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 Gardener's Network Garden Blog - Prior Years


Welcome to the The Gardener's Network Blog. We're talking gardening of all kinds. Our garden blog strives to offer you the latest garden information and tips on a timely, seasonal basis. As requested by our readers, we have retained prior year's blog postings. You can fnd them on this page..... Enjoy!

See Current Year Blog Postings

Thanksgiving, the Biggest Gardening Holiday of the Year!!

 

Thanksgivng Holiday Turkey

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: November 24, 2019

The biggest gardening holiday of the year is upon us. It began hundreds of years ago, when the pilgrims celebrated a bountiful harvest in the New World. Pumpkin, squash and other crops were the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration. Since those early days, we have paused every year on Thanksgiving, to reflect upon the blessing of the harvest, as well as be thankful for the many things God has provided to us. Here in America, we truly have so much to be thankful for.

For quite some time now, the Christmas season, led by stores eager for holiday sales, has steady arrived earlier and earlier. Decorations and early Black Friday sales begin weeks before Thanksgiving. It casts a shadow over one of the very best holidays of the year.

In some ways, Thanksgiving actually is the best holiday of the year. It is all about the "Four F's" : family, food, football and fun. Thanksgiving is a no stress holiday, something we all can savor and enjoy in today's hectic world.  It can be celebrated by all Americans. It's theme of being thankful for what God has given us, actually extends to everyone in the country. Why, you can be thankful just for living or visiting here. Finally, Thanksgiving does not leave out those who do not profess a faith in a God. Be thankful for what you have, simply leaving out the to "whom".

 We encourage gardeners, and all Americans, to put aside thoughts and activities around Christmas for a few days, and just focus upon Thanksgiving. Take a few minutes to think about what you have ( not what you don't have or what you want). Then, spend a few moments on Thanksgiving, reflecting upon how thankful you are. Most of all, enjoy every minute of the day and night, building happy memories with family and friends.

 

To help you prepare for the Thanksgiving feast, here's useful links:

Thanksgiving food preparation - Holiday insights has the thawing, preparation, cooking times, and more for cooking your turkey to perfection, along with all of the trimmings.

Pumpkin Nook's Cookbook - It's simply the largest collection of pumpkin recipes anywhere.

 

We hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

Happy Halloween 

Halloween Pumpkin

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: October 29, 2019

For anyone who grows pumpkins in their backyard, the next couple of days are filled with fun. Many pumpkin growers consider Halloween to be the most fun of all the holidays. To many of us, we consider Halloween to be the biggest and best holiday of the year. Our beloved pumpkins will be carved, and then they will shine brightly for all to see. It's the ultimate climax to the total pumpkin growing experience, the reason why we grow them.

We encourage you to visit us for Halloween fun, facts, recipes and more. Check us out now!

Most of all, we whish you, your family, ad your friends a very Happy Halloween!

 

A Pumpkin's Time to Shine

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: October 22, 2019

As Halloween grows near, pumpkins shine brighter and brighter by the day. On the weekend before Halloween, people hold Halloween parties, for young and the not so young. Undoubtedly, pumpkins will play a role in the party, and just maybe in multiple ways. Two things  are absolutely critical for the success of any kind of Halloween party. The first thing is to have a selection of games appropriate to the age group and interests of those coming to the party. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to have plenty of Halloween party foods and snacks.

There's adult games, kids games, and party icebreakers. You may be planning your Halloween party without any games. But, what if the party starts out slow, and needs some excitement? An ice breaker game is just the answer. Also, it won't hurt to have a couple backup games, just in case the party needs a little boost somewhere along the way. Check out our party games now.

No Halloween party can be a success without plenty of party foods and snacks. We've got over 125 pumpkin recipes for you to try for your party, or even a meal or snack. Grab a couple pumpkin recipes now.

In addition , we have a couple dozen Halloween party recipes. There's sure to be a few that are perfect for your party snack table. Find a Halloween party recipe now.

