Gardening Blogs

Welcome to the Almanac’s blog on gardening and gardens! Whether you’re a beginning gardener or a green-thumb, we’ve got lots of advice and inspiration to help you in your backyard. Look through this page for a variety of topics, including gardening with vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers, containers, houseplants, and more!

October 8, 2015

For many years, I have used very dry sand to store my beets and carrots in buckets in the root cellar. However, last year I had a problem getting the sand dry. I used to wait for a particularly dry stretch in August then take some buckets, a shovel and a hard hat to a sand depot nearby. I would drive in and scoop the sand off the top of the many mountains where it was bone dry. Last year there was a new system. The gravel owner had built a box outside of his fence. He had a backhoe put... more

October 6, 2015

Native plants are a natural choice for a low-maintenance, sustainable landscape.  It may seem insignificant but as gardeners we can make good choices about our planet and our environment when it comes to our own backyards. Large manicured, weed-free lawns require lots of resources like water, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and gasoline for mowing. Many exotic plants need generous amounts of water, fertilizer, and fungicides to keep them looking tip top. Native habitats are often... more

October 3, 2015

What can you do to protect your home if you live in an area prone to fire?  Learn about “firescaping,” a way to reduce the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire. Western wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and millions of acres of land. California has been experiencing the worst fires in 30 years and thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes not knowing if they will have a house to go back to. These fires burn everything in their path and can consume your home... more

September 30, 2015

Digging potatoes has got to be one of the most pleasurable aspects of gardening. It’s buried treasure! Will there be lots of them or just a few? Either way, there are some critical steps to preparing them for winter storage in the root cellar. Take a pitchfork and dig in quite a bit away from the plant. Lift the soil to loosen it. Then, with gloved hands, gently reach around feeling for the potatoes. They tend to grow close to the now-dead vines. They also form above where the original potato... more

September 22, 2015

Drying fruits and vegetables is a great way to preserve food. Its one of the best ways to retain nutritional value, enhances flavor, long-lasting, and economic since it requires little equipment other than a food dehydrator. Usually tomatoes are a big seller for us at Farmer's Market but last week we brought home several pints of 'Chadwick' and 'Sungold' cherries, some tiny black plum tomatoes, and 'Grandma Mary' paste tomatoes. Since sundried tomatoes are a treat for us in the winter, I... more

September 14, 2015

When we think of clematis, the large-flowering, star-shaped blooms come to mind. However, there are beautiful small-flowering and shrub-types that few people even know about. Did you know that there are over 200 species and hundreds of hybrids of this popular flower? There are saucers, bells, tube-shapes, tulips, open bells, doubles, and semi-doubles. The small flowering clematis make up for what they lack in size by the abundance of their blossoms. They also bloom for longer. Clematis: A... more

September 12, 2015

Our ancestors knew how to preserve food—they had root cellars, storing large amounts of produce in the cool underground. This allowed them to partake of fresh vegetables through all those cold winter months and on into the spring. What is a Root Cellar? What is a root cellar? It can be created in several different ways, but it mostly is a space dug into the ambient temperature of the Earth (55 degrees) and utilized to store beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes and other root crops through the ... more

September 10, 2015

Do you enjoy using freshly snipped herbs from the garden as much as I do? Now that summer is winding down it is time to think about bringing some of our favorites indoors. Everyone has some herbs they can't do without. I'm a big fan of basil, rosemary, and oregano. What do you use the most? Here are seven herbs that will grow well on your sunniest windowsill or under lights: Greek oregano is a perennial best propagated by root division. If you have an established plant just separate off a... more

September 2, 2015

Saving seeds from your favorite plants and swapping them with friends is one of the best ways to share your love of gardening. Select the best plants to save seeds from based on traits that are important to you such as disease resistance, size, color, yield, flavor, vigor, earliness, etc. Open-pollinated or Hybrid Seeds? Before you start collecting you need to know the difference between open-pollinated varieties and hybrids. Open-pollinated plants are created by natural means - wind, insects... more

August 24, 2015

Before you start pruning hydrangeas, it's important to know which variety you have. If you prune at the wrong time, you could be cutting off next year's blooms. The extreme weather we had last winter did a number on my hydrangeas. Even though my area is hardy to zone 5, my 'Endless Summer' mophead hydrangea—which usually has huge blue blossoms all summer long—was killed to the ground. Luckily, it has the wonderful ability to bloom on both old and new wood so even though they may be late in... more


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