10 Gardening Products & Practices I’ve Abandoned & Why

Over the years, I’ve abandoned a number of the gardening products and practices I grew up with or used in the past in my own garden. This process of elimination has led me to a low cost, low effort approach that gets excellent results by focusing on what really works.

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Today I share 10 different gardening products and practices I’ve abandoned over the years and why I abandoned them.

1) Tilling – 0:30
2) Growing in Rows – 1:52
3) Synthetic Fertilizer – 2:35
4) Store Bought Compost – 3:30
5) Store Bought Organic Fertilizer – 4:17
6) Rock Dust – 5:04
7) Biochar – 6:10
8) Comfrey Tea – 7:27
9) Compost Tea – 8:22
10) Turning Compost Frequently – 9:15

“The Truth About Garden Remedies” by Jeff Gillman: http://amzn.to/2ahkgtq
“Decoding Gardening Advice” by Jeff Gillman: http://amzn.to/2ahkj8z
“The Truth About Organic Gardening” by Jeff Gillman: http://amzn.to/2aN5iKc
“The Informed Gardener” by Linda Chalker-Scott: http://amzn.to/2ahkjFJ
“The Informed Gardener Blooms Again” by Linda Chalker-Scott: http://amzn.to/2a7lK6x

OYR is all about growing a lot of food on a little land using sustainable organic methods, while keeping costs and labor at a minimum. Emphasis is placed on improving soil quality with compost and mulch. No store-bought fertilizers, soil amendments, pesticides, compost activators, etc. are used.

Garden Myths Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLApXYvbprElyg12L_Uj4aq0L9pbKOILQt

Summary of Biochar Benefits from Washington State University: http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS147E/FS147E.pdf





  • The right way to make comfrey compost tea is to NOT add water to it. Just place the leaves in the bucket and place something heavy on top to compress them some, like a brick or flat rock. The result is a clear, non-smelly liquid after it all breaks down.

  • My comment comes to you late. 3 years after making this video and you've perhaps questioned this yourself by now. did you use ACTIVATED biochar? And it does seem that your interest is narrow..not one of providing 1000 yrs –or up to==of carbon sequestering power, microbial enhancing carb enhancing as well as stabilizing vava voom to Photosynthetic power that will ensure l o n g t e r m soil health and CO2 storage at nearly 4 x the normal rate… So if by now you've taken fresh looks at your choices.. I'm hoping your view on biochar has evolved?

  • One way to speed up compost piles, as long as they are fairly large, is to thrust a number of end capped hollow bamboo, or PVC, pipes into the center bottom of the pile. You then remove the caps. The pipes provide oxygen to the pile interior, as well as some moisture. The heat rising just above the pipes pulls fresh air into the pile center.

    Some people jab loads of them in, all helter skelter, to provide fresh air on all strata.

  • Thank you thank you thank you for this video!

  • I came for the debunking if biochar but was surprised and delighted with the debunking of compost tea for gardens that are well composted . But must consider that compost tea as a foliage spray is still valid

  • Great things to abandon! Bio char is great, but if you are already using compost and not using any chemicals, bio char is like adding water to water. You still have water. Compost tea is great if you have a brand new garden and want to quickly boost bacteria or fungal counts, but it does nothing else other than that. If you are using compost tea over and over, you are again, adding water to water and expecting it to turn into something else. Love your garden!

  • Can you make a Video of interpreting a soil test and fixing approches of different secenarios?

  • Did you aerate the comfrey and compost teas? I got little to no smell from mine.
    Although I'm no longer making and using them either because I spend my time making compost and feeding my worms.
    Still building my garden and it's soil and can't wait for the time it's at your level.
    Very nice and informative video

  • Excellent gardening practices,…keep it up. North

  • I agree with all of these. Compost really is the key to having a healthy, productive garden. If you have good compost, you don't need fertilizer, additives, insecticides, tilling – and you can grow more plants! I don't turn my compost and it does just fine by itself – just takes a bit longer.

