The tips that really are good for your garden
Old wives’ tales and anecdotal successes continue to play a part in how many approach making garden plans and caring for plants. While it may be easy to weed out the more far-fetched ‘expert tips’ there’s still plenty of room for confusion about which tips really work. So here’s a run-down of which popular gardening beliefs are true and which are false?
Good for your garden – facts
- There is evidence that the liquid run-off from compost heaps, known as ‘compost tea’, is effective in keeping plants healthy.
- Tea dregs poured over houseplants ought to have a beneficial effect due to its relatively low pH and mild fertiliser value.
- Incorporating scrapings of topsoil from below pines and spruces when planting strawberries, and then mulching with pine and spruce needles, crushed fir cones and even twigs might improve the growth of strawberries and therefore lead to better quality produce. Gathering wild pine cones and needles is not recommended, however, you can use composted bark to improve soil before planting strawberries.
Good for your garden – fiction
- Planting marigolds in the flower and vegetable garden and greenhouse can help to keep pests away. In fact, there is little evidence that stands up to scientific scrutiny of this being significant in Britain, despite widespread currency.
- A single clove of garlic planted beside a rose will keep greenfly away from the plant.
- Bananas planted under roses will ensure strong, healthy plants. The conclusion of the RHS horticultural advisors is that the plant nutrient content of bananas is insignificant compared to the levels of fertility in well-cared for garden soil.
- You should sow seed with a waxing, never a waning moon.
- Growing foxgloves in your garden can stimulate growth and disease resistance among your other plants. It was considered fact though by the RHS that growing a diversity of plants – and foxgloves can spring up all over gardens of their own accord – should limit the prevalence and severity of pests and diseases.
Good for your garden?
Overall most gardeners have pretty good sense in assessing the virtue or otherwise of ‘internet expert’ gardening tips. It is a pity that social media myths can gain widespread support and mislead gardeners into wasting their time and money on ineffective activities.
While some of these homespun remedies can benefit plants because of the nutrients they deliver, for example, they’re no real substitute for improving your soil with a fertiliser, well-rotted organic matter or composted bark. Efficient ways of controlling pests include introducing predators and parasites, choosing disease- and pest-resistant cultivars and rotating crops to control soil-dwelling diseases and pests such as nematodes.
For more common sense gardening tips visit our Gardening channel.
Do you agree with the verdict? Have you tried any of these tips? Did they work? Or have you any tips of your own? Let us know what’s good for your garden in the comments below.Tags: compost tea, foxgloves, Gardening, RHS, strawberries, vegetable garden Last modified: January 5, 2022