10 Worst Gardening Mistakes People Warned To Avoid Next Season

Growing your own food is trending for various reasons. It’s safe, fresher, better tasting, cheaper, therapeutic, and reduces waste. After someone asked a popular vegetable gardening online forum, “What was your worst gardening mistake this season?”

These gardeners shared their mistakes to help others avoid making them. 

1. Overcrowding

When you look at the amount of space you have and the seeds, you always want to put only a few in a small area because it’s easy to underestimate how big the plants will be. 

Also, learning how to stake and prune the plants is a good idea to avoid overcrowding. Certain vegetables only produce well after being staked. For example, zucchini or tomatoes need to be staked and pruned. 

Plant a four-five-foot stake (a tall stick to help the plant grow upward), be careful not to disturb the roots and tie the stem securely in increments. You can also plant seeds around a stake. To prune, cut away the leaves and stems with a sharp pair of garden shears.

2. Leaving Potatoes to Overwinter With a Side of Strawberries

Another Redditor shared, “Mistake: leaving potatoes to overwinter, trying to dig them up and not finding any, planting a strawberry plant on top of potatoes, and now the potatoes grew next to the strawberry, and I’m going to have to uproot the strawberry to get the potatoes.”

3. Using Twine With Tomatoes

“One of many mistakes was using twine to tie tomatoes,” one explained. “Twine has all snapped, and I have to replace it with nylon strings. Immense pain as tomatoes are big.”

4. Aphid Plant Disaster

Another gardener admitted, “I bought some plants from a local nursery, not realizing they had aphids on them. Unfortunately, the aphids transferred onto my beautiful sweet pepper plants, and they still haven’t recovered. I presume they are permanently stunted.”

5. Growing Grapes Without Nets

Someone suggested that when you do all this hard work to get some produce, you cannot have birds just come and eat them when they are almost ready.

The best way to prevent birds (like doves) from eating the grape crop is by putting netting over the grapevines.

Make sure it is secured to the ground. “Those sneaky buggers can enter even from below the nets. Once they’ve eaten them all, the only thing you can do is start using a variety of curse words.”

6. Not Interplanting

Many in the thread agreed to break away from the idea that you can grow only one type of plant in one bed. Interplanting or intercropping encourages companion plants to grow together.

You can pair garlic and tomatoes, for example. Interplanting can also whittle weeds and bring in beneficial pollinators. It is also said to reduce pests and diseases.

7. Not Understanding Plant Growth

You must understand plant growth. For example, plan for a 5-inch tomato plant to grow up to eight feet tall. Please read about the plants you are growing to know their growth cycle.

You will also need to add adequate support structures to help the plant grow. One noted they learned this lesson the hard way.

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8. Not Starting to Compost

One noted, “My biggest mistake was not starting to compost!” However, it was unanimous in the thread that starting a compost gave them the most significant success in their gardening endeavors. 

It’s easy to start a compost. You can begin with discarded fruits and veggies. Then, find a place to store them, mix the compost, and aerate them regularly.

9. Undersized Pots

Several in the thread admitted to making the mistake of undersized pots. One elaborated, “Undersized pots. I bought two sets of ten-gallon grow bags from Amazon for about $25 each.”

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10. Overpruning

Finally, another confessed, “The biggest mistake was pruning back ALL the raspberry canes. Somehow we didn’t learn last year that second-year canes are the ones that fruit, so we trimmed every one of them to the ground. They do seem very healthy now, though. So next year’s crop should be a bumper.”

We hope these Reddit gardening mistakes helped you learn what to avoid next season.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.