Row by Row Episode 7: Debunking Common Garden Myths and Misconceptions

Common Garden Myths and Misconceptions

On this week’s episode, Greg and Travis talk about some common garden myths and misconceptions. They explain the origin of these myths/misconceptions and discuss whether or not they have merit. The first common garden myth involves planting on a hill or an elevated planting bed. Greg mentions how this practice originated in large-scale agriculture and trickled down to backyard gardening. Planting on an elevated surface is an effective practice if you have drainage issues or problems with excess moisture. But if you don’t have those issues, planting on a “hill” is just an additional step that’s not necessary. They also discuss lunar planting which involves planting garden crops based on the 28-day lunar cycle. The proponents of lunar planting believe that it is advantageous to plant on the new moon or full moon because the gravitation force of the moon pulls water to the soil surface, increasing germination. Travis explains how lunar tidal cycles work and why small bodies of water don’t experience tidal forces like the open ocean. Based on this evidence, Travis concludes that soil moisture levels are not significantly affected by lunar cycles, and thus the lunar cycle has no effect on seed germination. Another misconception is you don’t always have to pull weeds up by the roots in the garden. Travis explains that when you use tools like the push pull hoe and disturb those weeds you are removing those top leaves and cutting off the food source which will cause the weed to die. The last common garden myths are compost tea. The idea behind this is people believe they are adding oxygen using this water-soluble compost. So by adding oxygen, you will obtain a bloom of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms. However, the process you have to go through to get these compost teas are timely and ineffective. It’s simpler to just use regular good compost that has applied benefits already accessible in it.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys talk about one of Greg’s favorite foods — the tomato sandwich. They discuss the difference between the heirloom and hybrid varieties that they grew. While the Brandywine tomatoes have a nostalgic look and have a deeper red color, they can’t tell a huge difference in the taste compared to the disease-resistant Bella Rosa variety. They conclude that the Bella Rosa is their favorite tomato because of the disease-resistant package and superior taste. The tool of the week is the popular Golok Machete. A sharp 1075 high carbon steel machete that works great for chopping down corn stalks in the garden.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about using liquid 7 on sweet potatoes and how to control nut grass in the garden. While liquid 7 is an effective pesticide, it also can be fairly toxic and harmful to pollinators. The guys recommend some more environmentally-friendly solutions like Monterey B.t. or Spinosad Garden Insect Spray. Greg says it works best if you rotate these two pesticides on a weekly basis in the garden. Nutgrass is an extremely persistent weed that can have an extensive root network. Control can be difficult, but frequent disturbance over time will eventually reduce the population. While some people use hogs, the Wheel Hoe is also a great tool for providing that repeated disturbance. Travis mentions that when he started new gardening spot he had a bad nutgrass problem. In order to reduce this problem, he started alternating between the Cultivator Teeth and the Sweep attachments on the Wheel Hoe. After doing this once or twice a week for a couple of weeks he noticed that is nutgrass problem was depleted.

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