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Lake Effect’s Joy Powers chats with Venice Williams, the executive director of Alice’s Garden and the Fondy Food Center, about gardening, herbal remedies and healthy cooking.

Old wives' tales & gardening tips that actually work

Venice Williams shares gardening tips
Stock Adobe
Venice Williams shares gardening tips

At the start of the growing season, many of us look for advice on how to help our plants. Everyone seems to have tips on how to better your soil, keep away bugs, or make seeds grow, but what really works?

Venice Williams is all too familiar with old wives tales about how to better your garden. As the executive director of Alice’s Garden, she’s heard them all. She joins us for this month’s Dig In! to explore some old wives' tales that actually work. Some of them are as follows:

  • Place pennies in the ground along with your plants as you plant them. Williams explains how the copper from the pennies are a natural fungicide and will help keep your plants safe from devastating fungus.
  • Place tea bags in the soil along with your plants as you plant them. Instead of throwing the tea bag away after enjoying a cup of tea, place them in the soil along with the plant. This helps produce nutrients that help the soil and ultimately help feed the plant and keep the tea bag out of the garbage.
  • Crush egg shells and place them around the plant as you plant them. Eggshells are filled with calcium, which can benefit our plants. Crush some eggshells and place them around your plants to allow them to be fed by the calcium and grow stronger.
  • Use vinegar as a natural herbicide. Vinegar can help keep plants from growing alongside harmful weeds that can damage the plant.
  • Play music to for your plants. Plants tend to grow well with Jazz and classical music. Plants don't typically do well with classic rock or country music.
  • Speak positively to your plants. Plants benefit from human interaction because we exhale carbon monoxide as we breathe, which helps plants. Therefore, always speak positively to plants to promote a nurturing environment.

In addition to these tips, Williams also recommends reading Dead Daisies Make Me Crazy: Garden Solutions Without Chemical Pollution by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor along with Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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