I Failed at Gardening. Here are 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started The Hobby

The failures I encountered have only made me read and research more about caring for plants properly.

Published August 9, 2021

I am relatively new to gardening so I am ready to be judged. It’s hard to let go and start over again when you dedicated so much time to a single thing you thought you would succeed at. Yes, I still get a little dramatic everytime I think of seeing my plants slowly losing their glory in my relatively small garden. Let me walk you through with how I failed my garden and also the lessons I wish I already knew right before I even started my garden of dreams.

1. Garden plants need attention and affection

I work two jobs where I need to be physically there. Deadlines and dreading shifts have caused me to forget some tasks to do outside of work. Unfortunately, that includes giving enough attention to my plants in my little garden. I’ve read in a study published in New Phytologist Foundation that plants respond to human care. Even a simple “pep talk” with them helps provide the plants with some carbon dioxide. In my case, I could have set a reminder to check on them after work.

2. Making sure that the soil is also in the right condition

This I really haven’t thought about because when I first saw the place when I moved in and there was soil, I automatically thought of making the place a garden. So I started growing seeds there but most of them did not even sprout. That made me feel disappointed. So the same friend who taught me about watering my plants also told me about the quality of the soil I’m planting my seeds on. He said that I would actually need to check the acidity of the soil as well as its potassium and phosphorus content. It sounded too technical for me so he said that there are gardening services that could help me with that. It’s also important to nourish the soil since its nutrients are vital for the plants’ growth. There are more tips in an article that I read about gardening hacks which I found very handy for beginners like me.

3. Watering the plants efficiently

Plants needed feeding just like most living things but I think I may have fed mine excessively. Before leaving to work in the morning, I make sure that my garden plants are getting their breakfast right before I get mine. Since I won’t be back until the evening, I thought I was giving them enough water to be hydrated for the rest of the day but it turns out, I was giving them more. Next thing I know, my Gardenia and Caladium were starting to look wilted which made me think that they were not getting enough water. So I gave them a little more every morning but never saw any improvement. Until some of my other plants were looking similar while the first two that I mentioned already gave up. That’s when I consulted my garden-obsessed friend where I could have gone wrong until we narrowed it down to the way I hydrate my plants.

4. Feeding them down to their roots

Aside from giving my plants an excessive amount of water, I was only feeding them on the surface which wasn’t enough for them. I’ve always thought that showering the leaves with sprinkles of water from my watering can would be sufficient to keep them alive. It’s also because I was always in a rush so I thought this method could speed up the routine. I was wrong and I learned it the hard way. Good thing I was able to check out some forums which led me to this useful local blog about gardening tips for beginners.

5. Picking the right plants that suit one’s lifestyle

Gardening in the mid-south was easy if I only did it right. The climate is predictable and we’re getting enough rain. However, the amount of time I had to put into my jobs has taken the attentive care my plants needed. Luckily, there are actually plants that fit every lifestyle. Low maintenance plants like Chinese Evergreen or Jade would perfectly fit my hectic schedule. It’s really a matter of choice.

6. Designing the garden for a visually pleasing experience

When I started buying plants for my garden, I never considered putting them in an organized manner. Since my garden was small, I thought it could be manageable. That could be the reason why instead my garden was really hard to look at instead of giving me peace and serenity. I am not a landscaper but luckily, there are tips online on designing your garden for beginners that I can definitely utilize for my few surviving plants. My plants should have a habitat that is aesthetically pleasing.

6. Doing extensive research and getting advices from experts first

Getting too excited for a new project is inevitable. That sometimes makes us forget that there are things where we actually need to learn more than the basics. Plants have life. Choosing them as a hobby is not like candle making where you could just throw the rejects away every time you fail. These are organisms that need nourishment and ample care too just like us. Reliable gardening blogs are readily available online if you’re really committed to learning more which I am now. Yes, I am going to start from scratch with the remaining surviving plants I still have plus the lovely Calathea and some seedlings my gardener friend gave me.