Howling at the Moon While Wearing a Tutu and Other Miracle Cures

Howling PumpkinBefore I go on, know that I am fully in favor of natural ways to control diseases and insects or to keep plants healthy and I always like to find ways to substitute such methods for conventional chemicals. That said, it also annoys me to see the amount of snake oil sold to the uninformed.

So how do I determine if a new miracle product is worth a try?

  • First through my experience and education I look for a reasonable explanation of why it might work.
  • Second I look for independent scientific studies and if I can find more than one or two I look for a consensus.
  • Third I look to other trusted people who have tried the method or product.
  • And fourth because I am in business I look at cost benefit analysis to other methods. This may not be important to someone else, and indeed in my own yard is not a big factor.

Lets take three scenarios and see how this works for me.

  1. 1. A few people have told me that applying Wilt Pruf periodically before rain will help control Black Spot on roses.

    My experience and education tell me that there is a reason why this could work. Black Spot is a water transmitted disease, thus if a waxy coating is on the leaf when the spore hits it the hyphae might not be able to grow through it.

    I checked for scientific studies and can find none for or against this claim. I talked to some people I trust and found that they do believe it is a benefit.

    Wilt Pruf is expensive, but for reasons not relevant to this writing it was worth a try. I have tried it and believe it does what I have been told. When I tell others of this claim I tell them that I believe it works but that my experience is not by any means scientific.

    By the way, applying any product not for the use intended is against the law so apply Wilt Pruf to deter wilting, as I did, and if it happens to also control Black spot then all is good.

  2. I hear that Corn gluten is a good pre-emergence weed killer.

    My experience and education tell me that there is no good reason this will work, but also I know nothing of the theory so have no solid reason why it will not.

    I checked for research and can find one study from the University of Iowa that claims it works. (Hmm interesting, what do they grow in Iowa?) The majority of studies give no credence to this research. The consensus is that though it has some limited control on some weeds it is a poor pre-emergence weed killer.

    I checked with people who have actually tried it and I gathered from what I heard that the only way this product might work is if they left the unopened bag on the ground, no weeds would grow underneath it.

    Corn gluten is expensive and I like my wallet full more than I dislike weeds. I have no intention of trying this product unless I hear compelling scientific evidence that I am wrong.

  3. I read on the Internet that howling at the moon while wearing a tutu will stop borers infesting my pumpkins.

    Through my education and experience I see no reasonable reason why this would work and can think of many reasons why it won’t.

    I checked for scientific studies and surprisingly enough could find none.

    I asked people I trusted and they are now inquiring about having me committed.

    I don’t think that tutus are very expensive so cost is not a factor. Once again there is no reason to try this method except that it might annoy my neighbor who is a perpetual pain in the butt.

So in conclusion, do your research before spending your hard earned cash on the newest miracle product.

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