What is an almanac?
Well, according to dictionary.com it is defined as an ‘annual publication containing a calendar for the coming year, the times of such events and phenomena as anniversaries, sunrises and sunsets, phases of the moon, tides, etc., and other statistical information and related topics.’
Almanacs have been around for centuries. These publications, commonly circulated around the New Year, round up bits of useful (albeit folky) information then mix it with humor and a little bit of old world science. The most recognizable almanac for gardeners is ‘The Old Farmer’s Almanac’ originally published in 1792. The 2018 annual publication will mark the 226 edition. While still considered a classic, ‘The Old Farmer’s Almanac’ may not exactly be the science-based publication gardeners were hoping for. In fact, it might not even be applicable to them depending on their climate, location, geography and/or zodiac sign.
With advancements in technology many gardeners have moved away from paperback publications and instead seek out information online. Thankfully, specialists and faculty at Utah State University noticed this and it became obvious that gardeners needed a ‘new’ alternative to the old almanac.
In 2015 the factsheet titled “Gardener’s Almanac: Timely Tips for the Yard and Garden” was developed and published. This publication led to the development of an award winning seasonal poster, a website and an app. Although this almanac doesn’t quite fit the definition above (it is technically not an annual publication) it is a very useful and timely tool for the average Utah Gardener. The Gardener’s Almanac website (gardenerslamanac.usu.edu) and app break down yard and garden information by season along with providing specific tasks that should be performed each month. This ‘to do’ list includes links to relevant websites and resources including pest and climate information. This means not only does it let you know to prune your fruit trees in February it provides the resources to help you prune them correctly! How cool is that?
The other really fantastic thing about the Gardener’s Almanac is that it was developed in Utah for the people of Utah and the Intermountain West. Here in the Intermountain West region, a high mountain desert, weather patterns influence not only plants and their development, but also insect pests and diseases. The Gardener’s Almanac app is a calendar-based approach to help home gardeners with proper timing of yard and garden-related tasks and activities that promote healthy plants.
The app is based on the award-winning Gardeners Almanac publication and poster named as 2015 regional winners by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Gardeners Almanac: Timely Tips for the Yard and Garden app is available for iOS and Android operating systems and is free of charge.
Click here to check out monthly gardening tips for January and have a Happy New Year!