Gardens fail for multiple reasons, not the least of which is neglect. I’ve certainly had my share of neglectful days in the garden with chronic illness. The year I first became horribly ill with Lupus, my entire garden failed. Still, for some reason, when friends have trouble with their gardens, I’m the one they call to take a look. I’m no expert. I have, however, been gardening for a long, long time. So maybe it’s because they know I’ve had plenty of experience with failure. (Smirking at the thought.) For whatever reason, these are the top 5 reasons I give for garden failure when called on for my garden “expertise.”
Lack of overall attention
Even the most experienced gardeners have been guilty of this at one time or another. Maybe they’ve had a rough work week. Maybe they’re just tired. Maybe they went on vacation and just said whatever happens, so be it. You can’t always find someone to tend the garden while you’re out of town. Gardens, however, have no mercy. They don’t care what you have on your plate. If you ignore them, they will fail. It’s that simple.
Most gardens do best in a sunny, well drained location on high ground. There are, however, some plants that need just a little sun. There are plants that thrive in complete shade too. Paying close attention to plant needs can save you a lot of trouble. It can also save you a lot of time spent relocating your garden. I have been there.
Imagine moving 8 raised beds and the soil in them after a flood wiped out your crops. Not a fun experience. And yet, that’s exactly what I had to do this year. Why? I placed my garden where the former homeowner always placed theirs, assuming it was a great locale. Then, along came a flood to prove us both wrong. The garden was right smack in the center of a flood plain. Lesson learned.
Infrequent watering is one technique to get your plants to grow strong roots when reaching out in thirst. It is, however, a touchy procedure. Too much water can make certain plants more susceptible to fungus and other diseases. Too little can cause those same plants to shrivel up and dry out. It takes time to learn how much water is too much and how much is too little. I still say that no one can tell you how often to water because every garden s different. There are just too many factors involved. So, like with most gardening, trial and error becomes the best teacher.
Lack of proper drainage and air
You can do everything else exactly right and still have your garden fail if it does not have proper drainage and air circulation. In order to grow, plants need good soil, water and air. Roots need to breathe. If they are drowning in water, that’s not going to happen. Plants are not that much different than animals, in this respect.
Failure to test and amend soil
A soil test can tell you exactly what nutrients to amend your soil with. Soil amendments are food for your plants. Too much of a good thing can be fatal. Too little can stunt their growth. Beginning gardeners often make the mistake of not testing their soil. It’s true that it takes some time to get results. However, that time is well worth it. It will pay off in a more successful garden. Most garden failures happen for very simple reasons. Therefore, simple preventative measures, like soil testing keep them from happening.
More from Jaipi:
Why Won’t My Pumpkins Bear Fruit?
What’s so Bad About Plastic Flowers in the Garden?
Shape Your Raised Beds for Variety