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!
As you flip through seed catalogs assembling your wish list, think about dirt. It’s the most important element for success with fruit, flowers and landscape plants. Find out what type of soil is in your garden. It affects how and what will thrive for you. Despite living on a rocky glacier, my gardens thrive. Credit: Doreen G. Howard Eons ago the Rock River Valley, where I live along the Wisconsin-Illinois border, was carved out by the Wisconsin Glacier, leaving deposits of silt, sand, loam and... more
NASA calls it Sick Building Syndrome. I know it as a stuffy house that needs a good airing, as my Mom put it. By the end of January, if it weren’t for the forest of houseplants in my home, I’d open the windows, despite the snow and freezing daytime temperatures. I did open them before I learned that tropical houseplants clean indoor air of pollution. Houseplants help rid the home of toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide and trichloroethylene, all chemicals that off-gas from man-... more
In 2009, most tomatoes grown in the eastern half of the country succumbed to late blight (Phytophthora) due to a cool, soggy June. I live in the upper Midwest, along the Illinois–Wisconsin border, and my 'Black Krim,' 'Brandywine,' and 'Green Zebra' tomatoes were infected, too. 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 When I lived and gardened... more
The holidays are history, seed catalogs are piled in a basket next to a comfortable chair by the fire and I’m looking for lettuce to grow indoors. The quality of grocery store lettuce reaches its low in the dead of winter. Half-rotted, tasteless leaves and astronomical prices are prompting me to grow a decent salad indoors, because of the foot of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures. I usually start Bibb and Romaine seeds under lights in early March and set out seedlings in pots and... more
My son asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Like he had to ask? We gardeners are always thrilled with toys and practical items for the garden, from seeds to shovels. Even novices enjoy plants, herbs to grow indoors and seeds to try next spring. Fairy Gardens Fairy gardens are so much fun. People love to combine tiny plants, creatures and garden tools to create their own piece of magic and beauty. Buy a few petite arbors, benches and gnomes. Place them in a unique shallow planter along... more