Beware of Garden Myths!


2017005279A.jpgIf there’s one thing that gardeners like to do, it’s chatting with their neighbors about their horticultural successes and failures. It’s a great way to make interesting discoveries … but also to pick up false information.

In fact, many of the tips shared between neighbors—perhaps even most of them!—are myths or, at the very least, of very limited effectiveness. Some garden myths have been circulating for generations and, despite the best efforts of knowledgeable horticulturists who try to bring out the truth about all things having to do with gardening, it sometimes seems like people would rather believe myths and urban legends rather than accept reality.

My suggestion: the next time your neighbor-who-knows-everything-but-whose -garden-is-no-more-beautiful-than-your-own suggests a garden tip that seems logical (so many garden myths do!), why not check its veracity on the Laidback Gardener website? Just enter a few keywords into the Search box (on the left of the screen, at the bottom of the menu).

For example, if they helpfully suggest that you surround your lettuce plants with eggshells to keep slugs away, enter “slugs eggshells” and you’ll find the article “Warning: Eggshells Actually Attract Slugs!“ If they claim that deadheading lilacs (removing their faded flowers) stimulates better bloom the following year, enter “deadhead lilacs” and among the titles that appears, you’ll see “No Need to Deadhead Lilacs.” Or if you want to check into a garden myths in general, simply enter “garden myth”.

Other Sources of Information

Can’t find the answer to your question at Look somewhere else! But do check it out on a site that looks serious and has no obvious bias.

For example, as much as I personally believe in gardening as organically as possible, I wouldn’t necessarily go to an organic gardening website to confirm a tip about organic gardening: sometimes, in their enthusiasm, these sites turn a blind eye to false information. (A bit of healthy skepticism is always a good thing: it shows the author of the text has looked at the subject from more than one point of view.)

My favorite site for checking into the veracity of garden myths is Horticultural Myths by Linda Chalker-Scott of the Washington State University Extension. You really do get all the information there!

What’s important is that when you hear a “tip” that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always check it out before you apply. You can save yourself hours of unnecessary effort, a good wad of cash… and also the life of your plants!


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