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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October 15, 2011

As the leaves turn gold, orange and red, it is natural to think of greenery indoors and houseplants to the replace a landscape that is quickly going dormant for winter.  My first instincts are to bring in potted plants and enjoy their vibrant flowers and foliage.  That urge usually ends in dead plants, however. I’m a skilled gardener, but my indoor space presents challenges such as lack of light and low humidity; and there is no one to water plants for long periods.  Sometimes I’m gone... more

October 7, 2011

Blue roses at $50 a stem, vivid blue geranium houseplants and more of those shocking (some say ugly) blue orchids are headed your way.  Plant breeders went crazy this year, trying to bring the impossible color of blue to flowers.  Although some used plant material such as blue pansy genes, most breeders incorporated dyes and even blue crayons into plants to produce the blue blossoms. Here’s a rundown on what you’ll see at florists, garden centers and big box stores in the near future... more

September 30, 2011

Extreme couponers have nothing on me. They may have their own television show and purchase $200 worth of groceries for $2, but I grow much of my family’s food for pennies. Plus, for no money, my yard is full of stunning flowers and a landscape that stops traffic. After living through two deep recessions in the 1980’s, I became the ultimate extreme gardener.  You can, too, in these times of financial turmoil.  It’s easy to turn garbage into fertilizer, recycle yard refuse and reuse found... more

September 16, 2011

Harvest season for me started Labor Day. I spent the entire day digging up Russian Banana fingerling, All Blue and Red Rose potatoes, plus picking Asian pears, apples, carrots and Brussels sprouts.  It took three times as long to clean and store everything then it did to pick the huge harvest. One of the greatest joys of edible gardening is being able to store, freeze, dry and even can excess crops for winter enjoyment.  Call me old-fashioned, but I feel a deep kinship to my ancestors... more

September 8, 2011

At the end of August, I attended a garden writer’s symposium and two trade shows that featured a tempting array of new products headed to the consumer starting in January. From green lawn paint to a sensational burgundy and blue-gray sedum groundcover, I have plenty to share with you. Given that much of the southern region of the country is experiencing a record-breaking drought, Easy Green Lawn© paint makes sense. You apply it on with a garden sprayer and let it dry for three hours. It’s... more

August 24, 2011

In March, Tom Wagner, the tomato breeder who created Green Zebra, Banana Legs and more, sent me seeds for four blue, open-pollinated, tomatoes he’s stabilizing for market. As I wrote in this blog last spring, I started plants from seed for Pansy Ap, Blue Bayou, Helsig Junction and Fahrenheit Blues and put them out in the garden June 10. I’m excited about these tomatoes, as their blue pigment contains the same vitamins and anthocyanins found in blueberries. Those antioxidants help to prevent... more

August 19, 2011

My gardens are filled with a plethora of perennials, flowering shrubs, annuals and dwarf conifers. I prefer them to full-size pines, junipers, cypress and larch, because they mature to less than 15 feet. That’s more in scale with the average suburban yard than a towering 80-foot white pine or a 50-foot arborvitae. Standard evergreens add feet to their height every year, but their dwarf siblings grow mere inches in a year. Most dwarfs add 3 to 6 inches of height annually and are between 3 and 6... more

August 3, 2011

Despite drought, heat and lately deluge, cucumbers produce prodigiously. It’s their manner. I’m overwhelmed with hundreds of Delikatesse and Snow’s Fancy Pickling, all from only four plants. Cucumbers are easy to grow, easier than tomatoes. Amend the planting soil with plenty of compost and composed manure. Mulch with straw, water regularly and provide a trellis or other structure for vines to climb upward. That’s all! In about 60 days, a huge harvest of cukes will be yours. Their copious... more

July 21, 2011

I’m out in the garden these Dog Days of Summer cutting flowers to dry for wreaths and bouquets to brighten those endless gray, frigid days of the upcoming winter. The heat of the season is perfect for air drying if you pick the right flowers and dry them in dark areas, like the trunk of your car. I’m not kidding. Jim Long, of Long Creek Herb Farm, tells readers of his blog and books that a car trunk is perfect for flash-drying bundles of hydrangea and other large flowers. He says to toss them... more

July 12, 2011

75 percent off on all stock! It’s like the siren’s song to gardeners this time of year when big boxes and garden centers deeply discount their remaining inventory to move it out the door. I’ve picked up some great bargains in late summer. But, bargains aren’t thrifty if you bring home plants that are doomed to fall, because they stressed and/or diseased. Bargains can be had if you know which plants will take off and grow and which ones to avoid at any price. Here’s some tips on how to find... more

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