Avoid the top mistakes new gardeners make with these simple tips for gardening success!
Tomatoes dying? Seeds not sprouting? Then these easy gardening tips for the beginners is for you!
As a “newbie” gardener and homesteader this year, I couldn’t let you fail in ways that I have! Pss..ask me how I mutilated my poor bush beans!!!
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I had to write this gardening post in hopes that you would learn from my mistakes and be on your way to successful gardening in no time!
Here’s what you will find in this post from my heart to yours:
So let’s dive in and answer all your vegetable gardening questions!
What are the best gardening tips beginning gardeners can use to avoid stupid mistakes?
1. Know your Region.
New gardeners need to be aware of the region in which they live. You can’t just plant willy nilly and expect any or all plants to grow!
For instance, here in Missouri, I REALLY want an avocado tree!!! BUT per Hunker, avocadoes grow best in zones 9-11, think Florida or California. Missouri’s plant hardiness zones are 4-7.
Avocados die if they are exposed to temperatures below 25 degrees, during the wintertime, Missouri can reach a bone chilling -25 degrees!
Obviously, my avocado tree would perish if I planted it outside!
It’s very important as a beginning gardener that I check each of my gardening ideas against the plant hardiness zone in which I live!
P.s. It’s not impossible to grow an avocado tree in Missouri, I just need to make accommodations such as planting the avocado in a container and keeping it indoors.
How to figure out your plant hardiness zone
Do you know which plant hardiness zone you live in? Here’s an excellent plant hardiness zone map from the USDA that you can check out later!
Once you know your zone you can easily figure out what zone most of your seeds or plants are compatible with. Almost all seed packets have the zone map listed on the back.
Also if you bought any plants at a local hardware or farm store, greenhouse, or roadside stand, the chances are high your seedlings will thrive in your zone. BUT there are exceptions!
Don’t assume that because a plant IS being sold at a local provider that it will THRIVE.
I found this out the hard way after buying our fruit trees when a local told me that peaches don’t do well here because of the soil.
So that creates extra work for me because now I have to baby my peach tree!
Which brings me to my second gardening tip for beginners.
2. Ask for Help.
One of the BEST ways a new gardener can achieve success is to consult with other local gardeners!
I cannot stress this tip enough! Do not make the mistake of thinking you can figure gardening out on your own and with YouTube!
As a novice gardener who just moved to a completely different state, it’s especially important to connect and learn from experienced local green thumbs.
And trust me once you start looking you will find help everywhere! What I have found is that most pro gardeners are flattered and eager to share their experiences.
An added bonus? They are chock full of gardening tips and mistakes to avoid! Like my peach tree example above. Not only that, some might even go out of their way and offer to help you plant or evaluate your vegetable garden.
I have had that happened twice so far, and I have 2 very experienced gardener and homesteader’s phone numbers in my successful gardening tips stash!
Where to Look for Gardening Help
- Local gardening, homesteading, & beekeeping clubs
- I was fortunate to connect with the beekeeping club organizer who offered to sit down with me and share all his gardening and homesteading tips!
- Look for these types of clubs by googling or searching on Facebook.
- Your church
- Last Sunday, a new friend of mind introduced me to a dear old lady who has been gardening for years! She happens to live on 80 acres and grows two vegetable gardens every year. Imagine the spring gardening tips I’m going to get from her!
- If you have kids, join a mom group and express your love of gardening. Chances are you will meet someone just like you!
- Your neighbors
- Since moving I’ve learned so much about my property and my plants from my neighbors. My next-door neighbor came over yesterday and asked if I knew I had naked ladies in my yard!
Yes, that’s seriously the name of these plants! She also told me how to care for them.
Start talking!!! Don’t be afraid to share with your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances your new gardening venture!
Ask for beginning gardener tips! You will be delighted at the connections and free gardening ideas you receive!
3. Research and buy the proper gardening tools.
This may seem pretty straightforward. After all you want to be a successful novice gardener right?
However, using improper or cheap equipment is a common mistake newbie gardeners make. It’s easy when starting your home garden to cut corners and try and keep down the cost.
But, that might end up hurting you in the long run! One of my costliest mistakes so far has been not investing in grow lights. I wasn’t aware until my seedlings began to grow, how important heat was for a hardy plant!
Thank God, the weather is fine enough now, that I can place them in the sun most of the time. But the downside of that is dark rainy days (we have plenty of those!) and having to move my plants inside and outside every day!
As a result of being cheap, some of my seeds have not sprouted at all. I did end up investing in some greenhouses and these have dramatically helped in creating a hot, seed sprouting environment for my seeds!
In fact my seedlings that are doing the best are the ones I have in my greenhouses!
Must Have Gardening Equipment
Other must have equipment for beginning gardeners that I use all the time include:
- A good watering can or hose with a good sprinkler head (Don’t get the cheap ones, all those do is destroy your plants by dumping an aggressive amount of water on your delicate seedlings.)
- Seed starting soil (This almost guarantees that your seeds will sprout because it’s specially formulated with the vitamins and minerals.)
