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 18, 2018

This time of year, the air in my house seems desert-dry and many of my houseplants are beginning to lose the will to live—except for the succulents, that is. They are survivors.  As long as they have a warm sunny spot they love the dry conditions. Succulents are not one plant family but a wide variety of plants from many families that have the ability to store water for long periods of time. You probably already grow many of them. Types of Succulents Cacti, aloe, sedum, kalanchoe, hens-... more

January 7, 2018

The new year is here and with it comes a crop of new plants for the garden. It has been too cold to do much of anything except prowl the pages of the seed catalogs looking for the new and notable plants for 2018. Have you seen the AAS designation on some plants and wondered what that was all about? It stands for All-America Selections. Since 1932, this independent testing group has been evaluating new varieties in trial gardens across the country and choosing to honor those plants that have... more

January 2, 2018

For Chinese New Year (or any other time of year), an auspicious gift is a lucky bamboo plant. Learn the meaning behind lucky bamboo and get some helpful growing tips. What is Lucky Bamboo? Did you know that the plant we commonly call “lucky bamboo” isn’t a type of bamboo at all? Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana or braunii) is native to Africa, but is now grown around the world as a good-luck houseplant. Lucky Bamboo Meanings In Chinese lore, lucky bamboo symbolizes good fortune, and feng... more

January 2, 2018

Using the right potting soil is one of the secrets to gardening success. I learned long ago that it’s much cheaper to make my own potting mix than it is to buy a pre-made one. Here’s how make your own potting soil for your garden! Container gardens are on my mind as the winter chill sets in. Containers are great for a number of reasons, namely that they’re versatile, space-saving, and allow you to be more efficient in your use of resources. Creating your own potting soil for your container... more

December 18, 2017

Of all the plants used as Christmas decorations, none has the long and interesting history of mistletoe. Discover the meaning of mistletoe, fascinating folklore, and why people kiss beneath it. What is Mistletoe? A shrubby evergreen plant with yellow flowers and white berries, mistletoe is a parasitic shrub usually found in fruit trees, maples and sometimes oaks. Mistletoe is most easily seen in winter. Look for ball shaped green masses on otherwise bare tree branches. How do they get there... more

December 14, 2017

Even though many seed companies have gone digital, I’m amazed at how many catalogs we still receive in the mail. If you think there are too many seed catalogs now, back in the late 1880s there were thousands of small seed companies. Although the cultural information and descriptions in old catalogs are helpful if you are researching heirloom plants, the artwork is the draw. Many of the pictures in the old-fashioned catalogs and on the seed packets themselves were hand painted from nature.... more

December 14, 2017

Contemplating your first vegetable garden? How hard can it be? Just stick a few seeds in the ground and stand back, right? If only it were that easy! Here are 10 garden planning tips to consider before you dig in:   10 Tips to Starting a Garden Pick the right location—ideally, a sunny site! Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun a day. Some crops such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and other greens will grow well in your less sunny spots.   Keep it close to home. A location near... more

December 11, 2017

We finally had our first snow of the season. Whatever you may think of snow (and snow removal!), remember the old saying, “A good winter with snow makes all the plants grow.”  This new storm began way down south. Places in Texas and Louisiana that rarely see snow got several inches of the white stuff days before we saw our first flake here in New Hampshire. I had almost forgotten how pretty the snow can be, hanging in the trees, blanketing the ground, covering up all the outdoor projects... more

December 7, 2017

The winter solstice falls on December 21, marking the official start of winter. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. 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 begins its climb toward summer and each day brings us one day closer to spring. Nearly every ancient culture had myths surrounding the return of light after... more

December 7, 2017

Have you decked the halls? Consider your backyard and garden for a ready source of interesting greenery, berries, dried flower heads, and seedpods. 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 what nature has to offer. Let’s start with the common evergreen branches—which will enhance any... more


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