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!

April 19, 2015

It’s incredibly easy to make crème fraiche.  Crème fraiche is a cultured milk product that tastes quite a bit like sour cream but has more health benefits. It is actually a fermented milk item that provides us with many beneficial bacteria and lactic acid. This is delivered right to the digestive tract. These friendly bacteria help to keep pathogens at bay as well as aid in the fullest digestion possible of the foods that we eat. The vitamin B as well as vitamin C content of the milk is also... more

April 9, 2015

Bees and butterflies have been experiencing drastic declines in the past few years. Many believe that it is because of the neonicotinoids (a pesticide) that were introduced in 2006. These creatures are actually essential to our survival so it behooves us to pay attention to our purchase choices and give them a little support in the garden. Stay away from toxic chemicals; we don’t actually need them. Even some flea collars contain these dangerous compounds. Try something different. For decades,... more

March 8, 2015

Avocado is one vegetable that is quite good for us—and easy to ripen with my trick. According to Dr. David Perlmutter (author of Grain Brain), they are one of the three best brain foods. He believes that avocados, grass-fed beef and coconut oil are essential for healthy brain function. He recommends eating ½ an avocado for breakfast as it supplies 15 grams of unsaturated fat and 150 calories. Avocados are also one of the cleanest vegetables. Their thick skin keeps pesticides and other poisons... more

February 26, 2015

I love onions. They are great for bringing out the flavor of meats. I put them in all of my stir-fries, include them when cooking a pot roast or chicken and add them to all my bone broth stocks. Now is the time to plant onions if you are going to grow them from seed. It’s wonderful to grow a real “keeper” that will last well into next summer. Check your gardening catalogues to see which varieties are recommended. Fill a flat ⅔ with potting soil. Add a bit of kelp meal for additional minerals... more

November 6, 2014

It’s important to get the garden beds cleaned up in the fall. Any of the plant remains and the leaves need to be moved into the compost. Otherwise, they can hide insects and foster disease conditions for next spring. Leaving a nice, clean bed helps you to get a head start after the winter. Here, in the United States, states east of the Mississippi also need to lime their beds. We tend to get acidic rain so a dusting of lime is necessary each fall. Any crops that you want to continue to pick... more

October 7, 2014

Beet greens, spinach and Swiss chard are lovely, nutritious vegetables that can be tucked into the freezer to enjoy at a later date. Gather them up from your own garden or purchase a few bunches from your local Farmer’s Market. Wash carefully. For spinach: tear into small pieces discarding the stems. For beet greens: put into the steamer whole or tear smaller pieces away from the stems placing the ribs aside. For Swiss chard: treat like beet greens. Greens need to be processed a bit before... more

September 16, 2014

The Harvest Moon is named such for a reason. Now is the time to stock up on all sorts of veggies and fruits for the winter. Farmers everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere are chock-a-block full of the bounty of their efforts. There are deals to be had! Find out where the nearest Farmer’s Market is to you and make a point to visit it. See the Almanac Farmers' Market Directory. Bring a large basket. Or, call your local farmer and ask what’s available and if you can come by and pick up some ... more

July 27, 2014

Drying is one of the oldest forms of preservation in the world. Virtually all indigenous tribes used the technique as a way to preserve foods for colder or drier times. As you enjoy the fresh produce of summer, consider drying your vegetables and fruits to keep them longer. Some things can be spread out in the sunshine but most require a drafty shade to maintain their color and nutrients. These days we have electric dehydrators which work quite well. Ovens can also be used; mine has a pilot... more

May 23, 2014

I love gladioli. I like to have them to put into bouquets during much of the summer so I plant them sporadically. I start in early or mid-May (once the frost is done). Ten go into the ground a couple of inches down. Since they are going to need stakes eventually, the stakes get placed next to them. This way, their spots are marked and they will merely need to be tied when the flowers begin to sprout out of the leaves. After another ten to twelve days, I plant them again. I repeat this process... more

April 15, 2014

Many folks like to start their own transplants in pots indoors before the cold weather has completely lifted. Others, like apartment dwellers or folks with a minimal back yard, enjoy growing produce in pots all summer long. Now, spring, is the ideal time to start. Make sure that the pots you are going to use are clean and disease and pest-free as well as possessing some drainage holes. If you are going to reuse one, rinse it with bleach; a 10% bleach solution on an old rag works wonders. Just... more

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