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!

November 5, 2017

I was first turned on to growing Asian pears by a friend of ours who grew a wide range of uncommon fruit. A member of the North American Fruit Explorers, he had a yard that was full of berries, apples, plums, pears, apricots, kiwi, persimmons, peaches, and more but he said that the Asian pears were by far his favorites. Asian Pear Varieties We planted ‘Chojuro’ which has a butterscotch rum flavor and a late-season one called ‘Hardy Giant’ which has a mild, sweet taste. Both have rough,... more

October 31, 2017

Eye-catching and easy to grow, ornamental onions, of the genus Allium, deserve a place in every garden. Fall is the best time to plant these deer- and rodent-resistant bulbs. Every fall I am seduced into planting more bulbs. After 30 years you would think I couldn’t possibly need any more daffodils. Maybe not but that doesn’t stop me from planting more. I can’t get enough of allium. Distant cousins of edible allium such as onions and garlic, there are over 700 species of ornamental onions to... more

October 25, 2017

Brussels sprouts are not the easiest vegetable to grow. I actually gave up on them years ago as they were consistently very small. Then I learned a couple of growing tricks—plus, how to freeze brussels sprouts. The first trick is that you need to take off the lower leaves as the sprouts form so that they have room to grow. The second trick is to cut back the top around Labor Day. After successfully doing these two things this year, our Brussels sprouts are spectacular. Having planted... more

October 25, 2017

Peppers are such a lovely fruit. They come in many different colors, sizes and hotness. Plus, they’re easy to freeze to use all winter. See how. Did you know: A green pepper is just an unripe one—give it time and it will turn red, orange, purple, yellow or chocolate brown! Regular peppers are a delicious addition to a veggie dip; they have a distinctive crunch and a beautiful sweetness (if ripe). Stir-fried peppers and onions are phenomenal with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and steaks. They... more

October 17, 2017

It’s harvesttime.  Cabbages are available at a deal. Few people know that in the early 1900’s, the biggest crop grown in this country was cabbages. That’s because they last a long time when put in a cool spot and they can be fermented into sauerkraut! And sauerkraut is loaded with vitamin C and digestive enzymes. Most early ship explorers brought along huge barrels of sauerkraut once scurvy was identified as a vitamin C deficiency. And anybody with digestive problems can also be helped by... more

October 16, 2017

The gardening season is winding down. Last call for filling in those bare spots in your landscaping with a shrub or two. Perennials are beautiful but once they have finished blossoming and are gone by, hardworking shrubs will still be there acting as a backdrop. Fall is a good time for planting and many garden centers are offering deep discounts on leftover trees and shrubs. Now that the weather is cooler, there is less stress on the newly planted shrubs—and on you! Digging planting holes isn... more

October 5, 2017

I confess to being a lazy cook. For example, the idea of peeling, coring, and slicing apples makes me a reluctant pie maker. Here are three of my favorite kitchen gadgets to preserve the harvest. In past years, after spending a few of the most beautiful days of fall inside processing tomatoes, apples, and pears, I could sympathize with Robert Frost when he wrote “I am overtired of the great harvest I myself desired.” He was referring to apples and this year was a banner year for apple growing... more

October 2, 2017

Usually, when we see a green tomato, it’s just unripe and will eventually turn red.  However, there are green tomatoes that are meant to be green!  The two taste very different. If you’ve had an unripe red tomato, it’s usually very hard with a tart taste. We either wait for the tomato to turn red, ripen the tomato off the vine, or we might make yummy fried green tomatoes. However, some green tomatoes aren’t just unriped versions of red tomatoes. When is a green tomato not a “green” tomato?... more

October 1, 2017

Tulip bulbs are typically planted in the fall, but what happens when you forget to plant them or you miss a few? Here’s how to plant tulip bulbs in winter! One January, I came across a bag of tulip bulbs that had gotten misplaced in my gardening shed. Evidently, the dozen tulips hid when I planted over 150 other bulbs in October. I was looking forward to seeing this variety’s colors lining my garden path. At least, that was the plan. After doing a little research, I came across a study about... more

September 22, 2017

Blueberries, cherries, and other small fruit shrubs produce faster in big tubs and pots! Here are some varieties I recommend. First, I already have four fruit shrubs in the ground. About a third of the berries were eaten this year (mostly by me) in the garden while picking.  Another third was used fresh for tarts and fruit salads.  The remainder was frozen for later use. However, my frozen stash never lasts me through the winter.  I’m running out of ground, so I’m going to containers. Why pots... more

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