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Cover art for the 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

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The bright petals of marigolds blooming in your garden can add some tang to your fall salads.

Ancient Romans used the cool-season annuals also known as calendula, typically sporting bright orange or yellow flowers, as an inexpensive substitute for saffron.

Gather the flower in the morning when flower-petal oils are strongest, dry them in a 100-degree Fahrenheit oven and sprinkle in omelettes, on rice or incorporate in cheese casseroles.

Tips on other edible flowers can be found in “Plate Your Petals: Edible flowers are blossoming into an old-is-new-again culinary trend,” one of the articles featured in the “2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac.”

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The Old Farmer’s Almanac weather map for winter 2018-19.

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The oldest continuously published almanac, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” founded in 1792, came out Sept. 10 with its 227th edition, now available in stores for $7.95.

For farmers and gardeners looking for weather forecasts, planting charts, gardening trends and articles, this and other farmer’s almanacs have been the references of choice for hundreds of years.

“When this Almanac was founded, we had an agrarian society; that is, everyone grew their own food (there were no groceries as well stocked as we have today). People needed and looked for advice on maintaining farms and fields, planting, tending, and harvesting, as well as weather,” states the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, www.almanac.com.

This guide differentiates itself from the rest by being the oldest such publication and the only one that provides “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor” information for gardeners. It’s published by Yankee Publishing in Dublin, N.H.

By contrast, the similarly named “Farmer’s Almanac,” published in Maine, is a relative youngster, having been in publication since 1818.

“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” opens with a trends forecast that says we can expect exercise classes to pop up in local grocery store aisles this year and explores the pros and cons of backyard livestock, health advantages of owning a dog, and the story behind seat belts.

The book provides weather forecasts for 18 regions of the United States as well as “new, useful, and entertaining matter,” including articles on gardening trends.

It provides extensive charts for planting by the moon’s phases for every region in North America. There are dates for planting everything from barley to winter wheat.

The Almanac says Colorado’s growing season will last 145 days; the first fall frost will be Sept. 30, and the last spring frost will be May 7.

The Almanac’s winter 2018-19 weather map shows parts of the state experiencing warm and dry, mild and snow, warm and wet, and cold and wet conditions. A hot summer with less precipitation than usual is anticipated.

The Almanac’s long-range forecast for the High Plains region, which includes the Pikes Peak region and the eastern half of Colorado, predicts a warmer than normal winter with slightly below-normal precipitation.

The Colorado Springs area will experience a warmer and rainier than normal April and May and a hotter and drier than normal summer, it predicts.

“The coldest periods will be in late November, mid- and late December, early and late january and mid-February … with the snowiest periods in mid-and late December, late January and late March,” states the publication.

The Almanac’s predictions for the Intermountain Region, covering Western Colorado, Western Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Eastern Washington and Oregon and portions of Arizona and New Mexico, anticipate above-average precipitation in November, December, January and March. February is predicted to see average precipitation, while April and May are expected to see below-average precipitation.

Editor Janice Stillman says, “Will winter be cold? You bet — that’s what winter is. Cold. And snowy. At The Old Farmer’s Almanac, we pride ourselves on being as honest and accurate as possible, and we believe that the real story is that winters as we know them are melting away. Last year, our winter forecasts were 72 percent accurate. Our goal is to help our readers prepare for the year ahead.”

For the full Old Farmer’s Almanac weather forecast, visit almanac.com/content/2019-winter-weather-forecast.

Bear in mind that the Old Farmer’s Almanac uses a secret mathematical and astronomical formula based on the moon’s pull on the atmosphere and other factors — rather than satellite data — to make its predictions. The Almanac claims to have had an 83 percent accuracy rating for its 2017-18 forecasts, based on that “secret formula.”

Contact the writer at 476-1602.

Features Reporter/Special Sections Editor

Michelle is a features reporter and special sections editor for the Gazette. A Penn State graduate, she joined the Gazette in 2015.

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