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.

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

I recently returned from leading VPR's Gardens and Food tour of Spain and France. While in Provence I was struck by the pumpkins, or should I say lack of them. The round, orange skinned orbs we love to decorate and paint for Halloween are non-existent. But instead are the red, flattened, cinderella pumpkins. In French, they're called 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes'. Our French cooking class chef said they're the best for flavor. It got me thinking and noticing many different squashes on farm stands and markets right here in Vermont.

Planting spring flowering bulbs is an act of supreme faith. We hopefully pop our tulips, crocus and hyacinth bulbs into the soil now with dreams of a rainbow of colors next spring. Unfortunately, we aren't the only ones loving those bulbs. Squirrels, chipmunks and mice are just some of the creatures that will happily munch on your bulbs under ground so that come spring all you might see in your garden are the weeds you missed last fall.

When the calendar turns to October, it's garlic planting time. While many of us know of hardneck and softneck garlics, there are some unusual garlic relatives that are also planted now.

Although Vermont's new law on banning food scraps in landfills begins to take effect this fall, homeowners will still have a number of years to get their systems in place. But there's no reason to wait until the government tells you to do it. Food scrap composting is easy and produces great compost. Here's some tips to get started.

Vermont Garden Journal: Community Gardens

Sep 19, 2014

If you're a gardener you already know the benefits of growing your own fruits, vegetable and herbs. Many of us are blessed with abundant, healthy gardens this time of year. But, the realities of everyday life often prevent many Vermonters from growing a garden. One of the biggest deterrents is time. We often spend more time at work, than at home.

This common annual flower is in full bloom now, gracing hanging baskets and containers with its colorful double, sometime fragrant, blooms. It's origins go back to the Andes Mountains and it was all the rage in the late 1800's in Europe. But it wasn't introduced to North America until around World War I when a soldier, Carlton Lowe, saw it growing in Belgium and brought seeds back home to Ohio. What's the name of this globe trotting flower? It's the tuberous begonia.

There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about insects as food. In many parts of the world insects are a common delicacy. Its estimated that 2 billion people around the globe regularly eat insects. And why not? They're a great source of protein and there certainly are lots of them. While I did dabble in eating ants in Thailand in the Peace Corps many years ago, there's one insect in my garden I'd love a recipe for. It's the tomato hornworm.

You start seeing signs around Labor Day at local garden centers. They start with a quiet 20 percent off and by October the signs are screaming up to 75 percent off! What's on sale? Trees and shrubs.

Fall is good time to buy trees and shrubs. Many nurseries and garden centers don't want to carry their stock through the winter, so they're eager to move plants. But, as with any shopping, you need to discriminate between healthy and not so healthy plants. Here are some tips.

This time of year it's usually a battle to keep my herbs from going to seed. We all know herbs like basil produce more and bigger leaves if you can slow the march toward flower and seed formation. But sometimes it's best to work with nature, instead of against it. Some herbs, such has dill, fennel and cilantro, produce seeds that are not only edible, but desirable. Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander, a favorite in Indian and other ethnic dishes. Dill seed is used in cooking and to make pickles, while fennel seeds are used in teas, breads and soups and it a good digestive.

This common flower's botanical name means “to sit,” probably for the way it creeps along rocks. It is also called rocky stonecrop in England for the way it's perched on cliffs. We know it as sedum.

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