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Gardener seeks advice after making beginner mistake with planter boxes: 'It shouldn't be end of the world'

"Do your best and don't give up."

"Do your best and don't give up."

Photo Credit: iStock

A recent post made in Reddit's r/gardening community has sparked a lively discussion about the challenges of maintaining healthy soil in home gardens.

The Redditor, a first-time poster from southwest Sweden, accidentally added a significant amount of wood ash to their potato boxes and turned to Reddit for advice on how to neutralize the soil before planting.

"I messed up and accidentally dumped a fair amount (like 7-8 small hand spades full) of wood ash from my wood stove into a few of my potato boxes," the user wrote. "Stupid mistake, I know, it was not on purpose. And it has since rained, so I can't just go scoop it out."

In spite of the mishap, this Reddit post highlights the benefits of gardening and eco-friendly landscaping. Native plant gardens and low-maintenance lawn alternatives save time and money on upkeep while conserving water and supporting pollinators.

Native plants, clover, buffalo grass, and xeriscaping are just a few of the sustainable options that can replace traditional lawns. These alternatives require less mowing, watering, and fertilizing, which translates to lower water bills and more free time for homeowners. Even a partial lawn replacement can make a significant difference.

If you'd like to enjoy these benefits yourself, check out our extensive guide to rewilding your lawn.

The poster's mishap also highlights the importance of understanding soil health and composition. Wood ash can dramatically raise soil pH, making it more alkaline and less hospitable to acid-loving plants like potatoes. However, as many commenters pointed out, there are several ways to address this issue without resorting to expensive treatments.

One commenter advised, "add more soil or change it out... it shouldn't be end of the world but yeah more acidic than it should be."

Another suggested, "I would test the pH if you can. Sulfer is slow to lower soil pH so it won't help you immediately. Another option would be to water your potato boxes a deeply to leech out the soluble salts… do your best and don't give up."

Gardening is a learning process, and even experienced gardeners make mistakes. However, by learning from each other's experiences and embracing sustainable practices, we can cultivate thriving gardens that benefit both ourselves and the environment.

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