07 August 2012

Do you know your gardening myths?

Taking the myths out of gardening is a big topic in the garden writing world. Dozens of articles, books and blog entries have been written about them. Here's a sampling -

Renegade Gardener's site is one of the places you can find out what we've believed about gardening that is false, untrue, inaccurate, an old wives' tale, a myth.

In a tab called Myth of the Week, Don Engebretson covers the topics:
Organic fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with chemicals
Trees and shrubs should be fertilized when planted
Plants are pre-programmed to grow to a certain size and height
Add gravel to containers before planting
Your home compost pile can spontaneously combust
Rototill your vegetable beds annually
Add lime to your soil


Fine Gardening's John Fech writes about Nine Myths that include:
Fertilize stressed plants
Use varnish, tar or paint, to cover recent tree prunings
Organic pesticides are less toxic
Newly planted trees have to be staked
Drought tolerant plants need no watering


Washington State University's Linda Chalker-Scott has her science-tested favorites, including:
They myth that bone meal is necessary to bulb and root health
Seaweed as the overall right fertilizer choice
Disinfecting pruning tools
Corn gluten's effectiveness as a weed suppressant

Here's a YouTube video of Chalker-Scott on Growing a Greener World

Colorado State University extension service debunks myths on their site, including:
Daytime watering burns plants
Gypsum breaks up heavy clay soils

National Geographic's Green Living page breaks down the myths about compost

At Down the Plot, other myths get exposed, such as:
Manure mixed with sawdust depletes soil nitrogen
Raised beds are better than open beds
Square foot gardening is better than traditional gardening

Tampa Bay Online snips more myths, including:
Take the flower buds off plants before planting in the soil
Use eggshells to prevent slug damage

Tony Avant weighs in on myth busting in a NY Times article His truths:
Never add sand to clay soil, thinking it will help
Beneficial microbes know the difference between organics and chemicals
The best planting medium is 40% native soil and 60% compost

The Laptop Gardener's site says these are myths
The soil under oaks, cedars and pines is acidic.
It doesn’t pay to use leftover seeds from flowers and vegetables
Mushrooms and toadstools sprouting in the lawn mean that the soil is deficient.

You know what I take from this? Most of us are working way too hard! Once you get rid of the restrictions and myths we worry about, we are back to compost, manure, disease resistant plant varieties, plain water, building soil health and the basics.









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