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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > 262 - July 2019 > GARDENING MYTHS DEBUNKED


If you are still putting crocks in the bottom of your pots or using eggshells to deter slugs, it’s all nonsense, says Benedict Vanheems. Here he lifts the lid on some very familiar advice that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny


When it comes to gardening advice there’s a lot of stuff and nonsense flying about, laid as thickly as the manure on our plots! Some of it is downright lies. Most of it, though, is simply oft-repeated myths whose origins are lost in the mists of time.

Some of this advice is so firmly entrenched it just isn’t questioned and appears in almost every gardening book. Garden writers and journalists just pass on the same-old mantras, blindly perpetuating these myths onwards to the next generation of gardeners. I’m afraid I’ve been sucked into the mythical quicksand a few times myself and must hang my head in shame – please forgive me, dear reader!

So let’s shine the searchlight of truth into every corner of our gardening lives. Let’s shake things up and free ourselves from the shackles of horticultural presumption. Read on and together we’ll explode some long-established gardening myths…


Our first myth is so engrained it feels disrespectful, blasphemous even, to question it! But… deep breaths… adding pieces of broken terracotta pots, known as ‘crocks’, as well as pebbles or a layer of gravel to the bottom of containers does not – I repeat not – help to improve drainage. It’s incredible but true. It’s all down to the fact that water does not flow easily from fine to coarse materials (such as compost to crocks/pebbles/ gravel). Furthermore, excess moisture only tends to properly drain through once the finer material nears saturation, so perversely adding a layer of ‘drainage material’ could potentially exacerbate the situation!

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine In this issue: AT A GLANCE… CARROTS ✪ Our top tips for success with this essential root crop THE CHARM OF CHARD ✪ Veg expert Rob Smith has some great advice on growing this colourful leafy crop NEW VARIETY REVIEW ✪ We put a distinctive summer radish to the test And much more!