Today on the prairies is a rainy, miserable day. So today is a good day to begin planning my garden for next year. In planning my garden for next year, I thought about some of the bigger mistakes I made this year that I want to avoid making in the future.

This year was my first year starting and maintaining a garden. I developed a bit of addiction at researching and experimenting with my garden. However, there were some key mistakes I made which I realized too late…These mistakes affected the health of my plants, and ultimately their overall production rate. I wanted to share these mistakes with you, so you can avoid them in your own gardening endeavors:

Planting too late in the Spring

This was somewhat out of my control, but also a mistake I could have avoided if I had done some planning ahead of time. As this was my first year starting a garden, I actually didn’t have a space for gardening in my yard until my husband built my raised garden bed. He built our garden bed late in the spring, and it took a week or two to transport enough dirt and gardening soil to fill the beds before planting.

June 3rd construction

Therefore, I did not put seeds into my garden until the first week of June. This is rather late in the year to be planting, and although I avoided the late frost we had, I also affected the yields my vegetable plants had by limiting their timeline to grow and produce.

In order to avoid planting so late next year, I will be planting my vegetable seeds which take longer to produce (i.e., pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers) in early spring (mid-March) in small pots indoors to allow the seeds to begin germinating and provide some growth prior to transplanting them into the garden. If you want to do the same thing, I would highly recommend investing in special grow-lights to provide your plants the best advantage as possible. I also learned through my mother in-law to have a small fan oscillating near the growing plants to simulate the wind, which allow your plants to increase their hardiness and prepare them for the outdoors.

Over/Under Watering

This is something that takes some trial and error as different plants require different water levels. Remember to read the seed package to know how much water your plants need. A good “rule of thumb” that I discovered while researching how much water to give plants was to stick your finger an inch deep into your garden soil; if the soil is moist, you probably don’t need to water, and if it’s dry, you probably should. An example of what can happen when you’re inconsistent in how much water you’re giving your plants is the below picture.

Blossom end rot – a result from inconsistent water levels

Another tip I want to provide while I’m on the topic of watering, is to provide your plants with adequate drainage (especially if you have your plants in containers). I have two large pots that I planted some peas in one, and beans in the other. However, after two or three days of steady rains, my peas and beans were drowned in water (and I ended up with root rot) because my pots were unable to effectively drain the water. A good tip I got from my mother in-law (she’s an avid gardener so has a lot of great tips!), is to put some empty plastic bottles at the bottom of your container before adding soil so the water can properly drain (it also gives you a bit of a filler if you have a deep container).

Not Accounting for Garden Pests

Aphids, sparrows, moths, slugs, you name it – pests can and will decimate your crop if you haven’t accounted for them. This year my radishes suffered because the sparrows were eating the tops before they could properly grow, and I had an onslaught of moths and their babies eating my spinach (and they eventually moved to my cauliflower)…yuck. So my suggestion is to properly prepare for pests by doing some research on how to deter them prior to planting. What I learned after I put my seeds in the ground (and it was too late to fix) was that certain plants will deter certain pests. For example, planting onions near vulnerable plants will deter rabbits (if your garden is in the ground), planting spearmint near vulnerable plants will deter cabbage moths, etc. Do your research and try to companion plant as much as possible.

Do you have any gardening tips for my garden next year? Let me know!

Happy Monday!

Posted by:Prairie Chick

Wife and a mother to two children living in the Canadian prairies. In constant pursuit of mental and physical health through diet, exercise and self-care.

4 replies on “3 Gardening Mistakes to Avoid to Have Better Yields

  1. šŸ™‚ Interesting! I thought that anyone who planted some sort of crop would at least have an effective way of handling pests.

    Also, it would not hurt a person to research the type of crop that they intend on planting; that would let them know the right amount of water that the crop requires.


    1. You would think so, but my philosophy going into it was “plant and hope for the best” (mostly because I wasn’t expecting to even get a garden this year). But, you live and you learn.

      And I absolutely agree, researching the type of crop to know not just the right amount of water (although this will often tell you on the packet of seeds), but also what other plants to plant next to it. Companion planting seems to be growing in popularity again, as many people are trying to avoid using chemicals to address pests.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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