In today’s post we will quickly learn, some unbelievable gardening myths and facts for a successful Scientific Gardening.

Let’s begin!

  1. It is Dangerous to Expose Roots to Light?

Well, This can be a very nice high school project for kids, to grow two similar plants, one in a transparent container and compare with that grown in an opaque container.  As you can see nothing happens to the plant grown in transparent containers. The actual concern is, root exposure to AIR and even the heat from sunlight that can cause drying and can damage your plant. But still you are supposed to keep the roots in the dark because of algae growth due to light and your roots are not getting enough oxygen because the algae is stealing  the oxygen and nutrients for itself. So light as such doesn’t hurt the roots, but air, heat and algae hurt the roots and the plant. 

  • Naphthalene balls or Moth Balls contain Naphthalene Acetic Acid and can be used as a rooting agents. It’s a Myth. NAA – Naphthalene Acetic Acid and IBA – Indole Butyric Acid are plant auxins or hormones which are entirely different compounds and used for rooting your plant cuttings. These two are entirely different from moth balls which are used to keep insects at bay.
  • Is it Dangerous to go near Trees during Night Time? Well, In day time under the presence of sunlight – that’s photosynthesis, plants take up Carbondioxide and release Oxygen. But during night they take in Oxygen and release CO2 and hence the air near trees will have lesser concentration of Oxygen and higher concentration of CO2. But, this impact will be negligible for small plants and at home gardens and only be noticeable near very large trees or in thick vegetation.
  • Animal or Human Urine can be used as a Fertilizer. Yes This is a Fact!For example cow urine contains loads of NPK- thats nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are the most essential plant nutrients for agricultural use. But it has to be applied in dilution of atleast 1:20 in water.
  • Gardening on Terrace is Bad for the Building. This is not completely true unless your building is too old with a poor construction. Otherwise if wisely planned, a garden on terrace will not be a problem, like placing the heavy containers along the walls on your terrace which are weight bearing or main walls of the building and things like that.
  • Water proofing the terrace is a Must for a Terrace Garden. Not necessarily, unless you plan to build raised bed terrace garden. If you grow in container, you only need to check whether the water draining out of the pots is easily flowing out of the terrace and not stagnant.
  • Plants can Die of Old age or aging. The oldest known tree in the world is the Great Basin bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California which is over 5000 years old.  Actually Trees grow indeterminately, meaning that with the right conditions, they can grow and grow and grow. But the only problem that limits them from reaching up to the sky is the food and water transport through xylem and phloem to the growing end from the roots. The taller the tree the more difficult it is to transport water from roots to the foliage near the top. But here what happens is instead of growing taller they increase in width and also branch out more, as you might have noticed some old trees with huge girth of their stems.   
  • Do Plants feel Pain?

There are many studies and researches conducted on this topic.  Plants lack a nervous system – that is  a brain and other neurological structures like nerves and pain receptors, so they should not feel pain, unlike in humans and animals where we have specialised pain receptors.

But according to some researches, “Plant can know of themselves being eaten” because studies have shown plants release defence chemicals  in response to caterpillars  munching on them. 

Other points include: Plants fight for territory, seek out food, evade predators and trap prey like what your see in carnivorous plants like the venus fly trap.  They are as alive like any animal, and – like animals – they exhibit behaviour.

  • Watering plants on a hot sunny day will magnify the sunlight through the droplets acting as convex lenses and burn the leaves badly! No doubt, watering plants early in the morning or late in the evening is great! Because less water will evaporate during this time.  But This theory that water droplets on leaves can act like mini magnifying lenses, focusing the sun’s rays and causing leaf burn has been completely disproved by physicists.
  • Talking to You Plants will help them Grow? People who really love plants and gardening will often tell you that talking  to plants or even music has a beneficial impact on their overall health and growth. Despite many different scientific studies on this theory, there’s still no conclusive evidence that talking to plants helps them grow. One theory says that since plants take up carbondioxide, and hence talking to plants releases carbon dioxide when we exhale. So, that’s it.

  • Planting by the Moon affects plant growth and yield?
    The idea that the Moon affects plant growth is an old one that is believed by many people. This is a myth!  No study has proven the effect of moon on plant growth. And the only plants that use moon light for photosynthesis are certain types of phytoplanktons which are not normally found in gardens.
  • Crushed egg shells are a good source of Calcium to treat calcium deficiency? This is False! Even Powdered Egg shells take a long time to decompose and release that calcium into the soil and make them available for uptake by plants. You can make a water soluble calcium using egg shells by mixing it with distilled Vinegar to make this happen. You can find this detailed video from a link in description or from a link at top right corner of this screen.
  • Fresh Cow Dung or Horse Dung is very Good for Plants! Fresh Cow poop should never be applied for your plants, because it not only stinks but contains high levels of ammonia and salts which can burn your plants. It also contains harmful microorganisms like e coli which are harmful to plants and humans. Plus it also contains weed seeds which can produce a lot of weeds or unwanted plants in your garden. 
  • Saplings or seedlings need to be supported to protect them? True or False?

