Articles, Blog

7 Gardening Myths Debunked: Common Gardening Advice That Isn’t Right!

November 4, 2019

[Music] Gardeners are generous lot, freely sharing their top tips and know-how to help out fellow green-fingered enthusiasts. But while advice is always dispensed with
the best of intentions, it can sometimes be misleading. Beware
the old wives’ tales, and when it comes to gardening there are
plenty. In this video we’ll look at some common gardening myths and promptly debunk them, saving you time, effort, and
disappointment. The logic behind our first myth is that worms and microorganisms in the soil need to have contact with the compost ingredients in order to kick-start decomposition. But while composting directly on grass or soil certainly speeds up the process, it’s not necessary. Compost bins work just as well on a hard surface such as concrete or paving slabs. You can prime a new compost bin by adding
some mature compost from another bin, or add garden soil along with the first
batch of ingredients to introduce all those beneficial soil
organisms. You’ll be surprised how easily worms
will make their way into a compost bin, even one that’s sitting on a hard surface. Laying a thick layer of cardboard or newspaper at the base of the bin will help to attract them. Not all trees need to be staked when
they are planted. Very young trees left to sway in the
wind will develop a thicker trunk, sturdier branches, and a more supportive
root system. While grafted trees, and trees older than
2 years will appreciate some initial support, stakes and ties should be removed as
soon as possible to prevent over-reliance, which can lead to a weaker tree. The one exception is the very smallest grafted apple trees, which always need support. Check with your
supplier if you’re planting these. When using stakes,
position the tree downwind from the prevailing wind so it can still sway a little. Keep ties fairly loose and remove the
support as soon as you feel the tree can cope. This will normally be within 1 year of
planting. It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll nurture a stronger tree. How many times have you added stones, gravel or crocks of broken terracotta pots into the bottom of containers to improve drainage? What this actually does is cause water
to collect in the potting soil directly above. This layer of wet can harm roots,
particularly during cold weather when all that moisture will freeze solid. Ensure adequate drainage instead by using good quality potting soil and by selecting containers with plenty of drainage holes in the base, or by adding your own. Stand containers
on pot feet or pebbles so that excess water can freely drain out
from the drainage holes. As an added bonus, pot feet also make
life harder for slugs. We’re often told that crushed eggshells
create an impenetrable barrier to slugs. This may be true – if they’re
laid thickly enough. Consider how many eggs you’d need to eat to
protect anything more than just a couple of plants! Easier and better slug controls exist. Slugs congregate under dark, damp places, so lay planks of wood, stone slabs, or upturned grapefruit shells in strategic locations, then patrol
regularly to expose, collect and destroy them. Or set beer traps by sinking small
pots filled with beer into the ground. Slugs love the yeasty liquid, and will
drown trying to drink it. You can also raise plants above the
ground in wall-mounted containers, or protect crops in pots with copper
bands or a grip resistant barrier of petroleum jelly. Planting potatoes on Good Friday is an obvious myth because the date for Good Friday varies
from year to year, falling anywhere between 22nd March and
25th April. Then of course there’s the climate, which varies dramatically depending on where in the world you grow and your garden’s own microclimate. The myth originates from the 16th century, when potatoes first appeared in Europe. The tubers were treated with deep suspicion, with many believing them to be devil’s food! To pacify any evil influence, Irish farmers planted them on the Christian feast of Good Friday. Of course modern gardeners aren’t bound
by such suspicions, and should be guided solely by their
local conditions. Our Garden Planner’s Plant List will help
you to calculate the best range of planting dates for where you are. These are based on accurate frost dates for your area, sourced from our database of thousands of
weather stations. Peas and beans are members of the legume family. Legumes use soil bacteria to fix
nitrogen from the air onto their roots. Logic follows that you
should leave the roots of all peas and beans in the soil to feed the next crop, especially nitrogen-hungry vegetables such as cabbage. The problem is that your peas or beans will have used almost all the nitrogen up for themselves. Most to the nitrogen collects in the picked pods, leaving very little in the soil. To get the most from any nitrogen that is still left in the
plants, they should instead be added to the compost heap – roots, foliage and all. Alternatively, grow fields beans
as a green manure or cover crop, and dig the entire plant into the
ground before they flower and begin to draw on the nitrogen fixed at
their roots. Just because a pesticide is organic in origin, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily harmless. Just like chemical pesticides, many organic substitutes won’t discriminate between pests and the beneficial insects eating the
pests. Take the insect killer Pyrethrum as an example. While it kills aphids, whiteflies and
hungry caterpillars, it also wipes out good insects such as
ladybugs and lace wings – predatory insects that would have naturally
controlled them. Work with nature and draw these
beneficial bugs to your plot by building an insect hotel or by
growing plants that attract them. Gardening is rich in folklore, but by separating fact from fiction you
can save yourself a lot of time and money. Why not share and debunk your own
gardening myths in the comments section below, or subscribe and receive more great gardening videos based on tried and tested facts. [Music]


  • Reply Kate Russell November 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    As always, I enjoyed your helpful tips. However, your comment about adding cardboard to the bottom of the compost pile worries me. Cardboard is made with a variety of glues and there's no telling what else it has come into contact with before reaching your home. Personally, I do not recommend it.

  • Reply Sonnie's Garden November 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great tips thanks!

  • Reply NitasWrld November 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Loved the video and your accent too young man.  Especially on the nitrogen fixing plants. Great information.

  • Reply Penny K November 30, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Oh, dear. I've been teaching the gardeners at the community garden to leave the roots of the peas & beans in the ground when the plants are finished.  Can't be all bad as the roots will rot over the winter,

  • Reply Lucy Mowatt December 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Really interesting. Thank you! 

