August 2014 
"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."
-Hanna Rion

This has been a great gardening season - lots of sunshine, just the right amount of rain, and not too many pests. As a result, community and home gardeners are enjoying an abundant harvest. There are lots of great opportunities coming up to celebrate the harvest at fun events, show off your garden produce at the Champlain Valley Fair, and share your successes and learn from other gardeners and garden leaders at the Grow It! workshops. Join us!   

In This Issue
Join us at the Champlain Valley Fair
New Compost System at VNA Family Room Garden
Tips For Garden Leaders
Gardens For Learning Update
Harvest Events
Donations for Garden Groups


FairShow Off Your Garden at the Champlain Valley Fair Aug. 22-31! 

  • Youth and adults can enter vegetables, fruit, flowers, and preserves in the Garden Center competitions. Vegetable entries will be accepted from exhibitors age seven through adults on Thursday, Aug. 21, 10am-8pm. Each youth vegetable exhibitor and one accompanying parent or guardian will receive a free pass to attend the Fair on Aug. 23and participate in a face-to-face judging session.
  • There is also a Community Garden category for thematic displays using a diversity of vegetables and flowers from your community, school, or neighborhood garden, combined with photos that show the garden site and gardeners.  This year's theme is "In the Garden." * Preregister with Garden Center Supervisor Michelle Perry at (802) 879-0900 or by Aug. 18 to make sure there is adequate space for your display.)
  • Come see VCGN in the Garden Center on Saturday, Aug. 23 with face-to-face youth vegetable judging from 3-5pm and a Garden Summer Roll taste test from 11am-1pm.

For information on how to enter your items visit the Champlain Valley Fair Garden Center.




New 3-bin Compost System at VNA Family Room Garden at Ethan Allen Homestead


VCGN Compost Systems intern Shannan Webb staples a mesh liner to the recycled pallets that make up the 3-bin system she designed.  The mesh is fine enough to hold compost in while allowing air to move through the piles. 

By Colin Reid 


VCGN's Compost Systems intern, Shannan Webb, researched, designed, and recently constructed a 3-bin compost system for the VNA Family Room Garden. The Family Room provides services to parents and their children from birth through five years including preschool, play groups, and parent education and support programs at its Allen Street site in Burlington. Most of the families who participate in programs live in Burlington's Old North End. The garden, located at Ethan Allen Homestead, was established in 1999. 


A 3-bin compost system can greatly benefit the garden and its users; when used properly it can produce more and better compost than a single pile.  

  • 1st bin- This should be made up of alternating layers of green materials (food scraps, grass clippings, garden clean-up waste) and brown materials (straw, leaves, woodchips). Any time green materials are added, simply put a covering of dry brown materials on top - this will help with the decomposition process as well as minimize any odors.
  • 2nd bin- This is the "working bin" and is where the majority of decomposition takes place.
  • 3rd bin- The third bin is where the finished product is made. When the composted materials turn dark brown and can be sifted through without finding recognizable objects than the compost is ready for use.


*All stages of the 3-bin system can be sped up by occasionally mixing the materials.


Shannan expects that it may take a full year for all 3 bins to get full and working, but after that there will be materials in each stage of the system making fresh compost readily available. Each bin will soon have instructional signs explaining what materials go where.




LeadersThe Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

By Libby Weiland  

Your August tip:

Welcome to the month of plenty! This is the time you've been waiting for all season. As you well know, this beautiful abundance can quickly turn into an overwhelming amount of food. That's a good thing if you know how to manage it! Here are a few ideas for helping your gardeners manage their bountiful harvest, from baseball bat zucchinis to buckets of tomatoes: *Click here to view a detailed version of these tips.
  • Donate to the Local Food Shelf.
  • Host a Community Potluck
  • Hold a Workshop on Preservation
  • Share Recipes
  • Get Creative!

Grow It! Fall Workshops

Join community and school garden leaders from around your region for this unique training series. Learn strategies to boost your garden programs and support growth, share stories and ideas, and celebrate this growing movement.     

  • Woodstock Elementary School: Sept. 4, 15 South Street, Woodstock
  • Hardwick Elementary School: Sept. 8, 135 South Main St., Hardwick
  • Barre City Elementary & Middle School: Sept. 11, 50 Parkside Terrace, Barre
  • Ethan Allen Homestead: Sept. 23, Winooski Valley Parks District, 1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington
  • Lothrop Elementary School: Sept. 29, 3447 U.S. 7, Pittsford
  • Retreat House, Immanuel Episcopal Church: Oct.2, 20 Church St., Bellows Falls
  • The Village School of North Bennington: Oct. 8, 9 School St., North Bennington 

Click here to register now! 


