|Friday Five: Organic Gardening True or False|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 30 March 2012|
Thereís a book out by Jeff Gillman, a professor of horticulture (and entomologist by training) at the University of Minnesota called The Truth About Organic Gardening. I havenít had a chance to read it yet, but I like what Iíve heard about it. It reminds me of what I always tell people about herbal medicines. Just because itís natural and a plant, donít assume itís safe and non-toxic. And now for a few of those truthsÖ
1. Compost and manure teas are great ways to provide nutrients and control diseases.
False. While these teas may provide small amounts of nutrients, they have the potential to spread nasty bacteria and their long-term benefits are unproven. Note: I think heís referring to make your own compost tea brews and not compost tea bags.
2. Japanese beetle traps are an effective pest control.
False. These traps generally attract more beetles than they trap. Note: Similar to the thinking behind the Waspinator, right?
3. Manure is always a desirable soil amendment.
False. Composted manure is a wonderful addition to the soil. Fresh manure shouldn't be used because it can release ammonia, which can injure plants. Fresh animal manure can also contain weed seeds and human pathogens. E. coli can live in uncomposted manure for up to 21 months!
4. Garlic not only repels vampires, it also repels whiteflies, aphids, and beetles.
True. Sprays made from garlic extract and water repel a variety of insect pests, as long as the spray reaches every part of the plant you want to protect. Make your own or try Garlic Pharm.
5. Corn gluten meal suppresses weeds when applied to the soil.
True. If given enough time to work (usually a couple of years) and reapplied each year, corn gluten meal is a safe and effective pre-emergent herbicide.