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 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

March 22, 2016

Succeed with seeds! Here are 10 tips for starting your seeds indoors. The Hindi word for seed is ” bija” which translates literally as “containment of life”. An apt description for these tiny miracles that contain everthing needed to make a new plant. This time of year we are up to our elbows in dirt, starting more seeds indoors each week. Why would you want to start your own seeds? Three big reasons: There is a much wider range of varieties available as seeds, things you would never find in... 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

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