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!

September 27, 2016

I love tomatoes. There is nothing as delicious as a fully ripe, deep red, juicy, garden, heirloom tomato. And my favorite tomato dish is a tomato salad.  First, let’s talk about when you buy your tomatoes. Unfortunately, farmers can’t wait until their tomatoes are fully ripe before picking them and bringing them to market. They get too soft and can be damaged by the first person who picks them up. However, tomatoes will continue to ripen after they are picked. The trick is to purchase them a... more

September 23, 2016

If you are blessed with an overabundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, preserve your harvest for winter. Freezing, drying, root cellaring, and canning are time-honored ways of saving the harvest. Canning Guidelines Here are a few canning guidelines: Gather all your ingredients and equipment and make sure you have everything you need before you start. Halfway through the process is no time to be running to the store. Follow recipes and directions exactly. No improvising; your family’s... more

September 15, 2016

Summer is winding down but the asters are just getting started, adding splashes of lavender, purple, and pink to the fall garden. A native American plant, the aster got its name from the ancient Greek and Latin words for star, describing its radiant blossom. One of its common names is starwort. As early as 1680, Europeans were importing our native wild asters for use in their Old World gardens. In England today they are called Michaelmas daisies for their habit of blooming around the same... more

September 8, 2016

One of my favorite aspects of gardening is plant propagation. Whether it is from seed or a cutting, I love seeing a new plant emerge and grow. Early fall is the time to take some cuttings of plants you want to keep over the winter. Tender container plants are at their peak right now but when the weather turns colder they will be lost unless you bring them inside. Even with a greenhouse, we don’t have enough room for everything we want to save and it is even more difficult if you are trying... more

September 1, 2016

With Fall just around the corner, the sun is riding lower in the sky casting longer shadows on the garden. One plant that welcomes the extra coolness and shade is the hosta. Hostas are the unsung heroes of the shady garden. There are 70 species of hostas and over 3,000 registered varieties, so you have lots to choose from. Though they do bloom, they are grown primarily for their beautiful foliage which adds interesting texture and color to the garden all season long. TYPES OF HostaS Many... more

August 30, 2016

I love bread and butter pickles. But the general kind of pickle, made with vinegar, lacks the digestive enzymes and probiotics of the fermented ones. Here is a recipe for how to make these delicious and helpful pickles. You will need: 3 medium cucumbers ½ cup thinly sliced onion 1 grape leaf ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tablespoons home made whey 1 tablespoon sea salt or Himalayan pink ½ cup honey or maple syrup 1 heaping tablespoon whole celery seeds 1 tablespoon yellow or... more

August 16, 2016

The daylily really is the perfect perennial—easy to grow, virtually disease- and pest-free, and able to survive drought, shade, and poor soil.  Originally from Asia, these plants have adapted so well that many of us think of them as natives. Imagine the excitement of a 16th century explorer cruising the Orient and finding these gorgeous plants! European gardeners welcomed daylilies into their gardens and when early colonists sailed for the New World, daylilies made the crossing with them... more

August 15, 2016

With canned tomatoes, enjoy that garden-fresh tomato taste in sauces, soups and stews all year long! Here’s how I can tomatoes: First, when it comes to canning tomatoes for the rest of the year, I like to let my tomatoes get super-ripe on the vine. Farmers really don’t have this luxury as the fruit becomes too easy to bruise at this stage. However, tomatoes will continue to ripen in the box or on the counter, so it’s best to purchase your canning tomatoes a few days in advance of the ... more

August 12, 2016

Letting all that milkweed grow around my yard has paid off and we have some monarch butterfly caterpillars in there chomping away. Though we don’t recall seeing any adult monarchs flitting through the garden, they must have visited long enough to deposit some eggs. We have seen plenty of tiger swallowtails and always grow extra dill for the larvae of the black swallowtails to eat. These big black and green striped caterpillars are actually quite pretty! Adult butterflies live for only a... more

August 2, 2016

Who doesn’t love hummingbirds! Learn all about the beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird and how to attract hummingbirds to your garden. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird In my neck of the woods we have only one type of hummer—the ruby-throated hummingbird. Take a moment to listen to the call of the ruby-throated hummingbird. They are fascinating little creatures. Barely 3 inches high with long slender bills almost half as long as their bodies, these tiny dynamos fly at great speeds, beating... more

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