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!

July 10, 2016

Weeds can be great indicator plants and tell you about your garden. Before you pull out the pesky weeds that are probably overtaking your cultivated plants, take a minute to notice what is growing. Read your weeds! Yes, weeds are a constant annoyance, but they are also excellent indicators of soil conditions. If you have large patches of one kind of weed, your garden is trying to tell you something. Common Weeds and What They Indicate Amaranth (also called red root pigweed) grows in rich... more

July 5, 2016

Plan a fall garden, especially if you have gaps in your garden after harvesting some of your crops.  Yes, I know that summer is not even half over, but it is never too early to plan for fall. Many gardeners consider fall to be a four letter word but it doesn’t have to spell the end of fresh from the garden food.  In fact, in warmer regions, many crops grow just as well in the fall as the spring, especially spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and kale. In colder climates, many of these same... more

June 29, 2016

Every time I open a plant catalog or see a television commercial for sale-priced $99 raised garden bed kits, I cringe! You don’t need to spend that kind of money to build your own four-by-four-foot bed or even a 20-foot-long one. My husband builds mine. He buys two 1 x 8-inch cedar boards, which don’t rot with age. They come in 8-foot lengths, which is perfect for 4 x 4-foot beds. Cut each plank in half, so that it is 4-feet long. Or, you can have a home improvement/lumber store make the cuts... more

June 27, 2016

Hydrangeas can sometimes be a tricky plant to care for, so it is important to learn how to prune them and when to prune them. Properly pruning hydrangeas based on your hydrangea variety will allow you to have more blooms next year. 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. Pruning Hydrangeas Based on Variety The extreme weather we had last winter did a number on my hydrangeas.... more

June 27, 2016

Got poison ivy in your own garden? As a gardener myself, I feel your pain! Here are my tips on how to get rid of poison ivy in the garden and yard. Indeed, poison ivy has plagued man—and gardeners—since the dawn of time. I suspect Adam and Eve encountered it soon after leaving the Garden of Eden while looking for some shiny new leaves to wear. Most Native American tribes have names for poison ivy, all of which translate to “the plant that makes you hurt.” It was first called “poysoned ivy” in... more

June 27, 2016

Purslane, or portulaca oleracea, is a garden weed that is edible and has many health benefits. Find out the benefits of the purslane plant here, and get a purslane recipe! Purslane Benefits Like many other weeds, purslane is not only edible but also far more nutritious than many of the crops that we plant! Here’s just a few of the health benefits of purslane: Seven times the beta-carotene of carrots Six times more vitamin E than spinach Fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane is also... more

June 21, 2016

Here’s a short list of great beneficial insects with pictures—and with tips on attracting these good bugs to your garden. The average backyard is home to thousands of insects. Only about a tenth of these are destructive. Most are either beneficial or harmless. Beneficials fall into three categories: Pollinators: we depend on these insects to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. Predators: they eliminate pests by eating them. Parasitizers: they lay their eggs on or in the bad bugs. When the... more

June 17, 2016

This is the season for ticks! Prevent Lyme disease by keeping yourself tick-safe with these precautions, learn about the symptoms of Lyme disease to catch it early, and use these tips for tick removal. We welcome your tips, too! Tick bites aren’t just a nuisance: As many as 300,000 people may be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical Lyme disease symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash. If left untreated,... more

June 15, 2016

Frozen berries are a tasty snack and a great method of fruit preservation, so we will show you how to freeze blueberries! Whether you grow blueberries, pick them, or find them at the market, try freezing blueberries (a super-nutritious and easy-to-grow fruit) for year-round enjoyment.  It is important to learn how to properly freeze blueberries so that they don’t all freeze in one giant clump. If you don’t follow these instructions, you’ll be very frustrated when you only want to defrost a... more

June 12, 2016

There are many natural ways to get rid of slugs. And let’s be honest. Slugs have to be the one of the most disgusting things you will encounter in your garden. Slugs will feast on any tender plant, feeding at night and hiding during the day. They have rasping, file-like mouth parts that quickly tear large ragged holes in young leaves. A tell-tale sign of a slug attack is the silvery mucus trail they leave behind.  Slug Trap: Trap and Remove Slugs To trap slugs you can put cabbage leaves, boards... more

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