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.

Dave Spindle / Flickr

This common perennial flower is of two minds. One version is tall and tidy with beautiful white, blue or pink flowers. Another is a low growing, native ground cover with blue, rose or white flowers that actually can become a weed. The common name speedwell, literally means to thrive. We mostly know this perennial as Veronica.

billnoll / iStock

If you thought potatoes were just those boring spuds found in bags in the grocery store, think again. Potatoes have a rich history and continue to be at the forefront of controversy around the world. This common global food has been the center of mass migrations of people and lawsuits challenging multi-national corporations. Not bad for an Andean spud.

The Fern Lover's Companion / Flickr

This plant is millions of years old, predating dinosaurs. It's name means feathers because it has divided and delicate leaves. Historically people has believed this plant can provide good luck, protect you from lightning and give you magical qualities such as invisibility. What common plant is this? It's the fern.

kgtoh / iStock

One cold morning at breakfast, I was swatting small, black flies from my potted amaryllis and thinking, insects are opportunists. Even in winter, these bugs find a way to survive.

romrodinka / istock

Green shakes have gone viral. A few years back people would raise their eyebrows at the idea of drinking a kale or spinach shake for breakfast. Now, everyone is touting the benefits of green smoothies. It's become a gourmet trend. And why not? I find I have more energy starting the day with a green shake and it's a quick way to get some nutritious greens and fruits into my body.

professorphotoshop / istock

As I munch away at the last of our stored winter squash and potatoes, my attention moves towards the spring. Now is the time to assess your veggie seed stock and plan on what to grow for 2015. Here’s what I'll be trying.

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.

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