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!

August 14, 2017

Garlic is incredibly useful in the kitchen and surprisingly easy to grow in the garden. Learn how and when to plant garlic so that you can maximize your harvest! When to Plant garlic Fall is traditionally the best time to plant garlic in many regions. Just like onions and other plants in the Allium family, garlic is sensitive to daylength and matures during the longest days of summer. Fall planting gives it a jumpstart on the growing season and it will be one of the first things to come up... more

August 14, 2017

I say “tomayto” and you say “tomahto” but however you say it, tomato time is here! Along with the luscious fruits that we wait months for come the many tomato disorders and diseases that the flesh is heir to—tomato flesh that is. Blossom-End Rot In my area, we have had enough rainfall this summer so no problems with blossom end rot this year. This usually begins as a sunken spot on the blossom end of the fruit which turns black and leathery as it grows larger. Often you don’t notice it until... more

August 6, 2017

Every gardener who has grown zucchini knows that this time of year vines go crazy producing hundreds of tiny squash.  They quickly grow to gargantuan size if not picked. That’s why Pennsylvanian Tom Roy designated August 8 as National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. To celebrate it, you simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ front doors, leaving plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy. It is a way to rid yourself of the avalanche of long,... more

July 26, 2017

If you love Siberian and bearded irises, you have to give their Japanese cousin a try. They bloom much later than the tall bearded irises, extending the iris season from mid-July into early August. The blossoms of Japanese iris (Iris ensata) differ from those of bearded iris mainly because they do not have the tall, upright petals (called standards) in the center of the blossom. They have small standards and wide falls (the petals that hang down), giving the blossoms a flatter appearance. (It... more

July 21, 2017

Every year in the fall, I suffer a bout of mum madness when garden centers and big boxes brim with chrysanthemums. They produce lovely fall colors, but when is the best time to plant mums? When to Plant Mums Mums and asters are everywhere, from six-inch pots to bushel baskets of orange, yellow, pink, and copper mounded behemoths. I want to buy everything and plant! Then I slap myself on the forehead, take a deep breath and cry “You should have planted these in May!” People start pointing at me... more

July 20, 2017

A crop that can be planted often is lettuce. This is actually my husband’s favorite so I plant lettuce early and often in the spring, starting two weeks before frost. In fall, I start sowing again eight weeks before the fall frost. The trick is to stagger plantings every 10 to 14 days so you don’t have all your lettuce at once. See your average frost dates for spring and fall. Here are seven tips and tricks on growing lettuce—so that your garden space yields the maximum harvest! Lettuce is best... more

July 20, 2017

No other flower in the cutting garden glows with cheerfulness quite like calendula. Irresistible waves of bright yellow and orange daisy-like flowers greet me on my morning rounds, lifting my spirits even on the worst of days. Included in a mixed bouquet, calendula are sure to gladden the hearty of the recipient. Not only colorful and a good mood elevator, calendula blossoms are edible. Whether eaten fresh in salads, added to rice, or dried and used as a poor man’s saffron, calendula petals... more

July 17, 2017

Beet kvass is a fermented vegetable drink that is easy to make and loaded with probiotics. Learn how to make beet kvass here! What is Fermentation? Canning and freezing—as methods to preserve food—are relatively new in the Grand Scheme of Evolution. Our ancestors (who did not have the advantage of electricity) largely fermented their crops in order to eat them at a later date. Pickles, relish, ketchup, mayonnaise, sauerkraut and mustard were all originally fermented. Depending on the... more

July 16, 2017

I used to be a snob of sorts when it came to my garden palette, preferring cool blues and purples mixed with pinks, white, and pale yellow. I had very little red and no orange, thank you—except for the tawny daylilies. There were just too many of them to even think about replacing them with another color. When seed shopping, I would avoid any description that could be interpreted as orange. You know how they like to trick us by calling a flower apricot, tangerine, salmon, or peach. They... more

July 14, 2017

Add flowers to your food! Many gardeners forget that flowers not only are beautiful, but also can be raised to eat. Here are the best edible flowers based on firsthand experience in the garden and kitchen. I especially love adding small edible flowers to salads, which can be made even more attractive and special with their color and subtle taste. Flowers can also be added to soups, cassroles, and other dishes.  Best Edible Flowers Many folks know about nasturtiums. Nasturiums’ peppery... more

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