10 Common New Gardener Mistakes

10 Common New Gardener Mistakes


Even when we have the best of intentions,
it is so easy to get things wrong when it comes to gardening. Even those of us
that have been doing it for a while get it wrong over and over again and
especially for new gardeners there’s a lot that can go wrong. So join me as I discuss ten common mistakes that new gardeners can make. Hi, I’m Gardener Scott and even though I
say these are new gardener mistakes a lot of them are mistakes that many many gardeners make. In fact, I’m still struggling with a number of them. But as
a new gardener, if you know going into it that these are some of the things that
might be going wrong with your garden it might give you an advantage for next
season. And the first common mistake is actually the location of your garden. So many gardeners pick a spot because it’s open in their backyard and they think
that’s where I’m going to put my garden. But it might not be the best choice. Or
you move into a home that already has a garden and you assume that that’s the
best spot. Well, that might not be right either. If you’re thinking about starting
a new garden, or you have a garden but you’re not sure it’s in the right spot,
well, walk through it. Look around. Start looking at the things like the sun and shade. And try to pick a spot that gets more sun than shade, ideally at least six
hours of sun a day. Where’s your water located? Are you gonna have to drag a lot
of hoses? Do you even have water that’s available for your garden? Look at
factors like animals. Do you have dogs or cats that might get into your garden?
Well, you probably want to put your beds where they won’t be disturbed by animals. How long does it take you to walk to the garden? If you’ve got it in the far back corner of your yard and it takes you a long time to get there, you’re less likely to actually go to the garden. So put it in a spot with easy access, maybe just outside your back door. By picking a location that’s really good
for a garden you’re really setting yourself up for success. And if you have
the patience I recommend taking an entire year to decide where to put your
garden. That way you can see all four seasons and really get a clue as to the sun, and the animals, and the water, and those
other factors that might influence you in your garden. The second mistake that a lot of gardeners make is ignoring the importance of soil. Soil is important.
I can’t state that enough. It’s the most important aspect of your entire garden. In fact, 80% of plant problems can be attributed to something wrong with your
soil. So take the time to learn about it. Learn how to amend it and make it
stronger because the soil feeds the entire garden. The plants get all of their nutrients from the soil. If you don’t spend the time to get your soil
right you’re going to be spending a lot of time dealing with plant problems. Soil
is key. The third common gardening mistake is choosing the wrong size garden and usually it means trying to garden with too big of a garden in the beginning. It takes a lot of work. It looks easy. Put a few seeds in the ground a few plants in the ground and then reap the harvest at the end of the season. But
there’s a lot to it along the way. If you start off too big, you might be
overwhelmed by weeds and insects and all kinds of other problems. And then at the end of the season you’re just stressed and overworked to the point that you
don’t even want to do it anymore. So start off small. Start with just a single
bed, maybe two, and then work your way up. I’ve got a pretty big garden space now,
but I’ve been spending 30 years learning how to do it. And even with that
experience, I think it’s a daunting task even for me. But I’m trying it. I didn’t
start this big. I worked my way up to this size. And that’s really the best thing for you to do. The fourth common mistake is planting or sowing seeds at the wrong time. We all want to get a jump on the garden season. So in spring
when we’re ready for those plants to grow we’ll often put them in the ground
even though it might not be best. If you live in an area with snow and cold and freezing conditions you need to learn about your last frost date. If you live
in those same type of conditions you also need to learn about your first
frost date in the fall. I actually started some spinach in this bed in late summer. I knew that it could handle the cold and the snow that has happened since. And I’ll be harvesting spinach well into November. I also know that I couldn’t have started peppers and tomatoes at the same time because the
cold would have killed them. So learn about the requirements of the plants. Can they handle the changing weather conditions that your region is going to have? Put those things together… the plants and the weather. And you should be able to be growing your plants at exactly the right time. They’ll survive. You’ll have a harvest. That’s success. The fifth gardening mistake is just choosing the wrong plant. Now, much of that relates to the weather and when to put it in the
ground. Your climate might not allow for some of the plants that you want to grow. There’s a lot that I would like to plant, but in my region, in my climate, I just
know there’s a lot that won’t grow. They’re doomed to failure as soon as I
put them in the ground. You also need to consider where you’re putting the plant. Don’t put it in the shade if it needs sun. Don’t put it in the sun if it needs
