A novice gardener will make mistakes - me included – and I wished someone had given me the heads up on some things to avoid. Learning how to garden is tough. You can read every book in the world, but ultimately, you have to get your hands in the dirt to really understand what works and what doesn’t work.
Watering at the wrong time of day is something I learned the hard way – I took a walk round my garden admiring my efforts and noticed some plants looked a bit droopy or the soil was drying out, so I dragged out the hose and the watering can. Fine, but not in the middle of the day.
Wait until the evening – the reasons are obvious when it’s explained.
The heat of the sun will cause the water to evaporate really quickly so the plant will get nothing or very little water, so your watering efforts will have been wasted. When you do water, saturate the soil – I pulled out some seedling weeds, and to my dismay I noticed I had only watered them instead of the plants! When I scraped the top of the soil away after a light watering I noticed the soil further down - where the plant roots are – was still dry. To help the water absorb and not just lay on the surface, you can poke a stick down through the soil to help the water reach the roots.
Another error I am guilty of – where to plant. I forget that a small plant will probably get bigger and taller, so it might need to have space to grow outwards, and in the case of trees or tall bushes, they should probably be planted at the back of your planting area to allow upward growth as well. And a tree will give shade where perhaps you would rather have some sun, or have sun loving plants already growing.
Once a plant has established itself, it can be very difficult to uproot it easily to plant it somewhere else, and indeed it may not survive being moved.
That gorgeous camellia may look perfect by your front door, but it won’t last long if that area gets full sun. Ditto for sun lovers in the shade; they won’t bloom or thrive. “Right plant, right place” is a popular saying, so read the plant label or description before purchasing a plant, and have an appropriate spot in mind. For the record, full sun means 6+hours of direct sunlight, part sun means about half that. Full shade means no direct sun.
Another error is planting at the wrong time of year, too early and tender young plants will suffer from cold or be beaten by lashing rain, too late and they may not thrive or bloom at all.
And weeding properly – I am afraid it isn’t enough to poke around with a hoe and dig the weeds in. They are tenacious little devils, and will just come back! Not being proactive against weeds in your garden is a common gardening mistake. Having a healthy garden means keeping your weeds under control and getting to them before they get out of hand or go to seed.