10 Mistakes New Gardeners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

The loss of plants is an inevitable part of garden renewal, but if it happens all the time, the destruction of plants can stop gardening forever.

We asked Gardening Australia Tassie expert Tino Carnevale to share the biggest mistakes newcomers have – and how to avoid them.

Too early planting

If you are starting out in a brand new garden, ideally take a year to learn about the weather patterns and microclimate before spending much on mature trees or landscaping.

It’s breathtaking to see the tiny seeds escape into flowers and trees, but be patient – some can take years to mature, so take the time to get it right – and expect things to keep changing in the process.

“Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the different areas in the garden. Look at the aspect of where the sun, the type of soil, the rainfall, and the drainage fall.”

Ignoring the soil

Gardening Australia Tino Carnevale gives tips on how to avoid common gardening mistakes
Thoughtfulness and organization can help preserve plants, Tino says.

“Your plants will only be as good as the soil in which they are grown, so until you get to know your garden, start improving the soil,” Tino says.

How? Tino’s best conditioner is compost.

If the soil is sandy, you should never add enough organic matter (such as compost and manure) to help retain nutrients and moisture.

If it’s on clay, consider digging in a little plaster before you start anything else, as this will make it easier for air and water to penetrate and allow you to dig in and add compost.

For vegetables, Tino digs compost – and often manure – before planting any new plants.

You don’t get help from others

Tino says the easiest way to understand what plants are doing well in the area is to look at what your neighbors are growing.

Take a few walks and check out the gardens in the neighborhood, which are gorgeous with healthy plants. If you are not sure what they are, be brave, knock on the door and ask. You might even be rewarded with some helpful advice or some free cuttings you can take home.

“Another idea is to join a garden club,” Tino suggests. You may be overwhelmed with more advice than you thought, but when you enter a club, you are sure to meet local experts and possibly other newcomers from whom you can learn.

Many clubs also organize exchange events where you can pick seeds, seedlings or cuttings and seek advice from growers.

It’s a great and inexpensive way to get started, but keep in mind that it can also be a double-edged sword; an easy-to-grow plant can also be a potential pest, so be sure to plant weed species that you never get rid of.

You’re going into a shopping frenzy before you research

Popular pothos in pots for the story of keeping houseplants alive
Pothos are a popular variety of indoor plants, but make sure the conditions are right before they cling too much.(Pixabay)

So he goes to kindergarten full of excitement and inspiration. You decided to buy tomatoes, lettuce and some herbs for your first vegetable patch. When you get there, the possibilities are overwhelming. The plants are very colorful and end up with 10 trays of seedlings, one fruit tree, two roses – and you have no idea what to do with them.

Before you go, do a little research. Have an idea of ​​whether you want a bushy tomato that is suitable for pots or a tall grape tomato that needs to be pruned.

– Grab your shopping list and stick to it.

Dive deep

“Start with something simple. I learned that my father grows peas,” Tino says.

Another great option is silver beet as it is easy to grow and easy to use in the kitchen. Instead of starting with asparagus, which takes 2-3 years to ripen, or something that doesn’t suit your climate, try a few simple herbs or leafy greens to boost your self-confidence.

Parsley, rocket, bok choy, radish and zucchini are all worth a try, or perennial herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary.

Sure, you may have beginner luck, but don’t fall for it.

Buy lower, cheap plants

A root-bound plant for a story about problems with houseplants
If the root of your future new plant is tied, avoid it and save yourself from heartache and regret.(ABC Everyday: Juliette Steen)

Some experts are able to swing their green thumb spell over scrap plants in a nursery infirmary and make them flourish, but if you’re just starting out, give yourself the best chance of choosing the healthiest plants.

Look for seedlings that are not very lukewarm and look like they have been well cared for.

Don’t be tempted to buy the tall tomato plant that already has fruit on it – it might be the last thing you get.

And if you buy shrubs and trees, get them from a reputable grower who can give advice, not from a department store where the staff have no idea what they’re selling.

If a tree is too tied to the root, it’s not a bargain – it simply wastes a few years watching it fight before it is destroyed and needs to be replaced.

Impression of too many plants

Some of the tallest trees in the world come from the tiniest seeds; what looks like a harmless chopstick in a plastic tube will eventually become a milestone throughout the suburbs, so do a little research (or at least read the size estimates on the plant label).

This is especially true of native shrubs, many of which grow wider than tall.

Distance is also vital in a vegetable garden. Don’t be tempted to cram the last two seedlings just to use up the whole stem – overcrowded plants rarely develop and a lack of airflow can cause fungal problems or attack pests, losing the entire harvest, not just the crop. crop. last two seedlings.

Instead, give the rest to a friend or neighbor – you might be able to do him a favor.

Position, position, position

Vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight a day, so don’t keep them in half shade or under a tree and expect them to perform well.

If you have a swampy place, consider digging it out to make a seasonal pond.

If you have sandy soil, grow carrots that don’t mind or wonderful beach plants that bloom.

Other plants may need frost protection, so consider growing them in a container that you can transport to a protected area in the winter.

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Increase what is fashionable versus practicality

Garden trends include a row of white roses, old purple carrots, curly kale and the most jagged plants.

There are all sorts of weird, wonderful, and “accurate” things to do, and sometimes it’s fun to experiment, but in order to be guaranteed good food from a patch of vegetables — or shrubs that can withstand the distance — we grow what we love.

“This may contradict the idea that you have to grow what suits your garden best,” Tino admits, “so you may have to make a compromise. But it doesn’t make sense to grow vegetables that kids don’t eat, flowers that which you do not love, or plants that will struggle in your garden. “


In the end, the best advice is to follow it.

“Gardening can be relaxing, good practice, good fun and can be rewarding, so I’m really asking everyone to give it a try,” Tino says.

“If you have physical limitations, there are raised beds and other solutions that make it possible.

And don’t forget, as Tino says, “A dead plant is not a failure, it’s compost.”

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