8 Gardening myths – fact or fiction?

Many gardeners religiously follow certain habits while gardening. Unfortunately some of these turn out to be myths rather than effective techniques. Others really work and make for interesting gardening

Myth 1: Always water your garden regularly and thoroughly – FALSE

Many gardeners tend to over water, depriving the plant root system of oxygen. Good drainage for your plants in rainy regions is always a must. In hot, dry regions, a good soaking once a week is the way to go. A good deep watering every few days is much more effective than a regular shallow watering. It encourages a deep healthy root system which firmly anchors the plant and tolerates versatile environmental conditions.

Myth 2: To get sweeter tomatoes, add sugar to the planting hole – FALSE

Unfortunately, this is not true. Plants can’t absorb sugar through the soil; their sugar is produced through photosynthesis. The sugar content of a plant is predetermined in the plant’s genetic code. What you can add to the planting hole is banana peels. These are high in Potassium and feed the plant as it matures. After adding to the hole slightly cover with some compost and a light sprinkle of bone meal.

Myth 3: Add chalk or egg shells to the planting hole – TRUE

Both of these provide calcium to the fruit and will help prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes. Eggshells are a better option than the chalk. Always check the chalk for harmful chemicals you may be introducing to your plants.

Myth 4: Watering in full sun on a hot day will cause the leaves of a plant to burn – FALSE

The noticeable “burn” marks on a plant is actually caused by a type of fungus growing on the plant and not by the magnification of sun rays through the water drops as many believe. The only reason why it is better to water in cooler temperatures is to avoid losing water due to evaporation and transpiration.

Myth 5: Add beer traps for slugs – TRUE

Recent studies have shown that slugs actually prefer light beer to the darker lagers. Just remember to refill your traps after you water the garden or if it has rained.

Myth 6: Organic gardens cost more – FALSE

Organic produce does cost more when you buy at your local grocer, but luckily this does not apply to your backyard garden. As organic gardeners we tend to save seeds, reuse household materials such as food containers, egg cartons for germinating seeds ect. Conventional gardening may even cost more than organic gardening considering all the home made free fertilisers, pesticides and remedies available to the avid organic home grower and gardener.

Myth 7: Add sand to improve clay soil types – FALSE

The worst remedy for a clay soil is to add sand. Clay soil structure is made up of fine particles and due to these particles fitting close together there is less space between them. This results in poor water drainage. Sand is also made up of fine particles, thus there is no point in adding sand to clay soil. One needs to add courser materials like compost, bark chips or other organic matter. This not only improves the soil structure by allowing better drainage, but it encourages air movement which is good for gaseous exchange and it benefits soil nutrition levels.

Myth 8: More is better – FALSE

This is often not the case. Many think that if a little fertiliser or pesticide is good, more would be better. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When fertilising or using pesticides it is often the opposite that applies. By adding more than the recommended dosage, one injures the plant and forces it into unhealthy growth often leading to yellowing, unattractive growth and even death. Not to mention the unnecessary damage to the microclimate of your garden as well as the surrounding wildlife and environment.

Read more about making your own fertiliser HERE