Whether you spend large or small amounts of time in the garden, you probably aren’t aware that there are many myths about gardening.
From not watering your plants enough to thinking seaweed is a fertiliser, these myths can ruin your garden and waste your time and money.
We asked Yates Horticulture Consultant, Angie Thomas, to help debunk some of the most common gardening myths so that you can get the most out of your garden.
Angie’s top 10 gardening myths debunked:
Myth no.1: You don’t need to feed Australian native plants
Although Australian native plants have adapted to be able to survive with low levels of nutrients, they will grow much better when fed. Always choose a fertiliser that is suitable for native plants. Apply around the root zone at the recommended rate and then water in well.
Myth no.2: Kill weeds with salty or boiling water
Very salty water may kill small weeds, however can also increase the salinity of the soil, making it difficult for wanted plants to then grow in that spot. Both salty and boiling water can also harm beneficial earthworms and soil microorganisms (and boiling water can be dangerous to carry around the garden!).
Myth no.3: Drought tolerant plants don’t need watering
Many plants are tolerant of low levels of moisture, however they can’t survive on no water. Newly planted plants should be watered regularly for several weeks or months to encourage strong early root development. Once they’re established, watering can be cut back, but not eliminated.
Myth no.4: There are indoor plants that can grow without light
There are no indoor plants that can grow in the dark! Some plants will tolerate lower levels of light or will grow well with artificial lighting, but they still need some light. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue, devil’s ivy and cast iron plant are great choices for dimly lit spots.
Myth no.5: Putting a layer of gravel in the bottom of pots helps drainage
Before the introduction of good quality potting mixes, it was recommended that pieces of broken pots or large gravel be placed in the bottom of pots. This is no longer necessary (and can actually contribute to drainage problems) if the pot has good drainage holes and the potting mix used is of a high standard.
Myth no.6: Seaweed is a plant food
Seaweed is only a tonic, that does not provide plants with the complete range of nutrients they need for strong, healthy growth (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). It’s important to feed plants with a ‘complete’ plant food that contains these three nutrients.
Myth no.7: Plants don’t need to be fed in winter
Some plants are very busy during winter. Whether it’s broccoli or spinach providing you with lots of home-grown goodness or pansies putting on a lovely flower show, if a plant is growing or flowering it needs nutrients! To promote lots of healthy growth, feed regularly with a complete plant food.
Myth no.8: Don’t water plants in the middle of a hot summer’s day as it may burn the leaves
Watering wilted plants during the middle of the day can help alleviate heat and drought stress and as long as you’re using good quality irrigation water it won’t harm the plants. It’s better to water in the cool of the early morning so that the plants are well watered for the day ahead - however, midday watering can sometimes make the difference between a plant surviving or succumbing to a heat wave.
Myth no.9: I don’t have a backyard so I can’t have a veggie patch
There are lots of veggies, herbs and fruit trees and plants that can be grown wonderfully well in pots - so limited space doesn’t have to mean going without a productive garden. Plants like dwarf citrus and apple trees, strawberries, compact silverbeet, salad greens and cherry tomatoes can all be grown in pots on a sunny balcony or patio.
Myth no.10: I’m no good at gardening!
It doesn’t have to be this way. Previous gardening ‘fails’ are often due to not knowing or following some gardening basics - sunlight, moisture, feeding. If you get those things right then you can be good at gardening!
For more information go to www.yates.com.au
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