shade. Don’t put it in a dry area if it needs a wet area. Look at all of those factors when choosing what plant you put in a particular location. Because if you choose the wrong plant for that location, it’s not going to work. The sixth common mistake is just planting too much. The best example of this is zucchini.
Most new gardeners want to put in two or three zucchini plants and by the end of
the season they’ve got zucchini coming out their ears. They’re sneaking out at night and leaving it on their neighbor’s doorsteps because there’s just so much zucchini. Well, learn about plant production and how much you can get away
with. One zucchini plant for a new gardener… I guarantee you that’s probably enough. Don’t start with 25 different types of tomatoes the first time you’re doing it. Just start with one or two. It’s so easy to want to try a lot when all
you should be doing is just trying a few. Learning about it, getting it right,
learning from some mistakes along the way, and then next year add that second
variety or add a couple more plants. Just try not to do too much too soon. The seventh mistake, may be the most common, and that’s improper watering. I’m still guilty of this and I’ve been doing it for a long time. Typically it’s over watering. New gardeners in particular really want to
give their plants what’s best. So they water them. Constantly. Too much. And then the leaves start to yellow and the plant starts to suffer and they think they’re
not watering the plant enough so they water it some more. And they kill it with kindness. The opposite holds true. You’ve heard that over watering is a common mistake, so you really try to watch it and then you under water by just
spraying it lightly a couple times a day. Actually get in there. Stick your finger into the soil to see how moist it is when it comes time to determine
whether you should water. Try to get away from a set schedule because by watering the same amount every day chances are you’re over watering or under watering. Pay attention to the soil and pay attention to the plant and you’ll learn to do it right. Number eight is over crowding. It’s trying to grow too many plants in too small a space. Typically it’s when we sow very small seeds and then they pop up and we’ve got all these seedlings and
we’re happy, but you’re going to have to kill some plants. You’re going to have to pull out some of those seedlings so that others will survive. If you’ve got two seedlings growing side by side they are robbing each other of nutrients and
water and sun and neither one will do very well. But you pluck one out and now this one has space to grow. If you put plants in the ground, like let’s say three tomato plants right here, it may look okay when they’re still
pretty small but when each plant turns into a six or eight foot tall monster
now all of those plants will be suffering. So look at the seed packet.
Look at the plant tag. See how big the plant is going to get when it reaches
maturity. And take that into consideration when you first put it in the ground. Number nine is spending too much money. That is so easy to do when you’re a new gardener and you don’t have a lot or you’re starting a new garden. But take some time to learn how to save some money. You don’t need a lot of big fancy, expensive tools. You can get by with some pretty basic stuff. My wheelbarrow was pretty basic. It didn’t cost a lot and I’ve been using it for well over 20 years. The wood chips that I’m using as a
mulch didn’t cost me anything. There are alternatives to going to the store and spending a lot of money. Talk to other gardeners in your area
because they’ll be able to give you some of that advice. The plants that I put in the ground in spring… I start most of those from seed, because seed is much less expensive than putting a plant in the ground. So learn how to do seeds. There’s lots of ways to garden without spending a lot of money. Number 10 on my list of common new gardener mistakes is over using chemicals. And this is very
prevalent because it’s so easy to go to the store and buy a bottle and spray it
and fix the problem that you thought you had. But that’s the first part of the
mistake… is not really knowing exactly what it is
you had to start with. You see an insect on the plants and you want to spray it and kill it. Well, it might actually be a good insect. So step back. Take some time to learn what the problem really is before you automatically use chemicals. I
try to practice chemical free gardening and it can be done. In the beginning, if
you want to use chemicals, that’s okay. Just learn about them. Use them according to the directions. Make sure that you really do have a problem so that that weed you think you’re spraying really is a weed. Or you spray the weed and then the spray blows on to another plant and you’ve killed a plant that you were
trying to keep. Take some time. Do it right. And really avoid overusing chemicals. Now, I would love to hear about other problems you may have encountered, mistakes you might have had when you were a new gardener. Let me know below in the comments. Or if you have any questions about these 10, go ahead and ask the questions because there’s a lot more mistakes out there and you can expect to see another video with 10 more common mistakes. If you want to see more of these gardening videos, well, then subscribe to the Gardener Scott Channel. And be sure to click on the bell so you’re not left out a nd you know when
new videos are coming. If you like this video, well you can give me a thumbs up, and share it. I’m Gardener Scott. Enjoy gardening.

