Ruth WalkerComment

Why Science? Because Old Wives' Tales and Other Gardening Myths Often Don't Stand up to Scrutiny!

Ruth WalkerComment
Why Science?  Because Old Wives' Tales and Other Gardening Myths Often Don't Stand up to Scrutiny!

Recently on Facebook I’ve seen the same post several times. It’s about mixing up a homemade weed killer from vinegar, epsom salts and dish soap.

While I often observe the mantra of “keep scrolling” when on Facebook I don’t comment on lots of posts, but I’ve started commenting on this one. Why? Because it’s information that should be disputed.

To research it I turned to one of my favorite authors, Dr. Jeff Gillman who teaches in the Department of Horticulture Technology at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can also read his work in Fine Gardening or one of his many books (one of my favorites is listed below.)

In his book The Truth About Garden Remedies Gillman covers the subject of vinegar used as a soil amendment, an insecticide, a fungicide and an herbicide. He also talks about salt as an herbicide and epsom salts as a fertilizer and as a soil amendment.

Gillman’s science-based approach to what remedies work is critical for any serious gardener. It answers the question of whether a purported garden remedy works or is potential hazardous. Before you follow advice from a non-scientist, this is a great place to find out if there is any science behind it or if it’s a myth that continues to be spread because no one challenges it. And, Gillman can save you money because you won’t be wasting it on ingredients that don’t work or — worse yet — do damage to your garden.

Another good resource to check out for the Internet spread “homemade weed killer” is this article from the University of Minnesota Extension. It very carefully lays out the basics of why epsom salts and vinegar have limited uses in the garden. Vinegar’s best use is probably in a salad dressing for the greens you grow and epsom salts best use may be to help relieve any aches you have after a day in the garden.

If you’re interested in learning more about the accuracy and inaccuracies of garden remedies that are passed down verbally or online I encourage you to look for Gillman’s book. You can contact your local independent bookseller or find it on Amazon by following the Buy on Amazon button below the visual of the book’s cover. If you do buy this book by following the link in this article, I may receive a commission.


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