How’s your garden right now? Some will say their crops are doing great – CONGRATULATIONS! Achievement unlocked. Unfortunately, the others are sad they did not even reach the flowering stage of their plants. Do not envy their green thumb, you are probably doing some of the following gardening mistakes:
1. Not knowing your crop
If you’re a beginner gardener, you just can’t go to the nearby agricultural supply store, buy seeds, plant and expect to have the best harvest. Just like any venture, you need to study your chosen crop/s, their growing requirements, harvesting time (to name a few).
But hey, don’t spend too much time researching everything about that single crop that you end up late to actual gardening. Start from the basics and earlier crop growth stage of your plant and you’re ready to go. Then you can just continue your research while the crops are progressing. Besides, learning is a continuous process.
2. No soil assessment
Cassava can thrive in adverse conditions. But, you will observe a significant higher root yield of the same variety planted in a sandy loam soil over the clayey soil. This is simply because roots do not need to exert extra effort to dig deep and grow in a sandy loam soil than the compacted clayey soil.
You don’t need to go to a laboratory to test them (though if you have the resources, I encourage you to do so). I just want you to assess your soil. Color can be assessed visually while texture can be determined using the ‘feel method’ (search the net to know how easy it is done). Knowing the soil color can give you an idea of the fertility of your land and texture will determine the best suited crops for that soil.
3. Fertilizer-related mistakes
You do not just buy any fertilizer and apply all of them to your crop. I have a separate post on that matter here (8 fertilizer-related mistakes: what would possibly happen and how to avoid them?)
When you apply fertilizers wrongly, you are not only jeopardising the growth of your crop, you are also posing a negative effect to the environment.
4. Watering too less or too often
I said before that plants are made up of 85 – 95% water and they badly need it to do all the process. But hey, do not water them less nor more than they need. Some plants are water loving while others can thrive even with 1 cup of water in a month.
Also, if you are gardening outside, make sure to check the weather forecast for probability of rainfall. If there’s a high chance of rain, consider abandoning your plan to water your plants.
5. Removing all weeds or not removing them at all
Weed management is an essential part in gardening – they can reduce productivity of your crops or when well-managed, will be beneficial to your plant.
They affect your crops through competition. Weeds like your crops need sunlight, water and nutrients. Too much weeds would mean too much competition to your crop. Make sure to remove them it they are already covering large areas of your field. Although completely removing the weeds is pleasing to the eyes, it will require additional labor. Total absence of weeds will also mean that your crop will only be the host of your pests.
6. Spraying too much pesticide
Some newbie gardeners would likely consider spraying pesticide once they see their crops being eaten by some naughty borers. If you see this before getting your spray bottle, think again. Are they still manageable? If yes, then put that pesticide back to your cabinet.
Assess first your garden. If pest damage is not that many, then try other control measures like manually removing the insects and infected area or putting some trap crops (plants in the same family of your crop planted side by side with your main crop). Pesticides are harmful to you, your friendly beneficial and natural enemy insect and the environment.
7. Absence of record book
You do not necessarily need a fancy notebook. An ordinary one will do. This will be your gardening diary. You write your observations. The things you did right and those that aren’t so right. LOL.
Every cropping season you will learn things from the way you managed your crop. You will surely make mistakes and it’s ok because you learned. Let this lesson/s be recorded. This will serve as your reference whenever you make future decisions to you garden. Try not to make the same mistake twice. *wink*
8. Early or late harvesting
That is why I always say that you should know your crop. The days to harvest after planting is also a crucial part of your gardening. Do not allow your good-looking lettuce to taste bitter because you harvest them 50 days after you transplant. Early or late harvest time may affect the quality of your produce.
And if you are after viable seeds, make sure to look at their physiological maturity. Some seeds will not germinate when harvesting seeds prematurely. Timing is everything. Just like in love. LOL. ❤
9. Direct sunlight
Just like water, plants need light to PHOTOsynthesize. Plants can be sun- or shade-loving meaning they grow better when they are under the sun or under other plants, respectively.
Do not wonder why your baby pakchoi died when you place them under scorching sun. And do not ask yourself why your cassava didn’t grow well under the tree. Make sure to place each crop of your choice to location they will love. 🙂