The winter months give gardeners time to browse unfamiliar resources for next season’s gardens. An inexhaustible supply of garden ideas can be found as free resources in local libraries, in book stores and on grocer’s shelves for a price, on the internet, and even the daily newspaper.
Horticulturists look for trustworthy and research-based authorities, rather than depend on anecdotal thoughts on best practices for gardening that can be found in many print and online resources. Today’s column has two very different suggestions for gardening advice that can be considered trustworthy.
The first idea for horticulturists is to take a look at the American Horticultural Society. This may be unfamiliar to the home gardener, but the American Horticultural Society (AHS) is an academic society to which many professional horticulturists belong.
It is a non-profit gardening society that was founded in 1922 as an educational organization. The AHS website (ahsgardening.org) has as its purpose “dedicated to sharing with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.”
AHS provides many avenues to inform Americans about Earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Members have access to AHS travel study programs, admission privileges to more than 300 gardens across the nation, access to national partner organizations, and to other horticulturists in chat rooms with questions and answers.
Gardeners have access to the latest research results and a subscription to the publication “The American Gardener.” “The American Gardener” is in magazine format; it provides recent trends with in-depth, how-to guides that help when making decisions to gain the most in gardening, in growing your own produce and landscaping ideas.
As members, gardeners have access to not only “The American Gardener” but also other reference books. Membership is a way to connect with other plant enthusiasts.
The second resource idea for gardening devotees to consider is “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.” Other publications call themselves “farmer’s almanacs” but only one is the “little yellow book,” the original farmer’s almanac with a hole in the upper left corner, The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac (almanac.com) has been around a long time. It was first published during President George Washington’s first term as president in 1792 and has been in continued publication since, making it the oldest published periodical in North America.
Almanacs record and predict astronomical events, tides, weather, and other time-related phenomena. While The Old Farmer’s Almanac is not as academically rigorous as the American Horticulture Society, it is an easy-to-read publication written by its gardening editors that give a variety of topics on weather predictions, long-range forecasts, moon phases, sunrise and sunset times, ‘best-days’ calendars, and growing guides for plants.
Since it is published in Maine much advice is from a northeastern point of reference, but it does have tips that can be used by gardeners in the south and southwest. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is an enjoyable reference guide offering humor and wisdom.
Ellen Peffley taught horticulture at the college level for 28 years, 25 of those at Texas Tech, during which time she developed two onion varieties. She is now the sole proprietor of From the Garden, a market garden farmette. You can email her at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Gardening for You: Resources for gardeners