- A sturdy trowel, garden rake, & knee board (Very handy for planting, smoothing the soil, and protecting in your knees and back.)
- A gardening dump cart (Use this for transporting plants, weeds & debris from your gardening beds, your garden supplies, compost, etc. The dump feature saves stress on your back!)
- Organic plant food (If your plants are being to look a bit sickly or not as hardy as you would like, organic plant food can help restore their health. Use per the package instructions!)
- Good compost (Check out my article on how to make your own compost plus compost bins!)
- Appropriate seed starting containers (This seed starting tray is self-watering and on my to buy list!
- Don’t be afraid to use old buckets, cheap containers from the dollar store, etc. As long as you follow the seed packet planting instructions you should be fine!)
Which brings us to our fifth item on the list, choosing the wrong plants to plant!
4. Be sure and choose easy practically grow themselves plants!
Once you start choosing your plants & seeds, you will soon discover just like I did, that some vegetable seeds are much harder to plant and take of!
For instance, my bush green beans were super easy to plant because they are large and easy hold. Not only that the seeds germinated uber fast and right now I have beautiful seedlings with broad leaves stretching the heavens!
My lettuce seeds? Those are another story. Not only are they miscroscopic, they are very delicate. I sprinkled the seeds onto my potting soil and gently combed over it. My mixed greens did germinate but do to some unknown reason the seedlings are dying every day.
It might be because I didn’t use a grow light, they didn’t get enough water, etc. but only time and experience will truly tell!
My point is, choose plants were you as a novice gardener is almost certain to get a bountiful crop because they are easy to plant and take care of.
Here are some ideas to start off with:
- Green beans (bush & pole)
- Squash (yellow, zucchini, acorn, etc.)
- Potatoes (any kind, I like red the best!)
- Peppers (Hot or Green)
This is by no means and exhaustive list but should give you a good start! Another easy gardening tip is reading the reviews on the seeds you buy from organic or heirloom seeds companies.
5. Plant organic or heirloom seeds from a reputable seed company
Choosing poor quality seeds are is another common mistake that can be easily avoided by the beginning gardener.
The seeds that you choose to plant is very important! Why? Because it sucks to put in a lot of time, hard work, and money into gardening and then your seeds don’t germinate or your seedlings wither and die!
Choose quality organic and heirloom seeds to ensure increase the likelihood of germination and hardy plants!
Even with good quality seeds I have had both happen to me for the reasons I listed above. Not only is the quality of the seed important but the seed’s environment and the soil quality are huge factors!
Here is a detailed review on the organic heirloom seeds I chose to plant in my spring garden and why.
Remember don’t just pick up any old seed package from dollar tree or the local hardware store. Unless you do your research you have no idea how many chemicals may be attached to the seed already or if the seed is genetically modified!
So now that you have determined that organic and natural seeds are the best for your spring garden plan, what other mistakes should you avoid?
6. Plant your seeds or seedlings in the proper location.
Don’t make the mistake of placing your seeds or seedlings wherever you feel they will grow the best or where you have room.
If the planting instructions instruct you to directly sow the seeds outside then do that. If it says plants indoors before the final frost, then do so.
This gives the new gardener a higher chance of being successful! Some plants are much too fragile to be directly sowed outside, some plants are hardy enough to withstand a slight frost, some plants wither and die in shade.
If the planting seed instructions advice you to that a certain plant thrives in full sun, don’t stick it in a dark corner of your house or on your porch where it never gets sun!
If your plant loves shade don’t have it burn alive in the summer sun!
Treat your plants and seeds like your babies, with love & proper care!
Use google and local’s advice to help determine where your plants will thrive!
7. Don’t forget to take care of your plants!
Being a gardener comes with responsibility. You can’t expect a bountiful garden bursting with healthy vegetables if you don’t maintain upkeep of your garden!
Water your plants regularly per the recommended amount needed. Don’t water them with it’s very hot, or the water will shock the plants.
I water mine in the cool of the evening after the majority the heat has passed or in the early morning hours. Treat your plants to organic plant food when it looks like they are drooping.
When you have plant babies, learn from my mistakes and invest in some grow lights and a greenhouse right away!
Thin your plants when they get too big and transplant to the proper container or bed you have prepared!
Gardening is not for lazy people, becoming a pro gardener requires a lot of hard work and patience.
Remember my poor bush beans???? Here’s what happened!!!! I germinated my seeds in my laundry room which worked like a charm for them because it was nice and warm! They sprung up tall and beautiful but I realized they needed more sun so I put them outside. Here was the silly mistake I made as a new gardener.
I set those poor bush beans on my front porch not realizing that that even though they were technically plant babies, they needed support. The stems of my poor bush beans bent in half and some of them even broke! I hadn’t realized how much of a support the window pane in my laundry room was to them!
Now don’t you feel better already???!!!! At the very least you now know not to do that!!!
I hope that you have learned a lot from these easy gardening tips I have shared with you! What beginning gardener mistakes have you made and what have you learned?
Comment and let me know!!! And as always, thanks for joining me on my holistic living journey!!!