Have you ever made a mistake? I know I have made plenty of the years. In my garden this year, I made several but here are my top 3 mistakes. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid them in your garden.
- Not being prepared for pests.
I was not prepared for the number of pests I faced this year. I knew that I had squash bug problems every year but vine borers, moths, flea beetles, and cabbage worms were not even on my list. The cabbage worms and moth larvae or leaf rollers as I call them can be fixed with simple organic bacteria (b.T.). However, if you don't properly prepare your vining plants for vine borers, you are in for heartbreak. Vine borers start at the very base of your plant and slowly munch their way up the vine. The secret a toxin that also kills the plant. You can dig them out with a knife and paperclip if you catch them but most plants will not recover. Next year, I plan to use several techniques I learned from research to combat this. I also wish I had purchased b.T. much earlier in the season. When I realized I had a leaf roller and flea beetle problem, it was more of an infestation. I had to order b.T. on Amazon because no Tractor Supply, Lowe's, or Home Depot in my area carried it. I had to wait a couple of weeks before it arrived. It did the job but the damage was done. The plants never really recovered and it was the end of the growing season so I did not get much harvest from them. Now that I know what pests I have, I can be better prepared next year.
- Letting my chickens in my garden.
I have to admit that watching my little babies grow up has been pure joy. They follow me around everywhere and would hop in my beds and kick around. I probably should mention that my chickens are free-range in my backyard all day. We live in a subdivision with a fenced-in backyard. Predators haven't been a problem. My biggest predator fears are snakes, hawks, and dogs. But we've been lucky so far. With all that worm and bug-filled grass, you think they'd leave my garden alone. But they are like the rest of us I guess, they go for the low hanging fruit. I lost a lot of seedlings to those sweet ladies until we put up a fence around my garden. We just used the leftover from the backyard fence and some extra t-posts. My "gate" is a piece of chicken wire propped up against the fence. It will have to do until we can get a better fence.
- Underestimating how much water it takes.
I mentioned we live in a subdivision. Which means we are on city water. We do not have a well. My water bill has gone up significantly this year. We are paying an extra $50-$75 per month on the water this Summer. I plan to add rain barrels to my house in the next year. Deciding between DIY and building them is the only decision left to make.
- Not mulching
I did not do a good job of mulching this year. While many of my plants provided shade for others, I still have some plants suffering from the sweltering heat in our backyard. I plan to either buy more mulch this year or look into a small wood chipper. We have lots of overgrown brush around our fence line. I would like to cut that back and turn it into mulch. But we will see.
Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes when you are preparing your garden in the Spring.