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!

June 7, 2017

Weeds are annoying, but they can also be great indicator plants, telling you what nutrients your garden is lacking or what it has in excess. Before you pull out the pesky weeds that are overtaking your cultivated plants, take a minute to notice what is growing. That’s right—read your weeds! They are excellent indicators of soil conditions and quality. If you have large patches of one kind of weed, your garden is trying to tell you something. Common Weeds and What They Indicate Amaranth (... more

June 1, 2017

No summer garden is complete without colorful zinnias. Is there an easier or faster flower to grow? Sprinkle them in full sun and you’ll have seedlings in days! While there are many flowers that may be more elegant, zinnias rank high in “happiness factor.” Nothing gladdens the heart quite like a bouquet of cheerful, crayon-colored zinnias. Plus, they’ll thrive during the long hot days of summer, when other flowers have given up, and continue to flower profusely until frost finally kills them... more

May 21, 2017

Cats can be useful around the garden, keeping unwanted rodents at bay, but they can be destructive as well. How do we keep cats away from the garden with natural deterrents and cat repellents?  My cat loves to dig in the soft dirt, especially after I have planted some tender seedlings, and just the thought of cat poop in the vegetable beds makes me nauseous. Not only disgusting, it can harbor many harmful pathogens and parasites.  Kitty Boy Floyd, my furry friend, in the garden. Wire -... more

May 20, 2017

Are some plants in your yard or garden crowding out (and even killing) other plants? They may be an invasive species which can be a big problem right in your backyard. Here are some common invasive plants and a few tips on how to manage them. Invasive species are truly “invader” who are not natural to your area. They were imported long ago, often from Asia, for their beauty or for other reasons without the understanding that they lacked the local insects, predators, or diseases that would... more

May 18, 2017

Keeping Chickens: An American Tradition Once upon a time, virtually all American households kept chickens. They were a basic necessity with their gifts of eggs for breakfast and baking. No family farm existed without fowl roaming about or roosters heralding the light of dawn. It was unthinkable. Perhaps that is the reason that we have so many sayings having to do with chickens. “Don’t count your chickens until they hatch.” “Nest egg.” “Cooped up.” “Cocky.” “Pecking order.” “Egg money.” “... more

May 17, 2017

It’s the season for ticks! Prevent Lyme disease by keeping yourself tick-safe with these precautions, learn about identifying Lyme disease symptoms to catch it early, and use these tips for tick removal and prevention. We welcome your tips, too! Tick bites aren’t just a nuisance: As many as 300,000 people may be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical Lyme disease symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash. If left... more

May 16, 2017

Frozen berries are a tasty snack and a great method of fruit preservation. Whether you grow blueberries yourself, pick them, or find them at the market, try freezing blueberries (a super-nutritious and easy-to-grow fruit) for year-round enjoyment. Here’s how to freeze blueberries the right way! It’s important to learn how to properly freeze blueberries so that they don’t all freeze in one giant clump. If you don’t follow these instructions, you’ll be very frustrated when you only want to... more

May 15, 2017

Do you have trouble with deer and rabbits in your garden? Here’s a list of pest-resistant plants that these common garden pests won’t touch, plus a few favorite low-maintenance and extra-hardy options. The trick is finding plants that these critters avoid. I like flowers that I don’t have to deadhead, too. A confession: I’m really a lazy gardener! Pest-Resistant Plants List Most munchers usually avoid plants with thorny or fuzzy foliage and those with strong aromas, like lavender. To save your... more

May 15, 2017

Tomatoes are the ultimate backyard vegetable, and growing tomatoes is easier than you might think. These tips on how to grow tomatoes should help you to take care of your most delicious plants. 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 raise 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 North America... more

May 15, 2017

I finally got a chance to look at the dahlia tubers we saved from last year and was pleasantly surprised to see that they survived the winter. We packed them in plastic bags full of peat moss and stowed them in a frost free spot in the greenhouse but never checked them over the winter to see if they were too wet or too dry. Luckily they were just right! Some of the tubers are starting to sprout so now is a good time to divide them. Each tuber must have at least one “eye” or a piece of the... more

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