We hope you Halloween party is a great success, and that you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

 

 Pumpkin Growing Gone WIld

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: October 7, 2019

Giiant Pumpkins 

There's something about pumpkins that just gets us all excited. Nothing gets us more excited, than growing or just admiring giant pumpkins. And, for good reason. Nowadays avid (aka fanatical) pumpkins growers are producing some absolutely enormous orange fruit. As a matter of fact, the world record stands at 2,624.6 pounds. That's right, well over one ton! See the world record pumpkin.

It wasn't that long ago, that people wondered if the 1,000 pound barrier would ever be surpassed. Then, in 1996, two pumpkins were weighed in at over 1,000 pounds. Since then the world record weight falls year after year. Now, one ton pumpkins are winning fall weigh-offs around the country and around the world, too. Festival goers stare mouth open in awe, at the sheer size of these giant pumpkins.

 Most, but not all, of the biggest giant pumpkin weigh-offs have been held. It appears that the world record may not fall again this year. But to date, eight pumpkins have been weighed at over a ton. Perhaps there will be a couple more before the last of the weigh-offs have been held. Perhaps the most surprising place of all to grow a one ton pumpkin, is in the state of Alaska, where growing the season is short. However, Dale Marshall brought a 2,051 pound pumpkin to the Alaska Midnight Sun Great Pumpkin Weigh-off in Anchorage. We suspect the midnight sun may have something to do with super charging a pumpkin plant to produce such a large fruit.

Take a few minutes this week to find out whether there are any fall and pumpkin festivals yet to occur in your area. Then, make plans to enjoy a colorful fall foliage drive, to enjoy one of the last great outdoor events of the year. Check for a giant pumpkin weigh-off near you.

 

 

 Harvesting the Hops

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: September 19, 2019

Hops Plants and Cones

One of the exciting things about gardening, is to challenge yourself and grow something you've never grown before. 

My first time growing hops was both fun and a great success. I documented my experience along the way in a garden diary, filled with pictures of my progress. See the finished product.


Growing Hops Diary



Enjoying the Harvest

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: August 28, 2019

Vegetable Bowl, garden blog

 

I don't know about you, but this time of year, my family morphs into Vegetarians!

The garden harvest is in full swing across the entire country, and pretty much all of North America for that matter. It's an exciting time, as so many vegetables, fruits, and herbs are ready harvest. The peak harvest season is often so bountiful, that you don't know what to do with it all. We're spending all too many hours picking, cleaning, canning and freezing. Yet, we still have a growing pile of veggies and fruits in baskets and trays sitting on every table and shelf of our kitchen.   

 

To help you in your efforts to prepare and stow away as much of the harvest as you can, we have numerous "how to" pages. Refer to these pages as needed. You won't regret all the work you're putting in today, when you open up a can of tomatoes, or defrost some corn, on a cold  winter's day.  

 

The bountiful harvest also leads us on a search for new recipes. You're in luck, as we have over 330 vegetable and fruit recipes. And like your garden, our recipe collection continues to grow.

 

Find a new garden recipe or two today!

BTW: If you've got a favorite garden recipe, please share it with others. Make sure to include your name along with the city and state where you live, so we can give you the proper recognition.   Email a recipe today to:   gardener@gardenersnet.com

 

 

 

 

Pumpkins - Big, Big, Big Pumpkins

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: July 29, 2019

Growing Giant Pumpkin Plants

 

Pumpkins grow in all shapes, sizes, and colors, too. As August arrives, they are puttin' on the pounds in a big way.  As a matter of fact, the focus in August, is all about adding as much weight as possible to your pumpkins. That means keeping your pumpkin plants healthy, trimming and maintaining the vines, pouring on the water, and adding lots and lots of fertilizer and micro-nutrients. This is true whether you're a backyard pumpkin grower, or a competitive grower seeking to break the world record at an upcoming fall weigh-off.