  • AZOMITE contains many trace minerals that the plant uptakes, and whether the plant benefits from it or not, or even suffers from it, the plant still converts what it uptakes into an organic form, and the end user, us, benefits from all the organic forms of these trace minerals.. the organic ring is key 😉 so grow it :)… Something interesting that gave me insight into this a bit was how they make organic Selenium, for livestock supplementation.. They put the chemical form in the growing medium of yeast, and as the yeast grows it incorporates the selenium and gives it that ring.. ya know the one that the body assimilates readily. Thanks for the post. Love your vids.

  • Oh good, I can be a mostly lazy gardener.

  • Patrick, where did you get your soil test done, and what was the cost? It seems much more in depth than any I have had done.

  • how do you battle slugs and aphids?

  • If your garden is doing really well sounds like you're doing everything right. Keep on doing what you doing. As my father always said work smarter not harder.

  • Free local materials? I get leaves from 3 big maple trees around our block. I have a 5.5 by 4.5 bin that is at the moment about 3 foot deep with twice mowed leaves. Who needs a soil test? Those trees are bringing up nutrients and minerals from as far down in the ground as the tree is tall. Worms convert it. After a while, the soil will be just like said your soil is… more nutrition than could ever be supplied with commercial fertilizer, which would kill the worms anyway.

  • I made small batches of compost from my grass clippings, leaves and a bit of soil. Mostly because I never made it before… and the results were pretty good. At Dr. appointment I asked the Dr. about tomatoes. she said they were not doing as well as last year. I asked " did you change the dirt? " she looked surprised and said.. "No" so I gave her a bag of my compost. Let me point out… in keeping the compost hot I added a good amount of coffee grounds as well as lot of ground up eggshells (they were run through a coffee mill). The next time we saw the Dr. she wanted to know what the recipe was because my compost "did the trick" So I'm not going to discount the practice of making compost. I totally agree with those six practices you dropped because you don't need them. Especially synthetic fertilizers. I have tilled for years but am finding the need to be less and less as more organic material is put into my soil.

    FWI I cut a hole in the top part of a plastic milk jug, leaving the handle. I take the just to a small local restaurant that serves excellent breakfast. The cook goes through eggs like you wouldn't believe and puts the shells in the jug for me. I get more eggshells in a few hours than I would otherwise get in a year or more. Great supply of calcium for your tomatoes.

  • What do you do when its impossible to add mulch yearly because the raised beds have become full.

  • Paper ash.banana compost.fresh green brewed liquid fertilizer

  • where do you get the free compost and worm castings? 3:18

  • We are lucky enough to have a horse manure and straw delivery at our allotments. It rots down in a few months.

  • Everything you said about tilling is wrong! It absolutely DOES NOT destroy the soil in any way!! This is just BS perpetuated by those pushing their own garden methods. Raised beds are nice for older folks and urban gardens, however even those would highly benefit from a good tilling once a year. Of course pathways get compacted, however when was last time you saw plants growing pathways….😒
    Lame arguments to dish a tried and true method of gardening that provided your ancestors food and should be doing the same for anyone today.

  • This video is very informative and helpful, I'm sure it will save me money, and time. I subscribed, 🙂

  • Thank you for producing this information rich video. I subscribed. Thank you for not making the video a vehicle for ego display. I appreciate the succinct explanations, complete with rationale. Great Job.

  • Amazing method of scientific testing. Great channel

  • Food for thought. Thanks. Keep it simple and it works. No need to be insecure and over do it ✌

  • Great information thanks.

  • Bury some 4 inch poly pipe in your compost and pump the warm air to heat your greenhouse

  • That cat must like it there.

