Tick Talk – 18 Myths About Ticks Debunked

I was cruising the internet and found a few myths about ticks so I decided to do a blog post about them. Then I did more search and found a lot more misinformation about ticks. Funny how quickly people make up stuff and how easily it is spread by the powerful internet.

Ticks can be a concern. Lyme disease is real. But a lot of what you’ve heard is bunk!

Tick Talk - Myths About Ticks Debunked
Tick Talk – Myths About Ticks Debunked, source: Griffin Dill

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Does Clematis Wilt Really Exist?

Clematis have fairly few pests or diseases but they do suffer from the dreaded clematis wilt and it can be devastating. A plant that is growing great and ready to flower one day, is almost dead the next. All the leaves go black and the flower buds wilt. So much for this season.

Clematis wilt was first reported in 1885 and we have been trying to understand it ever since. A lot of progress has been made, but even today it is not fully understood. Some believe it is caused by a fungus, and others believe it is a watering issue. Confounding the whole thing is the fact that many gardeners think they have clematis wilt when in fact they don’t.

In this post will summarize what we know and don’t know about clematis wilt, and in the process help gardeners better understand the culture of this fantastic plant.

Does Clematis Wilt Really Exist?
Does Clematis Wilt Really Exist?

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Should Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used in the Garden?

If you spend any time on social media or reading popular gardening blogs you already know that hydrogen peroxide does all kinds of useful things in the garden. You will see blog headings such as, “11 Mega Reasons why Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants is a Must” and “10 Amazing Uses of Hydrogen peroxide for Plants in the Garden.”

This stuff must be fantastic! Or not.

Not every claim is a complete myth, but many of these claims are just wishful thinking. Time to look at some science and get down to the reality of using hydrogen peroxide in the garden.

Should Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used in the Garden?
Should Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used in the Garden?

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Baking Soda in the Garden – Hacks that Work and Don’t Work

Baking soda in the garden seems to be the next fad. Numerous videos and blog posts tout the many ways you can use baking soda, but do any of these hacks work?

It’s a pesticide, a herbicide, a fertilizer and it makes tomatoes taste sweeter. You can even use it to measure the pH of your soil. It’s a wonder product for the garden. You might think that is all nonsense, but there is some truth in some of the claims. In this post I will look at the claims and separate fact from manure.

Baking Soda in the Garden - Hacks that Work and Don't Work
Baking Soda in the Garden – Hacks that Work and Don’t Work

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Baking Soda, a Home Remedy Fungicide – the Cornell Formula

Powdery mildew and black spot are common garden diseases and one of the most common home remedies is a mixture known as the ‘Cornell Formula’, a mixture whose main ingredient is baking soda.

This is an example of how and why myths get started.

In this post I will discuss the Cornell Formula, explain how it got started, and have a look at the efficacy of using baking soda as a DIY fungicide. Does it work? Will it harm your plants? Are there better options?

Baking Soda, a Home Remedy Fungicide - the Cornell Formula
Cornell Formula for powdery mildew – does it really exist?

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Best Way to Collect Tomato Seeds

What is the best way to harvest tomato seeds? There are quite a few methods described on the internet and everyone has an opinion as to what works best. Unfortunately most of these ‘opinions’ are not based on any reliable testing. To really answer the question we need to find out what science says.

In this post I will review the science behind tomato seed harvesting with a special emphasis on cleaning the seed.

Best Way to Harvest Tomato Seeds
Best Way to Harvest Tomato Seeds

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Cinnamon – Does it Stop Damping Off in Seedlings?

Cinnamon is commonly used by gardeners to prevent damping off in seedlings but does it really work? Lots of people claim that it does, but I can’t find any scientific studies that use cinnamon in the same way as gardeners, but there is evidence that it might work.

There is also an issue about which cinnamon should be used. There is the real or true cinnamon and the fake cinnamon. Which one, if either, stops damping off?

I spent quite some time reviewing the information and this subject is a lot more complex than I had originally thought. Here are the spicy details about cinnamon and damping off.

Does Cinnamon Stop Damping-off in Seedlings?
Does Cinnamon Stop Damping-off in Seedlings?

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Spring Bulbs – When Is The Best Time To Plant?

Almost every gardener grows spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus. Millions of new bulbs are sold every year and yet people do not agree on the best time to plant them. Some want to plant early, as soon as they arrive in shops. Others say that you should wait until the ground gets an early frost. Some wait until the ground is fully frozen, but that is usually because they forgot to plant earlier.

A couple of years ago I was in a large nursery that specialized in spring bulbs. It was early September in a zone 5 climate and a manager told me not to plant the bulbs for a couple of months until we had a light frost. I looked him in the eye and asked about the bulbs I had planted in prior years – they were already in the ground. Do they need to be dug up so I could re-plant them after frost? He did not have an answer.

Lets have a look at the science and figure out when you should plant spring bulbs.

When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?
When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?

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Epsom Salt Myths – learn the truth about using it in the garden

Almost daily, I see a post in social media about using Epsom salt to cure all manner of plant problem. Planting a new plant; add Epsom salt to the planting hole. Are bugs your problem? Epsom salt will get rid of them. It also gets rid of diseases, and blemished on leaves. It makes tomatoes grow bigger, and produces a higher yield, with no Blossom End Rot. Roses are absolutely dependent on the stuff – you must put it in the planting hole every time.

If Epsom salt is such a miracle cure for plants, why is it that the scientific community does not know about it? Time to debunk this myth once and for all.

Epsom salt for plants
Epsom salt for plants – or is it best for a bath?

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What Can You Compost?

Composting is the process of degrading organic matter. So any organic matter should be good for the compost bin—right? Maybe. You will find lots of lists showing you what you can and can’t compost. Are the lists correct? Why can’t you not compost everything that is organic? Let’s look at this closer.

Composting meat and cheese
Composting meat and cheese

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Does Compost Reduce Plant Disease?

Plant disease reduction is a common benefit attributed to compost—but is it true. Will compost, added to the garden, reduce diseases in the garden? This is a very complex question that leads to some very interesting discussions about plants, and their diseases.

compost reduces plant disease
Compost reduces plant disease

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