The lone voice of horticultural reason

Great New Myth-Debunking Book

The Truth About Garden Remedies—What Works, What Doesn’t & Why
By Jeff Gillman (Timber Press)

Here’s a book every Renegade Gardener should love. Jeff Gillman, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota, and this hot-off-the-press release takes a science-based look at virtually all the garden remedies one is likely to encounter, from grandma’s organic fungicide concoctions to the practice of buying and releasing ladybeetles in the garden.

The results will surprise you; some of the most famous folklore and do-it-yourself remedies actually do work (beer for slugs, egg sprays for deer) and often work as well as their more pricey, commercial counterparts. Many others, however, actually do more harm than good—stay away from urine, ammonia, and chewing tobacco, among others. The book covers the topics of fertilizers, soil amendments, water supplements, biostimulants, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides.

But Jeff didn’t test only the favorite whip-it-up-in-the-sink folklore remedies, he’s taken on numerous commercial products to see if they actually do what they claim. Often they don’t, or at least don’t come close to producing the advertised results. You’ll be surprised by what the book proves concerning hydrogels, mycorrhizae planting amendments, antitranspirant sprays, and water-soluble “root & bloom” fertilizers.

Smoothly written in Jeff’s folksy, conversational style, this is a terrific book for beginning and advanced gardeners alike. Not only will you learn which homemade and commercial products work and which don’t, you’ll gain a solid layman’s understanding of the science and chemistry behind plant growth and plant protection.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener