If you have been around gardening or gardeners long enough, chances are, you have heard a good share of old-time garden myths and legends.

garden myths
When to plant – by moonlight or daylight? Just one of the many gardening myths that get passed down.

Gardeners have been passing down tips, tricks and knowledge for years. Some of that advice is solidly rooted in science and actually works. While others might be a little more along the “tall tale” lines.

Either way, they are certainly entertaining at the least. So today, as Spring approaches, we thought we would take a look at some of our favorite all time garden myths. Are they true? Are they false? Well, we will give our take on that below. But as we all know, it all comes down to what Grandpa or Grandma might have said – and who can really argue with that.

If you can, let us know any of your well-known old-time legends or myths in the comments section at the end of the article. We love hearing and sharing them with our readers.

5 Great Garden Myths and Legends

Planting By The Moonlight and Moon Phases

This one is probably the most well-known of all, especially with many old-time farmers. As it goes, you should plant annual vegetables and flowers that grow above the ground on the days between the new moon and the full moon.

garden myths
Planting by the moonlight – does it work for some crops?

As for root vegetables and perennial flowers, they should be planted during the dark of night, between the full moon and the new moon. Is it true? With this one, you will find just as many people on both sides of the fence. I know this, we have never planted by the moonlight, mainly because we are too tired to get up! And somehow, our garden still produces. 🙂  See : How We Garden With Raised Rows

Adding Sugar To The Soil Around Tomatoes Makes Tomatoes Sweeter.

This is one of our favorites! As the legend goes, if you add a few tablespoons of sugar into the soil around tomato plants, the harvested tomatoes will be sweeter. Unfortunately, this old legend is simply not true. Tomatoes absorb sugars through photosynthesis, not the soil. Although, I guess if you add a little to them once you slice them – it works!

Plant Potatoes On Good Friday

Do a little research and you will find this garden myth everywhere! As the legend goes, always plant your potato crop on Good Friday, and the crop will produce. Many say the roots (pun intended) of this practice come from Ireland. Back in the day, when the potato famine was in full force, folks looked for help from above for their potato harvest.

There are some facets of this garden myth that make sense. Potatoes do better when planted in cooler weather. And, generally, Good Friday does fall during the coolest temps of springtime. However, as the Easter calendar moves, so does Good Friday. So, in reality, it much more of a myth than a planting truth.

Always Plant Marigolds In The Garden

garden myths
Marigolds in the garden are actually a great idea!

Many old-time gardeners swear by this one! And with good reason, it actually has a lot of merit. Many old-time vegetable gardeners still plant rows of marigolds on the outside edges of their garden. Marigolds naturally repel many garden pests and insects. They simply do not like the smell. And, to boot – they add a lot of color to your garden space!

Add Epsom Salt To The Soil To Help Tomatoes Grow

This myth has been making the rounds for years, and is one we are often asked about on the blog. Here is the low down on the myth – there is a touch of truth, but also a lot of downside to the practice.

Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is needed for good growth of tomatoes. Some soils which might lack this mineral can benefit from a bit of Epsom salt. However, adding it to your soil also adds in a lot of salts, that over time, will destroy soil structure and leave your soil in bad shape. The better alternative is to simply add compost or worm castings to the soil to add natural nutrients that will help now and in the long term!  Product Link : Worm Castings – The Ultimate Fertilizer

So what are some of your favorite garden myths and legends? Let us know and share in the comment section below.  Happy Gardening! – Jim and Mary.


16 thoughts on “5 Great Old-Time Garden Myths And Legends – True or False?

  • March 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm
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    I plant seed according to the moon and I have had consistent and successful plantings. Another thing I like about it, is that you do not have to plant seeds all at the same time! Also, I never plant seeds while the moon is out at night, I follow a calender that lists the moons phases and has a plant icon to tell you which days to plant, and I plant during the daylight. Moon phase gardening is the only way I plant!

  • March 12, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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    I was very blessed to get some garden mentoring from my elderly neighbor- an avid gardener for decades! He said to put wood ash from a fireplace in the row before planting turnip seeds, and then to sprinkling it around the base of the turnip plants every so often (twice) during the growing season to deter worms. When I was careful to follow his advice there were no wormy, chewed up turnips! But if I only did it once, or not at all- there were barely any worm-free turnips to harvest.

  • March 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm
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    Wow! Thanks for that information. Especially about the Epsom Salts. I found it quite helpful. 🙂

  • March 12, 2018 at 7:35 am
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    For South Georgia/Florida my daddy said the potatoes went in by Valentine’s Day. When I lived in Pittsburgh my father-in-law said the potatoes went in on St. Paddy’s day even if you had to brush the snow off the rows.

    • March 12, 2018 at 7:47 pm
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      🙂 well I say ” What Ever Works For You, Stick Too It “

  • March 11, 2018 at 11:16 pm
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    Any tips or acknowledge on how to grow vegetables in a hanging container?

    • March 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm
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      Hi Anita We have grown small peppers in hanging containers before. The key is to have a big enough container for their roots to expand and they typically require more water and fertilizer than the ones in our garden.

  • March 11, 2018 at 9:32 pm
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    Well i use eggshells in the hole for my plants and also coffee grounds, Well they spoke about planting Potatoes on Good Friday… I plant everything on good Friday… dont care if its raining out, or snowing or the wind is blowing. my plants go in the ground. Many years ago, and elderly gentleman told me to plant on Good Friday, because that was the day that the earth was blessed, and what ever you plant on that day will flourish…It has worked for me… 🙂 Happy Gardening folks and may your crops grow in abundance. Be Safe and God Bless Each Of You….

  • March 11, 2018 at 7:55 pm
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    Have you ever heard of planting basil around your tomatoes to improve their flavor?

  • March 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm
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    As A Gardener for over 45 Yrs. – I can Honestly say the ONLY good idea is The Marigolds.

  • March 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm
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    I I don’t know if you were kidding or not but you don’t actually plant at night by the light of the moon. My grandparents and parents firmly believed in following the almanac for planting and also having teeth pulled etc.

  • March 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm
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    Add red pepper flakes to the soil to deter cats from using your garden as a litter box.

  • March 11, 2018 at 1:48 pm
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    Your thoughts on straw bale gardens??

  • March 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm
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    Used coffee grounds around tomatoe plants to help them grow

  • March 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm
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    Planting by the moon doesn’t mean at night, under moonlight! Merely the phase of the moon.

  • March 11, 2018 at 11:48 am
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    Great article. , Very entertaining.

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