  • That's helpful to know you have abandoned the idea of using compost tea and comfrey tea. I have friends who use both and another that uses nettle tea (which you didn't mention).
    Until now, I've always felt a little guilty that I didn't make any of them (I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and find these teas abhorrent to say the least).
    However, I do make my own 'chop and drop' composts from fern leaves, bracken leaves, dead leaves pulled from a neighbouring stream (don't like to see all that nutrition going to waste, especially knowing that decaying matter adds to the atmospheric methane problem once in water), from thick mosses that grow over stone walls, and I have a couple of grand Comfrey plants that appeared in my garden quite by chance (just as I was thinking I ought to buy some).
    This is probably a weird one you don't do. When I find crumbly decaying sticks on my woodland forages, I place them on a frequently used path in my garden, let my boots do the work of breaking them up as I wander back and forth, and once they have broken down sufficiently, they can be scooped up and put in a border, bed or container. This way I have brought in additional fungi that helps control a problem fungus (namely Honey Fungus) that attacks some of my trees and shrubs.
    Another way I use twigs and sticks to my advantage is to stack them high by 2 fences. This stops neighbouring sheep from sticking their heads through and eating plants, provides songbirds with nesting sites (encouraging the insect eaters), encourages frogs and toads and beneficial beetles, and the twigs continually break down to supply a rich compost at the bottom. This is really helping the thin, stony soil and promotes the growth of proper hedging plants near the fence.
    I am just in the process of moving my allotment area to another part of the garden. Full of Ramanas Roses, spring bulbs and Rosebay Willow Herb, it will have to be dug very deeply – hopefully it will be the first and last time I do this.

  • Your experiences are like those of the natural forest which is self serving and self sufficient,nobody fertilise the forest yet its grows lusciously,it has behave in a permaculture ways,no mass crops growing,fallen leaves,animals manure and decaying woods are not being dug or disturbed but left to break down on it own allowing micro fungi and organisms to flourish,producing all the essential nutrients required for growth naturally.

  • Thank you for the advice. This will save me a lot of work and make me more successful in my gardening.

  • probly the best vid youll ever make, goes for the series too: stuff NOT to do, Part 1.

  • I love your research-based approach. So refreshing when compared with the low-effort, "low hanging fruit," and often, misleading and inaccurate content out there.

  • I live in florida…I’ll probably need some of these things

  • Thanks so much for the helpful info. I also have learned a lot since I first started gardening — frugality and simplicity are my goals. Question: I notice that there are no weeds between your raised beds. At one point because of my lack of ability to control weeds, I almost gave up gardening! Please share how you keep the area between your beds weed free. Thanks.

  • love this video, great reminders of the dos and donts, always inspiring, can't wait for tomorrow and garden.

  • I just love your kitty cat! His white paws are so clean!

  • Great information! I just got my first row from my friend to test for the next season. Right away I asked them to not till mine and I bought compost this week to fill it in. I want no dig garden, where I would probably grow is square foot manner – or anything that would allow me to grow more in less space. I read a number of books and it surprised me that people often write and talk about the abundance of free local resources and materials. In my country you can never get anything for free, they better throw away stuff than give it for the others, I rang around many different farms and shops and I still had to pay for a bag of manure, coffee grounds, wood scraps – everything costs and my first bed is probably will get as expensive as buying organic produce, but I am investing in this like a hobby and hoping it will cost me less in a few years once i have beds and good soil built up in place.

  • I DO use rock dust in my vermicompost, to help give grit to the worms.

  • I love this list – thank you so much for explaining why you have abandoned these practices that most of us use. I'm curious about the no tilling. I'd like to use one of my raised beds for yard waste but am concerned about attracting rodents and raccoons. Can you suggest an easy low-cost answer to keep them away? Thanks so much for your help!

  • I don't mean my comments to imply that I disagree with most of your other positions regarding practices you have abandoned. It's just that I have VERY strong opinions about the benefits of trace minerals, and those opinions are backed up with personal experience. The comments regarding "rock dust" might be applicable to the soils in the far north, but in the SE our soils don't have the benefit of having been recently "fertilized" with minerals from rocks ground fine by glaciers. And the comment about "most soils contain all the minerals plants need" is but a guess since gardeners generally do not test for trace minerals that are needed by plants in PPM or PPB amounts. And compost can only supply minerals IF the ingredients were grown on soil with those minerals. Since I don't know what "rock dust" was used I can't comment on its effectiveness other than to say that if a trial produced a lower amount of produce because of rock dust then something went very wrong in the soil chemistry.

  • What I really love about your videos is that they're so calm and non-hysteric. You don't adapt to this annoying habit of content creators to keep everything short and rushed in order to get more clicks. It's very refreshing.

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