Vermont Garden Journal

Fridays at 5:55p.m., Sunday at 9:34a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Nardozzi will focus on a topic that's relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests and more.

Hear the Vermont Garden Journal Friday afternoons at 5:55pm and Sunday mornings at 9:34am.

Subscribe to the Vermont Garden Journal Podcast and RSS

Visit the VPR Archive for Vermont Garden Journal programs before 4/19/2013.

hotblack / morguefile

The fungus is among us, and it tastes good! That's what you might be saying when you start growing mushrooms indoors in your home. Foraging for wild mushrooms is fun, especially if you go with an experienced veteran who can distinguish good from potentially bad fungi. You can also  cultivate mushrooms in your garden and yard, but you have to wait months for fruit. To get a quick fix of the taste of wild mushrooms without all that hunting and waiting, grow them from kits indoors.

sideshowmom / Morguefile

The seed catalogs are here. This year I started perusing them first looking for new annual flower varieties. I like annuals in our cold climate. They often can be purchased in bloom in garden centers, and with little care, continuously flower until frost. Here are a few that stood out on my first pass through.

Melodi2 / Morguefile

Happy New Year. One of my favorite January activities is to read a few gardening books for inspiration and education. Here are this winter's selections.

kconnors / Morguefile

I've talked before about the air cleaning benefits of houseplants. Well, houseplants can help us in many more ways, especially in the dead of winter. Researchers for years have verified what many of use already feel about plants. Having plants in the home and workplace reduces blood pressure, raises attentiveness and well-being, reduces anxiety and increases productivity. But for black thumbs in the audience having houseplants that die can just contribute to plant guilt. Here's a solution, grow hard to kill houseplants.

ArielleJay / Morguefile

In the 1800's a London physician called Nathaniel Ward wanted to watch an insect chrysalis transform into a butterfly. He placed it, with some soil, in a glass jar and sealed it shut. To his amazement, but not only did he see the butterfly form, but he also saw ferns and grasses growing in the bottom of the jar. The plants continue to grow in the sealed jar for 4 years without additions of water. It was the first modern terrarium.

muvuka / Morguefile

This time of year, everyone is in a gift buying frenzy. Gardeners tend to be down-to-earth and are as happy with a bag of compost as a designer handbag. But there are still worthwhile gifts to consider for your favorite gardener.

hotblack / Morguefile

There's something special about stomping through the snow on a cold winter morning to pick out a holiday tree. Although I grew up with the classic plastic tree, as an adult I love the feel and smell of a good balsam tree.

Here's how to select the best tree. First, decide on the type of evergreen. Balsam has a great fragrance. Blue spruce has stiff needles, but can drop needles in a warm room. Scotch pine has stiff branches and needles that stay on the tree even when dry. White pine has soft, long needles and weak branches that can support only small ornaments.

Peggy Greb / Public Domain

Charles Warner once said, “Lettuce is like conversation: it must be fresh and crisp, and so sparkling that you scarcely notice the bitter in it.” After our recent cold snaps, finding crisp, fresh and sparkling lettuce in your garden may be impossible. Unless you have a greenhouse or a hoop house system, you're probably relegated to buying your greens.

Yaarche / Morguefile

With the darker days of November upon us, this gardener's attention turns to indoor houseplants. One of the hottest trends in gardening is growing succulents. Succulents have thick leaves, stems or roots for water storage. There is a wide variety of succulents to grow and most are virtually indestructible! But don't get confused. While all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti. True cactus have what's called an areole. It looks like a patch of cotton from which spines, flowers, and roots grow. While succulents may have spines, they don't have aeroles.

Al Behrman / AP

With the cold weather finally upon, most garden plants have gone dormant for the season. But don't get too comfortable in front of the wood stove yet. There are still a few chores to do and the most important is to protect your trees and shrubs.

Pages