B1, the Great Vitamin Myth

Just as there are certainties in life (death and taxes), there are garden truths we just don’t question. Let’s see if you recognize these. Lady bugs are good and snails are bad. Right? Water early in the day to prevent plant disease. How about this one? Rotate your crops year after year. Or, this one; when transplanting tomatoes, bury them deep -really deep- like half-way up the stem deep. All true. Oh wait, I forgot one. Use Vitamin B1 whenever you transplant flowers and vegetables into your garden. [insert record-scratch, screech to a halt sound effect here] Uh, not so fast. Mom and Dad were mistaken when they taught us this one. Thiamine pyrophosphate, better known as Vitamin B1 does nothing to aid transplant shock. I know, I know. You can’t make this stuff up. As useless as an inside-the-egg scrambler or Pet Rock… it’s pointless to use B1 in the garden, at least for transplanting garden plants.

Master Gardeners at UCCE-Placerville agree with University of California studies on the great vitamin B1 myth. Respected Master Gardener, Fred Hoffmann espouses the use of fish emulsion and liquid seaweed diluted with water as a tried-and-true concoction, instead of wasting money on B1.

Don’t be mad at Mom and Dad for teaching us to pour money down the drain, um soil. It’s not their fault. Think about it this way. They started using Vitamin B1 back in the day when Coca-Cola contained trace amounts of cocaine, and smoking was glamorous and not thought to be dangerous. It was a different world then. Today, science has caught up, and now we understand that it is much better for our transplants to be fed a starter fertilizer with 3-to-five percent nitrogen, or to incorporate compost or manure tea with the tender new plants.

Now, we consider a more holistic approach; one that doesn’t include dousing our plants with the snake oil of yester-year. We know that location to sun or shade, water requirements and soil conditions, drainage and spacing are the truest way to ensure a successful transplant.

And finally, ask any experienced gardener and they are bound to give you their own home remedy or sure-fire way to get the most out of their transplants. I’ve heard of using diluted sugar water, epsom salt, and diluted worm tea made from worm castings. Somehow, the more organic the concoction, the more interested I am in trying it.

What is your tried-and-true, time-tested method for successful transplants? Did you know about the Great Vitamin B1 myth? Use the comments box below. 


This article is the second in a series of 26 consecutive articles, as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the whole month of April. Tomorrow, I’ll post an article with a title that begins with the letter “C”… So goes the rest of the alphabet, through the end of the month.

In closing, I have a little challenge for you. Because the letters “X” “Q” and “Z” pose a challenge of their own, send me a title idea beginning with those letters. If I choose to write your title, I’ll send you a small prize to show my appreciation.  Use the comments box below, or email your title to iwrite@chuckdouros.com


3 thoughts on “B1, the Great Vitamin Myth

  1. I’ve never heard of that one before. To avoid transplant shock I started my tomatoes in peat pots. When I go to plant them I’ll just break off the bottom of the pot and shouldn’t have any shock at all.

    For a “Q” title how about, “Quitting is for winners”. You could write how some Olympic/World Class runners will quit a marathon if they have a pain or if something is off. You should be able to Google several good examples.

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