Editors' Musings

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Your Old Farmer's Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments. too.

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May 3, 2010

This past weekend, I hauled compost from the recycling center across the road. (I make my own but not enough for this space. It's best for pots.) I got four banana boxes from the supermarket and made, I think‚ 10 trips. Round trip was less than a mile and it was backbreaking work at 90+ degrees, but it enabled me to get some greens seeds in. One favorite is Cracoviensis, aka asparagus lettuce in some circles. The leaves grow in a swirl around a relatively thick stalk, which, to me, is the best... more

April 5, 2010

This week, I was musing about how much I've learned about gardening in the past year. If you're a beginner, perhaps some of the little things I've learned along the way will help you! If you're well beyond the beginner stage, I hope that you'll share some of your biggest lessons—perhaps with amusement, now that you're in a different place! It's only my second year of gardening. Last year, I started my first organic vegetable garden. It was just a 9x9 raised bed with seven common veggies. This... more

April 5, 2010

Some of the most interesting plant containers are ones that were not originally intended for the purpose. A few I months ago I bought supermarket salad greens in a clear, shoe box-size plastic container, with a separate lid, and, after eating the contents (which, oddly enough, were packed in a cellophane bag), resisted bringing the container to the recycling center because it seemed there just had to be some way I could reuse it … The other day, it came to me: I punched a few holes in the... more

April 1, 2010

I'm planting a small organic vegetable garden this year. My goals: enjoy healthier and better-tasting veggies, show my young child where food comes from, and save money! I just took a class at a local organic farm. Here are the basics of what I learned. Perhaps you'll find these pointers helpful! Overall Pay closer attention to the soil (versus the plant). If you prepare the soil with “organic matter” such as compost and manure, your soil will feed the plants the nutrients they need.... more

March 15, 2010

Spring has arrived! With longer days and warmer weather, the birds are starting to sing, the buds are blooming, the sap is running, and the brooks are starting to flow. As all of nature wakes up, I feel the same urge to get myself moving! There’s something about spring that makes us all itch not only to get outside, but also to get our bodies in motion—busy and active. How about you? Are you getting outdoors and active? Working on your garden? Walking more often? Fishing? Playing ball with your... more

March 2, 2010

Gardening in the woods can be a challenge, especially when you love plants and flowers. But the forest is where I choose to live; it provides great shelter for many birds and critters that we love to watch, so I don't intend to clear the property of a lot of trees just to have a huge garden. Instead, my ultimate goal is to create a series of smaller gardens that blend with the existing landscape, which is full of ferns, mosses, and evergreens, and to use this natural growth to enhance some of... more

March 2, 2010

I have made a decision this year to have a small, thriving vegetable garden but to try to save money gardening where I can. I have already bought my seeds at an outlet store at a 40 percent discount. These are good, name brand seeds packaged for this year. I’m splitting the cost with a neighbor, as one package contains enough seeds for both of us. I’m also starting everything from seed this year: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and broccoli, to name a few. I have saved last year’s black plastic... more

February 18, 2010

Winter of 2010 sure brought some wild weather! Did you experience any unusual weather this winter? If so, we'd love to hear from you. One reader from the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, area reported 12.5 inches of snow on February 11!  In Washington, D.C., the city buckled under an early February blizzard dubbed Snowmageddon; according to one report, the area received five times more snow than balmy southern Ontario. As of this writing, Washington's National airport has received record snowfalls of... more

January 22, 2010

How do you foretell the coming of spring? Every year, I enjoy hearing what readers from different regions have to say! To me, birds are one of the best predictors. There is a weather proverb that states, “Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring,” and this appears to be true in the northern tier of the United States. Bluebirds do not come north until all chance of winter has passed and they are assured an ample food supply. In my state of New Hampshire,... more

December 22, 2009

December 12, 2008 This morning, we woke up to huge crashing sounds. (My husband later compared the sounds to road-side bombs.) We rushed over to the window. An enormous tree was falling right before our eyes. Our stunned eyes took in an otherworldly view. There were fallen trees in every direction. The branches were covered in an inch and a half of ice. The entire world was frozen. Suddenly, the wind whipped through the forest and we heard more exploding sounds. A tree cracked in half. A... more


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