Like every other field, gardening too has its share of popular myths and mind-boggling misconceptions. We will try share as many gardening myths with our readers as possible.
“Money plant brings wealth”
Besides twitching eyelids and itchy palms, an oft-believed superstition is that planting any of the pothos (locally known as money plant) can turn your fortune around. Sorry to burst the bubble but, this beautiful ornamental vine has nothing to do with your finances.
“Pepper/chilli plant can cause fights at home”
I was very shocked to discover that one of our regular plant-buyer’s mother would never approve of a pepper plant in her house — planting chillies or pepper in the house causes fights among the resident family members. While fights between family members is a regular an occurrence in South Asian culture, planting a pepper plant will not make any difference. It might, however, only give them an excuse to do so.
“The more you water, the better!”
On the contrary, it is usually the other way round for most of the plants, vines, trees and herbs that are generally grown in homes. Excess water can result in decaying roots and in the long run, may even kill the plant.
The best thing is to religiously follow a schedule, which may be watering your plant daily, once in a few days or even twice a day during heat waves.
“Healthy, beautiful fruit and vegetable are better options”
A shiny purple aubergine, crimson bell peppers and some long round bottle gourds decorated on shelves, are more likely to attract you when pushing your trolley in the vegetable section of a super market than their much smaller and dull organic counterparts. However, although these are more appealing to look at, they are definitely less healthy than the organic ones. Taste, aroma, freshness and the crispiness of an organic produce, especially when directly harvested, is absolutely unmatchable and priceless at the same time.
“Salt is poison for plants”
Many consider salt a weed killer and sprinkle it in the lawn when they want to get rid of unwanted grass, but salt may be a lifeline for a palm like coconut fruit tree. Usually found on the sea shores and surrounding lakes or patches of the salty still water, the coconut fruit is one of the best examples of plant spreading via water pollination. Many varieties of coconuts are a characteristic feature of the island countries like Sri Lanka and Maldives.
There is, however, excess requirement of chloride for a growing coconut tree, especially when growing in conditions like in Pakistan. Incidentally, the best and inexpensive source of chloride is natural salt. Many gardeners sprinkle it around their coconut trees regularly and get amazing results.
“Removing stems and leaves can kill your plant”
Pinching a small leaf or new shoots from a young plant may be a cause of concern for many; but this is a regular feature to boost the plant growth and foliage especially when it comes to pepper plant and many seasonal flowers as well. This gardening technique — which is known as pruning — is a regular feature during the growing stages of the plant. Sometimes, you may even remove flower buds or a few small fruits from many developing on the same stalk of the plant, to ensure that the ones left on the plant grows into relatively bigger size.
“Gardening is an expensive hobby”
Many non-gardeners believe that gardening, especially organic gardening is a luxury hobby only the rich can afford. On the contrary, it is inexpensive if done smartly but it does demand one’s care and time. Our focus is usually to inculcate the desire to grow green and healthier food options at home without extravagant expenditures. Many throwaways products are nothing gold when it comes to gardening. From plant containers, to organic fertilisers and from harvesting seeds to making different types of trellis for vertical gardening; each and everything can easily be prepared from scraps at home with limited or no expenditure. You may not even require stretch of land to follow this hobby. Pots and grow bags in a balcony, passage, kitchen window, gardening closets and rooftop are more than handy when growing herbs and small plants to get harvests for your meal or when decorating your home with the cacti or the ornamental ones.
Published in Dawn, EOS, November 27th, 2022