Does AI Provide Good Gardening Information?

Artificial Intelligent (AI) programs have been all the rage for a couple of years now and they are being used more and more by gardeners to get their information. They are easy to use. Just enter a question and an answer appears. That is a lot easier than doing a Google search and having to read through blogs to get the information, but is it a better way? And most importantly, is the information correct.

Here are Garden Myths we don’t accept every answer, even if it is from AI, so we decided to do some testing.

NOTE: Since I published this post – some people have been getting errors saying he site is not safe and may have a virus – I have checked it several ways and it doesn’t have one. In an effort to try and resolve the problem, I have removed all the links in this post.

Does AI Provide Good Gardening Information?
Does AI Provide Good Gardening Information? Source: mikemacmarketing

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Best Way to Germinate Baptisia Australis Seeds

Baptisia australis, also called false indigo or false blue indigo, is a native of North America and a great garden perennial. In addition to this species there are a number of other species in the genus Baptisia that are suitable for the garden. Some grow as herbaceous bushes while others are vines.

Germination of the genus seems to be difficult, at least in my hands. A single seedling might germinate, but in many cases none of the seeds germinate. This article summarizes a study conducted to better understand the germination of Baptisia australis seed.

Germinating Baptisia australis from seeds
Germinating Baptisia australis from seeds

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10 Ways to Germinate Pepper Seed Faster – What Works and What Doesn’t Work?

What is the fastest way to germinate pepper seeds? They do germinate a bit slower than other vegetables and that is especially true of hot peppers, so gardeners try all kinds of DIY solutions to speed up the process. In this post I will examine 10 popular ways to speed up the germination of pepper seeds and report on my own experiment that compares most of these methods.

Finally, a definitive answer to the question, what is the fastest way to germinate pepper seeds.

10 Ways to Germinate Pepper Seed Faster - What Works and What Doesn't Work?
10 Ways to Germinate Pepper Seed Faster – What Works and What Doesn’t Work?, Credit: Daisy Dawes

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Soil Moisture Meters – Do They Work – Should You Use Them?

I see soil moisture meters for sale all over the place and now there are numerous brands listed on Amazon. A lot of people must be buying them, but do they work? Are they accurate enough? Should you use soil moisture meters to determine when to water your plants?

Let’s have a close look at this garden device.

Soil Moisture Meters - Do They Work - Should You Use Them?
Soil Moisture Meters – Do They Work – Should You Use Them?

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Straw Bale Garden vs Traditional In-ground Garden – A Critical Comparison

Straw bale gardening seems to be an “in-thing” to try and I have written about it in Pros and Cons of Straw Bale Gardening. I see people on line praising the technique, but I also see a lot of people reporting failure. What is rare is any side-by-side comparison of straw bale gardening to traditional in-ground gardening. Even proponents of straw bale gardening don’t provide evidence for their claims by making a comparison.

I wanted to see for myself how well it worked, so this year I decided to do a comparison between my traditional vegetable garden and straw bale gardening. Here is what I found.

Straw Bale Garden vs Traditional In-ground Garden
Straw bale garden vs traditional In-ground garden

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Best Time to Water – Morning, Noon or Evening?

The common advice is to water in the morning and not at night because watering at night keeps leaves wet all night and allows fungal spores to infect leaves. This seems to make sense, but is this really true? Do leaves stay wet a long time if watered at night?

What do farmers do? If they have to irrigate 100 acres, do they stop watering in the afternoon to reduce fungal infection?

Another common piece of advice is to water the soil only. Don’t get the leaves wet and you will have less fungal problems. I have always felt that water evaporates fairly quickly so is this really a concern?

Best Time to Water - Morning, Noon or Evening?
Best Time to Water – Morning, Noon or Evening?

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Growing Seeds in Ice Cream Cones – Great Idea or Ultimate Stupidity?

You have probably seen the memes showing you how to grow seeds in ice cream cones. There are lots of pictures on the internet, especially in places like Pinterest, showing nicely grown seedlings like the one pictured below.

The whole idea did not make sense to me, but who knows, maybe it’s a good idea and I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of it first.

I had to try it!

Growing Seeds in Ice Cream Cones - Great Idea or Ultimate Stupidity?
Growing Seeds in Ice Cream Cones – Great Idea or Ultimate Stupidity? Source: Sarah Neuburger

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Tomato Seed Fermentation – Is it Required?

Is tomato seed fermentation required? There are quite a few methods described on the internet for collecting and cleaning tomato seed, but which one works best? How do we define ‘best’? What works well for a commercial seed company may not be the best option for a home gardener.

A very common option is the ‘tomato seed fermentation’ method. Some say that it is absolutely necessary in order to get a high germination rate but not everyone uses it and they still claim to get good germination.

It is also believed that fermentation reduces pathogens on the seed. In this post I will look at the science behind collecting and cleaning tomato seeds.

Tomato Seed Fermentation - Is it Required?
Tomato Seed Fermentation – Is it Required?

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Planting Garlic – How Late is Too Late?

I hear about a lot of people planting garlic in winter or even early spring. In most cases they never report how well the crop turned out so I wondered, how good is the crop if you plant late? Can you plant in spring, in a cold climate, and still get a good crop?

Planting Garlic - How Late is Too Late, by Robert Pavlis
Planting Garlic – How Late is Too Late, by Robert Pavlis

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Does Peat Moss Acidify Soil?

Some very desirable plants like rhododendrons, azaleas and blueberries demand acidic soil and many gardeners have alkaline soil which is not suitable to grow these plants. The most common solution I’ve seen is to mix peat moss with the soil to produce an acidic environment.

Peat moss is acidic so it makes sense that if you add some to your soil, the resulting soil will also be more acidic. But is this really true? How long does the acidity last? Can gardeners with alkaline soil use peat moss to grow rhododendrons, azaleas and blueberries?

Does peat moss change soil pH?
Does peat moss change soil pH?

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Planting Garlic – When Is The Right Time?

The recommended time for planting garlic in colder climates is mid-fall – October in zone 5. That certainly works but is that the best time?

Spring bulbs, like tulips, are also planted in fall but common advice for these is to plant them as soon as you get them. Earlier is certainly better than later. Planting earlier allows the bulb more time to develop a good root system before winter sets in. Since garlic is a bulb, would the same logic not apply to it? Would it not be better to plant garlic sooner?

Planting garlic - When Is The Right Time? From left to right, Aug 2, Sept 1, Oct 1, by Robert Pavlis
Planting garlic – When Is The Right Time? From left to right, Aug 2, Sept 1, Oct 1, by Robert Pavlis

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