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.

David Prahl / ISTOCK

With all the rain, it's been a good year for weeds. Weeds are smart and can give you clues as to what's happening in your soil. For example, plantain thrives on compacted soils, shepherd's purse on acidic soils, horsetail in poorly-drained soils and chickweed in high-nitrogen soils. Sometimes simply correcting the soil condition will help get rid of the weeds. Check out the book, "Weeds and What They Tell."

Holcy / ISTOCK

There's nothing more discouraging than working hard prepping your vegetable garden soil, making beds and sowing seeds, only to find as soon as the little plants emerge they get eaten by insects. One of the worst culprits this time of year is the flea beetle.

nuttakit / ISTOCK

One of my childhood food memories is my mom's eggplant parmesan. Back then the eggplant wasn't the main attraction, it was the gooey mozzarella cheese and sweet, garlic-ladened tomato sauce. My mom no longer cooks, but I still like to whip up a good batch of eggplant parm in the summer using our fresh veggies.  Now, I even appreciate the eggplants, too!


It's Memorial Day weekend and time to plant annual flowers. If you're looking for a no-nonsense, garden workhorse that will fill you flower needs, grow zinnias. This South American native isn't the most attractive flower in the pageant when grown in the wilds of Mexico, but once brought back to Europe and bred, it's become a stalworth. There are so many different colors, shapes and sizes that I grow a couple dozen each year.

Nickbeer / ISTOCK

It continues to be a cool, rainy spring. While our shrubs and trees are taking their time leafing out, nothing stops the lawn. It's been growing a mile-a-minute and mowing is difficult with the soggy soils. So, it's a good time to talk organic lawn care.

Geshas / ISTOCK

Happy Mother's Day! This year for mom, why not treat her to some time with her favorite son or daughter and go plant shopping together. One of the best gifts for a mom that likes to eat and cook, are culinary herbs.

sarangib / Pixabay

Whether it be to cover an unsightly fence, create a green wall on a patio or decorate a trellis, climbing vines are a great investment. So, if you want to make a quick impact in your yard or garden, annual climbing vines grow fast and flower all summer.

fortise / ISTOCK

I like the common names of flowers that describe what they really look like. Campanulas really do have bell-shaped flowers, echinacea really does have cone-shaped blooms and Dicentra flowers really look like a bleeding heart. Bleeding hearts are standard, spring flowers that should be up and growing now in your garden.

Jackie Harris / ISTOCK

If there ever was a sure thing in the perennial flower world, it's the daylily. Unlike the lilium or "Easter Lily," hemerocallis or daylilies are easy to grow.

josefkubes / ISTOCK

If you'd like to start an edible garden, but your yard is limited in space or sun, think up. Vertical gardening has become popular in urban areas around the world. I see vertical gardens everywhere, from small balconies to skyscrapers. You don't have to live in a city to grow vertically. It's a good way to maximize any space and keep your favorite edibles within reach.

Julija Dmitrijeva / ISTOCK

Peas are one of our most ancient vegetables. Archeologists have found them in tombs and caves dating back 5000 years. The earliest peas were used as a dried vegetable in soups. Their popularity as a fresh vegetable caught on in the 1600's in Europe and we've been eating them that way ever since.

lovelyday12 / ISTOCK

Everyone should be planting native trees. They're good for the environment and global warming, add beauty and shade to our yards, provide food for wildlife and homes for birds and other creatures. But there's nothing worse than buying a tree, planting it and having it suddenly die a few years later. This happens more than we'd like to admit, so I think we need a tree healthcare plan.

annalovisa / ISTOCK

Hydrangeas are common landscape plants that hail from Asia. While many know the shrub versions of hydrangeas, such as "mophead" or blue hydrangea, the smooth leaf or "Annabelle" hydrangea and the panicle hydrangea, fewer gardeners are familiar with the climbing hydrangea.


Happy Saint Patrick's Day! For some gardeners St. Patty's Day is the time to start sowing tomato seeds indoors. While the sentiment is great, the timing is off.

Valeriy_G / ISTOCK

With longer days and warmer temperatures, it's time to start pruning grapes. Pruning grapes can be hard for gardeners. Most gardeners prune off too little, leaving a nice looking vine for now, but a monster come summer.

Qwart / ISTOCK

This vegetable is ancient. Wild versions were used medicinally in 850 BC to ward off colds, flu and poor digestion. Its origins are from around the Mediterranean Sea, but it's also found wild in Asia and Northern Europe. The Italians first started growing it as a vegetable in the 17th century and through seed saving, they created taller stalks that weren't as strong flavored as the wild relatives. This vegetable is known as celery.

kruwt / ISTOCK

It's become a biennial tradition in Vermont. In March, just when the cold, snow, ice and cloudy weather seems to never end, the Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association puts on the Vermont Flower Show. What a relief!

Nahhan / ISTOCK

On my recent trip to Northern India, I noticed in farmers' fields a common Vermont shrub. There were rows and rows of yews. I found out they're the Pacific yews and farmers are growing them to extract a cancer-fighting chemical, taxol, from the plant.

p ponomare / ISTOCK

The days are getting longer and you know what that means for the veggie gardener, it's time to start thinking about tomatoes.

igaguri_1 / ISTOCK

Many people love having some houseplants blooming in winter. We're all familiar with African violets and Christmas cactus as two of the best flowering houseplants. But there are others that offer bright colorful flowers without much more work.