Things that didn't go well. I make the mistakes so you don't have to!

Starting seeds

  • Don't use garden soil or any mix that contains compost. There could be fungus or harmful organisms in the mix that could rot the seeds or kill the very young plants. Use sterile seed starting mix for best results.
  • Plant more than a single seed in each pot. Even though you want just a single plant in each cell or pot, not every seed will germinate so plant more than one. The exception to this rule is if you only have a very few of a special seed -- then go ahead and plant one per pot. Realize you'll probably end up with some empty pots though.
  • Thin out those seedlings! Two or more plants don't want to live crammed together, so remove all but the strongest seedling as soon as they have their first true leaves. This is always painful for me to do, but it will result in a stronger, happier survivor seedling.


  • Don't fret the weeds! You'll never get all of them, so remove the ones that bother you the most. I've spoiled many a weekend in the garden trying to eradicate weeds.
  • Wait until after a good, soaking rain to pull weeds. This is especially true if you have heavy clay soil like I do. You'll never get the roots out when the ground is dry and rock hard, but after a good rain you'll have much better success (and a lot more fun).
  • Winter is a great time to pull some types of weeds. In my yard the wild strawberries are about the only green thing during the late winter, so I get rid of them at that time. It's about the only gardening I can do during those months, so it's not a chore.
  • Some weeds are edible. Bittercress is a great late winter green, and dandelions are quite nutritious. Warning: make sure you are absolutely positive about the ID before eating any plants found in your yard -- many are extremely poisonous. You should wash them thoroughly too.


  • Yearly maintenance is essential for running bamboos!

(This page is a work in progress.)


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