Here are some sources for the very best information on how to grow pumpkins:

Start with our Tips for Growing Giant Pumpkins. Even though the title says "Giant Pumpkins", these ideas can be used to grow more and bigger pumpkins of all kinds.

Pumpkin Nook, our sister site, has all the information to grow any and all kinds of pumpkins. There is no other site on the internet with as muc informatio abour pumpkins. In addition to in depth information on growing pumpkins, they cover everytthing else abut them. We suggest you start at the How to Grow pages.

Before you know it, fall pumpkin festival and weigh-offs will held in just about every part of the country. Some of these festivals are held in late August. Plan ahead and mark the dates. Find a Fall Festival and Weigh-Off near you.

 

A Day for Fresh Spinach

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: July 16, 2019

 

 

It's midsummer, not a good time to grow cool weather crops like spinach. Temperatures are in the nineties, and it's pretty dry. I don't know about your garden spinach, but mine bolted and went to seed a couple of weeks ago. That's pretty normal for this time of year. Planting time for the fall crop, is still a few weeks away.

For some reason, some unknown person or group decided to make today Fresh Spinach Day. Strange as the timing seems, I'm not gonna pass up an opportunity to celebrate veggies and gardening in general.

So, Happy Spinach Day!!

 

Also see:

How to Grow Spinach  

Growing Spinach

 

National Weed Your Garden Day

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: June 13, 2019

Dandelion flower

Today, June 13th,  is National Weed Your Garden Day. If your garden is like mine, There's no shortage of weeds to help you to particpate in this special day. 

Do you need the incentive of a special day to encourage you to put in some serious time weeding your gardens? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, chances are you will spend plenty of time out there weeding today.

More on National Weed Your Garden Day

Did You Know? There are easy ways and not so easy ways to get rid of those pesky weeds.  See How to Weed

 

Growing Hops

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: June 6, 2019

growing hops rhizomes

Gardeners just love the challenge of growing something different, something they've never grown before. It almost doesn't matter what it is, as long as it is new and different. It's a chance to learn, a chance to show off your gardening skills. And so, this gardener chose to grow hops for the very first time. While there are many reasons to do so, I choose to grow hops "because I can".

So, simply "because I can", I embark on my first endeavor to grow hops. I do not make beer, or wine for that matter, at home or anywhere else. I do have people I can give the fruits of my labor, in this case "cones". So at harvest time, the bountiful fruits of my labor should not go to waste. Follow me, as I grow hops for the very first time. Will it be easy, or will it be a real challenge? Will I succeed? Or, will I utterly fail, and do so in front of the many readers of this blog. Come find out....

 

 

 

 

hummingbird, image,jpg, pictures,images

 

Hummingbirds Return to Your Backyard

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: April 28, 2019

 

Tiny Hummingbirds are one of the most popular summer backyard birds. Hummingbirds are migrating north and have already arrived in many of our backyards.  

If you have not yet done so, get your feeder out. If you are using last year's feeder, clean it with soapy water and a light solution of chlorine bleach. Rinse thoroughly and use fresh hummingbird nectar. With a little care and attention, you will have healthy hummingbirds in your yard all season long.

Don't buy nectar! Hommade nectar is healthier and much less expensive. Easy to make homemade nectar, with no food coloring or artificial preservatives, is the best thing for your little birds. See: http://www.gardenersnet.com/birds/hummingbirdnectar.htm

 

 

 

Dandelion Flower Day

April 5 th is National Dandelion Day

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: April 5, 2019

Kids just love dandelions. They lovingly give dandelions to mom, singularly or in bouquets. You may sip on dandelion wine, as you eat your dandelion salad. For millions of homeowners however, dandelions are nothing more than a persistent and invasive weed.

Love 'em or hate 'em, today is National Dandelion Day.

About National Dandelion Day

How to grow Dandelions - that's right,how to grow them!

