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Top 20 mistakes new gardeners make

Top 20 mistakes new gardeners make

 It is human nature to not let our mistakes be known outside. We are also encouraged to learn from others mistakes. So unless the mistakes are shared, one cannot really benefit from it. In this post, I am going to share the mistakes new gardeners make(including myself). We all make mistakes and in gardening that results in the killing of plants sometimes. I have killed more plants than many of you. I started this post to write top 5 mistakes that people make, but then the list kept increasing as I started recollecting the my experiences and my experience after discussing with customers who visit my store.

So without further ado, here goes the list of top 20 mistakes beginners make. You better read this, before you start a garden!


  1. Not giving enough light to plants
  2. Watering them too little or too much.
  3. Watering them on their leaves.
  4. Underfeeding /Over feeding Plants
  5. Sowing one too many seeds and Not thinning them
  6. Not labeling the plants or taking notes.
  7. Choosing a container that is too small
  8. Planting plants that are either non-native or out of season
  9. Giving a wrong fertilizer to the plants
  10. Not pruning or over pruning
  11. Improper spray application/too much pesticide
  12. Transplanting too late
  13. Planting too close
  14. Planting too deep / planting too shallow
  15. Planting bulbs/cuttings upside down.
  16. Letting weeds/pests take over.
  17. All at once or nothing/ No staggered planting
  18. Not knowing when to harvest. Too soon or too late.
  19. Emotional Meltdowns.
  20. Not knowing how the seedling would look like. Nurturing a weed.


Its not end of the world, if something goes wrong. Keep calm and garden on!

Now tell me which is your favorite?


How to make an organic potting mixture / soil

How to make Organic Potting Mixture.

When you see a successfully grown vegetable garden, the first question you ask the owner is “What is your potting mix?” And some people share and some don’t. If you always wanted to make a best organic potting mix, look no further, this post is for you.

A good potting mix has the following characteristics.

  • Air porosity
  • Water/moisture retention.
  • Nutrition.
  • Support/Anchorage.
  • Fluffy and light weight.
  • Well draining.
  • Infection/pest free
  • Free from weed seeds


Common Ingredients in a good potting mix


Paying attention to the quality of the soil used for potting mixes will pay you in the long run. A good quality soil should be free from stones, lumps and should be rich in nutrients. Don’t take soil from construction sites.They will contain lots of rubbles and is never good for growing plants. For Indian context, nurseries will sell red soil/ good quality top soil. A good quality soil from your nearest garden centre should do.

Peat Moss:

Peat moss is the most common ingredient for soilless mixes because of its wide availability.However, In india the situation is quite opposite. It is not easily available and very expensive. Peat moss decomposes very slowly and holds large amounts of water; however, it has a high acidity. Lime is usually added to mixes to balance the pH.

Coco coir peat:

Coir, a by-product of the coconut fiber industry, looks like peat moss, but is granular and also has an optimum pH for growing plants. Coir typically is packaged as a compressed brick that will expand when mixed with water. It is important to note that coir may require less potassium and increased nitrogen supplementation. It retains the right amount of retention and air poro

Worm Castings/Vermicompost:

Vermicompost is the result of composting vegetable waste/food waste using earth worms, usually red wigglers, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and worm cast. Vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. This process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting.

Bone meal:

Bone meal is a slaughter house waste. Bones are steamed pulverised and used as fertilizers for plants.They are rich in Calcium, phosphorus and trace elements. Some people are not comfortable using it because of the odour. In some places, blood, hoof and horn meal are also available. Each of them have a different nutrient profile.

Oil Cakes:

Oil cakes are the remains when the oil seeds are crushed/pressed to extract the oil from them. Because of the nutrient content they act as a good fertilizer.

Potting Mix Recipe

  • 1 part of good quality red soil/top soil
  • 1 part of cocopeat/peat moss
  • 1 part of compost (Vermicompost/manure)

 For every 15 litres of the above mix, add 200 grams of bone meal, and 200 grams of oil cake and 200 grams of wood ash. Thoroughly mix them. Once the mixture is uniformly mixed, put it in a sack or a big container , cover it and leave it for a good 3 weeks time. Ensure that the mix is little moist. It should not drip when you squeeze it in your palm. After 2-3 weeks, the potting mix is ready for use.


  • For some plants, you might want a mix that is more draining.Add 1 part of perlite to it to increase the drainage.
  • You can also add coco husk chips to increase the air porosity in the mix. This is required for crops such as orchids, gerbera etc.
  • You may add additives like seaweed, humic acid and aminoacids, beneficial microbes, pressed mud etc to enrich the soil. 

 Another wonderful way of adding organic fertilizer to a plant is by watering them with compost tea. You might be wondering what is compost tea and how to make it. That’s for another post!

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