Thursday, August 25, 2016

Debunking Gardening Myths By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Carol King
Most of us have limited time and money to spend on gardening. Any tip or advice that is correct and timely is valuable so that we can enjoy the best success each gardening season.
We read information in publications or online, and know that there are many sources that post gardening and growing information that is based on information handed down, "old wives tales", made up, or advice from  books, magazines or "so called" garden gurus on television. Sometimes applying that information to your own garden can prove to be disappointing.
To bypass spending your efforts on the wrong information, a wise tip is to always seek out research based information. Even people well known in the gardening world may be passing along information that is partially or sometimes totally incorrect. Research based information which comes from institutions like Colorado State University, are based on proving or disproving information using scientific methods. This helps you know the information is based on fact.
One important step is to know your gardening region – the soil, climate and growing season may be vastly different than something recommended on a television show or in a magazine. Sources like this could recommend a certain vegetable for example that is a  “must grow’” for your garden, which might work for Vermont but not for Colorado.  Many people have followed this advice and purchased seeds or plants and found that they may take far too long to produce well for our climate which causes not only frustration but a waste of time and money.
To help you find research based information on the internet, try this method. Type in the word of what you want to know more about and add the words site:edu in the search engine. For example if you wanted to know about tomato diseases, type the words tomato disease site:edu. This will likely produce many choices for that topic, but it will all be researched based information. From those results, you can then eliminate those that are not from your area and select one for your state or region that will be more specific. 
If you are in Colorado (or similar growing region) a good choice of information in addition to this blogspot is This blogspot has important blogs written by extension agents and the horticulture staff at CSU so that it is accurate and timely.  And, of course, this blog makes every effort to use only science-based information.
If you want free publications that are updated regularly to include the most recent findings on for gardening and horticulture topics, go to or
Two other sources that are produced outside of the Colorado area but contain research information and support include and The Garden Professors on Facebook.
Remember that even though you may have grown up with a certain gardening tip or method that worked in your home state, learning the best in research based information that is specific to your area will help you have a more successful and enjoyable growing experience.