 

 

 

Indoor Seed Starting 2019

Posted February 24, 2019

Starting seeds indoors is a mood uplifting experience. Sure, gardening outdoors may still be several weeks away. But, planting indoor seed starts gets your hands back in the dirt again... what a wonderful feeling!

There are two very important dates to be aware of. The first is the last frost date for your area. There are plenty of micro-climates in any area. It can vary by a few days, if you live near or away from a lake, or urban area. So, the last frost date may vary from town to town. The last frost date defines when you can safely plant most seedlings outdoors. The second, is the number of weeks to start before that very important seedling transplanting date. It can usually be found on the back of seed packets. You can rely on these recommendations. Seed companies have a lot of experience and knowledge about the seeds and plants you will grow. Counting back from the last frost date, gives you the right time to plant seeds indoors.

Starting indoors earlier than suggested may not produce optimal results. The seedlings are more likely to get leggy. Kept indoors too long in the limited space of pots and containers can cause them to become root bound, stunting growth. The weather around your planned transplanting date may be inclement delaying the transplant, and result in overly large seedlings that do not transplant as well.

More on Indoor Seed Starting

 

Money Tree, garden blog

January 10th is Houseplant Appreciation Day

The holidays are over, along with the hubbub and excitement. Thankfully, things have slowed down. But, we can't go outdoors and work in our gardens. Heck, many of us can't even see the garden under a couple feet of snow. Along comes Houseplant Appreciation Day, the perfect solution to satisfy our need to get our hands into some real dirt.

More on Houseplant Appreciation Day.

 

 


Christmas Poinsettia

December 12th is National Poinsettia Day

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: December 12, 2018

An Act of Congress declared December 12th as a day to honor Joel Robert Poinsett and the flower he brought back from Mexico to the United states. What day is today?

Of course, you guessed it correctly! It's National Poinsettia Day!

This beautiful flower is one of the biggest symbols of the Christmas holiday season. Yet, the "flower" is not actually a flower at all.

More about National Poinsettia Day

Also see: How to Grow and Care for Poinsettias

Pumpkin Nook's Store to Close!!

Author: Bob Matthews

Posted: November 9, 2018

After 20 years, Pumpkin Nook's store will be closing at the end of November. We will be moving on to retirement. This will allow much more time for pumpkin growing, and gardening in general.

We are only closing the store. Pumpkin Nook will continue as a content site. With more time on my hands, I will be adding even more content and produce frequent posts on my Garden Blog.  

We'd like to thank our many loyal customers who made our store a great success, and a pleasure to operate!

Dangerous Plant Alert

Posted July 18, 2018

Move over Poison Ivy, there's a new noxious weed in town... rather it's in the parks, trails and forests that you hike this summer. It's the Giant Hogweed. This noxious and invasive weed is dangerous to your health. This toxic plant is spreading across many states.

If you are planning to enjoy the great outdoors, spend a few minutes learning how to identify it. If you run across it, you should do two important things. First, steer clear of it. Second, notify the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or local authorities. 

Learn how to Identify Giant Hogweed

 


Over the Garden's Edge

Posted: May 29, 2018

For the past several weeks, gardeners around the country have put in countless hours preparing their gardens for the planting season. Then, we've spent countless more hours lovingly and painstakingly planting seeds and seedling transplants of all kinds into their freshly prepared and enriched garden summer home.

Now, we are spending many more hours nurturing our beloved plants, with just the right amount of water, fertilizer, and micro-nutrients. Don't forget to count the several hours a week spent weeding and mulching around our plants. Even you begin to wonder, if gardening should more correctly be defined as a job, rather than a hobby. After spending so many hours on this "hobby", your friends and relatives may actually be questioning your sanity. And, you kind of wonder about your sanity, too!

To help you to determine if you have crossed over the threshold from avid gardener to plain and simple fanatic, see: The Top 10 Signs You Have Gone Over the Garden's Edge

Comments on this article? Let us know!

Don't miss a single article. Bookmark us now.

