Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

Are you making these common garden mistakes?

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Common Mistakes in Gardening

I know I’ve made a ton of them since I started gardening 8 years ago and I’m certainly grateful for them. Mistakes offer an invitation for learning.

That being said, I think most of us prefer a little guidance. When it comes to gardening there are a few beginner gardening mistakes that many people make and I wanted to share those with you today.

Beginner gardening mistakes

Too large of a garden to keep up with

If your garden is too large then you might not enjoy the gardening experience and quit the first season. Too many garden beds to weed, too many crops to keep up with. It’s better to start out small and work your way up to a larger garden when you’re starting out.

Getting the wrong sowing depth for your seeds

Make sure you read your seed packets and get the correct sowing depth otherwise your seeds won’t germinate!

How to grow peppers from seed

Not hardening off your transplants

Your transplants need to get use to the wind, air, sun exposure and general outdoor weather elements slowly otherwise you will shock them and they’ll die. Give them 7-10 days to transition into the outside world by slowly increasing their time outside. Start with being out of direct sun as sometimes you can heat stress a seedling.

Putting out your warm season crops before last frost

 Even though it might feel like spring you’ll almost always get those last minute frosts. Many gardeners put out their tomatoes early thinking the weather will stay sunny and warm. You can sow or transplant your cool season crops before last frost as they can handle it, but wait for your warm season crops until after the frost has passed.

Growing Seedlings

Not thinning your plants

Many new gardeners don’t thin out their seedlings. When you direct seed your crops many of them will be too close together to grow into a full-sized plant. You need to pull them out and compost some of your plants to make sure you have the correct the distance. Not thinning out your carrots is a perfect example of a failed crop from the lack of thinning seedlings.

Under or overwatering

Plants need water but too much can disrupt the soil for your seeds to germinate or under-watering can leave the shallow roots of new seedlings to dry out and struggle. Watering in the morning is the best and the closer to the base of the plant is better. During hot weather they might need more water so mulching can help reduce evaporation.

You chose the wrong spot for your garden

When planning your garden you need to make sure you have the right sun exposure and no microclimate concerns. If your garden is in the wrong spot your veggies won’ be able to grow and thrive. Although certain cool season crops can handle partial shade, most crops need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Choosing a spot to start your garden is very important.

hakurei baby turnips

Not enough nutrients in your soil

Plant will grow slowly if there isn’t enough nutrients in the soil. Some crops bolt (go to seed) if they can’t grow large enough before the summer heat sets in. Do a little reading before growing your first garden to know what each crop needs.

Every plant family will have different ph and soil requirements so make sure you know what they are before planting. Seed catalogs usually have this information for you.

Improving soil with microorganisms and composting are also both good ways of adding nutrients to your soil. There are certain easy to grow crops that require less soil nutrients than others while there are some crops are hard to grow and need really rich soil.

Underestimating your weeds

Weeds will rapidly take over your garden if you don’t kill the weeds on a regular basis! Remember, just like doing the dishes, doing 15 mins of weeding a day is better rhythm than trying to catch up.


Even though you will make mistakes as a gardener you’ll learn lots along the way. Be sure to keep a garden journal and take notes throughout the season to learn more about your climate limitations and what pests you experienced that year so you can learn more during the off-season.

Beginner Gardener Mistakes to Avoid

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