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The Truth Behind Why Many Gardens Fail

Mar 28, 2008
With spring on the way and people getting ready to garden, some for the first time; this might be a good time to review some of the mistakes that most of us have made at one time or another.

* Not preparing your soil properly. If your soil is barren, you can add peat moss, perlite, vermiculite,humus, clean straw, compost, or composted-manure. A good mix is 2/3 soil with 1/3 amendments added. You are feeding the soil, not the plant.

* Not planting in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

* Over planting. Fewer seeds spaced evenly are usually enough. The majority of your seeds will sprout, so why waste them, your time and your money by going back later and than thinning them out?

* Not watering properly. Consistent and frequent watering it is best. Initial watering can be light, but as the growing season wears on, deeper soaking is encouraged. One inch of water per week is the standard. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems are ideal for this chore. Water deeply, not daily. Improper watering is the number one cause of garden failure.

* Planting too deep. If using transplants the hole should be approximately the size of the root ball. The root-ball should stick out of the ground a fraction of an inch. If the root ball is bound up, open it so the roots will spread out. Do not bury seeds too deeply and remember to read the instructions on the seed packet.

* Planting vegetables that are not suitable for your growing zone. Check to see what your growing zone is.

* Using unhealthy transplants in the hope that they will recover. They might, but you are making a long-shot bet.

* Not weeding. Start out by weeding before the weeds get ahead of you. They will be competing with the vegetables for food water, nourishment and light, early weeding will make life a lot easier for you and your vegetables.

* Over fertilizing. More fertilizer is not better. Too much fertilizer can lead to excessive foliage growth with spindly stems and less produce. 1 in. of compost should be enough to grow annual vegetables for a season. Fertilize sparingly and only as necessary.

* Creating too large a garden. When gardening gets to be a chore, it becomes too easy to let upkeep slide.

Remember, too much food is wasteful unless you have a lot of hungry neighbors. Grow only what you need.
About the Author
Dick Murray is a retired urbanite who keeps his passion for gardening alive with pots of herbs on the window sills and the creation of
web site dedicated to vegetable gardening
basics. It is not the same as digging in the soil, but it works for him.
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