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!

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April 30, 2018

Tomatoes will succumb to late blight (Phytophthora) if they’re experiencing cool, soggy summer weather.  However, there are several hybrid tomatoes bred to resist blight and other diseases. I live in the upper Midwest and last year my ‘Black Krim,’ ‘Brandywine,’ and ‘Green Zebra’ tomatoes were infected. Late blight had never been a problem previously, but we also had a chilly, rainy growing season. Below photos show late blight lesions on tomato fruit and leaflet. Credit: Cornell University  ... more

April 30, 2018

What are you doing in the garden this time of year? I’m weeding asparagus beds, dealing with voles, caring for peonies, and seeing which plants survived the winter! Hopefully, by now, you’ve picked up all the sticks around the yard and freed any spring bulbs from the fall leaves that were still hanging around. Spring soil is often squishy and moist. It’s important not to step on garden beds, compacting the soil.  Which Plants Survived? I love to see what has survived the winter. Spinach,... more

April 25, 2018

Asparagus has to be my favorite early spring vegetable. Though it is wonderful cooked. I think it is best eaten raw while working in the garden. Asparagus is often started from one-year crowns, however you can plant asparagus from seed, too!  It’s not hard to grow asparagus from seed; it just adds an extra year onto the wait period until you can begin to harvest. We planted ‘Argenteuil’ a French heirloom variety. The plants are only about 6 weeks old and they already have impressive root ... more

April 24, 2018

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! We know it’s hard to cut your own flowers. So, to avoid stripping your front flower beds bare of bloom, plant an area of your garden just designated for cutting. If you have an empty spot out back or in the vegetable garden, why not fill that space with flowers? Just find a space that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day for optimum flower production.... more

April 20, 2018

Ever thought about raising ducks for eggs in your backyard? Why raise ducks instead of (or, in addition to) chickens? Here are some reasons to consider. First, if you have indeed raised chickens, you already know know how delicious eggs straight from the coop can be. Eggs laid by chickens who enjoy plenty of sunlight and exercise roaming around eating grass, weeds and bugs are not only tastier and fresher than store bought eggs but also contain more nutrients. All great reasons to consider... more

April 19, 2018

Do you have forsythia? Forcing branches into bloom inside can give you an early taste of spring while you are still in the midst of winter. Here are my photos showing you how to force forsythia in five steps. You can also force redbud, dogwood, magnolia, crabapple, pussy willow, and many other flowering branches. Don’t worry. Cutting off a few branches to enjoy inside won’t hurt them a bit.  Spring-flowering trees and shrubs set their flower buds the previous fall. Once the buds have been... more

April 12, 2018

With more than a hundred breeds of chickens to choose from, it can be challenging trying to figure out which breeds you want to raise. Here’s my advice—plus, see this page for a free beginner’s guide to gardening which includes my four-season guide to raising chickens! If you’re raising chickens, you don’t have to choose just one breed! Fortunately, chickens of all different breeds get along just fine and your egg basket will be much more colorful if your flock is comprised of a variety of... more

March 28, 2018

Purslane, or Portulaca oleracea, is a garden weed that is edible and has many health benefits. Find out the benefits of the purslane plant here, and get a purslane recipe! Purslane Health Benefits Like many other weeds, purslane is not only edible but also far more nutritious than many of the crops that we plant! Here’s just a few of the health benefits of purslane: Seven times the beta-carotene of carrots Six times more vitamin E than spinach Fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane... more

March 26, 2018

Growing your own salad greens will put a world of fresh ingredients at your fingertips. Whether you are a gourmet salad lover who likes to experiment with interesting greens or just want some homegrown lettuce, your choices are only limited by the seeds you can find and the space you have. Types of Salad Greens We always think of spinach and lettuce as spring greens, but there are many more to choose from. Look to the east—Asian greens such as napa cabbage, tatsoi, pac choi, mibuna, santoh,... more

March 23, 2018

Interested in planting a flower garden? Here are some planting tips for flower beds—plus, suggestions on which flowers to grow. We all dream of a lush, lovely flower bed full of colorful blooms all season long. What we end up with is usually a different story. Does your color run out when the heat hits? Do the plants clash and give the impression of clown pants? Do the tall plants crowd out the short ones? Is it all looking shabby by late summer? Sun and Soil First assess your sun and soil... more


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