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!

Frost Dates

Enter a Location

May 17, 2018

After reading last fall about the drastic decline in bumblebee populations in my state, I feared I would not see the black-and-yellow bombers this spring, so I was greatly relieved when they visited my early-blossoming ‘Purple Gem’ and ‘Olga Mezitt’ rhododendrons last week. There were so many and they moved so fast flitting from flower to flower in search of pollen and nectar that it was hard to get one to stand still long enough to get a good picture. Female worker bees do the collecting... more

May 17, 2018

Chickens need a safe place to spend their days. Although most predators hunt by night, there are daytime threats to a backyard flock, including dogs, fox, hawks, and eagles. Building a chicken run is a good way to keep your chickens secure and happy. It isn’t difficult to build a chicken run or pen, but it is critical to not only keep your chickens safe from predators, but also to keep your lawn, garden and landscaping safe from your chickens, who take great delight in digging up small plants... more

May 14, 2018

Where, oh, where should the tomatoes go? It is that time of year when, in the mad rush to get the garden planted, we forget all about something as important as crop rotation to help avoid disease.  If you have been growing your tomatoes in the same garden bed year after year, you have probably noticed a decline in productivity and an increase in pests and diseases. This year, break the cycle and move those tomatoes to a bed where the squashes grew last year. That will confuse those hornworms... more

May 14, 2018

Got weeds? Before you resort to weapons of mass destruction to eradicate weeds, take a closer look at the invaders. One person’s “weed” is another person’s edible green.  Many common garden weeds are not only edible and nutritious, but can be a great homegrown addition to our meals, especially when they’re young and tender. Here are five edible “weeds” with photos. Our ancestors harvested many of the plants we call weeds right along with their veggies for use in salads and as cooked greens.... more

May 13, 2018

Apples are the most pesticide- and fungicide-laden foods grown commercially and in home gardens. Last year, I grew apples organically with the help of fruit bagging. By bagging apples on my orchard trees, I harvested bigger, disease-free apples! Growers start spraying trees in late winter and continue, sometimes on a weekly basis, until fruit is harvested five to eight months later—all in the name of producing perfect apples with no blemishes. It’s what we consumers demand: defect-free,... more

May 11, 2018

When I am asked what the most difficult aspect of raising backyard chickens is, without hesitation, I respond, “Keeping them safe from predators.” If you keep chickens long enough, eventually you’ll have a run-in with a predator. Unfortunately, chickens are very low on the food chain and pretty much everything wants to eat them. No matter where you live, you have to worry about predators. They exist in urban, suburban, and of course rural areas, and are always on the lookout for an easy meal... more

May 7, 2018

Many gardeners complain they can’t grow any plants in the shade other than hostas. And those are devoured by slugs. Embrace the shade! Plenty of gorgeous, unique plants seek shady nooks. Most are cold-hardy and need little maintenance once they are planted correctly. My shade garden is colorful and work-free. I started with heuchera, which is commonly known as Coral Bells. Foliage color is their strength, ranging from washed amber of ‘Ginger Ale’ to the glossy black-red of ‘Black Beauty’. Add a... more

May 3, 2018

There is no one perfect chicken coop design for a small backyard flock, but whether you are building your own coop, repurposing a garden shed or kids’ playhouse, or shopping for a pre-made structure, there are several things to look for and take into consideration when making your choice. First and foremost, a chicken coop needs to be functional and secure to keep your chickens healthy and safe from predators, but there are some other features that all good coops share.  SIZE Allow for 3 to... more

May 2, 2018

Tomatoes are the ultimate backyard crop, and growing them is easier than you might think. These tomato growing tips should help you to take care of your most delicious plants. Why You Should Grow Tomatoes 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 grow 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... more

April 30, 2018

Imagine how many more vegetables you could grow if you just had a few more weeks of warm weather. That’s what season extenders are for. In many areas of the country, the gardening season is in full swing, but spring is so fickle in the Northeast. The peas are planted but not up yet and I’ll be transplanting the onions soon, but there is so much more I’d like to do. Season-extending devices will let me leaf frog forward by protecting my plants from the cold, wind, and even pests. Here are some... more


Subscribe to Blog


Your complete guide on how to grow a vegetable garden—PLUS, a 4-season guide to raising chickens!


You will also be subscribed to our Almanac Companion Newsletter