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Brown Thumb? You Can Always Replant if There's a Mistake PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 31 March 2011 07:23

Gardening is a forgiving hobby. You can always right any wrongs next growing season.

Here are common gardening mistakes and ways to avoid them:

Neglecting soil preparation. Test the plant beds before you begin, and again every few years to see if soil conditioners are needed. Add sand or peat moss to compacted, poorly drained ground, to improve its structure and encourage root growth.

Overplanting. Design with the size of mature plants in mind. Try succession planting, in which early, cool-weather crops are harvested before later, less hardy plants reach maturity.

Flawed feeding. "Mulch plants and they'll be so much happier," said Tia Pinney, adult program co-ordinator at the Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, in Lincoln, Mass. "Supplement your soil, don't just fertilize it."

Improper watering. Too much water can be just as damaging as too little. Do a finger-in-theground test to ensure that the soil around the roots is moist. Vegetables need about 3.8 centimetres of water per week.

Wrong location. Growing conditions change as trees and shrubs mature, creating different shadow patterns. Most plants need six to eight hours of sun per day to develop.

Improper pest control. Don't kill the good bugs, like pollinators, in an effort to eliminate the bad.

Faulty maintenance. Don't set your cultivator (or hoe) too deep, damaging plant roots. Pull some weeds by hand.

Over-pruning. As a rule, don't remove more than 30 percent of the foliage from shrubs in one cutting. And don't "top" trees to control their height. "That reduces their life span rather than improves their health," Mary Ann Ryan, master gardening coordinator with Penn State Cooperative Extension in Adams County, Pa. said.

Failing to start over.
Start with a small plot so you can correct mistakes more easily, the experts say. And look to your county extension office for support if you run into trouble. Garden coaches also can diagnose problems and suggest remedies, as can master gardeners and landscape designers.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 08:12