Old Wives' Tale Gardening Tricks

Ever hear of an old wives tale about what to put in or around your plants to help them produce a more abundant supply? From marigolds to matchsticks these are some that I use and find not only a wives tale, but backed by research!

Magnesium sulfate aka Epsom salt can help revive a plant. The reason is magnesium sulfate helps the plant photosynthesize. For whatever reason, plants can get stagnant and need a boost to help them get going again. Adding a bit of Epsom salt to water and giving it to your plants that look a little sad can help it tremendously. It is typically helpful for older plants

Plant some matchsticks with your peppers this summer. Match sticks contain phosphorous and  phosphorous sesquisulfide. These chemicals are important for peppers to grow because they help the plant develop buds and fruit but do not get replaced in the soil. Phosphorous also helps add a little acidity to the soil which pepper plants love. Therefore, adding matchsticks around your pepper plants will grow bigger, healthier plants. Adding the matchsticks to the soil is most beneficial when the pepper plants are transplanted to the garden up until they start producing fruit. Push about 10 matchsticks head first into the soil, 2 inches from the base of the plant. Or you can take a book of matches and when transplanting your pepper plants, bury the booklet next to the pepper plant- do not place the booklet on the plant but near it.

Marigolds are the ultimate companion for tomatoes. Planting them around or in the same area as your tomato plants will help keep aphids away naturally. Marigolds add a little beauty and help deter those little nasties from ruining your goods.


in addition, tomatoes love the color red. For whatever reason they gravitate towards it and it makes them happy. Start tomatoes in red containers and placing red plastic around them in the garden will stimulate more growth. The red plastic helps hold heat as well and tomatoes love it hot.

Know a bee keeper or want to beeeee one? You won’t only get great local honey and the natural benefits from eating it, your garden will thank you with abundant supplies of produce. Having honey bees around helps pollinate your trees, veggies, fruits, and berries resulting in higher, bigger  yields.


Horticultural molasses mixed with a few simple ingredients sprayed on plants helps drive off harmful insects while giving your plants a boost. Insects like a very specific window of sugar content in plants. If you raise that, they will not want to eat it and if they do will die. Insects cannot bloat or release gas, therefore sugars create gas and it basically kills them from the inside out. Though bugs hate it, plants love it. Adding molasses to the soil in your garden helps to increase the microbial activity resulting in soil that holds moisture better and is also easier to plant in. When soil microbes are exposed to simple sugars, they multiply quickly. As microbes go through their living cycle, they add important nutrients to the soil, therefore, the more the merrier. You can also rid your yard of fire ants by spraying this over your grass too. This is the most inexpensive way to add sugars and ward off harmful insects to your yard and/or plants.

Simple recipe for soil and plants (spray bi-weekly directly onto the leaves)
3 T. molasses
1T. liquid garlic
1T. liquid fertilizer
1 gallon of water