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.

When you find a wild apple tree you like that is still in good shape, you can help it produce more consistently with pruning, mulching and fertilizing.
Stanislav Ostranitsa / ISTOCK

In the fields behind our house there is an abundance of wild apple trees. Some may have been intentionally planted years ago and are the remnants of an old orchard. Others probably grew from seeds dropped by birds and animals after eating the fruits.

Fall means that it's time to start moving houseplants indoors. This should be a gradual process till they are permanently inside under a grow light or near a sunny window.

Just like that, the weather turns. Cool evenings, turn into cooler days and all of a sudden, we're thinking fall. I shouldn't be, but I'm always a bit surprised when autumn starts.

Culver's root, or Veronicastrum, grows up to seven feet tall and is adapted to wet soil and partial or full sun.
mr_coffee / ISTOCK

I've been enjoying the late-summer, tall perennials in many gardens. Perennial flowers, such as "Golden Glow" Rudbeckia, plume poppy and Joe Pye weed, add a nice backdrop to other flowers and put on quite a show themselves. Plus, many of these tall perennials are natives that help wildlife, bees and butterflies.

The idea behind No-Dig Gardening is to retire the tiller and allow the natural soil structure to rejuvenate and have a more productive garden with less hard work.
Alexlukin / ISTOCK

I'm starting to work on a new book that won't be out until 2020. It's on No-Dig Gardening, a topic that I've been playing around with in my vegetable and annual flower gardens for years. I'm excited to dive deeper into it. I'm rereading the classic No-Work Gardening by Ruth Stout, checking out No-Dig Gardening experts on Youtube and refreshing my understanding of some permaculture techniques.

Serviceberries are a type of edible hedgrerow that grows well in partial sun areas. However, be willing to share your berry harvest with the birds.
Akchamczuk / ISTOCK

Snaking along my front yard is a five-foot wide edible hedgerow bed. I wanted a garden bed that would be a transition between my lawn and hayfield. Instead of just a row of shrubs, I decided to grow mixed edible plants.

Charlie Nardozzi, host of Vermont Garden Journal
Courtesy of Charlie Nardozzi

Join us on Sunday, August 25 at 11:00 a.m. at VPR's Stetson Studio One in Colchester for a fall gardening talk with Charlie Nardozzi

The tropical vine, mandevilla features large, colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers on winding vines that need support.
magicflute002 / ISTOCK

This time of year annual flower gardens are in their glory. Some of the best gardens are those featuring topical vines. Although we live in a cold climate, you can grow tropical vines in summer as annuals. It just takes a little attention to when, where and how you plant them.

Helenium is a hardy, native perennial that grows in damp areas in wild meadows. It flowers in mid-summer and lasts until the first frost, making it perfect for this time of year.
OlgaKorica / ISTOCK

It's August and soon we'll hit that quiet time in our perennial flower garden after the early-summer flowers fade, but before the fall flowers shine. We're always looking for plants to fill this late-summer void and one of the best is Helenium.

The keys to great melon growing are heat, water and fertility. We have the heat right now, but we all know it won't last all summer.
margouillatphotos / ISTOCK

With all this hot weather we've been having lately, the melons in my garden are taking off! I've been growing cantaloupes and watermelons for years and have a few tips on growing a great crop.

Cucumber beetles are attracted to the color yellow. You can use that preference to trap them and control their population.
David Bautista / ISTOCK

They're small, black and yellow and seem like they shouldn't be a problem in a vegetable garden, but they are! The cucumber beetle comes in two versions; the black and yellow striped or spotted species. Both cause damage to cucumbers, melons, and squashes by feeding on young transplants, seedlings and flowers and by transmitting bacterial wilt disease to plants. For such a small insect, they can pack a wallop.

When seeds drop from spinach, lettuce and other greens, collect and sprinkle them so they self-sow for next season.
Mindstyle / iStock

I've been enjoying full heads of lettuce from my garden. The best part is that I never planted them. Many vegetables and herbs will self-sow seeds in summer and fall, and pop up next spring. With a little editing, you can save some of them for eating.

Calla lilies are very adaptable and can be grown in containers, under trees, and in sun or shade.
David Gomez / iStock

As Katherine Hepburn once said, “the calla lilies are in bloom again...suitable to any occasion.” What's more, calla lilies are suitable to almost any location as well.

LindasPhotography / ISTOCK

Last week I gave an overview of controlling weeds in the garden. This week I'm talking about my favorite way to control weeds, which is by harvesting them!

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.