Still waiting for it to feel like spring has “officially” sprung? Be sure to check in with a copy of Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac – sure as spring rain, it’ll let you know when you can truly get gardening in your neck of the woods! Just don’t get too comfortable while you’re reading, because chances are you’ll find out you’ve got some chores to do. And they’re all there waiting for you in the 184th Edition of Blum’s Almanac.

Blum's Almanac

Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac has been published since 1828.

Photo Credit: Goslin Printing Co.

Chrysler Imperial Rose

The almanac highlights rose planting and care.

Photo Credit: James H. Schutte

First printed in 1828 by John Christian Blum, Blum’s Almanac is a family publication. Although it’s changed quite a bit since its inception, current editor Allen Goslen says Mr. Blum would easily recognize the format of the 2013 issue, the artwork on the cover, the calendar pages and the “general nature of the editorial content.” (The cover features a reproduction of an original Blum’s Almanac woodcut of a farm scene.)

There’s a reason why this great reference has been around so long – Blum’s really is a big help! This year it reminded me of when to prune summer-blooming plants like oleanders and crapemyrtles, as well as warned me to cut back my evergreens before new growth appeared. And I didn’t argue when it recommended I set out my rosebushes, apply recommended plant food to shrubbery and start work on my lawn by raking, fertilizing and rolling when the soil wasn’t wet. (All good advice!)

The almanac even mentions moon phases. Shortly after my sister’s birthday (I pick her because she’s the best gardener in the family), I learned that there will be a full moon – good for planting – and Antares will rise at 1:43 a.m.

Oh, and how much more I can glean from the wise pages... I learned that February 16-25 were the best days to fish. But when I couldn’t head out to the local fishin’ hole, the almanac advised me that it was a good time to plant three rows of peas: One for “peas” of mind, the second for “peas” of heart and the third for “peas” of soul. Not bad advice, I’d say!

Some good and entertaining ads are found within Blum’s paperback covers, too. I’m told where I can learn the guitar in 7 days (or my money back), find a remedy for psoriasis and get complete instructions on building my own wind generator! I can also order asparagus plants, gold-plated magnetic bracelets to ward away pain, a hair-thickening cream and a home cider press. (Now if that’s not interesting reading, I don’t know what is!)

Today’s Blum’s also continues the custom of printing delicious recipes, guides on living by astrological signs, homespun wisdom and at least one feature article. (This issue spotlights rose planting and care.) The company publishes a gardening calendar and a fisherman’s almanac as well.

There’s much more packed into the current Blum’s Almanac’s pages. It’s hard to just thumb through, as my eyes stop to read every page. You’ll just have to examine it yourself – you may find you have to get your own copy each year! For now, I’ll heed this nugget of wisdom: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”