41 thoughts on “10 Common New Gardener Mistakes

  1. My garden I have to have about eight hundred feet of water hose to get to it. Lol not a lot of fun good advice. first-year I used all homemade compost in my two or three raised beds that I had did really well. Then I bought some compost from a nursery I don't know what they composted down but it didn't grow very well. I probably still will end up buying it from them. but then putting my own compost on the top 6inchs or so to have something better to grow in. Really been enjoying your channel.

  2. Hey Gardener Scott, greetings from snowy Norway.
    I start to composting direct in raised beds to get better soil in spring.
    Have anyone experience with this type of soil improvement?

  3. In farming there is an accepted crop rotation . Certain crops use specific nutrients and others add certain nutrients back into the soil, thus giving an order in which crop should be rotated. Is there an order of rotation for my garden.. such as beans after tomatoes or squash after cauliflower ? What order or guide book would you recommend?

  4. As a relatively new gardener — a few years — the only way to bear continuing is to square myself with the inevitability of failure, the necessity of trial and error, the growth of ability, and the need to watch shows like this. Many thanks.

  5. Plant things with similar water needs in the same bed/area. Keep in mind that tall plants will shade out smaller plants and place accordingly.

  6. I planted two zucchini plants and all I got were eight zucchinis. So I have to disagree with you on that. But, I did follow your advice and I planted them in Late July which you said they would be okay. They're okay but I only get one zucchini every two weeks.

  7. I made all the mistake, the 10 of them!
    I followed the square foot garden guidelines and planted 2 cucumbers per sq ft. Next to my peppers…. well, I have a jungle of cud’s choking my peppers!
    Too many different kind of tomatoes, (thanks baker creek!)
    Too much compost, not enough sand
    Yes, the 10 mistakes but I’m learning
    Florida is difficult!

  8. Moved to a new home, tilled up a 200×100 foot garden, planted 92 tomato plants and lost them all because of all the walnut trees around the garden area. Did not know about the adverse effects walnut trees have on other vegetation. I do now!

  9. I am a new gardener2019 was my 1st year in gardening 4 eggplants, 4 bell peppers, 4 tomatoes 2 cherry tomatoes. 2 zucchini that died not enough sun. 4 cucumber all but the zucchini do good So I got 7 raised beds for next year.

  10. LOL – Guilty of most. Thanks!  I have learned that gardens are not plug-and-play.  I learned to study and get to know the plants I want as if they are people with different personalities and needs if I am expecting to have a great, long-term relationship with them.

  11. My first real attempt at gardening was an expensive disaster. I bought grow lights and shelving, a tractor, water tank and trailer. A thousand dollars later (1978), I had ten thousand tomato plants. Long story short, the soil was so ruined by my landlord's neglect and misuse, it wouldn't grow weeds, much less the tomatoes and onions we planted. Nothing came out just fine. I still have a lot to learn, but I have black dirt under every finger nail. I learned how to fail. Just do it anyway. That's how we learn best. Thanks for this important video!

  12. A good start is to learn about "living" soil. Living plants build soil. Use a cover crop in your garden area. Keep roots in the soil all the time. I use clover , rye grass, and other plants to keep the soil "living" when it is not being used for my garden.

  13. I got back into gardening this year using cloth pots. Well I spent too much on those. And watering was a struggle since the plants dried out faster. But the biggest problem was the Japanese beetles. From mid May – mid July every morning I got up at 6 and pick them off the plants. The only spray I used was neem oil. That helped a little. They nearly destroyed my strawberry tower and eggplant. Ugh!

