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!

May 24, 2016

The age-old practice of companion planting is based on the theory that certain plants can either enhance, or in some cases inhibit, the growth of others. Scientists have tested some of this folk wisdom and have found this type of interplanting to be beneficial in several ways. Some plants repel or at least confuse insects pests while others attract beneficial insects that aid pollination or attack the bad bugs. Some plants supply additional nutrients to the soil that affect the growth and... more

May 20, 2016

Every time I open a plant catalog or see a television commercial for sale-priced $99 raised bed gardening 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. My husband builds mine. He buys two 1 x 8-inch cedar boards, which don’t rot with age. They come in 8-foot lengths, which is perfect for 4 x 4-foot beds. Cut each plank in half, so that it is 4-feet long. Or, you can have a home improvement/lumber store make the... more

May 17, 2016

I look forward to the vivid burgundy vase-like, stinking corpse flowers of March every year— which coincidentally flower around Easter. That is when Easter is at the end of March or early April, rather than falling so late this year. Ten days ago I cames home to find that the previously dormant amorphophallus ‘Konjac’ bulbs I stored in the sunroom last Halloween had sprouted.  The big guy weighed 32 pounds and little one 21 pounds then. All that flesh guarantees smelly flowers of at least six... more

May 15, 2016

This is such a hopeful time in my garden. Nothing has gone wrong yet, no bugs have attacked and no weird weather has struck—yet. I just know that this will be the best growing season we have ever had. Gardeners are such optimists! I dream of daytime highs in the 80’s and warm nights this summer, making it a good season for melons. I struggle to grow them each year but even if I only get a few they are worth the effort. There is nothing as tasty as a home-grown muskmelon picked at its peak.... more

May 11, 2016

One of the joys of summer is standing in the garden eating sun-warmed cherry tomatoes right off the vine.  These succulent, bite-sized jewels concentrate all the flavor of a full sized tomato into a package that is less than 2” in diameter. They are sweeter, perfectly shaped, and have thinner skin than regular tomatoes. Though highly addictive, cherry tomatoes are good for you—rich in calcium, iron, lycopene, and vitamins A & C. Easy to grow, many cherry tomato plants have a built-in... more

May 2, 2016

Ever heard of kimchi?  It’s a very nourishing and traditional fermented side dish made with vegetables. I have my own variation which I hope you’ll enjoy. What are Fermented Foods? In fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, there are large amounts of enzymes greatly aid the process of digestion. Our ancestors traditionally fermented their pickles, ketchups and other vegetables. These condiments, when served with their cooked food, provided digestive enzymes to help the body assimilate ... more

May 1, 2016

If you’re like me and can never have too many flowers, now is the time to plan a cutting garden so you can have your flowers and cut them too! To avoid stripping your front flower beds bare of bloom, plant an area of your garden just for cutting. If you have an empty spot out back or in the vegetable garden, why not fill that space with flowers? Your cutting garden needs to get at least 6 hours of sun a day for optimum flower production. If you are using a section of your veggie patch, it... more

April 25, 2016

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 plants available and drawing a planting map. I have critter problems. Deer, rabbits, chipmunks and wild turkeys roam free, as I’m out in the country. They do damage to... more

April 25, 2016

Mayonnaise is something that can be made and fermented at home. It’s actually a very good idea to make your own as most of the brands found in the supermarket are made with inferior and sometimes unhealthy oils. Ferments are becoming quite popular these days. As our gut biome is used to the probiotics and digestive enzymes that they provide, it’s a good idea to eat some on a regular basis.  Fermented Mayonaise Recipe You will need a food processor or hand blender and these ingredients: 3... more

April 24, 2016

Everyday I pass a roadside row of old crabapples on my way to work. They are beautiful trees in all seasons. The bronze-green foliage turns a deep maroon in autumn, the tiny red apples decorate the gnarled bare limbs for most of the winter, and in the springtime the trees are loaded with blossoms in varying shades of pink. These dependable old trees bloom right on schedule each year, just in time for Mother’s Day.  There is so much variation among flowering crabapples that there is a perfect... more

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