Growing vegetables is one of the best ways to use your garden because you can save yourself a lot of money, reduce your impact on the environment, and the produce that you grow will be a lot tastier than anything that you buy in a supermarket. A lot of people are put off the idea of growing vegetables because they think that it’s incredibly hard but that isn’t the case at all. While there are some varieties that are difficult to get going, there are plenty of vegetables that are really simple to grow at home.

Radishes! (Image credit: Pixnio)

However, that doesn’t mean you can just throw some seeds in the ground and leave them for 6 months then come back to some lovely vegetables. You need to learn how to care for them properly and understand some of the common mistakes that people make when trying to grow vegetables. Often, first time vegetable growers do a bit of research and they think that they’re doing everything right but their vegetables just simply won’t grow or they end up growing for a little while and then dying. If that’s happening to you and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, these are some of the most common reasons that your vegetable garden isn’t growing properly.

You’re Trying To Grow Difficult Vegetables

When you’re first starting out, it’s important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’ve never grown vegetables at all before, you don’t want to dive in at the deep end and pick the hardest varieties to grow because you just won’t have any success. Instead, look into the easier vegetables to grow and start there. You can learn all of the basics of vegetable growing with plants that are a bit more forgiving, so if you make a couple of mistakes along the way, you’ll still have something to harvest at the end of it.

It’s also important that you don’t try to grow too many different varieties to start with. Each vegetable has its own specific care needs and if you’re trying to juggle 5 different types at once, you’ll really struggle to get any of them to grow well. That’s why it’s best to pick just one or two simple vegetables to start with and focus on getting those right. Once you’re a bit more experienced, you can start adding more variety.

Not Giving Plants Enough Space

Often, the guidelines for spacing seem a little extreme. Do you really need to leave 3 feet between each tomato plant? Can’t you just put them a foot away from each other, it won’t really make that much difference, will it? Well, it won’t make that much difference to start with but once those plants start to fill out, you’re going to run into problems. If the plants are pushed too close together, the air won’t circulate around them very well and certain parts of the plant will be blocked off from sunlight. They’ll also be fighting for the nutrients in the soil and all of that means that they simply won’t grow properly. If you only have small beds to plant in and you’re serious about growing vegetables, it may be worth hiring some landscapers to turn grass and patio areas into more beds for planting. Unless you give your vegetables the space that they need to grow effectively, you’re not going to get a good harvest at the end of it. If space is a real issue, you have to be realistic about what you can actually fit in there and simply plant fewer vegetables.

Not Harvesting Enough

Tasty garden treats! (Image credit: Pexels)

Beginner vegetable growers are often a bit worried about harvesting. They might be scared that it’s not ready and they don’t want to harvest it too early or maybe they worry that the new crop won’t come through properly, so they leave the harvesting for longer than they should. However, this has a lot of negative effects on the plants. Firstly, if you leave things for too long there is a chance that they will simply rot or be attacked by pests. Secondly, not harvesting actually slows down the progress of the plant because they’re not going to start growing a new crop until you’ve harvested the existing one.

It is important that you don’t harvest too early because otherwise, the vegetables won’t be ready for eating. But you need to make sure that you’re not overly cautious and you harvest the vegetables as soon as they’re ready. 

Not Using Fences

You’re growing vegetables because you want some delicious food to eat, but you’ve got to remember that the local wildlife feels just the same. Once those vegetables start growing, you’re going to attract all sorts of different animals that will want to feed on them. Unless you want all of your hard work to go down the drain, you need to protect your plants from wildlife. Never underestimate the importance of a good fence around your vegetable patch and make sure that you build it high. If you’ve got rabbits or even deer nearby, a low fence isn’t going to do anything to protect your vegetable patch at all.

Ignoring Small Problems

Is that a pest? (Image credit: Pixabay)

If things are going wrong with your vegetable patch, there are usually some tell-tale signs to look out for. If you can deal with the issue early on, you can stop it before it spreads to all of your plants and kills the vegetable patch entirely. Things like yellow leaves or leaves that are going limp could be a sign that you’re not watering enough or maybe watering too much. It may also be a sign that there is some kind of disease affecting the plant. If you can take steps to rectify the problem now or remove the damaged plants before the problem spreads, you can save your vegetable patch.

You also need to check the underside of leaves on a regular basis because insects will often lay their eggs under there. If you just scrape them off before they hatch, you won’t have a problem with pests, but if you’re not checking regularly enough and you allow them to hatch, they will start eating your plants.

If you’re struggling to grow vegetables, it might be because you’re making one of these common mistakes.