The Old Farmer's Almanac

Compost Pile
Yankee Magazine

Soil Enhancement: Composting

Learn about the difference between “hot” and “cold” methods of composting. Composting is a method of recycling naturally decomposing matter. Ingredients, size of the pile, local weather conditions, and your maintenance habits will affect the outcome. Note that shredded leaves, chipped wood, and chopped food scraps generally decompose more quickly than whole or large pieces. […]


Radish Plants

Tips for growing radishes: Thin radishes to about an inch apart when the plants are a week old. You’ll be amazed at the harvesttime results. Radishes need sun. If they are planted in too much shade — or even where neighboring vegetable plants shade them — they put all their energy into producing larger leaves. […]

washing carrots

Carrot Plants

Tips for growing carrots: Carrots love sandy soil. Add well-rotted manure to improve soil texture and increase nutrients. Have you ever seen a carrot that has grown “legs” or forked itself into a strikingly human form? Fresh manure, or even recently applied rotted manure, can cause carrots to fork and send out little side roots. […]


Lettuce Plants

Tips for growing lettuce: Plant lettuce early — directly in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked; or start seeds indoors in cool soil. Move transplants into the garden a good month before the last frost is expected. Snow won’t hurt them, but a desiccating cold wind will. Plant them in a […]


Bean Plants

Tips for growing beans: Plant beans when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees F — never before. To get a good early start, soak bean seeds in tepid water for several hours until they swell; rinse gently and place in a single layer on several moist paper towels. Cover directly with another moist paper towel […]


Cabbage Plants

Tips for growing cabbage: To keep cabbage heads from cracking as a result of excess water absorption, perform one of three seemingly violent acts to prune the roots and slow down the cabbage’s growth a bit: Twist the plant half a turn, yank it slightly out of the soil, or sink a spade into the […]


Pepper Plants

Tips for growing peppers: Pepper seeds need warm soil to germinate. Experiments by Georgia horticulturists have shown that the highest rate of germination (80 percent) occurs when the soil temperature is 70 to 80 degrees F. Water seedlings from the top with warm water. Start pepper seeds three to a pot, and thin out the […]


Tomato Plants

VIDEO: Farmer Tracie’s Tomato Plant Tips Tips for growing tomatoes: A good tomato crop calls for sturdy stakes or cages; the best gardeners make their own cages from wire mesh, available at hardware- and builders’-supply stores. It’s sturdy, and six-foot lengths of it can simply be formed into cylinders that support the plants without restricting […]


Growing Vegetables Chart

In addition to this information on when to start seeds, when to fertilize, and when to water, see tips for beginner gardeners. Vegetable Start Seeds Indoors (weeks before last spring frost) Start Seeds Outdoors (weeks before or after last spring frost) Minimum Soil Temperature to Germinate (°F) Cold Hardiness When to Fertilize When to Water […]


Beginner’s Garden Tips

See vegetable growing chart If you’re ready to think about a vegetable garden, remember this — it’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one! One of the common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. […]