protect your garden year round as well. For example, raised beds warm up faster in the spring, so they can be a boon to frost-sensitive plants, and installing a fence helps keep pets and wildlife from trampling delicate growth. 

Additional steps in winterizing include pruning, weeding, and specific actions such as dividing perennials. You should also consider how your garden looks from the road, especially if you are planning on putting your house on the market. Creating curb appeal is one of the best ways to sell your home quickly, so bring in a professional to handle the landscaping. 

Helping Honeybees Prepare For Winter

You should also add new pollinator plants that can thrive in cooler weather. Here are three guides to pollinator-friendly plants:

  • Confessions of an Overworked Mom notes certain fall flowers help bees through the winter, which includes a mix of annuals and perennials.
  • Trees are another option; here is a list of 20 bee-friendly trees.
  • Don’t miss these bee-friendly plants that include herbs from Overall Gardener. 

Planting Your Pollinator Garden

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has several tips that can help direct you when planting your pollinator garden:

  • Planting in clumps will be a better way to attract pollinators.
  • Use a variety of colors and shapes when choosing flowers and plants.
  • Choose native plants as much as possible. That will not only attract more pollinators, but it can also help host local pollinators through their larval stages. In other words, you’ll be helping more bees grow!

Making smart choices for bee-friendly plants as we winterize our gardens can help protect our local pollinator populations. It can also keep our families safe as we use nontoxic gardening options. Choose wisely to protect your garden.