The beginning of a new year means the start of lots of new gardening jobs!
I love to watch spring bloom, seeing plants and wildlife come alive in the garden again, and seeing my spring bulbs pop up to bring some fantastic colour.
A new year can bring new mistakes in the garden so I’ve put together the most common mistakes each month, and how you can correct them. Remember – the more you work to avoid these mistakes, the more time and effort you’ll save in the long run!
Leaving the Snow
People often leave snow on their evergreens and larger trees. This can cause the branches to weep or even sag, this can inhibit their growth, and potentially cause the branches to break with the weight.
Solution: Whenever it snows, go out with a broom and knock and brush the snow off trees and evergreens. Don’t let it just melt off as by the time it’s started to do that, it may have already damaged the branches.
Digging clay soil when it’s wet
Digging clay soil while it’s still sodden will damage the structure of the soil.
Solution: Wait until the clay has dried out a bit, and mix it with well-rotted manure or peat to improve your soil structure to make it better for your plant life.
Not repotting houseplants
Lots of people forget to repot their houseplants. Houseplants require the next pot size up every year to avoid staving the plant of essential nutrients.
Solution: Repot houseplants into a pot that’s the next size up using fresh compost. Don’t wait until they need a bigger size, and don’t pot them in pots that are too big just enough room to grow.
Planting sensitive plants
In Britain, we’re likely to get a late frost well into spring. Many people make the mistake of planting sensitive plants like geraniums, fuschias and petunias early April as it starts to get slightly warmer, and then late frosts kill them off.
Solution: Hold off planting until the end of April. May onwards is safer, and it’ll prevent you from having to replant. You can always be prepared for frost by covering your plants when a bad forecast is announced.
Not preparing for slugs
A common problem I see, is that people deal with slugs too late! Slugs will start to invade around late spring, but it’s important to prepare earlier before you are invaded.
Solution: Whatever you use to deter slugs, start in early spring, as the sun starts to warm up, this will help stop the slugs from breeding and taking over!
Cutting the grass too short
A lot of people cut their lawn too short in droughts and dry spells. Cutting your lawn too short will dry it out and make it harder for the grass to recover.
Solution: It’s simple; don’t cut your grass as short, lift the cutter to 2 inches minimum! The lawn will retain moisture better and stay healthier if you leave it longer than usual when the weather is dry.
Watering at the wrong time of day
In the hotter months, grass and plants are often watered at the wrong time of the day. If you water in the heat of the day you’ll not only lose a lot of moisture very quickly through evaporation, but the water droplets on leaves and foliage will act as a magnifying glass and could scorch the leaves.
Solution: Water your garden first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Not preparing your garden for your holiday
When you’re excited to go on holiday, it can be easy to run out of time and forget to prepare your garden and house plants!
Solution: Make sure your garden will look spectacular to welcome you home by keeping on top of weeding, pruning your bushes and arranging for a neighbour to come round and water. A great tip to help your house plants survive is to pop them in a bath and sit them on a very wet towel, this will help to keep your plants watered without drowning them.
Planting bulbs incorrectly
September through to November is prime planting time for spring-flowering bulbs, but all too often people plant them incorrectly and they rot and die.
Solution: Prevent your bulbs from rotting by ensuring that the base of the bulb touches the base of the soil, any gaps underneath the bulb will gather water. Pots need to have proper drainage at the bottom too. To achieve this as you plant each bulb ‘push & twist’ so that the bulb makes contact with the base of the hole in the soil.
Not raking up leaves
Leaving fallen leaves on your garden will not give the lawn breathing space and the thick layer will cause problems over the winter as it blocks light getting to the blades of grass.
Solution: To ensure your lawn is beautiful throughout the winter and into spring, rake up fallen leaves fairly frequently. Don’t become too paranoid about it and feel like you need to constantly pick leaves up, as a few leaves will be pulled under the ground by your worms!
Not checking fencing
Strong gales usually start around this time of year, and fences, shed and outhouses that have been damaged are unlikely to withstand the strong winds.
Solution: Now’s the time to spend a weekend repairing / reinforcing your fences, sheds and other buildings. Stake trees that are likely to be damaged too. A few hours maintenance work could save you time and money later.
Not protecting Christmas plants
Plants such as poinsettia and other houseplants can get easily damaged as they’re very sensitive to the cold weather.
Solution: Cover the plants when carrying them to the car as you leave the garden centre and don’t uncover until you’re inside the house. Once inside, place the plant away from any cold or draughty position, a bright windowsill or ledge is perfect.
What about you? What mistakes do you make in the garden and how do you resolve them? Let me know in the comments below.