Mistakes You’re Making in Your Garden

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Prepping Our Garden for Success

For the first year ever, I prepped our garden with the right soil and nourishment and I can’t wait for the spring planting season to begin!

plant fertilizer in garden

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Home Depot and Scotts® Miracle Gro.

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I come from a long line of gardeners. My grandmother’s were both magical in their garden. My mother opened a plant store when my father was in law school. My aunt has nurtured many a vegetable garden, and my godmother is a landscape designer. All to say, gardening was just something I grew up with.  When we moved to Connecticut ten years ago, I had a great time planning the garden for our front yard. And then we moved. And then we moved again. And again. Our current house has some nice garden beds already established, but I needed to wait a full season to see what was planted in them. I realized last fall that most of the plants in the beds around the house were ones I wanted to remove. They were too overgrown, too big… just not what I wanted so I pulled most of them out in anticipation of having a blank slate come spring. Here’s where we started:

garden before spring prep

Well here we are and let me tell you what I didn’t know about gardening and have never done with my gardens… until now. Properly prepped the garden and properly fed my plants. Yeah… feeding. I was definitely team sun + water = happy plants. Thanks to the folks at Scotts® Miracle Gro, my garden bed is READY to live its best flower filled life! These before and after photos are much more satisfying in person, but the bulbs and annuals are starting to come up and by early May I can start planting some new things! Keep reading to see what mistakes I was making in my garden and how to avoid them!

overgrown spring garden

Mistake 1: No prep

This could also be called all soil is NOT created equal. Until this year, I figured that my plants were going into the dirt so what more did I need to do. I had a vague understanding of what type of soil we were dealing with: rocky… wet… not too much clay so I purchased plants that seemed like they would do OK. And… that was it. Mistake number one. Big time. This go around, I started by clearing out the weeds and dead foliage left over from the winter. That meant cutting back some of the grasses and generally trying to clean up the bed.

clear the garden of weeds and dead branches

garden soil for spring plant bed

Then… I created a rich and nurturing foundation using this Miracle Gro Garden Soil. There’s a soil calculator right on the Home Depot product page so you don’t have to guess how many bags of soil to get. Arthur helped me spread it and I’ve got to tell you… our garden has never looked better. Ha! Just this step alone has been a game changer.

miracle gro garden soil in the garden miracle gro garden soil in the garden miracle gro garden soil in the garden

Mistake 2: No Weed Plan

Yes. I know how to weed and it’s something I can handle. But also… I would love NOT to weed so prepping my garden FIRST for weed prevention is key. Best practice is to put down some sort of a weed barrier. I’ve used paper bags or cardboard boxes in the past and they work great. For this garden… because there were already plants in the ground that would be trying to sprout and I have plans to put more plants in the ground… I didn’t want to put down a garden barrier for my weed prevention. But I didn’t want weeds. May I present you with… MULCH!

mulch on garden bed mulch on garden bed

We spread another couple of inches of Scotts® Brown Mulch onto this bed so, fingers crossed, we can keep the weeds at bay this season! There were a few areas around our pavers and on the patio were I chose to use a targeted weed killer, RoundUp. This works in no time and allows me to narrow in on the few places around the patio that are hard for me to manually weed.

targeted weed killer


mulch in garden bed

garden prep with miracle gro

Mistake 3: Starving My Plants

Starving may not be exactly the right word, but certainly malnourished. Water (and sun) were the only ways I was tending to my plants. Big time no no. A healthy garden and vibrant plants need food. This year, I prepped the soil with fertilizer and will continue to feed these hungry hungry plants throughout the growing season. Miracle Gro’s Shake ‘n Feed is super easy just to sprinkle on the garden and let it do its work.

plant fertilizer in garden plant fertilizer in garden

Mistake 4: Ignoring Your Zone

It is essential to know what plants can thrive and survive in your part of the country. Your local Home Depot will only carry plants suitable for your area, but understanding your zone is still an important part of any garden plan as it will determine when you should plant, how plants will behave, and under what conditions your plants will flourish. In coastal Connecticut, it is advised that we wait until Mother’s Day (early May), to really begin heavy planting so, as you can see, our garden is prepped and ready but still kind of bare. 

prepping our garden for spring prepping our garden for spring

I couldn’t have asked for better teachers than the team at Scotts® Miracle Gro…. I totally feel ready for the planting season and am confident that our garden is prepped for success! For the first time in my  gardening life, I’ve actually created a lush and nurturing environment for the flowering plants I can’t wait to establish! Head over the Home Depot to pick up all your gardening needs and don’t make the same mistakes I did!

spring garden prep with miracle gro

Products used:

Miracle Gro Garden Soil

Miracle Gro Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food

Scotts® Brown Mulch

Weed Killer: RoundUp



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