The internet is awesome but it can also be a cesspool of bad information. You gotta use discretion when following what people say and suggest.
Gardening tips are no exception. Fortunately, bad gardening information isn’t typically catastrophic but it can have some ugly consequences. You definitely want to avoid any tips that could harm you. While other tips are more benign, the worst that can happen is that they don’t work which isn’t really so bad. Sometimes it’s fun to experiment; you never know.
Cause on the flip side, we’ve all learned some pretty cool stuff online as well and while that will continue to be the case, there are some overhyped gardening tips that are probably a waste of your time and in some cases money.
Here’s our list of 23 overhyped gardening tips. By all means have fun experimenting, even with these, but keep in mind you might get nothing out of it.
Overhyped gardening tips
1. Plant by the moon
Not harmful but silly to follow and a waste of time. Some people believe that the phase of the moon can influence the success of your gardening endeavors. While it may be interesting to consider, there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that planting by the moon is effective.
2. Bananas keep bugs away
Some people claim that placing a banana peel near their plants will help to keep pests at bay. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While bananas may contain some compounds that can act as natural insecticides, they are not a reliable way to control pests in your garden.
3. Counting on Epsom salt as a miracle cure
Epsom salt is a type of magnesium sulfate that is sometimes used in gardening as a soil amendment. While it can be beneficial in certain situations, it is not a universal cure-all for all gardening problems. Overuse of Epsom salt can actually lead to nutrient imbalances and harm your plants.
4. Coffee grounds are great fertilizers
While coffee grounds can be an excellent source of nutrients for certain plants, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, coffee grounds can be harmful to some plants, especially if they are not used in the proper amount. It is important to research the specific needs of your plants before using coffee grounds as a fertilizer. Don’t blindly follow the use of coffee grounds on everything; do your research.
5. Pineapple tops will grow a new pineapple plant
While it is true that you can propagate a pineapple plant from its crown, it is not as simple as sticking the top of a pineapple in soil and waiting for it to grow. Pineapple plants require specific growing conditions and care in order to thrive. Simply planting a pineapple top is not likely to result in a successful plant. If it were this easy, we’d all be swimming in pineapples.
6. Use urine to fertilize plants
While urine does contain some nutrients that can be beneficial to plants, it is not a safe or effective way to fertilize your garden. Urine can contain harmful bacteria and contaminants that can be harmful to plants and humans. It is much safer and more effective to use a balanced fertilizer that is specifically formulated for use in gardens.
7. Crush eggshells to deter pests
While it is true that some pests, such as slugs and snails, are deterred by rough surfaces, eggshells may not be the most effective solution. Eggshells can break down and become difficult to see, making them less effective at deterring pests. In addition, eggshells are not a reliable way to control most common garden pests.
The old eggshells in gardening is all over the Web. Not always effective but also not harmful. They have some benefits but we included them because it’s “overhyped”.
8. Use bleach to clean your garden tools
While bleach can be an effective disinfectant, it is not a safe choice for cleaning garden tools. Bleach can corrode metal tools and can be toxic to plants and soil. There are safer and more effective ways to clean and disinfect your garden tools, such as using a mixture of hot water and dish soap or a diluted solution of vinegar.
9. Plant mint to deter pests
While mint can have a strong aroma that may deter some pests, it is not a reliable or effective way to control most common garden pests. Mint is also a very aggressive plant that can take over a garden if not properly managed. This is one of those types that can create a whole lot more work for you. Avoid.
10. Spray your plants with a mixture of water and soap to deter pests
While a mixture of water and soap can be effective at deterring some pests, it can also be harmful to plants. Soap can strip plants of their natural protective coating, leaving them vulnerable to pests and diseases. It is generally safer and more effective to use a natural or chemical pesticide specifically formulated for use in gardens.
11. Plant marigolds to deter pests
While marigolds have a strong fragrance that may deter some pests, they are not a reliable or effective way to control most common garden pests. In addition, marigolds are not a suitable companion plant for all types of plants and can actually inhibit the growth of some vegetables.
