Vermont Garden Journal

Clemson Extension Service

Vermont's Act 148, the Universal Recycling & Composting Law, is having a big impact on how Vermonters deal with their waste. This law has been phasing in mandatory recycling and composting for businesses and residences since 2014. By 2020, food scraps and organic waste will be banned from the landfill.

Phil Armitage

Chip and Dale and the Alvin And The Chipmunks may be the warm, fuzzy versions of real life squirrel family pests but if you're a gardener, you know that chipmunks and squirrels can be a pain in the bulb. These rodents aren't picky and will eat tomatoes, roses, tulip bulbs, plums and many other plants.

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As the calendar turns to September, our attention turns to winter squash. Once they're planted, winter squash tend to take care of themselves.

The squash start sizing and coloring up this time of year and due to this year's hot temperatures, it seems pumpkins and winter squash are maturing early. They can stay in the garden until you're ready to harvest. If you can’t easily pierce the rind with your fingernail, it's best to wait until the vines die back to harvest.

glennimage / iStock

Zinnias haven't always been the darling of the garden. When they were first discovered in its native Mexico by the Spanish, they were thought so unattractive they was called "mal de ojos," or sickness of the eyes.

However, through years of breeding, zinnias have been transformed into one of our favorite garden flowers.

Chepki Danil / iStock

Saving seeds isn't for every gardener but there are great reasons to do it. It saves you money, preserves unusual heirloom varieties and helps you develop varieties adapted to your yard.

With concerns about plant extinction and rare home varieties becoming unavailable, the best way to ensure you have the varieties you want is to save your own seed.

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This summer, some areas of our region have only received 50 to 75 percent of their normal rainfall. The lack of rain combined with hot, sunny days has had an impact on the garden.

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There are more than 600 varieties of hydrangea around the world and while the blue hydrangea gets the most press, there are newer types that don’t get as much attention.

Courtesy, Fine Gardening

I like a shrub with a description that says it tolerates shade, clay soil, wet soil and erosion and still blooms. This shrub is called the pepperbush or summersweet. Its botanical name means “alder” in Greek since the leaves resemble those of the alder tree. We call it clethra.

Rey Rojo / iStock

We've all lost beautiful summer squash, pumpkin or winter squash plants to the Squash Vine Borer. This destructive moth lays eggs in July at the base of these plants and the larvae burrows into the stem causing it to wilt.

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The variability of summer weather means you have to stay on your toes to make sure your garden gets enough water. Here are three tips for keeping your flowers and vegetables hydrated this summer:

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While annual weeds such as chickweed and pigweed have many control options, including eating them, keeping perennial weeds out of your garden is trickier. Perennial weeds are tough because they can form new plants along their roots, so even if you pull out most of the plant, what's left behind in the soil will eventually send up a new shoot.

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Morning glories are often grown as decoration and sometimes a food crop. It is related to other common garden plants such as sweet potatoes and moon flowers.

Melissa Carroll / iStock

One native shrub that often gets overlooked is viburnum. There are more than 150 species of viburnums, ranging in size from a compact 3-foot shrub to a small tree. Most shrubs grow to be around 6- to 12-feet tall, making them great hedges and foundation plants.

Eric Ferguson / iStock

Pollinators like honey bees and Monarch butterflies play an important role in our food system and ecosystem. It's a good idea to find ways to attract pollinators to your garden. Here are some tips that will bring more bees, butterflies and other pollinators to your garden this summer:

Choose pollinator friendly plants

Wildflowers and heirloom varieties of popular flowers are great choices.  Some modern hybrid flowers may be attractive and have good characteristics but they aren't the best for pollinators.

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In Vermont, people wait months for warm weather and so do the bugs. These insects might an annoyance to humans, but they can damage plants in the garden if you don't get rid of them. Here are two bugs to watch for in the garden.

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Some common names of plants can be a bit of an exaggeration, like sneeze weed and monkey puzzle tree. Ninebark, a common shrub in our area, falls into this same category.

scrappy annie / Flickr

Get your green thumbs ready for summer: garden expert Charlie Nardozzi helps solve your "perennial" problems in the garden.

Jen Potato Photo / iStock

No matter what kind of tomatoes you're growing, it's important to keep them off the ground or else you risk fruit rot and leaf diseases.

Here are four ways to keep plants up and off the ground:

If you're staking indeterminate varieties, pinch off the suckers when small so the plant doesn't overwhelm the stake. Also, use Velcro plant ties to attach them to the stake.

Pinus / Wikimedia Commons

The Four O'Clock is a bit of an odd flower: Its different colored blossoms open in the late afternoon and close in the morning.

BasieB / iStock

The spirea is a spring blooming shrub that can look magnificent when cared for properly. Unfortunately, many gardeners plant them in the wrong location and they get too big blocking windows and walkways and end up pruning them into little geometric shapes.