Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Does Cornmeal Kill Slugs and Snails?

The claim is that slugs and snails are attracted to cornmeal and after eating it, the cornmeal expands and kills them. What a simple organic method for getting rid of slugs, but does it work?

Does Cornmeal Kill Slugs and Snails?

Does Cornmeal Kill Slugs and Snails?

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Trace Mineral Fertilizers – How Many Nutrients Do Plants Need?

I just replied to a comment in my Fish Fertilizer Post which said, “It’s surprising the article makes no mention of the full spectrum of minerals present in sea food, and therefore the fertilizer. Sea water is known to have an astounding 82 elements (don’t have the link, please Google it) The only thing that prevents us from using sea water as fertilizer is the high sodium content. Fish do the wonderful job of filtering out that excess sodium and leaving you with extremely mineral rich organic matter ! “.

A couple of weeks ago at the Guelph Organic Conference, one of the salespeople selling an Australian sea salt extract, claimed that his product contained 99 nutrients that plants need.

I found the following claim on a company website; “Azomite – Organic Trace Mineral Powder – 67 Essential Minerals for You and Your Garden”. Azomite is a brand name product made from “special” rock dust.

Why does fertilizer only show three nutrient numbers, NPK, when plants need either 67, 82 or 99 nutrients? Inquisitive gardeners want to know.

Periodic Table of Elements

Periodic Table of Elements

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Walnuts, Juglone and Allelopathy

The common statement “nothing grows under walnut trees” is not true. “Walnuts produce juglone”, is not entirely true either. “You need to compost walnut wood chips before using them in the garden”, is false. “The allelopathic properties of walnuts are well understood” – definitely not true.

This is a popular subject that is routinely discussed and written about, but the truth around walnut trees is anything but clear.

Black Walnut - Walnuts, Juglone and Allelopathy

Black Walnut – Walnuts, Juglone and Allelopathy

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Salts Don’t Kill Plants or Microbes

The idea that salts kill plants and microbes seems very prevalent, especially among organic growers. The topic is poorly understood and leads to a number of statements that are either false or mostly false.

“Fertilizer kills plants because it is a salt”

“Farmer fields are devoid of microbes because of the salt in fertilizer”

“The NPK in manufactured fertilizer is made soluble by chemically attaching the NPK to salts”

“They [fertilizers] also make it easier for the chemicals to run off into waterways”

“Organic sources contain fewer salts”

“Organic sources are slow release”

“Fertilizers are designed to be highly soluble”

It’s time for a chemistry lesson to better understand salts, ions and the difference between synthetic and organic fertilizer.

Salts Don't Kill Plants

Salts Don’t Kill Plants

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Bokashi vs Composting

Bokashi is a fermentation method used for processing kitchen scraps in the home with very little mess and no foul odors. Some claim that bokashi is a method of composting, but that is incorrect, as discussed in Bokashi Composting Myths.

What exactly is bokashi? We call it a fermentation process but what does that mean? How does fermentation compare to composting on a molecular level? Does one method have advantages over the other?

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