  • Reply Richard Downer December 4, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Super great tips… thank you!!

  • Reply Chris Dahl December 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Re using beer for slugs, use cheap beer for slugs, save the Good beer for yourself !!
    Or you can use/make a watery yeast solution from yeast packets, too.

  • Reply Michael Brotherton December 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Love the tips.  Have used cardboard in the compost and I am of the opinion it works though,  Used toilet rolls as planting pots for beans to which rotted away in the soil.  The beans were not a success and was told it could be the glue used.  Not sure about your Good Friday myth as it is a movable feast and based on moon phases as are most St Days and festivals going way back before Christianity and other faiths.

  • Reply rigidheddleweaving January 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

    The best ever 100% guaranteed deterrent for slugs is an electric slug fence. Search it here on YT. We did it last year and will do it again this year. For the first time,  I didn't lose all my crops to the little buggers.

  • Reply HumanHammer March 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Ha ha – you are on a mission to get them slugs !

  • Reply Earth's Organic April 10, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Excellent Post!

  • Reply Gardening Tips With Phil April 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Interesting video. Although in this video you have contradicted the advice that was in the container gardening video about putting broken pots in the bottom of the container. Just thought I'd give you a heads up.

  • Reply Matthew Groff May 9, 2015 at 1:58 am

    I have had several "Professional"/"Expert" Gardeners and Agricultural Experts give the following advice:

    1) About putting a "small"/"thin" layer of stones or pebbles in the bottom of pots to help with drainage.  I believe this is for "inside" plants. The Key is a "Small"/"Thin"Layer of stones or pebbles!

    2) leave the roots of Peas and Bean Plants in the ground and till the whole plant into the soil after the harvest. Or pull the whole plant out and put into the Compost pile!

    So now I am Confused as Ever! SO are ALL the EXPERTS All WRONG?

  • Reply Jerry Perry May 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    That peppermint gets out of control. Sure it spreads but I don't think it's that bad.

  • Reply Elaine Rutledge May 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Back in the day when I worked on a worm farm (as a disguised care giver for the aging owner) Mr. Bob would collect empty liquor boxes, cut them up, and shred them for his worm beds. They provided insulation and he swore the worms loved the glue. Whatever, he had great worms! We could throw a fresh fish head, and guts in the worm bed and the next day all traces, including a smell, would be gone. Love those worms.

  • Reply K-free-ductioner August 31, 2015 at 3:38 am

    I recently heard that chopping the beans before they flower, and leaving the roots in place is the best way to use them for nitrogen (composting the plant would be good too). If you time it right, you can then transplant something on either side of where the bean was and let the new plants enjoy the undisturbed soil containing all those nitrogen nodes from the bean roots and intact mycorrhiza (beneficial fungi). Im going to try that next season.

  • Reply Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable December 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    excellent clip on garden Myths! I just published a video on different garden myths. I often find some sort of stand of truth is woven intentionally or unintentionally into these types of garden myths.

  • Reply Captain Ron January 12, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Hmmm … thought I had avoided most of the myths. Got sucked into the one about leaving pea/bean root "nitrogen nodules" in my garden and composting only the tops. Never really researched whether this made sense. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Reply VillaT January 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Well done. Yep, egg shells and slugs, sadly had to figure that out the hard way. :(. Copper also didn't work, not even on pots. I tried both strips and a copper mesh I made from a copper pot scrubber. Neither worked. We have some voracious buggies!

  • Reply Sang Pang January 18, 2016 at 9:12 am


  • Reply JETJOOBOY April 12, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Fucking rights buddy!
    I solved my slug nightmare by feeding them a bumper feast of cucumber off cuts and ocer ripe tomatoes and peppers at dusk every day during the summer months.
    They came on the exact same time every evening… then devoured their favourite foods …lay around drunk and sated, then slipped away to sleep until the next day..
    My Pots and Troughs never saw a single slug in 3 years…

    WORK WITH NATURE. .no truer phrase spoken

  • Reply Sharinah Azean JamilWC May 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    do u have any idea how to get rid off an ant?since im planting on pot,the ant is going to make their home in that pot.thanks

  • Reply SalamanderGamer July 6, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I heard rotating crops prevents disease. Is that true?

  • Reply Paul Nardini July 8, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Cool thing about the drainage layer. Because of the way the PWT behaves, being dependent on height of the medium and not its size, if you add an inch or two of rocks to the bottom, then scoop out a cylinder in the middle (that will be filled with dirt), you end up with majority of roots above the PWT and you significantly increase the surface area of soil exposed to oxygen (always a good thing).

    It's a little bit of extra work, but it alleviates a lot of problems.

    You can make heavy soils drain better by just sticking a substantial wick in the bottom of the pot. It will act as part of the medium for PWT purposes and the pot will drain accordingly.

    All of this is moot if you use a potting medium with good drainage and/or good capillary action. The "should or shouldn't I use stones because of the PWT" question, imo, is answered with "if you're worried about it, it's really time to upgrade your potting mix."

    I need to experiment with the effects of an evenly distributed air-soil relationship (rocks at bottom of pot) vs. localized (no layer). I can't get over the hunch that more accessible oxygen, as well as the soil not having to gulp the water in, has to make a difference. I never added the layer for drainage – I didn't start in horticulture until 2005 and everything was a peat blend by then. Drainage wasn't an issue. Distributed air-soil exposure in mixes average-to-heavy mixes
    though – gotta be something to that.

  • Reply tocatchasnark 1 June 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Copper bands to stop slugs is a myth

  • Reply lane laney March 12, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Great video. Interesting tidbit about the history of the potato and it's Irish roots of planting time. Thanks.

  • Reply Zuza U. April 23, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Yes egg shells stops the długa. It is a fact not a myth

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