Garden Myths Gardening

Garden Myths: a Silent Lecture

Long-chain fatty acids
Insecticidal soap
Dishwashing liquid
Leaves with damaged brown edges.
Dishwashing liquid
Spraying solution on leaf.
Spraying solution on leaf.
Insecticidal soap
Leaf with powdery mildew and box of baking soda.
baking soda and potassium bicarbonate.
Leaf with powdery mildew and glass of milk.

Cracked clay soil and sandy soil
Cracked clay soil and sandy soil
Cracked clay soil and sandy soil, plus organic material
Man covering clay soil with top soil.
Bottles of strychnine.
Homemade nicotine solution.
Garden plants surrounded by a barrier of egg shells to prevent slugs.
Bowl of crushed egg shells.
Slugs crossing a so-called barrier of egg shells.
Time lapse photos showing slugs drawn to and devouring a lettuce leaf surrounded by crushed egg shells.
Hostas with slug holes in their leaves.
Slug drinking beer.
Bowl of beer in garden to trap slugs.
Groupe of slugs.
Bowl of beer in garden to trap slugs.
rhubarb leaf
Compost bin.
Wilting rhubarb leaves.
Finger pointing to a so-called sucker on tomato plant that is actually a branch.
Finger pointing to a so-called sucker on tomato plant that is actually a branch.
Finger pointing to a so-called sucker on tomato plant that is actually a branch.
Leaf carrying out photosynthesis.
Tomato in cage with many fruits.
Individual tomato plants with stakes, one plant per stake, all branches removed.
Large tomato cages.
Man removing tomato leaves.
Tomato suffering from sun scald.
Tomato plant with tomatoes.
Planting hole, tree planted with amended soil underneath and all around.
Tree girdled by roots.
Proper way of planting trees, with foot ball on solid ground.
Pot with so-called drainage layer of pot shards.
Pot with so-called drainage layer of pot shards.
Pot with a piece of newspaper on bottom.
Man waiting while chlorine evporates from watering can.
Dracena leaf with tip burn.
watering can
Dracena leaf with tip burn.
Woman watering a houseplant with tap water.
Exceptions include carnivorous plants, which don’t tolerate tap water of any kind, with or without chlorine. For them, rain water is best.
French marigolds.
French marigolds.
Tomato with root gall nematodes and closeup of one nematode.
Tomato with root gall nematodes and closeup of one nematode.
Marigolds used as a cover crop.
Root know nematodes.
French marigolds.
French marigolds.
Pruning sealer.
Cut branch treated with pruning sealer.
Image displaying correct way of removing a branch.
Bottle of transplant fertilizer.
Illustration showing patter of root growth.
Roots with mycorrhizal fungi.
Fertilizer and mycorrhizal fungus.
Pine needle under pine tree.
Rhododendron and blueberry plant.
Pine needles under pine tree.
Adding a layer of soil under over newspaper.
Bottle of sulfur-based soil acidifier and a rhododendron.
Child lighting fire with magnifying glass and drop of water on a leaf.
Watering with hand sprayer.
Lawn sprinkler.
Spraying houseplant with water.
Spraying houseplant with water.
Room humidifier with houseplants.
Blue spruce, rusty nails.
Blue spruce, rusty nails.
Mix of blue spruces of various shades of blue and green.
Blue hosta and blue hydrangea.
Green moss.
Lime being applied to lawn.
Bag of garden lime
Moss lawn.
Fairy ring of mushrooms in lawn.
Bag of dolomitic lime.
Fairy ring of mushrooms in lawn.
Coffee grounds.
Test plants suffering from coffee grounds treatment.
Compost bin.
Ant on peony bud.
Peony Flower
Ants on peony bud.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

71 comments on “Garden Myths: a Silent Lecture

  1. I like it a lot! Thank you.

  2. Larry, i’m so sorry you’re having health problems; but like everyone else, i am grateful for this silent lecture. I learned so much (the purpose of a lecture), so i’d say it’s a success.
    I do Have a Question for all you gardeners out there in reference to the tomatoes and suckers. Thanks so much for that, Larry! I do raised bed gardening and have been planting tomatoes one per foot as per square foot gardening instruction. I’m told i’ll get more tomatoes per plant if i prune off the suckers. Obviously, Larry’s debunked this. So, will i get more or fewer tomatoes if i plant the tomatoes closer (one foot) and prune or further from each other (two to three feet) with little or no pruning?
    Thanks much for any and all advice!

    • Try the latter. Healthy, well-spaced, caged plants will give the best results.

