As many of us are becoming novice gardeners during the lockdown, to get the best out of your garden it’s good to know what to do, and importantly, what not to do.
Beginning gardeners who are planting and sowing while self-isolating may be digging themselves into a hole of horticultural mistakes, so during National Gardening Week, we wanted to point out some common mistakes.
- Sowing too early
Try not to rely on the many social media ‘experts’ for direction, and always read the back of seed packets which will tell you when to sow.
Many people tend to overwater, especially during the seedling stage when there’s less of a need for extra moisture. It can flood new roots, which will starve them of air. A simple trick is to lift your seeding trays and judge by the weight to see if it needs water. A well-watered one will be heavier. You’ll quickly learn how to judge what needs water and what doesn’t.
- Loosening soil
Some gardeners believe that plants need soil that has been loosened, by digging or rotavator, to spread their roots. Firm soil is better and has its own natural, healthy structure of drainage and aeration.
A good compost mulch of at least 2in on your beds, without digging it in, should provide all the nutrients your plants require.
- Spacing plants or seeds too far apart
This can result in a massive under-use of space in your garden, as well as extra work to maintain the unused space, which is often colonised by weeds. As a starting point, space about one third closer than recommended and you’ll be surprised how many extra plants you can grow.
- Lack of summer sowings
Planting seeds only in spring will result in empty spaces and weeds by autumn. Make use of the whole year for growing, perhaps with sowing beetroot in late June, fennel and lettuce in July, and rocket as late as August.
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