My Biggest Gardening Dislike Is Bad Gardening Advice. And Social Media, Some Websites And Even As Few TV Presenters Are Full Of It.

Cobblers to ultracrepidarian advice
Ultracrepidarian is taken from the Latin and basically means that whilst a cobbler can comment on shoemaking they don’t have the expertise to comment on other topics.

And so I too frequently see with gardening.

For example, in recent weeks there’s been a lot of tomato blight being reported. And the advice has been mixed. Some people have identified tomato blight from photographs where blight is clearly an issue, but in other cases they have said there’s blight when it’s quite clear that the plants have botrytis or some other issue.

Blight is an issue I wrote about a few days ago. I was quite clear in my advice that the haul of blight infested plants can be composted. Yet I’ve seen a lot of advice, before and after I wrote mine, that said that blighted plants must be burnt or buried deep. All these posts said that on no account should the blighted material be composted. Yet I can find no peer reviewed research to justify this.

If blighted vegetation is composted it soon rots. And as blight needs living organism to survive, it dies when the plant dies and rots down. It does however survive on living material. So any potato tubers from blighted plants and perhaps over wintered seed from blighted tomatoes can carry it over to the next season.

Some of the websites I often see quoted also talk about using copper based sprays to control blight. In many cases these sites also sell the sprays. So perhaps they have a bias in their advice.

The other issue is that whilst copper is permitted in the USA it is not in the UK and Europe where its been banned for safety reasons.

So, despite all the advice being given on social media, on foreign websites and even by some TV presenters, don’t believe all the negativity and ultracrepidarian advice you read.

I spent many years growing tomatoes commercially and never once saw blight on an indoor crop of tomatoes, in greenhouses or tunnels. If crops are grown well and kept healthy, with good plant hygiene, blight isn’t normally an issue inside.

Outside is another issue. The spores are spread on the wind and are inevitable once we get the conditions of temperature and humidity it needs for the spores to germinate.

Let me also address the ultracrepidarain advice about soil removal and disinfecting greenhouses.  Blight doesn’t overwinter in the soil. But might on overwintered seed, or in heated houses, on plants. Disinfection is worth carrying out if you’ve had a lot of botrytis, but will male little difference to blight.

Finally, a word about potential cures using bacterial sprays. Some research has been conducted around the use of bacteria to control late blight. The results are very mixed at present, but MAY eventually lead to a control spray. But hasn’t yet. So don’t be fooled into buying curative sprays until there is peer reviewed research that can be trusted.

Read more on Gardening Myths and Common Gardening Mistakes by following the links

The advice I give on this website and in the Facebook groups is based on my years as a market gardener and salads grower plus current peer reviewed research papers.  I’m happy to debate my comments and always willing to learn more.

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