Additional Resources: Garden Fun and Humor

When Lilacs Lasted Bloomed

Posted: May 7, 2018

When Lilacs Last Bloomed is a Civil War poem by Walt Whitman. The title seems appropriate for the title of this blog, as it causes us to realize our beloved lilacs last bloomed a full year ago. Lilacs are second only to roses in their popularity, beauty and fragrance. And to many, they smell better than roses. Unlike roses that have a season long blooming period, Lilacs bloom once a year in May, and last but a few fragrant weeks. If you have planned well, you yard includes early ,mid, and late season varieties, extending the backyard blooms for three weeks or so. Then, the year long wait begins until they bloom again.

The arrival of the flower blooming period, is cause for great celebration. Many Lilac festivals are held this month, timed to hopefully correspond with the arrival of the sweet, aromatic flowers. If you love spring, love flowers, and adore lilacs, you don't want to miss these early season festivals. In celebration of our beloved lilacs, the festivals include a wide array of events, including Lilac parades, 5K or 10k races, arts and crafts, concerts, food vendors and much more.

If you haven't been to a Lilac festival, what are you waiting for? They will only be in bloom for a few weeks. Find and attend a Lilac Festival

Comments on this article? Let us know!

Don't miss a single article. Bookmark us now.

Additional Resources: Lilac Bushes


Think About Gardening

Posted: May 3, 2018

Garden flowers

May 3rd is a very special day for gardeners. Spend a few minutes out in your garden thinking, cogitating, pondering and mulling over thoughts of gardening.

For, today is Garden Meditation Day! 

Our Very First Garden Blog:

April 12, 2018

Let's talk about starting seeds. After all, it 'tis the season. Right now many us are planting, or have recently started our indoor transplants. It's a gardening "rite of spring", a fun task that we don't want to leave to the garden stores.   

Seed starter tray

You can grow your own plants to transplant into the garden. Like new parents, it is fun, yet anxious time, as we tend to every need of our baby seedlings, and pamper them, to assure they grow strong and healthy. In addition to the joy of watching your baby seedlings grow and thrive, you'll save money along the way.

Over the next several weeks, we'll be planting and pampering our indoor transplants. It's an exciting time, as we finally get our hands into some dirt again after the long winter season.

Did You Know? One of the biggest problems of growing indoor starts, is a lack of sunshine, which results in weak, leggy plants. For optimal growth, most seedling transplants need full sunlight. This begins the moment your seedlings emerge from the ground. If you can't have your plants out on a warm, sunny patio or deck, be a "Sun Chaser". As the sun moves  from east to west during the day, move your seed trays from east facing windows to south facing windows.

The success of the upcoming gardening season, is dependent upon getting your seedling transplants up and growing, in a strong and healthy manner. The extra care and attention you give your seedlings now, will translate into healthier, more plentiful flowers, and a larger, more abundant vegetable crop.

Whether you are a gardening "Newbie", or an experienced, long time gardener, it is a good idea to read and review our Seed Starting Basics. Click Here

More on seed starting Click Here

Comments on this article? Let us know!

Don't miss a single article. Bookmark us now.


About the Author

Bob Matthews is an avid life time gardener, and a recognized garden authority on the Internet since the 1990s. Residing in Rochester, NY, Bob is the author and owner of The Gardener's Network, Pumpkin Nook , Garden Hobbies, and other websites. Bob proudly authored every page of the over 1,000 pages of garden information and tips on these websites.

About some of Bob's other gardening websites:

The Gardener's Network - One of the finest, most popular sites on the internet to read, learn and have gardening fun. The Gardener's Network is the perfect place for you and your plants, the perfect source for how to grow just about any garden plant!

Garden Hobbies - Looking for "How to Grow" gardening information? It's the perfect place for you and your plants.

Pumpkin Nook - By far the biggest, most comprehensive site on the Internet for pumpkins. Information and fun abounds, including: how to grow pumpkins, Halloween, one of the largest collections of pumpkin recipes and much more.

 


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