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!

January 15, 2017

If one of your goals is to become a better gardener and contribute to your community, you should look into your local Master Gardener program. Usually sponsored by Cooperative Extension Services affiliated with state universities, there are Master Gardener programs in just about every state and Canadian province. These intensive horticultural training programs teach non-professionals about soil and composting, basic botany, pest management, plant diseases, animal husbandry, nutrition and... more

January 9, 2017

Ready for a healthy new tradition? Try fruit kvass with turmeric!  Just a splash of this fermented tonic each day improves health. Here’s more about it. Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage that’s growing in popularity due to its many health properties, especially as an aide for digestion. I wrote about my fruit kvass recipe last year.  Now, I am adding turmeric to my fruit kvass. Turmeric has been used as a spice and a medicine for nearly 4,000 years. During his travels, Marco Polo... more

January 9, 2017

It’s only January, but already I’m tired of looking out at a bleak sheet of white. Luckily, I have some plants that are a sensory delight all year ‘round—scented geraniums. Though the flowers are fairly insignificant, just touching a leaf releases the aroma of roses, mint, or lemon. Their fragrance is contained in small beads of oil located at the base of the tiny leaf hairs. Crushing a leaf breaks the beads and releases the scent. Some leaves need only be brushed to produce fragrance.... more

January 4, 2017

Here are great flowering houseplants to brighten your winter days. These plants are practically bullet-proof and will blossom indoors for weeks. Best Flowering Houseplants Kalanchoe are rugged succulents that will grow well on a south-facing windowsill. They come in a wide range of crayon-bright colors. If you want something a little different look for Kalanchoe pumila which has pink blossoms and gray trailing foliage. It looks stunning in a hanging basket. All kalanchoes like cool... more

December 26, 2016

A new year is upon us. It may not be as exciting as the first tomato ripening or the first lilac flower opening, but it’s a time for looking ahead and making new plans.  The garden has disappeared under a thin coverlet of white which thankfully hides all the chores left undone. This temporary lull in activity is a welcome holiday from work and gives an excuse for dreaming. For now we have time to take stock of the past with an eye toward creating an even brighter future. 8 Gardening ... more

December 15, 2016

Winter solstice occurs at almost midnight on December 21, marking the official start of winter. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Now the days will start to get longer and as the old adage says,”When the days lengthen the cold strengthens.” Even so, I appreciate seeing a brighter western horizon when I get out of work at 5pm. The sun has begun its climb toward summer and each day brings us one day closer to spring. Nearly every ancient culture had myths surrounding the... more

December 12, 2016

What weather is in store for us? Our ancestors lived close to the land and by observing the natural world they learned to predict what the seasons would bring. Clouds, birds, animals, and plants all provided clues. Proverbs, sayings, folk predictions, and superstitions were passed down through generations of hunters, farmers, and fishermen who relied upon this weather lore to predict storms and the severity of the coming winter. The study of weather proverbs is known as paroemieology. Most... more

December 6, 2016

Where does the poinsettia come from? Where was this traditional Christmas plant discovered? Are poinsettias poisonous? Learn more! No plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia. More than 2 million of them will be sold this year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available in shades of red, pink, white,and yellow—solids, streaked, marbled, and multicolored. It makes it hard to pick just one! Some have even... more

November 30, 2016

Amaryllises are beautiful Christmas bulbs that are easy to care for. Find out how to buy the best amaryllis bulbs, how to plant the them, how to care for amaryllis, and how to make sure they bloom again next winter! No one gets more excited about amaryllis than a first-time grower. These big bulbs are easy to bring into bloom, and even a novice can expect success. Buying Amaryllis: Types of Bulbs When shopping for amaryllis bulbs, you can buy the boxed kits which contain not only a fat bulb... more

November 21, 2016

It’s time to deck the halls! Your garden is a ready source of interesting greenery, berries, dried flower heads, and seedpods. Mixed with freshly cut, fragrant evergreens, these natural items will enhance any wreath, swag, garland, or arrangement. If you don’t think it is worth the effort, check prices online and you’ll find that the green in Christmas refers to the color of money! It is time for nature’s green to make a comeback. Take a holiday from spending and head out to the garden to see... more


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