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!

October 28, 2015

In some places, gladiolas can be left in the ground all winter. In colder climates, though, they would freeze and die. Gladiolus can be saved, though, placed in the root cellar and replanted in the spring. Here’s how. First, gently dig the entire gladiolus plant and place on newspapers in a shady spot that won’t get frosted. A porch is ideal. Let them sit there for a week or two until the stems easily pull away from the corms.  Next, separate the new corms from the old ones. Often, a... more

October 27, 2015

This Thanksgiving, display some unusual pumpkin and squash varieties.  Have you seen those warty pumpkins and gourds at farmers markets, orchards and garden centers?  The ones with growths that look like big zits or peanuts?  I first saw ‘Knuckle Head’, a slightly warty orange pumpkin, last year at a local orchard that also sells pumpkins, gourds and corn shocks.  Of course, I bought it, along with a half dozen bumpy gourds.  (However, I also quickly discovered that the pumpkin and gourds were... more

October 27, 2015

Here are five tips for making your backyard more bird-friendly. It takes more than just hanging a feeder or two. Small birds eat constantly during the day and they need to be able to find food 365 days a year.  And why do we want our feathered friends to visit? First, just being outside in the garden surrounded by birdsong is a wonderful way to spend the day. Listening to the chirping chickadees and loud laughing call of the pileated woodpecker while watching the goldfinches swoop from plant to... more

October 25, 2015

We finally got a killing frost in mid-October, almost a month later than usual, giving us a good long growing season this year. Even tender vegetables such as beans, cukes, radishes, lettuce, bok choy, and squash that were planted after the garlic was harvested in late July had time to mature and gave us a second taste of spring before the temperatures plummeted. Time to clean it all up and get ready for next year. Many of next season’s problems can be avoided by careful fall cleanup. Any... more

October 19, 2015

Foliage season is a mixed blessing. I have one eye on the gorgeous spectacle of changing colors and the other eye on the rake.  Trees that were just beginning to show some color yesterday will soon be brown and on the ground, their brief moment of glory gone. Look at all those leaves as brown gold. The leaves of one large tree can be worth as much as $50 worth of plant food and humus. They are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and trace minerals the tree roots... more

October 14, 2015

Fall is traditionally the time to plant garlic in many regions. Just like onions and other plants in the allium family, garlic is sensitive to daylength and matures during the longest days of summer. Fall planting gives it a jump start on the growing season and it will be one of the first things to come up in the garden next spring. Garlic is extremely easy to grow but good soil preparation is necessary if you want to produce the best and biggest bulbs. They need deeply cultivated, well-... more

October 12, 2015

Are you tired of planting tulips and crocus bulbs only to have them disappear because mice and squirrels find them to be a tasty snack? There are plenty of other bulbs that are less attractive to rodents and by planting early, mid-season, and late bloomers we can stretch the show into summer. Here are just a few, in order of their appearance in the garden: Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrops are a welcome sight in spring. ‘Flore Pleno’ is a double-flowering variety that signals the end of winter... more

October 8, 2015

For many years, I have used very dry sand to store my beets and carrots in buckets in the root cellar. However, last year I had a problem getting the sand dry. I used to wait for a particularly dry stretch in August then take some buckets, a shovel and a hard hat to a sand depot nearby. I would drive in and scoop the sand off the top of the many mountains where it was bone dry. Last year there was a new system. The gravel owner had built a box outside of his fence. He had a backhoe put... more

October 6, 2015

Native plants are a natural choice for a low-maintenance, sustainable landscape.  It may seem insignificant but as gardeners we can make good choices about our planet and our environment when it comes to our own backyards. Large manicured, weed-free lawns require lots of resources like water, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and gasoline for mowing. Many exotic plants need generous amounts of water, fertilizer, and fungicides to keep them looking tip top. Native habitats are often destroyed... more

October 3, 2015

What can you do to protect your home if you live in an area prone to fire?  Learn about “firescaping,” a way to reduce the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire. Western wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and millions of acres of land. California has been experiencing the worst fires in 30 years and thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes not knowing if they will have a house to go back to. These fires burn everything in their path and can consume your home... more

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