      • They’ll be staked on cattle fencing (very efficient), which goes up to eight feet high. How close do you think i can plant them? When i used cages, i planted them three feet apart, but the cattle fencing allows me to tie the plants to the fencing spreading them out considerably compared to a cage. Thanks so much!

      • Try 4 feet, as I suspect you’ll be able to direct branches that far.

  3. marianwhit

    You just amaze me Larry…like a Timex watch you take a licking and keep on ticking…thanks so much for this. I like the format. A lot of info shared efficiently.

  4. There was lots of good information here. There was enough text to understand the point; no need to add more.

  5. I really enjoyed this presentation, learned a great deal.

  6. Cindy Marks

    Really enjoyed – I’m not one that needs the non-photographic images, though helpful diagrams are excellent. But if this was easier for you because these were slides you have already created, then I say go for it! I love all your information and level-headed approaches and appreciate any and all efforts for you to keep the info flowing.

  7. Alyce Parsons

    Love it! So happy I found you!

  8. this is great! thank you. more would be wonderful

  9. John H.W. Cole

    Wow. I had a lot of myths busted. Only criticism is that it was a lot for one sitting. I’ll read again.

  10. Thank you Larry! I love this format! So much useful information, easily seen and digested.
    I’d love to see more of your presentations! 😀

  11. Susan Sucha

    Thank you. This was great and in digital format, one has an opportunity to linger and re-read areas for better retention.

  12. I do not know what they did in the coffee study, But I worked in a coffee processing plant for 38 years.
    I used coffee chaff mixed the fresh grounded coffee as a mulch around my tomatoes, peppers & cucumbers with great harvest & no problems with plants. The problem with the four inches of coffee mulch was that it was slippery when wet & cracked when completely dry, much like clay.
    First I had great organic soil & water in the garden.
    Second, I never use it as a mulch again, slippery when wet & stuck to my shoe, again like clay.
    But t never hurt my plants, which was in the ground, not in small pot like your photo.
    I composted it after that & worms loved it.
    A manger at the plant had it tested & it had a whole list of goodies in it, even small amounts of N-P-K.
    But I do not have the list or I would post it for you.
    All the other myths, I never heard of or knew from other sources were not true.
    Thanks for a good article.

  13. Bill Russell

    I like this column. Perhaps providing links to some of your previous writings would be of added value. I try to pass along your advice wherever I go.

  14. Ferne Dalton

    Nice to see all that tackled in one concise article. I too will post it to a local site where these and other myths are seen regularly. Thank you. Keep ’em coming.

  15. Finally some gardening myths exposed in a very easy and informative format. Thank you for this presentation!

  16. eileen hunt

    this was great,, but enough content for a week of Myths and Truths, hard to take it all in, in one read.

  17. Christine Lemieux

    I really enjoyed this!

  18. Joan G (Calgary)

    Larry, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a couple of your lectures over the years. This ‘silent’ lecture is a fine way to share practical, science based information. Thanks for continuing to provide us gardeners with sound advice.

  19. Shirley McCarthy

    Excellent article, I’d read some of those before in your columns (the one about not pulling off tomato suckers I think I read in Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins magazine, my Bible when I was just learning to garden) and have followed your advice, successfully. Common sense gardening, not myths! Thanks.

  20. Elizabeth Schipper

    Excellent and informative! Thank you!

  21. Thank you for this! Would love to see more!

  22. Monica Bibby

    Lots of great information! Thank you! I’d love to see more!

  23. Great way to present information Larry!

  24. squirrelsaremybane

    Love it, Larry! You budted a myth or two in this old gardener. More, please!

  25. Concise and informative ?

  26. Arnold Robart

    Great information, best take away for me was the section on tomatoes. I’ve always been a ‘sucker snapper’ but no more. Interested to see how this years crop turns out.

  27. What a great collection. This should be required reading for every gardening “celebrity” so they stop promoting nonsense. I even saw Monty Don ripping leaves off of tomato plants so the sun could ripen them. *sigh* We need more scientists and fewer entertainers. Now if the scientists would just take a few courses on public speaking…

  28. David Hobson

    Excellent, Larry. Posted it to my local FB group

  29. Interesting read. I agree with you but I think it would be helpful to present some evidence with the assertions. Thanks.

  30. Hi I enjoyed this but the white print on yellow background is hard to read and hurts my eyes

  31. Awesome information! I LIKE this guy & his style of presentation! You found a great communicator! Would LOVE to see more!

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