This is False! Many people recommend you to provide support to these young slender plants due to the risk of wind blowing them and things like that. Unless it’s a strong wind, tying a sapling or young plant to a support stick or any kind of support will actually do more harm than good. Research has shown that trees without support, over a period of time will develop thicker trunks, more supportive roots and more resistance to breakages.

  1. Does Potting Mix Cause Legionnaires’ Pneumonia in Gardeners? True or False?
    Do not worry! This is not True. Legionnaires’ Pneumonia is a severe form of pneumonia or lung infection mostly cause by inhaling the bacteria. Though these legionella bacteria survive in outdoor soil, it rarely causes infections. But still, prevention is better than cure. Better wear a mask while handling potting mix, specially people with weaker immune systems.
  2. Can Harvested or Collected seeds be stored in a Refrigerator or Freezer? True or False?
    This is not correct! Most seeds that are stored in a seed banks are first dried up so that the moisture content is reduced to about 10 percent and then these can be stored for several years. But if you freeze freshly collected seeds, the moisture content in these seeds will form ice crystals within and can destroy the seed viability.
  3. Growing Fruit Trees in Containers is not possible due to limited space?
    This is not true. You can grow them but you need little larger containers or fabric bags like more than 18 or 24 inch. You can watch a detailed episode on the top ten terrace gardening myths and facts from an end-screen link circled right here.
  4. Can we Use Grey Water or Black water for our plants or farming? True or False?

Firstly, let’s look at the difference between grey water and black water. Grey water or sullage water is the waste water coming out from kitchens, laundries and even bathroom showers. Black water is nothing but sewage water. So can we use these for our plants? Well, this depends on the country you live in. Many countries ban the use of these untreated waters and also sewage farming.  This is because they contain lot of chemicals, toxins, heavy metals and bacteria which are harmful for plants and also for humans consuming the yields produced by such plants.

  1. Garlic is the king of Companion gardening? True or False?

It’s a fact! Garlic deters pests, including fungus gnats, moths, spider mites, beetles and even ants. The pungent flavor of garlic is due to sulfur compounds which are natural fungicides. So companion gardening with garlic planting is certainly beneficial to your garden.

  • Are there any Bone meal substitute, specially for vegetarian people who hesitate to offer bone meal to their plants?

Well, Bone meal is a byproduct of animal rendering, made from finely-crushed bones. Bone meal is a slow-release organic fertilizer. It is high in phosphorus with an NPK ratio of 4-12-0.

The closest alternative to bone meal is Soya Bean Meal. This has NPK ratio is 7-2-1 and hence you might have to use it double the quantity while using this soy bean meal.

  • How do I know my plant is still alive and how to save a dying plant?

There are many signs to know whether your plant can still survive. If your plant is looking dry and has shed its leaves, most of us think its dead. But actually, it may be alive or can be revived. Please watch my detailed episode on this topic demonstrating how to save a dying plant.

  • Can we grow plants from leaves

Yes! Some, but not all plants can be propagated from just a leaf or a section of a leaf. Leaf cuttings of most plants will not generate a new plant; they usually produce only a few roots or just decay. There are many ways you can grow leaves into a new plant, like 1. from a leaf petiole, 2. by dividing a leaf into multiple pieces for example fleshy succulent plants like sanseviera or the snake plant and other succulents. Other methods of propagation like cane or stub cuttings, root cuttings, leaf bud cuttings and so on. I will try to prepare a detailed post on this topic when I get a chance.

  • How do I prevent my neighbours from stealing my plants and fruits from my garden?

Some might think of installing a burglar alarm or fencing it well or locking their gardens. But I suggest one simple remedy to this problem. First of all, interact with them and make friends with them even if you do not like them. Talk about exchanging your plants, seeds or cuttings. You take the first step and present them some of your good plants or cuttings. That is all!

  • Can we install drip irrigation system on terrace garden? Infact this is one of the best options for watering on your terrace, specially if your plants are in hot sun with no green shade net. And more over, the watering hose pressure is very low on the terrace and it takes a long time to water your plants. You might require to install a pump to get that proper pressure to water your plants. Drip irrigation system is also a good option and its not that difficult to install and not that expensive. You get many options to purchase online like 100 pots, 300 pots and 500 pots options and sets. Check How to install drip irrigation here.
  • Is it useful to attract birds in your garden?

This is infact a vast topic. We have discuss this in detail on the benefits of this and making or installing simple DIY bird feeders in this article.

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