3 Garden Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Three Common Gardening Problems

January 19, 2020

Ready to start garden planning? Here’s a timely video with three normal mistakes gardeners make when planning their gardens, but you really want to avoid!

1. Make sure your plants are spaced correctly. 2. Use companion planting to defend against pests. 3. Sow in batches every few weeks so you have backup options are all important.

It’s helpful to watch the video to understand these mistakes and avoid. We’ll help you plan your garden and ensure that your crops have the best chance of producing a great harvest. After you watch this video, why not try the Garden Planner here: https://gardenplanner.almanac.com

3 Garden Planning Mistakes to Avoid

1. Overcrowding

It’s human nature to want to grow more in the space we have. After all, many seed packets come with such generous quantities of seed and who wants to waste seed?

When first planted it will seem as if they are growing perfectly well, so you may not notice the issue straight away – it’s only when the plants are approaching full size that the problems start, as each plant’s root system begins to compete with its neighbors for water and nutrients from the soil and the plants fail to mature properly, resulting in a disappointing harvest.

Plants need space to grow and produce the best harvest. If they’re grown too close together each plant’s root system has to compete with its neighbors for water and nutrients from the soil, resulting in a disappointing harvest.

The solution is to only grow your plants at the recommended spacing shown on the seed packet. If you have poor soil it’s a good idea to leave a little extra space too.

Garden Planner Tip: Our tool will automatically space plants along rows or in blocks, calculating how many will fit, and you can use the colored area around the plant to see how much space the roots require for good growth. If you have poor soil it’s a good idea to leave a little extra space, and if you’re using the Square Foot Gardening method, be sure to switch to SFG mode to see how many plants can fit in each square.

 2. Ignoring Nature

Do you envisage your garden as a miniature farm, with big areas of beautifully growing crops? Pests are an inevitable part of vegetable gardening, and the routine use of pesticides isn’t the answer.

Instead, work with nature to outwit pests.

  • Mix in several different companion planting flowers to attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies so that, when pests descend, these natural predators will control them without you having to lift a finger. 
  • If pests strike early in your area, remember to include some early flowering companions or leave a few onions, garlic bulbs or carrots in the ground over winter to flower early and provide an excellent first source of nectar to attract nature’s defenders.
  • Mixing up crop families helps to confuse flying insect pests, but for some crops it’s necessary to use further protective measures. For example, prevent cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs on your brassicas by covering them with fine netting, or cover carrots with fine netting or garden fleece to eliminate carrot fly attacks.

Garden Planner Tip:  Our Garden Planner identifies different crop families by different colored backgrounds which is incredibly helpful for planting and for crop rotation.

3. Planting Everything at the Same Time

Planting out all your tender crops at once can be disastrous if there’s an unexpected late frost, or imagine transplanting your whole crop of pea seedlings outdoors only to have birds or slugs eat every last one!

Instead, sow seeds in small batches every two or three weeks.  As well as ensuring you have backup options if disaster strikes, this also spreads your harvest out over a longer period which is better for you! No one wants everything to mature at the same time or you’ll have a glut of vegetables that you won’t be able to eat.

If you can avoid these common mistakes you’ll save yourself some hard work and heartache, and get your vegetable garden off to a great start!


Garden Planner Tip: The blue and green bars above indicate the window of time during which you can make multiple sowings in your local area, and you’ll receive email reminders every two weeks. The Plant List also shows the number of plants you need for each vegetable, which can be a real time- and money-saver, helping you to raise just the right number of plants for the space you have.

There’s much more to successful gardening than just these three tips, but by avoiding these common mistakes you’ll save yourself some hard work and heartache and get your garden off to a great start!

If you haven’t started garden planning, use our tool for free for 7 days—ample time to play around and plan your first garden! We encourage everyone to try out gardening; it brings us so much joy and we hope it does the same for you. See more benefits of the Almanac Garden Planner.


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Square Foot Gardening

Please add a brief comment that Square Foot Gardening (SFG) uses and requires a specific soil composition - this is what allows for such close spacing. Also, perhaps a brief mention on where folks can find info on SFG. Thanks!

extreme heat

I have a question if its about 30-39degrees Celsius do i plant in the shade or not...i think the sun is to hot for vegetable garden....tip will be appreciated

growing corn

I want to grow corn this year for the first time. One concern I have is planting enough plants to cross pollinate while planting them every few weeks for a successive harvest. I have a small garden. How many plants should I plant at once for fertilization of the plants - a minimal number?

Planting Corn

The Editors's picture

Corn is wind-pollinated, so should be planted in blocks rather than rows to ensure good pollination. An absolute minimum would be 4 plants, but pollination will be better with more.


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