It’s funny how the marigold has become touted as such a “mighty” flower when it’s not necessarily all it’s claimed to be. That said, it is hardy and beautiful. We plant them in our front garden.
12. Use copper to deter slugs and snails
Copper can be an effective deterrent for slugs and snails, as it can cause a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with their slime. However, copper can also be toxic to plants and soil, and it may not be effective against all types of slugs and snails.
13. Plant daffodils to deter pests
While daffodils are a beautiful and popular spring-flowering bulb, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that they can deter pests. In fact, daffodils can be toxic to some animals if ingested, so it is important to be cautious when planting them near areas where pets or wildlife may access them.
14. Use human hair to deter pests
Some people claim that human hair can deter pests, such as rabbits and deer, because of its strong smell. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Human hair can also be harmful to plants and soil, as it can harbor bacteria and fungi that can be harmful to plants. I know my mom tried this. She collected hair from her hairdresser and stuffed it in old nylons and placed it in the garden. It didn’t work.
15. Plant garlic to deter pests
While garlic does have some natural pest-deterring properties, it is not a reliable or effective way to control most common garden pests. In addition, garlic can be toxic to some animals if ingested, so it is important to be cautious when planting it near areas where pets or wildlife may access it.
16. Use aluminum foil to deter pests
While aluminum foil may be reflective and shiny, it is not an effective way to deter pests. In fact, aluminum foil can be harmful to plants and soil, as it can reflect heat and light, which can damage plants. Let’s call this the “tinfoil” tip… which isn’t good.
17. Plant basil to deter pests
While basil does have some natural pest-deterring properties, it is not a reliable or effective way to control most common garden pests. Basil is also a delicate herb that requires specific growing conditions and care in order to thrive. It’s not some hardy weed that serve as your garden’s defense system against pests. Instead, it’s an amazing herb to grow – probably one of the most popular.
18. Plant rosemary to deter pests
While rosemary does have some natural pest-deterring properties, it is not a reliable or effective way to control most common garden pests. Rosemary is also a delicate herb that requires specific growing conditions and care in order to thrive. Yup, I know this first had since we have some rosemary in our garden. It’s a great herb but a pest defender it is not.
19. Use vinegar to control weeds
While vinegar can be an effective herbicide in certain situations, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution for controlling weeds. Vinegar can be harmful to plants and soil, and it may not be effective against all types of weeds. It is important to use caution when using vinegar as a weed control method and to follow the instructions on the label.
Don’t necessarily rule out vinegar but use it correctly – research your use of it in and around certain plants.
20. Use a microwave to sterilize soil
Some people claim that microwaving soil can kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. However, microwaving soil can also damage the structure of the soil and kill beneficial microbes. It is much safer and more effective to sterilize soil by heating it in an oven or by using chemical sterilizers.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of microwaves for anything. I seldom use them to cook food. I would not use it to “nuke” any soil I’m using to grow things.
21. Use a shoe to tamp down soil
While it may seem like a simple and convenient way to tamp down soil, using a shoe to pack soil can actually cause more harm than good. Shoes can compress the soil too tightly, preventing air and water from reaching plant roots. It is much more effective to use a garden tamper or other tool specifically designed for this purpose. Tamping requires a soft touch; you’re not “kicking the proverbial tires” with your garden.
22. Use coffee grounds to deter pests
While coffee grounds can be an excellent source of nutrients for certain plants, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, coffee grounds can be harmful to some plants, especially if they are not used in the proper amount. It is important to research the specific needs of your plants before using coffee grounds as a pest deterrent.
23. Use plastic forks to deter pests and animals
Some people claim that sticking plastic forks into the ground around their plants can deter pets and animals from tromping all over you garden. I suppose it’s somewhat effective but there’s no scientific evidence coming to any such conclusion. No harm in trying though.
How do these kinds of tips become popular?
I don’t necessarily believe people set out to give bad information most of the time. It’s more likely people try things and it works but it’s correlation instead of causation. Many, many people confuse the two in all aspects of life – gardening, health, business, relationships and so on.