Six ‘common’ gardening mistakes to avoid making

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Although winter is often a time when gardening is put on hold, there are several jobs to do be doing in the month of January, including planning ahead. Brian Davenport, owner and co-founder, The Solar Centre, shared six common mistakes people make and should avoid doing this winter. He said these could make the difference between a “dull and dreary space, and a lush oasis at home”.

1. Starting off too big

When moving into a new home, or starting out on a gardening journey, it can be tempting to go all out to make the garden look nice, including buying lots of plants.

However, caring for lots of plants at once can be challenging, especially if they all require different care. 

Brian said: “If you’re starting from scratch, consider picking a few low-maintenance plants like ornamental grasses or lavender.

“Or if you’re nervous about your green fingers, start working on a pathway or patio area. Successfully completing smaller projects will help you feel more confident when you’re ready to take on something slightly bigger.”

2. Choosing the wrong spot for flowers

Picking out gorgeous flowers and plants for the garden can be fun, especially when looking to incorporate different varieties into your outdoor space.

However, not all plants work well in every plant of the garden, and it is important to ensure that specific plants are picked depending on their sun and water requirement.

The expert added: “To avoid making a costly mistake, make a plan of your garden first. Take note of which areas of your garden are shadier, compared to those which have direct sunlight.

“This will make it easier to pick plants which will thrive in your space.” Placing plants in low light conditions when they need full sun will kill them, and vice versa.

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3. Letting weeds take over

Weeding every single area of the garden is almost impossible, especially in one go as this can be tiring and you may miss huge areas.

Despite this, it is also important to make sure weeds are removed as soon as they appear to avoid them competing with other plants for light and water.

Brian explained: “Weeding properly involves a few hand tools like a hoe or weed extractor. This will help ensure that you reach the root of the weed.

“Simply pulling away at a few leaves will ensure that they grow back time and time again. If you’re feeling intimated by the number of weeds in your garden, dedicate 15 minutes to one square metre patch at a time.”

4. Forgetting when to water

Plants will need different amounts of water depending on the time of the day, the season and which plant you are watering.

They will need more water during the summer months, with some plants not needing water at all during the winter months.

The expert noted: “Knowing how often to water can be tricky, as this will depend on the type of weather. During hot periods, some plants require watering once a day, while others can go a few weeks without water.

“When planning your garden, put plants with similar needs next to each other so that you’re able to stick to a watering schedule for different patches of your garden.”

5. Using chemical pesticides

Using chemical pesticides in the garden will help to kill pests very quickly, but they can also kill other types of insects or animals you may not be targeting.

Brian said: “Some pesticides can also be passed on to other living organisms like animals. Rather consider using biological controls, like the predator of a pest to help keep them under control in your garden.

“Chemical pesticides should only be used as a last resort, when alternative options have been unsuccessful.”

6. Not planning where to put solar lights

The expert added: “Lighting around your garden is essential to ensure that you don’t just enjoy your garden during the day but in the evenings too. Getting wiring laid down in your garden can be a difficult process whereas solar lights cut the hassle and can be used immediately. 

“However, not choosing the right spots for your lights may leave you sitting in darkness. You’ll want to make sure you position these in areas that receive full sun during the day.  

“Alternatively, pick a lighting option which has a separate solar panel. This will allow you to place your lights in a shaded area, while still making sure the solar panel receives enough light.”

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