07 July 2009

Busting Up Clods of Garden Myths

Can you tell fact from fiction when it comes to healthy happy plants and soils? Most of us can't.

C

Colorado State University Extension (here) has a piece called Beware of Gardening Myths. For example, Gypsum does not break up clay soils. And vitamin B1 in formulations guaranteed to jump start transplants has zero effect. But we hear gardeners state with confidence that these things work for them.

A completely different list of myths is at the Skagit County Master Gardeners site here. For example, uncomposted wood chips spread pathogenic fungi and bacteria to healthy plant roots.
AND
most important to re-learn is to STOP using chlorine bleach as a disinfectant. Use isopropyl alcohol, Listerine or Lysol.

C. L. Fornari, the Gardenlady gives a memorable presentation on busting gardening myths. Her Gardenlady website is great to browse, too. You can read my 2007 column about Fornari here. My favorite on C.L.'s list is about pruning tomatoes - don't bother.

Washington State University also has a page full of myths here. For example, using Epsom Salts on plants and soil is almost always useless.

Then, there are water garden myths from Lawn and Garden's site here.

My grandmother told me to leave the just-pulled weeds on the outer edge of the bed until they dry. Then, remove them. She said that they have valuable nutrients that they put back into the soil as they dry.

Anyone want to argue with Grammy?

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