Gardening Myths and Misconceptions – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

myths_and_misconceptions_gardening_cover_front_draft.1.1.2Gardening Myths and Misconceptions
by Charles Dowding
Published by Green Books, March 2014
Hardback 96 pages, with illustrations
£9.99 hardback
ISBN: 9780857842046

  • Have you ever wondered how certain gardening practices arose?

  • Have you wondered whether they were just eyewash, but followed them anyway, because it's been too confusing to work out the kernel of truth behind it all?

  • Have you ever asked yourself why containers must have pottery shards for drainage? Why cucumbers and tomatoes should not be grown together? Or why we must water only in the evening?

In this collection of common gardening myths, Charles Dowding examines how some of these practices, though started for good historical reasons, have become unbreakable rules.

Asking why gardeners are always told to do things a certain way, he debunks some of these myths and clears up some misconceptions. Based on his own vast experience, he tests the relevance of such hard and fast rules himself and radically rethinks them into simpler, quicker and more successful ways to garden.

Conventional wisdom is difficult to question, even when it is misguided and contains many contradictions. Gardening has its share of such 'myths' - some with discernible origins in history, others that have become established for no obvious reason - and they often obscure simpler and easier methods of working. This delightfully illustrated book reveals how common sense triumphs and crops are more successful when these 'rules' are overturned.

This is a fascinating but practical book that will save the seasoned gardener time and give new gardeners heart.

Beautifully illustrated, this is an invaluable book, full of good sensible gardening advice.

Being a professional gardener and – originally – a forester it is absolutely amazing the myths that we have been taught and that we have used without, all too often, questioning them. Though I have advised against staking trees for years and years but always met with resistance for colleagues with the comment that all newly planted trees must be staked; it says so. Well, it is a myth and it is best for trees not to be stakes in the great majority of cases with a few exceptions.

This is indeed a beautiful little book. Hardback bound and with its own little red ribbon bookmark. A book to keep and cherish and to give as gift.

This book will make a great gift for any gardener and with Father's Day coming up soon it might just be the ticket. It won't break the bank and even the most seasoned gardener will appreciate the information contained within the pages of this book.

Charles Dowding is an internationally recognized organic gardening expert and adviser, and author of 'Organic Gardening', 'Salad Leaves for all Seasons' and How to Grow Winter Vegetables'. He says: "I have always been interested in looking 'behind the scenes' and asking why things are as they are, and questioning practices that are taken for granted. This led me to grow organically, at a time when the chemical approach was rarely challenged." He talks on radio and television and writes for many magazines on his unique approach to gardening.

© 2014

Disclosure: I received a copy of  Gardening Myths and Misconceptions for review purposes, but all opinions here are mine.

The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.