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Almanac still a useful resource for gardeners

Posted: May 3, 2014 - 11:13pm
The Old Farmer's Almanac, on display at Culpepper ACE Hardware in Evans, premiered in 1792.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Old Farmer's Almanac, on display at Culpepper ACE Hardware in Evans, premiered in 1792.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac used to be the most popular source from which farmers and gardeners got their planting tips and schedules. Today, while still popular among gardeners, the Old Farmer’s Almanac isn’t as readily used as it was in the past.

According to the official Web site for The Old Farmer’s Almanac – www.almanac.com – the periodical premiered in 1792 with Robert B. Thomas as editor.

“Although many other almanacs were being published at that time, Thomas’s upstart almanac became an immediate success,” according to a historical account of the periodical. “In fact, by the second year, circulation had tripled from 3,000 to 9,000.

“An almanac, by definition, records and predicts astronomical events – the rising and setting of the sun, for instance – tides, weather, and other phenomena with respect to time,” notes the website. “So what made The Old Farmer’s Almanac different from the others? Since his format wasn’t novel, we can only surmise that Thomas’s astronomical and weather predictions were more accurate, the advice more useful, and the features more entertaining.”

Credited with being the oldest continually produced periodical in North America, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is chock full of useful information that aids farmers and gardeners in timing planting and cultivation of crops.

“I do not use it, but I think there is a lot of good info there,” said Judy Kirkland, immediate past president of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs.

Martinez gardener Dorothy Packard also doesn’t use the Almanac, but said she believes some of her gardening friends do.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac offers information on rain cycles, moon phases and planting. The Almanac also offers monthly gardening tips, such as when to prune plants and when and what plant diseases are prevalent. For example, it notes that May is the month when moles begin to emerge and offers tips on how to get rid of them.

Whether you are a gardening novice or a longtime gardener, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is yet another source for useful information.

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