It is time to fess up and talk about some mistakes I made gardening.
1. Using garden soil to grow seeds. Big mistake. The soil I took from the garden turned hard as a rock when I put it in seedling containers (I use 1 quart yogurt containers with small holes punched in the bottom for drainage). Fortunately, I tried this only on two plants. They are still hard as a rock even after transplant.
2. Thinking varmints will not disturb my plants.
After many plants were nipped, it turned out that rabbits were the culprits. I put a 2 foot poultry fencing up and had no problems after that.
3. Planting tomatoes too early.
My Dad always says to plant them May 15th. I circumvented this advice and planted May 1st until the year a hard frost occurred on May 3rd and 4th.
4. Not watering deep enough.
Last year (2012) was a drought year, bordering on severe. I sowed carrot and corn seeds and hand watered them. Turns out not thoroughly. None of the carrots grew and the corn was very sparse. After a typical watering, I dug down with a trowel to see how deep the water went. Just below the surface was barely wet. My thinking was the water would seep down but it did not. By the way, the soil was prime Illinois soil with excellent drainage.
5. Not putting weeds in a bucket.
I use a claw type tool to remove most weeds. It works well, especially after a good rain, though many times it leaves part of the taproot. I would yank the weed out and put it on the ground, instead of putting it in a bucket. Why? Leaving it on the ground, especially dandelions, has a good chance of seeding. Lately, I would tear off the dandelion head.