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!

May 2, 2016

Ever heard of kimchi?  It’s a very nourishing and traditional fermented side dish made with vegetables. I have my own variation which I hope you’ll enjoy. What are Fermented Foods? In fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, there are large amounts of enzymes that greatly aid the process of digestion. Our ancestors traditionally fermented their pickles, ketchups and other vegetables. These condiments, when served with their cooked food, provided digestive enzymes to help the body... more

May 1, 2016

If you’re like me and can never have too many flowers, now is the time to plan a cutting garden so you can have your flowers and cut them too! To avoid stripping your front flower beds bare of bloom, plant an area of your garden just for cutting. If you have an empty spot out back or in the vegetable garden, why not fill that space with flowers? Your cutting garden needs to get at least 6 hours of sun a day for optimum flower production. If you are using a section of your veggie patch, it... more

April 25, 2016

For the last ten days, spring has played tag with winter here, and it’s snowed four times, between 70-degree days. Yet, garden centers are brimming with bedding plants, and the calendar says I should be planting. Hopefully, next week I can load up the cart at the nursery and get into the garden. Meanwhile, I’m evaluating the plants available and drawing a planting map. I have critter problems. Deer, rabbits, chipmunks and wild turkeys roam free, as I’m out in the country. They do damage to... more

April 25, 2016

Mayonnaise is something that can be made and fermented at home. It’s actually a very good idea to make your own as most of the brands found in the supermarket are made with inferior and sometimes unhealthy oils. Ferments are becoming quite popular these days. As our gut biome is used to the probiotics and digestive enzymes that they provide, it’s a good idea to eat some on a regular basis.  Fermented MayoNnaise Recipe Ingredients: Hand blender or food processor 3 egg yolks from a known ... more

April 24, 2016

Everyday I pass a roadside row of old crabapples on my way to work. They are beautiful trees in all seasons. The bronze-green foliage turns a deep maroon in autumn, the tiny red apples decorate the gnarled bare limbs for most of the winter, and in the springtime the trees are loaded with blossoms in varying shades of pink. These dependable old trees bloom right on schedule each year, just in time for Mother’s Day.  There is so much variation among flowering crabapples that there is a perfect... more

April 22, 2016

Every spring we plant about a dozen different varieties of basil but I’m told there are over 150 species to choose from! So many basils, so little thyme! Here are some types of basil that I’m crazy about. ‘Genovese’ is my all-time favorite because it makes an awesome pesto and has lots of real Italian basil flavor. ‘Classico’ is another Genovese-type that we grow. The seeds are from Italy but since they do not come from Genoa they can’t be called Genovese. Those Italians are so strict when... more

April 10, 2016

Gardeners curse the ubiquitous dandelion and its pervasive nature. They pop up everywhere in spring and are so hard to get rid of; that darn tap-root goes to China! Dandelion History It is hard to believe but at one time there were no dandelions in North America. Dandelions originated in Asia Minor and quickly spread throughout Asia and Europe.  The Normans called this plant “dent de lion”—tooth of the lion—for its jagged leaves. Anglo-Saxons corrupted this name into dandylion. The Vikings... more

April 5, 2016

Gardening is not for pansies! It is a strenuous activity and none of us are getting any younger. Here are a few tips to make your chores easier and more comfortable to do. Assess the situation. Just how much can you lift and how far can you bend? What chores are painful or put too much stress on your already sore parts? How long can you work before tiring? Remember gardening is supposed to be fun! Stretch and warm up first before throwing yourself into the day’s chores. As with any form of... more

April 4, 2016

Fruit kvass is an exceptionally easy-to-make fermented probiotic drink, and you can find a great recipe for it here. Why Fermented Drinks? For tens of thousands of years, our ancestors used fermentation as the main method of preservation of their food. Without refrigeration or the ability to can, they relied on the workings of natural microorganisms to change their fresh harvests into storable ones. They made and ate fermented sauerkraut, kimchee, grains, pulses, milk, fish, meat and... more

April 4, 2016

Asparagus has to be my favorite early spring vegetable. Though it is wonderful cooked. I think it is best eaten raw while working in the garden. Crunchy, succulent and flavorful, aspargus is good for you too! On top of all that it is a perennial vegetable—plant it once and enjoy it for many years. Anything this tasty and reliable does not come easily though. It takes up a lot of space, there is a lot of prep work to get the bed ready, and it requires about three years from seed to harvest... more

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