Every once in a while, we catch ourselves having foolishly believed something just because someone, somewhere, told us it was true. We never did the research; we just believed that common knowledge was the same as truth. Sometimes, it is—but other times, that “knowledge” turns out to be a myth instead. Let’s take a look at three common gardening myths:
Myth #1: It’s time to sow seeds if you can sit on your soil comfortably with a bare backside.
Truth #1: This myth originates from times when people didn’t have thermometers to check soil temperature. Folklore says that farmers used this method to determine if soil was warm enough for planting…and while that may be true, it’s certainly not the best method for checking soil. Instead, use a thermometer to make sure soil is between 55 and 60 degrees F.
Myth #2: You must have both male and female types of plants to bear fruit.
Truth #2: For some species, such as sweet cherries and kiwis, this is true. But many species of fruit plants and trees produce both male and female blossoms and are self-pollinating, with the help of a few bees.
Myth #3: Plastic pots are not as good for container plants as clay pots
Truth #3: In all honesty, this depends on your own gardening habits. The two certainly have differences, the foremost of which is the retention of water. Plastic pots retain moisture better, so if you often forget to water, they will keep your plants healthier longer. Clay pots are heavy, breakable, and can absorb water instead of retaining it for the plant’s roots.
For more myths and truths about gardening, check out “Gardening Myths” by Penny Pawl, whose article I used for reference while writing this. Penny is a Napa County Master Gardener.