All Things Gardening

Sunday at 9:35 a.m.

Each week, Charlie Nardozzi joins VPR’s Weekend Edition host Mary Engisch for a conversation about gardening, and to answer your questions about what you're seeing in the natural world.

We'll spend time every episode addressing your gardening problems so you can stay on top of things. We want to hear from you via email, Facebook messages, tweets and phone calls to use on the air.

Each show will begin with Mary and Charlie discussing a hot trend or timely chore. It could be about the weather, a technique, a new plant or a new gadget. Then, we'll talk about your questions.

Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your written question via email, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your question so we can use your voice on the air: the info to Contact VPR is here!

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Ways to Connect

A deer eats the tops of flowering plants.

It seems you wait all winter for some colorful flowers to bloom and then the deer and rabbits eat them all first! When it comes to flowering bulbs, there are preventive measures to avoid this.

Purple and pink sweet pea blossoms on slender green stems.

Some flower varieties just seem to elicit a smile on your face just by looking at them. One such posie is the lovely sweet pea, with the flower bud's cheery appearance, beautiful hues and lovely scent!

Planting them is easy, when you know a couple of helpful tips. And you can start seeds indoors this month, then transplant and grow in a flower garden, raised bed or window box to use in fresh sweet pea bouquets for the table.

Find heirloom, fragrant varieties with names like "Miss Willmott," "America" and "Cupani." There is also a smaller window-box-sized variety, called, "Cupid," and even a perennial sweet pea.

A pair of pruning shears cut the limb of a berry bush.

Many gardeners are growing blueberry bushes in their lawns and landscapes. These are great additions to your yard, because they are not only beautiful but also provide fresh fruit!

Now is a perfect time to learn some techniques for pruning your blueberry bushes. We'll learn about when to prune, the different aged branches and how to prune to get the best production.

A raised garden bed with herbs and veggies is watered from a watering can.
Patrick Daxenbichler

Early spring is the perfect time to build some raised beds. First, though, there are some things to consider, like the size of the raised bed and the material you’ll use.

Plan And Scheme Your Way To A Productive Garden Plot

Mar 7, 2021
A drawn plan on paper of gardens and lawn with colored pencils.

Though “planting schemes'' may sound like a devious plot hatched by your zucchini, it is actually just planning how you want your garden to look in terms of what gets planted where. And now is a good time to start planning out your vegetable, flower and herb gardens.

We'll learn about planting in straight rows, broadcasting seed, block planting and polyculture planting, and which techniques to use to boost production in raised beds and gardens. 

So, while there is still snow on the ground and chill in the air, get your garden plot and raised bed plans on paper with these new planting methods to try!

Small green seedlings in peat pots with soil.
Jon Spalding

The sun (when it appears) seems a bit warmer on your skin and you've got dreamy garden-plotting thoughts in your head. Right now, though, patience is your best friend when it comes to seed-starting!

You want to ensure your seedlings get the best beginning they can. This ensures they can thrive and produce fruits, veggies and flowers once you plant them in your garden or raised bed this spring and summer.

So, for right now, gather what you need and in a week or two, you should be good to start begin your seed-starts!

Small carrot seedlings in a line grow in soil.

You may have heard the mantra that, "carrots love tomatoes," when it comes to garden placement. In this episode, we'll learn about plant partners and the scientific data that backs up how the placement of certain plants can keep pests and weeds at bay. You can experiment in your own garden this summer! 

Various cut flowers in glass vases sit on a wooden table.

Happy Valentine's Day! To preserve cut flowers that you may have received for the holiday, we’ll run through the basics of cut flower care including some tried-and-true home remedies.

A drawer-ful of vegetable seed packets.

While planning for your garden, going through seed catalogs can be like a wintertime treasure hunt, especially, if you are seeking out new and unusual varieties of veggies, flowers and herbs!

Natural aromatic herbs on a cutting board.

Get a taste of greenery by learning to grow easy culinary herbs indoors right now. Learning the right lighting, watering, temperature and harvesting are key to growing indoor herbs!  

A silver trowel and digging tool with wooden handles in brown soil.

A single teaspoon of soil has more microbes in it than there are people on the planet, and they are a crucial part in creating a healthy soil structure. This spring, folks who garden can embrace a new mantra: stop tilling, turning and digging your soil!

Through a magnifier, the viewer can see tiny, red spider mites on the back of a plant's leaf.
jess311 / iStock

Aphids, mealybugs and spider mites, oh my! In this episode, we'll learn how to identify and tackle household pests, plus how to avoid them in the first place. We'll also find out more about common houseplant critters like white flies, scale and fungus gnats.

Houseplants on a wooden shelf near a sunny window.

You've joined the houseplant bandwagon! Now that your greenery has been growing indoors for awhile, you're beginning to notice problems, like spindly growth, brown leaf tips, poor flowering and wilting. In this first of two episodes on indoor plant care, Charlie will share the main causes of poorly growing houseplants and some easy solutions.

A woman wearing a mask browses for poinsettias.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Growing houseplants with dark green leaves is a fun winter pastime and you have so many to choose from! If you want to add some more colorful houseplants into a room in your home that gets low to medium light throughout the day, you might try plants with spathes. A spathe is a modified leaf - like the kinds found on a poinsettia plant. Spathes stay colorful for months and tend to bloom in winter and early spring. 

Deep green evergreen needles and boughs.

If you celebrate holidays and decorate for them with a live tree, this year, here are five (plus one extra one that involves camelids) environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of it!

Gifts wrapped in paper and twine with sprigs and a pinecone and blank nametag
jakkapan21 / iStock

If you've been dragging your feet and you still haven't gotten your favorite gardener a gift, fear not, as Charlie Nardozzi has great ideas - from hand tools to totes to even special gloves and seed-starting supplies.  

A heart-shaped wreath decorated with sage leaves and berries.

Many homes place an evergreen wreath on their door or wall for the season. Traditional holiday wreaths are often decorated with bows, berries and cones. This year has been unlike any other so perhaps it is the perfect time to break out of tradition and try a different approach!

 A red poinsettia flower sits on a table with evergreen boughs and holiday ornaments.
anyaivanova / iStock

Those pretty red poinsettias adorning your holiday table actually grow as shrubs in their native Central America. These posies have become the symbol of the holidays in many countries all over the world. In this episode, we’ll learn about poinsettia varieties, how to care for them and the ever-important question: are poinsettias really poisonous?

A leafless tree in cold weather, backed by a soft sunset sky.

With 'stick season' upon us, we won’t be seeing green leaves on trees for another six months. Why not plant some trees and shrubs in your lawn and landscape that boast beautiful-looking bark?

dried brown flowers
brytta / iStock

Should you cut back your hydrangeas? If you want to protect them for winter, now is a great time to not only cut them back and dead-head the flowers, but also do some other winter care prep methods. You just need to know which variety you've got before you begin.