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!

November 6, 2016

There are lots of “gourdgeous” gourds available for decorating this time of year and I get many questions about growing and curing them. Types of Gourds There are three groups of gourds: Cucurbita pepo are the cute, colorful little ornamental gourds that make good decorations. They are closely related to pumpkins, summer squashes, and some winter squashes such as acorn and delicata. Lagenaria siceraria is a name that means drinking vessel since that is one of the many uses of these large,... more

November 4, 2016

There are many ways to preserve the tastes of summer to enjoy all year long but have you ever tried brewing? Simple wine, beer, mead, ale, flavored liqueurs, cordials, shrubs, and brandies can be made using the fruits—and also the vegetables, herbs, and flowers—of your labors. Home brewing has a long history; some anthropologists believe that beer is as old as civilization itself. They think that the change from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural one was due to the growing of grain... more

November 1, 2016

As the gardening season slows down, do you still have spring-flowering bulbs that you never planted? Don’t despair! Try potting them up to force into cheerful bloom this winter in the house.  It is easy enough to do and you will be glad you did it when they start blossoming while there is still snow on the ground. Temperature, moisture, sufficient cold period, and protection from rodents are the most important considerations. Some bulb varieties, like early single tulips, are easy to force.... more

October 20, 2016

Fall is here and most perennial gardens are looking a little tired. Time to get your garden cleaned up and ready for winter. Clean Up Debris As with the vegetable garden, any diseased or bug infested plant material needs to go—far away. Don’t put it in the compost pile. Debris from things like rusty hollyhocks, peonies with powdery mildew, leaf-spotted delphiniums, and other fungal-infected flowers should be removed from the garden. Leaves from a peony infected with powdery mildew should... more

October 15, 2016

It’s time to start on those fall garden chores. Here is a to-do list for fall vegetable garden cleanup. Last year, we did not get our first killing frost until mid-October, almost a month later than usual, giving us a good long growing season this year. Check the frost dates in your area and find out how to predict frost yourself. Until that frost, even tender vegetables such as beans, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, bok choy, and squash have time to mature and gave us a second taste of spring... more

October 10, 2016

Every year in the fall, I suffer a bout of mum madness when garden centers and big boxes brim with chrysanthemums and asters that should have been planted in the spring. Mums Should Be Planted in Spring They’re everywhere, from six-inch pots to bushel baskets of orange, yellow and copper mounded behemoths. I want to buy everything and plant! Then I slap myself on the forehead, take a deep breath and cry “You should have planted these in May!” People start pointing at me and make avoid-the-crazy... more

October 5, 2016

Fall is the time of year when gardens disgorge their bounty and farm stands are chock-a-block full of wondrous fruits and veggies. It’s the best time to buy and store fresh food! Twenty-five and fifty pound bags of onions and potatoes are on sale for incredibly low prices. Right now is the time to buy for the best deals of the year. Even organic produce, which is the best kind you can buy, is available at a bargain. Tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, peppers, leeks, lettuce, spinach... more

October 5, 2016

Now that you have grown and harvested some beautiful winter-keeping vegetables, how are you going to store them? In great-grandma’s day most houses had a root cellar or a cold storage room somewhere in the house. Today’s houses pride them selves on having warm, dry, finished basements instead of cold, damp cellars with dirt floors. Where can you keep your autumn harvest? Does any room in your house stay below 60 degrees but above freezing? Do you have a closet on an outside wall? Can you... more

September 27, 2016

There is nothing as delicious as a fully ripe, deep red, juicy, garden, heirloom tomato. Here’s a tomato salad recipe to die for—and tips on buying tomatoes. I love 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 couple of days before you want... more

September 27, 2016

Do you test your soil? Here’s why it’s worth taking the time to lay the groundwork for a better garden next year. You don’t have to dig too deeply to discover the secret of great gardening; it is your soil. Without healthy soil it is very difficult to have a successful garden and fall is the best time to evaluate your soil’s health. Before you start dumping on the lime and fertilizers, your first step should be taking a soil sample to send off for testing. A good soil test will evaluate the... more

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