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!

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

May 6, 2017

Mulching is a common gardening practice done for a number of good reasons. Using the proper types of mulch and mulching techniques can have wondrous effects on your garden, but mulching incorrectly can do the opposite. Here’s how to get the most out of mulching. Advantages of Mulching Mulch has been called the gardener’s friend. It offers three major benefits: Suppression of weeds. Conservation of moisture in the soil. Moderation of soil temperatures, keeping it warmer on cold nights and... more

May 5, 2017

No, I’m not Rumpelstiltskin, the cranky gnome in a Grimm fairy tale; I can’t spin straw into gold.  But, straw saves me money, crops, and my sanity, which is golden to my thinking.  Straw bales are inexpensive gold for gardens. I only pay $4 a bale, and the straw saves me hours of weeding, watering, and worrying. Everything in the vegetable garden is mulched with a 6-inch layer, including blueberries, Alpine strawberries and cranberries.  I use a foot or two of straw atop the potato bed to grow... more

April 30, 2017

In your garden, you may have a microclimate—a small area that has a different climate than your broader growing zone. How do you work with a microclimate? Often, this niche or pocket climate is slightly warmer than the surrounding landscape. For perennial gardeners, the easiest way to encourage earlier blooms and more frequent blooms is to plant them in the warmest pockets in your landscape.  We all drive by houses where the crocuses and tulips seem to be up and blooming weeks ahead of our... more

April 24, 2017

We sell hundreds of vegetable starts each spring and always remind our customers to be sure to harden off the plants before planting them in the garden. Surprisingly, many people have no idea what hardening off means. Tough Love One of the most stressful transitions for a tender transplant is to go from life in a cozy greenhouse, where it has been sheltered from the elements, to life in the great outdoors. Our sales greenhouse is unheated so the plants have been subjected to some cold night... more

April 19, 2017

Blueberries are one the easiest fruit to grow. Here are some of the best blueberry varieties to add to your garden and a few tips for successfully growing blueberries. In the last six weeks, we’ve stuffed ourselves with berry tarts, muffins, pies, and jams to the point of gluttony! Now it’s time to freeze the bounty for later. (See simple blueberry recipes here.) Blueberry Varieties I have ‘Blue Crop,’ ‘Chandler,’ ‘Patriot,’ and ‘Pink Lemonade’ bushes, which are all high-bush blueberries that... more

April 19, 2017

Here are tips on how to plant a tree—from digging the hole to watering the tree properly once it’s planted. Spring is a great time for planting trees. The garden centers are stocked with container-grown trees, but the choices are often limited. Order a Tree By ordering trees from a mail-order nursery, you will have a lot more to choose from and, since you will be living with these trees for many years to come, you can get the ones you really want. Trees are dug up from beds in the nursery... more

April 11, 2017

When trees and shrubs become overgrown, it’s time to break out the pruning shears. With this guide, learn when to prune trees and shrubs to get the most out of your plants, and why pruning is such an important part of garden maintenance. Why prune trees and shrubs? Plant health is the primary reason for pruning. Look for the 4 “Ds”—dead, dying, diseased, or damaged branches—these should be removed. Also look for spindly or weak growth, as well as any branches that are crossed or rubbing.... more


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