Following discussion may be beneficial to new gardeners. Seniors may correct me where wrong.
It’s human psyche that we learn most from mistakes that we make. And it’s a reality that we do/will make mistakes even if we are advised not to. It’s a constant self-push and pull. This holds good for gardening as well. So let’s share our mistakes with each other that we do in gardening so that we learn. To start with I will start with my vices in garden and I hope members will enlighten us with theirs.
Growing plants that are not suitable for our climate World is full of beautiful plants and when you see their pictures you want to grow them. But everything cannot be grown everywhere. The diversity in flora is actually because of the diversity in the climate and terrain. What you want to grow might not be suitable for your climate/Terrain. Such ventures either fail or the plant requires extreme care. Even single day neglect can cause damage. God has created beautiful plants for each climate/terrain, try to grow what is native or naturalized in your region. Hoping to grow what you see in pictures would either take a toll on your back or heart. One odd venture at a time though is perfectly fine.
Over watering can cause severe damage to plant. Watering is a delicate balance. Too less or too much both will make plants suffer. Gardening in sandy soil and intense summer we tend to develop a habit of over watering plants (especially if you are new to gardening). Moreover watering plants in the evening can lead to fungus diseases. Dry Top soil troubles us and we want to quickly make it wet, without checking whether soil is wet underneath or not. Although gardening extensively for quite some time now, correct watering scheme is something i am yet to learn.
Transplanting and Re-transplanting This happens when you give less consideration to initial design and plant exposure requirement. Know what exposure plant requires, it will do best only in that exposure. Gradually you will learn and respect that. Similarly deliberate when shifting plant to its final position or frequent shifting can damage it. Your attempt to bring the plant in more visible position in your garden can be futile. Moreover always respect the principles of transplanting as the transplant shock is too much for the plants. Transplant in the evenings/Cloudy days, so that plant has some time before it’s faced with scorching Sun. Stop transplanting in summer. Water well after transplanting, plant will require regular watering for few days. Provide shade/cover for few days if the sun is too strong. Attempt not to damage roots/or as less as possible. Take out as much soil with the plant as possible. Create a hole larger than the soil-plant size so that it’s not broken once transplanting. Transplant only when the plant is at young age.
Water spraying/sprinkling Frequent spraying of the water over the foliage can cause fungal diseases which are very difficult to control once set in. Try to water in the morning if you are doing this so that water on the foliage can quickly dry out. Water the soil/base of plant and not the plant. Seldom washing of plants causes no harm. Water deep rather than frequent spraying/sprinkling of water, in this way you might not require to water for couple of days except in summers. Plan your garden keeping in mind the watering scheme. Some factors that force this mistake are larger area, ill arrange borders (from the point of view of watering), many plants and lesser time.
Impatience Utmost virtue that gardening demands is patience. Plants don’t grow in days but month. Plan ahead. Consider well before doing anything like selection of plants, their location etc. Don’t just get over with it. Enjoy Gardening
Correct Exposure Plant will only perform well, if planted at its correct exposure (sunlight/shade) requirement. Whenever you get yourself some new plant study what exposure its needs before planting it out. Do it not and you will either lose it or it will grow lanky.
Fertilizing Fertilizing a plant is also a delicate balance. Less fertile soil will not harm but over fertilized will. Try to prepare the soil well before planting. Top dressing can be harmful. The most common mistake that we do is to fertilize (especially urea) and not water the plant in which case the plant will burn. Use OLD cow manure. Avoid chicken manure or its use should be in smaller quantity.
Pesticides We tend to drench our plants once using pesticides. Make correct mixtures as per the recommendations on the pesticides or even better start with low potency dose. Most pesticides do not cover all insects. Identify the pest that’s bothering you and target it or you will harm the beneficial insects as well causing imbalance in your little world(garden).
Keeping more than what one can keep Last thing that i would like to mention is keep what is easily manageable. Whenever we visit nursery, we get ourselves some plants which keeps the inventory growing. This demands more man hour and in turn some plants will be neglected if you can’t provide the requisite time. Start with few, grow low maintenance plants if you want more, and keep labor if work is beyond your control. Give each plant its due time and try to resist yourself when visiting a nursery.
Simply wonderful ! This is one of the most useful information I have come across in this Forum. Though it looks simple( made so by Farhan) & basic (indeed it is), yet most neglected by majority of amatuer gardeners. Such mundane subjects I feel, need greater circulation & discussion because of wider application, than more advanced & technical matters,though may be relevant but difficult to understand & of little use to ordinary gardners. I commend Mr. Farhan for this initiative.Hope he ll keep it up.
Yes Farhan you are right we learn so much from our mistakes.When we are new to the gardening World, we look at the beautiful tags on the packets or potted plants in nurseries which are brought from some where else.i have realized this in past.now i don,t go for the plants which are not meant for our climate.specially cool season bulbs & some tropicals. last i decided not to plant Indian Dahlia in future & its not in my list now.what is stopping me from having this plants is that they don't grow as per my satisfaction.i have grown dahlias at Abbottabad but here they are not of that quality,i hope you may got my point.
@Umar Sb....Very true and valid point. Many good looking plants in the nursery are not meant for our climate. They are healthy because either they are recently brought from somewhere(abroad/cooler regions) or they are in extremely controlled environment. As soon as the buyer takes them home they flop, and the buyer think that it was something he did wrong which has caused the plant to fail. Lesson....Such plants are not meant for our environment and are brought just to lure innocent buyers who have no clue whether this plant will naturalize in our climate or not.
Secondly about Dahlias, again very valid point. Our orientation and liking keeps on changing in gardening. And its perfectly fine. We start form high maintenance plants and gradually want to have low maintenance plants which we can sit back and enjoy. Both have their own joy.
Generally what an experienced gardener will say to a new gardeners is "Don't try this plant it requires hard work etc" .....a road which he himself has taken..... . What i think is important for a gardener is to "experience every naturalized plant of his climate, which he desires to and simply don't discard it because somebody does not recommend it. Everyone has different taste.
Very valid practical aspect,indeed. But the question arises,how can an ordinary buyer know if a new plant under consideration is suitable for the local climate or easily maintainable ,except relying on the advice of the seller, who may not coopreate. & an experienced gardner may not be at hand. Is there any listing/data/guidelines available by any chance or one has to take a chance & learn by experience of making mistakes?
@ Munir...in my limited knowledge. if you look closer such plants will have some minute stress symptoms even if they have arrived recently. Look for where that plant is placed, in open or in a sheltered position which can tell you whether this plant will survive or not in your garden. Don't be in hurry to buy the plant. Come home and study it before purchasing especially if its expensive. If possible observe the plant for few day, seek advice(plant profiles are available online also). Try not to buy plants which are in flowering because of two reasons. Firstly it could be to lure buyer or as the plant is already in flowering(last stage, especially for annuals) it will not produce further blooms.( generally until next season for perennials).
Farhan, Bravo a very informative post. Persons like me will try everything at least once. We like to learn from our own mistakes. Gardening is a challenge and fun that is why some of us like to grow what can’t be grown well. Most common example is people going out of the way to grow Araucaria trees in Lahore. I have tried every bulb I could lay my hand on and ornamental trees vines and shrubs, those which survived without special care and pleased me are on the list, no regret for the lost ones. Some I grow for pleasure other are I also have it.