How the Myth of Milk Fertilizer Started

A while ago I wrote about Milk As Fertilizer and concluded that although milk would add organic matter to a garden, it was no ‘magic bullet’. Since that report I have spent more time looking at the subject of milk fertilizer and tracked down how this myth was born. It a thriller full of deception and lies. Today I will dig deep into this myth and uncover some surprising facts. Then I will review the latest research on the subject.

Milk Fertilizer - a Myth is Born
Milk Fertilizer – a Myth is Born, source: Patrick Franzis

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Do Low Acid Tomatoes Exist?

My mother used to grow “low acid” tomatoes because high acid levels gave her mouth cankers, or so she thought. There is a concern that canning low acid tomatoes causes botulism because the acid level is too low.

Lots of seed companies and garden blogs talk about low acid tomatoes and usually identify yellow, orange and small fruited varieties as low acid. Some claim that modern breeding has increased the acidity of tomatoes and that heirlooms have less acid. Others claim that there is no such thing as low acid tomatoes.

It turns out that this story starts as a myth. People tried to correct the myth only to create a new myth in the process. I’ll have to debunk the debunkers.

Do Low Acid Tomatoes Exist?
Do Low Acid Tomatoes Exist?, source: Arturo Feliz-Camilo

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Can You Trust Gardening Memes?

Memes have become very popular because their image fits nicely in most social media platforms, and they present information in a brief catchy format that is easy to share. Who has time to actually read and understand a topic?

Unfortunately, some are made by people who know very little about gardening or don’t take the time to check their facts. To catch your attention, authors use short catchy phrases that skip the important details. The result are memes that are wrong, or at best misleading.

Can You Trust Gardening Memes?
Can You Trust Gardening Memes?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

When Should You Do Spring Garden Cleanup?

In years gone by it was common to clean up the garden in fall. It does result in a neat clean looking garden, but then we learned that all kinds of beneficial insects overwinter in that messy looking stuff on the ground, so we started to do cleanup in spring instead. To understand why, read this; Spring Cleanup Advice – Do it Right .

Now things have changed again. We are being told not to cleanup until temperatures are consistently above 10 C (50 F) to allow insects time to leave their winter protection. If you look at the recently circulated meme below, you have to wonder if this recommendation is valid. Does it really have to be 10 C? I see all kinds of insects when there is still snow on the ground. And what does “consistently ” mean? Is that nighttime or daytime temperature? Is it a daily high or low? How much harm will you do if it is only 9 C (48 F)? Is there any real science that supports this idea? Let’s find out.

When Should You Do Spring Garden Cleanup?
When Should You Do Spring Garden Cleanup?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Is Soil an Antidepressant – Does it Make You Feel Good?

The meme pictured below has been making the rounds on social media and it gets quick acceptance by readers. As gardeners we all know that being in the garden or going for a walk in nature makes us feel good. Finally science agrees with us and has even found the root cause for these feelings of euphoria: serotonin.

People agree with the meme quickly because it supports their exiting beliefs but they have no basis for their existing beliefs.

But let’s face it – a meme is not scientific proof. What does the science really say?

Is Soil an Antidepressant - Does it Make You Feel Good?
Is Soil an Antidepressant – Does it Make You Feel Good?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?

The meme pictured below suggests that crushed tomato leaves are a good way to get rid of aphids. Who knew?

This meme is making the rounds and based on comments, a lot of you will give it a try. Why? Why not just use Google and do a quick search to find the facts? That does not always work, but in this case the facts are readily available.

Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?
Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Plant Starters and Root Boosters – Do They Work?

It’s planting time and most fertilizer manufacturers and nurseries are pushing their high phosphorus products, usually under names like Plant Starter, Root Booster and the one I really like “MegaMass”. These fertilizers claim to “supply the high phosphorus needed for rapid root development”.

Who doesn’t want good roots on their newly planted babies? Are roots not the key to great plants?

Let’s have a look at this extremely common myth.

Plant Starters and Root Boosters - Do They Work?. photo source: Farmer's Almanac
Plant Starters and Root Boosters – Do They Work? ;source: Farmer’s Almanac

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Why Can’t You Trust Gardening Information on the Internet – Using a Ghost Writer

Why can’t you trust gardening information on the Internet? As part of my effort to bust gardening myths, I also try to understand how the myths are created in the first place.

I decided to run a test to illustrate why gardening information on the internet can’t be trusted. I hired someone to write an article on how to flower indoor plants more. How accurate will the information be? Will it be suitable for posting on one of my blogs?

Why Are So Many Gardening Websites Wrong?
Why Can’t You Trust Gardening Information on the Internet?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Plant Communication – Can Plants Talk to Other Plants?

By now you have seen lots of headlines that say plant communication exists, including The Wonderful World of Plant Communication, How Plants Secretly Talk to Each Other and Do Plants Have Something to Say? There are even books that promote the idea; The Hidden Life of Trees, The Secret Life of Plants and What a Plant Knows. And here I was thinking that plants are just dumb organisms with no intelligence.

Plants are certainly fascinating and we have lots to learn about how they function, but do they really communicate? Can one plant pass along a message to another plant? Can that second plant receive the information and understand what it means?

Plant Communications - Can Plants Talk to Other Plants?
Plant Communications – Can Plants Talk to Other Plants?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms – Is this Good Companion Planting?

Will marigolds stop cabbage worms from attacking cabbage? This was a hot topic last week as the Facebook post shown below made the rounds in many gardening groups, everything from local Canadian groups, to Gardening in Western Australia. Through this one post, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of gardeners are now convinced that marigolds stop cabbage worms.

That is too bad, since this may just be another myth that has no scientific basis.

In this post I will discuss why you should have been very skeptical when you first saw this post, and then I’ll look at the real science behind the claim.

Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms?
Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

A Tomato Myth is Born – More About Tomato Ripening

A few weeks ago I published the post called Ripening Tomato Myths – Both on the Vine and in the Home which explained why tomatoes ripen completely when picked at the breaker stage. Some people pointed out a discrepancy in that post. How could the fruit be sealed off from the plant at breaker stage and still show fruit cracking due to excessive water in the plant? This was a valid point that needed some more investigation.

In this post I will clarify the situation and explain how this tomato myth got started. This will lead us to a better understanding of the tomato ripening process.

A Tomato Myth is Born - More About Tomato Ripening
A Tomato Myth is Born – More About Tomato Ripening

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

The Scientific Method and Why Controls Are So Important

My regular readers will understand that this is a science based gardening blog and that I rely heavily on the scientific method to debunk gardening myths, but what does “the scientific method” really mean and why is it so important? In today’s post I am going to focus on one aspect of this, the control.

The Scientific Method and Why Controls Are So Important
The Scientific Method and Why Controls Are So Important

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......