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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May 21, 2017

Cats can be useful around the garden, keeping unwanted rodents at bay, but they can be destructive as well. How do we keep cats away from the garden with natural deterrents and cat repellents?  My cat loves to dig in the soft dirt, especially after I have planted some tender seedlings, and just the thought of cat poop in the vegetable beds makes me nauseous. Not only disgusting, it can harbor many harmful pathogens and parasites.  Kitty Boy Floyd, my furry friend, in the garden. Wire -... more

May 20, 2017

Are some plants in your yard or garden crowding out (and even killing) other plants? They may be an invasive species which can be a big problem right in your backyard. Here are some common invasive plants and a few tips on how to manage them. Invasive species are truly “invader” who are not natural to your area. They were imported long ago, often from Asia, for their beauty or for other reasons without the understanding that they lacked the local insects, predators, or diseases that would... more

May 18, 2017

Keeping Chickens: An American Tradition Once upon a time, virtually all American households kept chickens. They were a basic necessity with their gifts of eggs for breakfast and baking. No family farm existed without fowl roaming about or roosters heralding the light of dawn. It was unthinkable. Perhaps that is the reason that we have so many sayings having to do with chickens. “Don’t count your chickens until they hatch.” “Nest egg.” “Cooped up.” “Cocky.” “Pecking order.” “Egg money.” “... more

May 17, 2017

It’s the season for ticks! Prevent Lyme disease by keeping yourself tick-safe with these precautions, learn about identifying Lyme disease symptoms to catch it early, and use these tips for tick removal and prevention. We welcome your tips, too! Tick bites aren’t just a nuisance: As many as 300,000 people may be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical Lyme disease symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash. If left... more

May 16, 2017

Frozen berries are a tasty snack and a great method of fruit preservation. Whether you grow blueberries yourself, pick them, or find them at the market, try freezing blueberries (a super-nutritious and easy-to-grow fruit) for year-round enjoyment. Here’s how to freeze blueberries the right way! It’s important to learn how to properly freeze blueberries so that they don’t all freeze in one giant clump. If you don’t follow these instructions, you’ll be very frustrated when you only want to... more

May 15, 2017

At the time of writing this article, for the last ten days, spring has played tag with winter here, and it’s snowed four times between 70-degree days. Yet, garden centers are brimming with bedding plants, and the calendar says I should be planting. Hopefully, next week I can load up the cart at the nursery and get into the garden. Meanwhile, I’m evaluating the pest-resistant plants available and drawing a planting map. Deer, rabbits, chipmunks and wild turkeys roam free, as I’m out in the... more

May 15, 2017

Tomatoes are the ultimate backyard vegetable, and growing tomatoes is easier than you might think. These tips on how to grow tomatoes should help you to take care of your most delicious plants. There are a multitude of reasons to have a backyard vegetable garden, but for many of us, the only reason we garden at all is to raise our own tomatoes. Who can blame us? Is there anything better than a fully ripe tomato eaten while it’s still warm from the garden? Tomatoes annually rank as North America... more

May 15, 2017

I finally got a chance to look at the dahlia tubers we saved from last year and was pleasantly surprised to see that they survived the winter. We packed them in plastic bags full of peat moss and stowed them in a frost free spot in the greenhouse but never checked them over the winter to see if they were too wet or too dry. Luckily they were just right! Some of the tubers are starting to sprout so now is a good time to divide them. Each tuber must have at least one “eye” or a piece of the... more

May 6, 2017

Mulching is a common gardening practice done for a number of good reasons. Using the proper types of mulch and mulching techniques can have wondrous effects on your garden, but mulching incorrectly can do the opposite. Here’s how to get the most out of mulching. Benefits of Mulching Mulch has been called the gardener’s friend. It offers three major benefits: Suppression of weeds. Conservation of moisture in the soil. Moderation of soil temperatures, keeping it warmer on cold nights and... more

May 5, 2017

No, I’m not Rumpelstiltskin, the cranky gnome in a Grimm fairy tale; I can’t spin straw into gold.  But, straw saves me money, crops, and my sanity, which is golden to my thinking.  Straw bales are inexpensive gold for gardens. I only pay $4 a bale, and the straw saves me hours of weeding, watering, and worrying. Everything in the vegetable garden is mulched with a 6-inch layer, including blueberries, Alpine strawberries and cranberries.  I use a foot or two of straw atop the potato bed to grow... more

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