Many new gardeners get so excited at the prospect of growing their own edible flowers and herbs that they leap before they look.
This can cost a lot of time, money and frustration. Here are some tips on common mistakes newbie gardeners make, and how to avoid them.
Top 10 Common Mistakes Growing Edible Flowers & Herbs
1. Not Planning Ahead
There are thousands of things to plant. Your starting point should be simple, with one or two things you know you are going to use regularly.
If those go well, you can start expanding your garden.
2. Not Testing Your Soil
If you are going to be planting outdoors in a garden, as opposed to a container garden, take a sample of your soil to a local nursery or garden center to be tested.
In this way you can determine which plants will work best in your garden.
3. Not Reading the Instructions
Read your seed packets carefully, and be sure to keep them in a handy place to refer back to in reference to the care of your precious plants.
4. Too Much or Too Little Sun
Check the instructions on the packets. Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, while others need shade. Take time to observe your garden at different times of the day to see which are the sunniest spots.
If you are going to have a window box or kitchen window sill garden, make sure it is sunny enough for the items you wish to plant.
5. Common Mistakes: Over- or Underwatering
Follow the instructions on how the plants should be watered. Too much can be as bad as too little. And if your plants get mildew, they will be unusable.
6. Not Using the Right Potting Soil Combinations
A lot of people just stick dirt in a pot and assume that things will grow. However, there are different qualities of potting soil that can really help your plants thrive.
In addition, you may need to add other items to the pot (such as for drainage) so your plants don?t get all soggy.
7. Packing Plants in Too Tightly
Plants need enough room to grow. And some plants, like mint, will hog the space, taking up as much of the space as it can. In this case, put your mint in a separate pot and replant as needed. It is a great natural insect repellent.
8. Common Mistakes: Using Pesticides
This is the last thing you want to use on your home-grown edible flowers and herbs. One of the great things about growing your own is that they will be organic, free from harmful pesticides.
The farmers of yore discovered various ways to naturally repel insects though combination planting. Adding these herbs to your container gardens can help keep them pest-free.
Basil, mint, rosemary and sage are four good examples of versatile herbs that can repel invaders.
9. Common Mistakes: Not Fertilizing
Your harvests will usually improve if you use a good fertilizer. One all-natural solution is liquid seaweed. You can also use compost from your organic waste from your kitchen, such as coffee grounds or used tea leaves.
Add water to make a compost tea, and pour onto the soil directly – not onto the plant or leaves.
The dregs of your cups of black tea (that is, without milk), black coffee and herbal tea are also a delight for plants. Just be sure not to overwater.
10. Not Harvesting Enough
Newcomers get timid and worry they might be harvesting too much. In fact, taking from the top couple of inches of the plant can really make it grow and thrive.
Otherwise, you will end up with tall, skinny plants with barely any leaves.
Regular harvesting signals to the plant to keep growing and not go dormant at the end of a season.
Avoid these newbie mistakes and you will be proud of your regular supply of edible flowers and herbs.