We are pleased to partner with Vermont garden expert Charlie Nardozzi on the Grow It! series. For more information, contact us at (802) 961-4769 or email Libby at  


 Gardens For Learning Update 


Gardens For Learning Coordinator Maggie Callahan (center, green shirt) with the children at the
St. Johnsbury School Garden.

By Colin Reid 


Gardens For Learning (GFL) participants at seven sites around the state have been busily harvesting, preparing, and cooking fruits and veggies this summer.  Salsa, pesto, and zucchini bread are some of the favorites so far.  Children have also enjoyed churning cream in to butter to spread on their bread and muffins, and creating garden flags.  


The Gardens For Learning program educates children how to grow, harvest, and cook healthy meals for themselves. VCGN adopted the Gardens For Learning program from Food Works at Two Rivers Center this spring. It's been great getting to know the gardens - and gardeners - and seeing the diversity of programs.


Campers in Bennington build a teepee in their three sisters garden.

"So far, the gardens have harvested basil, kale, some early tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, beets, cilantro, and several varieties of flowers and herbs," said Maggie Callahan, GFL Coordinator. "The site coordinators did a good job at incorporating MyPlate exercises and new, healthy recipes into the camp."  


Here is a sampling of activities that Maggie recorded from recent site visits:  


At Green Acres Housing in Barre, children made squash-onion-potato pancakes with vegetables they had just harvested from their array of raised beds.


The children at the Family Center of Washington County in Montpelier love bugs. They identified different varieties and dispatched pests by taking stink bugs for a swim (a.k.a. drowning) and sending snails on snail races (a.k.a. throwing them out of the garden.    


In Bennington, GFL campers learned how corn, beans and squash benefit one another and then divided up a section of soil and each planted their own "three sisters" garden.     


To learn more and see more photos from the sites, visit the Gardens For Learning Facebook page.  

2014 Garden For learning Sites:


  • Family Center of Washington County, Montpelier
  • Green Acres Housing, Barre
  • Highgate Appartments, Barre
  • Mount Anthony Union Middle School, Bennington
  • Richford Health Center, Richford
  • St. Johnsbury School, St. Johnsbury
  • Tinmouth Elementary School, Tinmouth



Community Teaching Garden Enters Week 13 

Students, staff and friends of the CTG enjoy another garden-inspired potluck.


The Community Teaching Garden, VCGN's beginning gardener class, has passed the halfway point and has already covered a multitude of topics, including:  

  • soil preparation
  • garden planning
  • planting and care
  • weeding
  • trellising
  • pest identification
  • and many other topics, including harvesting!

The Teaching Garden is a great way to learn the ins and outs of organic gardening as well as engage with people who share an common interest. Monthly potlucks are held which give members an opportunity to share stories, ideas, and most importantly cooking skills and recipes!


Visit the 2014 CTG blog to see week to week topics and see the classes in action.


*Registration for the 2015 CTG course will begin at the start of the year.



CelebrateCelebrate Harvest Season!  


BACG Summer Potluck: Sunday, Aug. 17  

All gardeners and garden friends welcome! Drinks and veggie burgers provided. Bring a dish to share and your own plate and utensils.5:30-7:30pm at the Waterfront Shelter in Burlington (between the Coast Guard Station and the Sailing Center).



 Save the Date:

  VCGN Harvest Party: Sunday, Sept. 28 

Join the Vermont Community Garden Network and garden groups from around the city for a celebration of the season, garden tours, great food, and a special recognition ceremony. 4-7pm at Ethan Allen Homestead. More info coming soon!



Get your tickets now:
Local Vermont Food Festival

Sept. 19-21
Oakledge Park in Burlington.


This FREE 3-day celebration of Vermont food includes music, seminars, and kids events. It's also a fundraiser for local organizations - including the Vermont Community Garden Network!  


Buy your tickets for the Brewhaha beer and cider tasting and the Great Harvest supper and sign up for the free seminars now at   




Donations for Gardens  


Friends of VCGN have kindly donated gardening supplies. We have the following items that are looking for homes in community or school gardens: 

  • Complete drip irrigation system, including all attachments
  • One collapsible wire compost bin

These items are available to community and school garden groups. Please contact us at (802) 861-4769 if you can put them to good use! They can be picked up in Burlington.


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

The VCGN Bulletin provides garden-based news, resources, and events for community, school, and neighborhood gardeners and garden leaders all over the state on a monthly basis. For more frequent updates and a fun way to post your own news, garden photos, videos, and events, check us out on  Facebook and  Twitter.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send your garden news and events to share with our growing network of more than 2,000 school and community gardeners all over the state. Please include a web page link to help direct readers to the information source.

Since 2001, the Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly known as Friends of Burlington Gardens) has worked with community and school groups to start, sustain and grow gardens, building strong local food systems and vibrant educational sites.

For more information, visit our website or contact us at:

12 North St. Suite 5
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 861-4769

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
Colin Reid, Communications Intern/ Newsletter Editor
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