4 Gardening "Hacks"
Gardening seems to attract two types of people. There are people who are really good at it. They are prepared to do the work by learning about plants, their soil, and growing techniques. There are people who love the look of a garden but want an easy, no-nonsense way to get the end results.
While there are plenty of good gardening hacks, there are also bad ones. That's why we talked to an expert about the most popular gardening hacks that don't actually work.
To preface, some myths are rooted in truth
According to Grove Co's Alex Wojenski, it's not all in our heads. There are plenty of garden myths out there, and Wojenski says many have some truth to them, which is why it's so tricky to separate plant truth from fiction. While some hacks may not work, problems arise when they are harmful. If something seems too easy or too overwhelming, it's worth doing more research before using it in your garden.
Lucky for us, Wozenski gave us some tips on hacks you should definitely avoid.
Myth 1: Add eggshells for calcium
People will tell you to add eggshells to your garden for all sorts of reasons, to deter insects, especially snails, or to add calcium to your soil. If you do it for the second reason, it won't work, Wojenski says. In fact, it's a myth that does more harm than good to your plants.
Yes, eggshells are rich in calcium, but unfortunately, it doesn't leach into the soil just because you put them in there. The shell has to break down, and it can take years, Wojenski says. Worse than that, eggshells contain sodium, which can be harmful to your plants. Plus, if you're in North America, Wojenski says, your soil doesn't even need calcium!
"If your soil is sandy with a pH below 5, it may be worth testing for a calcium deficiency," Wojenski says. "But if your soil is dark, it has a lot of calcium in it, and there's no need to add calcium in eggshells or other supplemental forms."
Myth 2: Use bar soap to repel insects
Ever wanted to add a scented bar of soap to your garden? Wojenski says you're not alone. This is common advice to help repel insects - again, there's some truth to it.
"It can help deter small pests like mites and aphids, but larger pests are unlikely to be affected by the soap," Wojenski says.
Instead, soap is more likely to add unwanted chemicals to your garden, which can cause new problems. It's better to weed and irrigate, use pesticides as needed and as directed, and if major pest control is a problem, create a physical barrier for your plants instead of soap, says Wogenski.
Myth 3: Banana peels or coffee grounds repel snails
Banana peels and coffee grounds can be beneficial in your compost pile, but there's no proven scientific evidence that these will benefit your garden, says Wogensky.
However, unlike soap and eggshells, these two tend towards the ineffective end of the garden hacks scale. They are not harmful, so if you find that they work for you for some reason, you can know that they do not cause any harm.
Myth 4: Marigold repels insects
According to Wozenski, the idea that marigolds repel insects isn't wrong—in fact, they can. The problem, however, is that you need a lot of marigolds to be effective.
"The number of marigolds needed to effectively repel insects can be so large that they take water and nutrients away from other plants," Wojenski says, adding that once again there are better and more efficient options for pest control in the garden. Effective options include pesticides, which should always be used carefully and as directed.