Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Archive for the Plant Care Category

Does Planting by the Moon Work?

The idea that the Moon affects plant growth is an old one that is believed by many people. It can be found in the folklore of ancient societies ranging from the Celts in Britain to the Maoris in New Zealand. Roman historian, Pliny the Elder, in his History of Nature, Book 18, gives much advice on planting by the moon phases. Today, it is still a rural tradition and in most countries you can buy moon gardening calendars.

The lunar experts suggest that you pick fruit at the full moon for the market as it will weigh more and pick at the new moon for personal consumption because the fruit stores better. Seeds also germinate faster when planted under the right phase of the moon.

A picture was posted recently in a Facebook Group showing a Planting by the Moon calendar on sale. I made a comment about being surprised people still believe in such things. That was a big mistake. Dozens of people castrated me for not being a believer. How dare I say anything derogatory about what granny believed. Not one person came to my defense. The belief in planting by moon phases is still very common.

Planting by the moon phases

Planting by the moon phases

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Compost Tea NPK Values

Compost tea is reported to be great for growing plants and some companies even call it a compost tea fertilizer. What is the NPK value of this magic potion?

I started this post about a year ago and at that time there were many products on the market but I could not find one that provided the Compost Tea NPK value. I checked again today and was surprised that the number of compost tea products available is down significantly. Maybe it was too expensive to ship all that water around the country? Maybe it did not work and people stopped buying the product?

Interestingly, the number of commercial DIY kits for making your own tea is up significantly. When you click on Google images for ‘bottles of tea’ you are taken to pages selling kits. Even with kits the same question needs to be asked. What is the NPK value of the tea these kits produce. Very few of the manufacturers I looked at provided such information, but many did say their compost ingredients were the best. Easy to say if you don’t give any data.

Even if you are not interested in compost tea – the following discussion will show you how companies are misleading consumers.

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

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Can Leaves be Used to Identify Nutrient Deficiencies?

There are lots of examples of people trying to use plant leaf characteristics to identify nutrient deficiencies in the soil. This seems to make a lot of sense. If the soil is lacking a specific nutrient, it should show up in the plant and it seems to follow that by examining the physical characteristics of the leaf you should be able to identify the nutrient deficiency.

How reliable is this method of diagnosis? Can you really identify a nutrient deficiency in the soil by looking at plant leaves?

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms by Permablitz

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms by Permablitz

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Is Coir an Eco-friendly Substitute for Peat Moss?

In the search for a peat moss alternative, coir is the one that is most often discussed. Coir is made from the outer husk of coconuts and is a waste product from the coconut industry. Environmentalists are quick to point out that “since it is a waste product it’s use is more environmentally friendly than using peat moss.” How can such common sense logic be wrong?

Shipping coconut husks to a coir processing plant in Vietnam

Shipping coconut husks to a coir processing plant in Vietnam

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Peat and Peat Moss Alternatives

The horticulture industry is being blamed for depleting peat reserves and environmentalists are calling for a stop on using peat for growing plants. What are the peat moss alternatives? Is there a suitable substitute?

The horticulture industry would have no problems switching to another product instead of peat. After all, most gardeners are quite aware of the importance of preserving our environment. In this post, I will look at several peat moss alternatives to see if there is a viable option.

Peat and peat moss alternatives

Closeup of growing peat moss

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