  14. Know your "pests" and find ways to live with them.

    For me, that's not bugs so much as four-legged critters and birds. Rabbits will eat certain plants to the ground, and the only solution is fencing. Cardinals nest in my yews, which is nice. But they also peck any red tomato, so I have to net big tomatoes once fruit begins to ripen. (They can have a few cherry tomatoes and I don't mind.) Deer only arrive once commercial corn nearby is cut, so I can ignore them as a pest until late September. I was told moles were a problem, but I find them helpful in my garden. (Cut worms can't survive them for long, and they help aerate clay soil.) But anyone else's wildlife issues will certainly be different! Permaculture principles, I suppose: observe first. And try not to resent the animals for being what they are. Find a way to share your space with them. Do what you can (fencing/netting) to save crops that matter to you. And maybe grow them some amaranth or sunflowers and one berry bush that's just for them.

  15. I DID THAT when I started growing different plantings that calls for full sun. I 'm going to chop or top trees down for more sun. Though out the day, I check for shade foot plants to see where I have more sun.    I tried corn didn't really do good but will try again.

  16. Been watching a lot of your videos, and I find them very informative. What baffles me is that your raised beds in every single one of the videos I have seen so far, at least a dozen of them, are always empty. Do you actually grow stuff in them?

  17. Thank you for teaching others. Getting my master cert this coming spring and I am so excited. Keeping plants alive during the arizona heat can be done, its tough but doable! Hope you had a great weekend Scott!

  18. I am by no means a new gardener but I still struggle to thin plants out correctly. And if I take cuttings or sow seeds and generate too many plants I just cannot bear to discard them. Of course I give away spare plants as much as possible but some of these years I’ll have to toughen up and not pot up all those strawberry runners..

  19. Planted out of season (from seed in june hot summer) with normal cucumbers from dollar general grew them to the size of a loaf of bread….. No chemicals ended up with 30+ quarts of pickles in the end and the plant is still producing. We live in zone 9a. Can't wait to see what happens when they are grown in the proper season. Thank you for your informational video's it's helped a lot.

  20. I'm no expert but get decent results and have never used pesticides with rare exceptions for organic types and I use diluted dish detergent to squirt on artichokes to drown earwigs.

  21. I haven't got the space to start a garden, but for a good 5 years now I've been "prepping". Learning how to do these things for when I can/need. But you touched on soil, and a lot of what I want to do is with hydroponics but that isn't exclusive. I was wondering if you had any good sources that I could learn from for soil amendment. I am fond of detail so that I can have a strong understanding. So if it seems boring I'd still be interested. I haven't found much on the subject. Usually I get told to "have it tested" but what if that's not a possibility? Surely there are alternatives.

  22. I admit i use chemicals….but i only spray the pest…i use a windex bottle and if i see a pest..i only spray that pest..not the whole dam row . I see people drench their garden soon as the see a couple pest . they are wasting most of their spray…Most of the time those first pest you see are laying eggs and if you kill them at the beginning you have solved your pest problem before it gets outa hand . I have several large gardens and i never use a full windex bottle of spray for the entire season . Try it and you will see it works .

  23. Putting down a lot of mulch can reduce the effective size of a garden. You can make nice walkways etc. This is good for someone with slightly limited mobility. There is no need to step over anything and there is room for a "garden tool" to be brought down on the path too.
    Garden tool for someone with a bit of trouble getting back up:
    Get a fork handle with the crossbar style grip on the end.
    Find a small hoe or other flat head for the other end.
    The person can take the tool and use it to kill a weed without bending or as a thing to help then regain the standing position.

  24. Best way to find your perfect garden spot? 6-pack method. Early spring you go to your potential garden area, drop a 6-pack there. Crack one of those bad boys open and have a relax moment. Come back out every couple hours and have a beer til you've finished the 6-pack. If your in sunlight whilst drinking each can – full sun garden, good to go!

  25. My wife is a know-it-all who plants seeds in piles and has five or six seedlings coming out of the same spot. It never works. She never learns. I’m going to pull out the extras myself because I’m so tired of seeing this season after season.

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