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!

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July 18, 2016

Which plants repel mosquitoes and other insects in the backyard and garden? And it’s not just mosquitoes. Gnats, biting flies, ants, and other pests can take the fun right out of any outdoor activity. Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance, too, as there are many mosquito-borne diseases out there including viruses such as West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue, and now Zika. Block Insect Receptors Mosquitoes and many other insects target their victims by odors and gases we give off -... more

July 15, 2016

You don’t need chemicals to get rid of pesky garden pests: Companion planting, natural remedies, and attracting predators to your garden can save you money and also save your plants. As gardeners, we often find that various insects can be found eating our crops. This is disturbing and frustrating. Broccoli looks disgusting when it is covered by small worms along with their poop. Cucumber beetles eat holes in the leaves of the plants and spread disease from one to the next. Cutworms strike at... more

July 13, 2016

Let’s explore some smart ways to save water in the garden. An inch of water a week, is that too much to ask for? It doesn’t seem like much but that is the optimum amount for growing most vegetables and ornamentals. If you spread that inch of water out over a 10X10 foot space it equals 62 gallons! The National Drought Mitigation Center reports that right now 44% of the country is experiencing conditions that are abnormally dry or worse. What’s a gardener to do, especially when some areas... more

July 10, 2016

Weeds can be great indicator plants and tell you about your garden. Before you pull out the pesky weeds that are probably overtaking your cultivated plants, take a minute to notice what is growing. Read your weeds! Yes, weeds are a constant annoyance, but they are also excellent indicators of soil conditions. If you have large patches of one kind of weed, your garden is trying to tell you something. Common Weeds and What They Indicate Amaranth (also called red root pigweed) grows in rich... more

July 5, 2016

Plan a fall garden, especially if you have gaps in your garden after harvesting some of your crops.  Yes, I know that summer is not even half over, but it is never too early to plan for fall. Many gardeners consider fall to be a four letter word but it doesn’t have to spell the end of fresh from the garden food.  In fact, in warmer regions, many crops grow just as well in the fall as the spring, especially spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and kale. In colder climates, many of these same... more

June 29, 2016

Here are tips on how to build cheap raised garden beds with cedar or concrete and how to plant in them! Every time I open a plant catalog or see a television commercial for sale-priced $99 raised garden bed kits, I cringe! You don’t need to spend that kind of money to build your own four-by-four-foot bed or even a 20-foot-long one. How to Build Cheap Raised Garden Beds Building Raised Garden Beds with Cedar My husband builds mine. He buys two 1x8-inch cedar boards, which don’t rot with age.... more

June 27, 2016

Hydrangeas can sometimes be a tricky plant to care for, so it is important to learn how to prune them and when to prune them. Properly pruning hydrangeas based on your hydrangea variety will allow you to have more blooms next year. Before you start pruning hydrangeas, it’s important to know which variety you have. If you prune at the wrong time, you could be cutting off next year’s blooms. Pruning Hydrangeas Based on Variety The extreme weather we had last winter did a number on my hydrangeas.... more

June 27, 2016

Got poison ivy in your own garden? As a gardener myself, I feel your pain! Here are my tips on how to get rid of poison ivy in the garden and yard. Indeed, poison ivy has plagued man—and gardeners—since the dawn of time. I suspect Adam and Eve encountered it soon after leaving the Garden of Eden while looking for some shiny new leaves to wear. Most Native American tribes have names for poison ivy, all of which translate to “the plant that makes you hurt.” It was first called “poysoned ivy” in... more

June 27, 2016

Purslane, or portulaca oleracea, is a garden weed that is edible and has many health benefits. Find out the benefits of the purslane plant here, and get a purslane recipe! Purslane Benefits Like many other weeds, purslane is not only edible but also far more nutritious than many of the crops that we plant! Here’s just a few of the health benefits of purslane: Seven times the beta-carotene of carrots Six times more vitamin E than spinach Fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane is also... more

June 21, 2016

Here’s a short list of great beneficial insects with pictures—and with tips on attracting these good bugs to your garden. The average backyard is home to thousands of insects. Only about a tenth of these are destructive. Most are either beneficial or harmless. Beneficials fall into three categories: Pollinators: we depend on these insects to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. Predators: they eliminate pests by eating them. Parasitizers: they lay their eggs on or in the bad bugs. When the... more


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