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!

March 17, 2016

“Plant peas as soon as the ground can be worked” is a popular saying in the gardening world. Unfortunately, in my garden, that means mid- to late-March! When to plant peas?  Wherever you live, as soon as you can stick your finger into that rich, dark brown, crumbly soil, you are generally ready to plant. The garden’s temperature is also important. Two inches down it was 52 degrees. (I love my soil thermometer!) Peas are the first crop that I plant from seed outside and they will germinate... more

March 15, 2016

For centuries, farmers took their cues for planting times from observing what’s happening in nature—such as bird migration, the emergence of insects and amphibians (like peepers), and the flowering of native plants. Live! Spring Equinox Show WHEN: This Saturday, March 19 at 2PM PDT / 5PM EDT / 21:00 UTC  Join the Almanac editors for a live webcast of the equinox—feeding right to your computer.Click here for LIVE SHOW this Saturday! Nature’s Signs: Phenology Watching for nature’s signs is called... more

March 13, 2016

Seed starting has begun at our house and the first vegetables we start from seed indoors are the onions and shallots. Sure, we could just buy onion sets and plant those but there is not a wide choice of varieties available as sets—mostly ‘Stuttgarter’ or ‘Ebenezer’ and often they form a thick-necked onion that wants to go to seed instead of forming nice, firm bulbs.  Which Onion is Right for You? Growing from seed offers the widest range of varieties: reds, yellows, or whites; round, flat,... more

March 10, 2016

Kitchen gardens are making a comeback! We all want the freshest and most nutritious, flavorful food possible. Cultivating a garden full of your favorite vegetables is a practical way to save a bundle on your grocery bill and it also makes meal planning a snap. What could be easier than having the fixin’s for tonight’s supper growing right outside the back door?  Delicious Dishes Plan your kitchen garden with your favorite foods in mind. Love Italian cuisine? Plant lots of ‘San Marzano’... more

March 5, 2016

Ready for a tropical interlude? Luckily, I only had to go as far as our state’s Orchid Society’s Annual Show to share some of the most beautiful orchid pictures for you—and picked up some orchid growing tips, too. At this show, orchid growers have set up their displays and all the plants have been judged with many plants awarded ribbons.  What a treat to be able to escape from the frigid cold while viewing these gorgeous flowers!  I admit to being an orchid nut, having at least two dozen of... more

March 3, 2016

Container gardens are on my mind, as the winter chill is easing. I like to grow a few pots of various vegetables and flowers before the usual frost-free date here, May 15, to get a jump on summer. How to Make Potting Soil I learned long ago that it’s much cheaper to make my own potting mix and store it in an old trash can, rather than paying for big sacks of potting mix. I can customize the mix for various plants, too. The lighter the better when it comes to potting mix. Loose and porous... more

March 3, 2016

Ever tried sowed seeds outside in the hard winter ground? My friend, Jackie Caserta told me about this new idea and it sounded pretty easy so I decided to give it a try.  Granted, this is an experiment on my part, but the woman who wrote about it, Trudi Davidoff, said that these plants ended up being much hardier and healthier than anything started inside. It’s best to use cold-hardy plants so I decided to try some lettuce, broccoli and Swiss chard. The idea is that you sow seeds into mini-... more

March 1, 2016

Contemplating your first vegetable garden? How hard can it be? Just stick a few seeds in the ground and stand back, right? If only it were that easy!  Here are 10 gardening planning tips to consider before you dig in: Pick the right site. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun a day. Some crops such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and other greens will grow well in your less sunny spots.   Keep it close to home. A location near your house will make it easier for you to tend your plot... more

February 19, 2016

Have you abandoned your compost pile because you’re tired of trudging outsideto dump your kitchen scraps onto a frozen pile? Do you feel guilty about adding biodegradable waste to the tons of trash already at the transfer station? How about using worms to turn your kitchen scraps into fertilizer. Called vermicomposting, having earthworms eat your garbage is an easy way to recycle food waste indoors year round. It is great science project for the kids and if you don’t get too attached to the... more

February 15, 2016

To save on heating bills, most of us have insulated our homes to the max, replaced drafty old windows, and plugged up any cracks that let in cold air. Without proper ventilation, it doesn’t take long for indoor pollutants to build up to unhealthy levels. Indoor pollutants come in two varieties—particulates such as dust, mold spores, and pollen and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are airborne chemical gases that are released from paints, fabrics, wallpaper, carpeting, plastics, and... more


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