The gardening season is here and there is so much that we want to share with all our garden friends. Here's a taste of Burlington-area garden events and activities. Stay tuned for VCGN's full May newsletter next week with more exciting news!
The Here We Hoe Again team jumps for garden joy at the VNA Family Room during Day in the Dirt! on May 3.
Perennials, and Hops, and Burlap, Oh My!
Day in the Dirt! Success
More Burlington Garden Events


The 14th Annual Grow Team O.N.E. / VCGN Spring Plant Sale is this Saturday, May 10, at Integrated Arts Academy/HO Wheeler Elementary School in Burlington.



This popular perennial sale supports neighborhood gardening and garden-based education. There will be a wide selection of perennials, herbs, hops, heirloom vegetable starts from Slow  Food Vermont and burlap bags.


Mulch your garden and support a great cause! The 2x3-ft burlap bags from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters are an excellent biodegradable weedblock for garden pathways and sheet mulching, and they're great for grow bags, sack races, and craft projects too! Click here to pre-order and pick them up at the plant sale.


Day in the Dirt! on Saturday, May 3 was a tremendous success thanks to the more than 130 volunteers who gave local community and school gardens a spring boost, and the local businesses and organizations that made the event possible.

Day in the Dirt! is a partnership of VCGN, Burlington Parks & Recreation,
Green Mountain Compost, and Gardener's Supply, with support from a team of students in UVM's Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, and a host of local businesses (see below).

Read on for a first person account of the day from VCGN Intern
Colin Reid and click here for more photos.

The Champlain Elementary School volunteers take a well-deserved break to gather for a group photo.

A Dedicated Day in the Dirt

By Colin Reid
VCGN Communications Intern 
Colin Reid is a Writing and Literature major at Burlington College.


It was my first full day as a Vermont Community Garden

Network Intern; I arrived at the office at 8:30 Saturday morning and was greeted by a group of motivated volunteers. They shuffled about in an organized chaos carrying boxes of water bottles, sponsor signs, shovels, and pitchforks, among other things. These folks were preparing for their jobs as "Volunteer Site Leaders" at 12 community and school gardens around Burlington as part of VCGN second annual Day in the Dirt!


The morning started off quickly. Site leaders arrived at the gardens just before 9am to welcome volunteers and explain what the day's work would involve.  The first location I stopped at was Baird Park at the south end of Pine Street. Baird Park Community garden is one of the city's 14 community gardens managed by Burlington Parks & Recreation. When I arrived, a large team of Burton employees had turned a field of grass into a workable garden. They were expanding an existing site. Volunteers were busy shoveling mulch into five gallon buckets and spreading it around the perimeter of the thirty-by-seventy-five-foot planting area. A light rain was falling but spirits were high. As I watched the transformation of the land take place I couldn't help letting my imagination take me a month or two into the future when the garden will be thriving with healthy, vibrant, plants.  


After leaving Baird Park I drove a short distance to Champlain Elementary School where another crew of volunteers was on their hands and knees pulling weeds and spreading soil around the raised beds. Two volunteers worked on pruning the fence around the garden space which had been taken over by vines. There were no idle hands, every volunteer was busy and it was motivating to see strangers come together and work to achieve a common goal. "This is amazing to have this many people here," Aziza Malik said without breaking her stride. Aziza, who teaches fourth grade at Champlain Elementary, informed me that the kids absolutely love checking in on their plants during recess. "Stevia is a favorite," she said. Stevia is a plant that has a sweet taste; it is often used as a sugar substitute, which explains why children tend to enjoy it. "They'll taste it and then look at you like they've done something wrong," Aziza said. "But it's OK!"


Ty Volante from Burton Snowboards repairs the Abenaki Heritage Garden fence.
My original plan was to visit the majority of the gardens before the volunteers had finished their work. I quickly realized this was not a realistic expectation. At each garden I visited I found new people and new jobs that caught my interest. It's easy to get caught up in conversations with friendly people and I found myself running out of time to make my rounds. I gained plenty of knowledge at the gardens I was able to visit and I'm looking forward to watching all of them come to life over the course of the summer!


 Read more about Day in the Dirt! here. 



More Burlington Area Garden Events

Garden Basics Workshops - May 17-Sept. 27
11:30am-12:45pm select Saturdays at Tommy Thompson Community Garden
In partnership with Burlington Area Community Gardens/Burlington Parks & Recreation, Vermont Community Garden Network presents a series of beginner garden workshops on topics such as soil health, garden planting, pests and disease prevention, food and medicine from your weeds, preserving garden produce, and extending the season. $10 sliding scale per workshop. Click here for more info and registration.

VCGN Grow It! Workshop
May 12 at O'Brien Community Center in Winooski, 4-7pm. Join community and school garden leaders to learn how to promote commitment and engagement, discuss strategies to boost your garden programs and share stories and ideas. Click here for more info and registration or call (802) 861-4769.

New North End Plant Sale to Benefit BACG
May 17 at Bibens Ace Hardware in Burlington, 10am-2pm. A wide selection of Red Wagon Plants vegetables and herbs to raise funds for Burlington Area Community Gardens scholarship fund and to help expand services to New American gardeners. More info about BACG:

Also May 17:
Bloomtime Festival, 10am-3pm, Hort Research Center, South Burlington, 864-3073 Gardener's Supply Truckload Sale, Burlington and Williston, 660-3505 / 658-2433

May 24 at Hunt Middle School in Burlington, 8:30am-2pm. Call (802) 951-2571 or (802) 660-9189 for more info.

Champlain Valley Sweet Potato Slip Sale
June 7 & 8 at Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg, 8am-6pm. The well-rooted Beauregard sweet potato plants thrive in Vermont gardens. All proceeds support VCGN's garden-based education and outreach programs. Call (802) 861-4769 for bulk pre-orders.



See our website for more Garden Grants and Garden Events from around the state.

Vermont Community Garden Network supports and connects the state's community and school gardens and offers hands-on garden education in Burlington. We believe in the power of people growing food together to strengthen food security and build community.

YOU can help meet the growing needs of the 300+ garden groups in Burlington and throughout the state. Please consider a donation to VCGN. Your gift helps more people grow more food for themselves, their families, and neighbors.

Donate online at or to VCGN, 12 North St. Suite 5, Burlington, VT 05401.

Thank you!

We'd love to hear from you!
Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Libby Weiland, Program Manager
Ann Pearce, Volunteer Coordinator/Admin
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Aleyna Rodriguez, Spring 2014 Intern
Sydney Foster, Colin Reid, Sarah Shaw and Shannan Webb, Summer 2014 Interns
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