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!

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

June 5, 2016

Most of my favorite flowering vines are in the plant family Ipomoea. The most common member of this family is the morning glory, though there are about 300 more plants, including the sweet potato, and many of them are twining climbers. It will be a jungle out there when my vines grow up! The morning glory can grow to be ten feet tall or more in a season, which made it a popular privy plant in the old days when it was often used to camouflage the outhouse. As its name suggests, the flowers... more

June 4, 2016

Tomatoes are the ultimate backyard vegetable, and growing tomatoes is easier than you might think. These tips on how to grow tomatoes should help you to take care of your most delicious plants. There are a multitude of reasons to have a backyard vegetable garden, but for many of us the only reason we garden at all is to raise our own tomatoes. Who can blame us? Is there anything better than a fully ripe tomato eaten while it’s still warm from the garden? Tomatoes annually rank as North America’... more

May 30, 2016

If you are thinking of adding a new flowering shrub to your landscape, why not consider a highbush blueberry? Besides offering the beauty of its delicate bell-shaped flowers in the spring and its delicious sweet berries in the summer, it will add bright crimson foliage to your fall garden and its red stems will stand out against the snow in the winter. The blueberry is truly a plant for all seasons. Healthy Benefits of Blueberries Blueberries are second only to strawberries as the most... more

May 24, 2016

The age-old practice of companion planting is based on the theory that certain plants can either enhance, or in some cases inhibit, the growth of others. Scientists have tested some of this folk wisdom and have found this type of interplanting to be beneficial in several ways. Some plants repel or at least confuse insects pests while others attract beneficial insects that aid pollination or attack the bad bugs. Some plants supply additional nutrients to the soil that affect the growth and... more

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