Heirloom gardening is fulfilling. However, it comes with its challenges. At one point, we were just like you. We had big dreams of starting our garden, growing our crops and cooking with them. This excitement has led us to a few hiccups along the way, which became a great learning experience.
If you’re just getting into heirloom gardening, then allow us to help. Below we’ve collected the most common gardening mistakes you must avoid.
1. Misunderstanding soil
Misunderstanding the soil has got to be the most common mistake beginner heirloom gardeners make, but we don’t blame you. The soil is such a fickle, mysterious and challenging component. It takes a significant amount of knowledge to ensure that you have the right soil condition for your seeds to thrive.
A lot of common vegetables grow best in the ground with a slightly acidic pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. It’s also good to learn how to work with fertilizers to further boost your soil’s health. As heirloom gardeners, natural fertilizers such as chicken or rabbit manure works wonders.
2. Practicing poor watering habits
Water is essential to heirloom gardening. Your seeds won’t grow and thrive without it. However, there’s more to watering than just simply sprinkling your future harvest. You need technique and timing.
You must learn which of your produce need more water, and which ones don’t need much. Otherwise, you could either be drowning it or leaving it thirsty. Furthermore, watering early during the day is far better than doing it at night. The latter makes your fruits and vegetables more susceptible to the growth of fungus.
3. Crowding plants too close together
Various heirloom seeds need a lot of space to grow. However, too many newbie farmers tend to overcrowd their plants too close together. Having this vision of a huge garden shouldn’t mean making the most out of this space.
Otherwise, you’ll have a weak, sad-looking bunch that is far from the vibrant produce you initially imagined.
Be sure to allocate enough space for each seed to grow, receive enough water and work with sufficient nutrients. Even if you have a small space, spacing seeds out correctly will yield the finest produce possible.
4. Forgetting about companion planting
Here’s the thing: Not all plants sit together well. Some need to be beside a particular variety while others should stay away from specific plants and seeds.
Companion planting is one thing you must learn thoroughly about first before going ahead with your garden. For example, tomatoes treat carrots and celery as great garden companions. However, they don’t sit well with potatoes and cabbage. Peppers sit well with tomatoes and onions but should stay away from kale and cabbage.
5. Planting the same seed in the same area every time
Ask any gardener and s/he would tell you of the importance of crop rotation. Often, far too many novice gardeners like to plant the same seed or plant in the same area every time. For one, caterpillars, beetles, and borers prefer certain produce. They tend to have their eggs and larvae sit in a certain area, which can then affect your future harvest.
When you practice crop rotation, you break this cycle. You are disallowing these pests to take hold of this area thereby ensuring a productive farm every year.