Garden Professors Investigate Myths

The Garden Professors are a group of gardeners, extension agents and other scientifically minded gardeners who research and write about gardening, specifically, what is true and what is myth. 

One author quotes Will Rogers to explain their purpose. “It’s not what we don’t know that causes us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”

Most of us have been unwitting victims of garden advice that was given to us with an authoritative tone of voice but without any scientific confirmation. Then, it is accepted as fact and repeated. The Garden Professors check out garden myths for us.

Examples of their projects at

Weed blocking fabric actually provides a great substrate for weed seeds to take hold. In addition, “all those pores in the fabric that supposedly allow water and oxygen to move through are soon filled with bits of soil.”  Remove the weed cloth and replace it with wood chips. More information -

Epsom salts: Miracle, myth or  marketing?  Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and gardeners swear by them for improving seed germination and overall plant health.  

The studies that have been done on Epsom salts that show success, have been conducted on intensively produced crops that were actually deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can occur when excess water from rain or irrigation leaches nutrients out.
Excess magnesium can cause root disease, contaminate the soil and injure plants. More information -

The Myth of Companion Planting says that some plants love each other and others do not. It is accurate to say that diverse plantings attract beneficial insects, including predator and parasitoid species that help all plants in the area. Below the soil, plants whose  roots entangle share mycorrhizal relationships, transferring nitrogen and aiding nearby plants. For example, nitrogen fixing plants in the pea and bean family take nitrogen from the air and store it underground where other plants can access it. More information - 

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