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Busting More Garden Myths

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

Back in 2015 I put together a program called Busting Garden Myths as part of the statewide Four Seasons Gardening webinar series. I really enjoyed filtering through all the interesting garden myths that were out there and it still intrigues me and I still continue to do so. There are a lot of them out there and with the ease of access to social media, such as Facebook and Pinterest, there is a lot of misinformation out there that is easily and readily shared.

As the daughter of a librarian, something that is very important to me is determining good from bad information. As an Extension educator – we utilize research based information to develop our programs or write articles. We want to make sure that that the information we provide is accurate, good for the environment, and gives those who utilize the information the best chance of success in their own gardens. Often time I talk to people about how to filter through information searches on the internet by telling them to type in their search terms and then follow it with site:.edu – this will return a search results only from educational institutions.

But how do you determine is information is good, safe, etc. that you see on social media sites? You can start by double checking the statements or claims by searching and filtering the using the method I mentioned above or contact your local extension office and ask. Consider following University of Illinois Extension on Facebook and Pinterest where we share information that we know is accurate and that can help you as gardeners.

To give you a start - here are a few busted garden myths.

1) Pink and yellow tomatoes are less acidic.

  1. MYTH – acidity of tomatoes is related to the variety and sugar content

2) You should add gravel to the bottom of containers to assist with drainage and prevent soil from falling out the drainage hole

  1. MYTH - It's harder for water to move between finer to coarser materials and thus the finer material has to be saturated before moving downwards through the coarser material. Instead to prevent soil from falling out the bottom of the container, considering utilizing a coffee filter or a piece of newspaper – both are biodegradeable.

3) Use bleach to sanitize pruners

  1. MYTH – bleach causes pitting of your pruning blades. Instead use an antiseptic mouthwash to disinfect your pruners.

4) You need full sun to be able to grow vegetables

  1. MYTH – There are various vegetables that can be grown in less than full sun.
  2. i. 4-6 hours: beans, beets, leeks, peas, radish, turnips
  3. ii. 2-4 hours: cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard


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