June 2014 
"I love Spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would
always greet it in a garden."  -Ruth Stout
In This Issue
Gardens For Learning Has a New Home
Congratulations Compost Grantees
Tips for Garden Leaders
VCGN Welcomes Summer Staff


Sweet Potato Slip Sale This Weekend
at Red Wagon Plants

Burlap bags, too!   

Red Wagon Plants Owner Julie Rubaud (center) with VCGN volunteers at the 2013 Sweet Potato Slip Sale.


The Champlain Valley Sweet Potato Slip Sale is 8am-6pm this Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, at Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg.  


This year, we also have burlap coffee bags. They are a great biodegradable weedblock for garden pathways and sheet mulching, grow bags, sack races, and craft projects too!  

Sweet potatoes are ideal for Champlain Valley gardeners with sandy, silty, or loamy soil. Each slip can produce up to five pounds of delicious Beauregard B-14 sweet potatoes.


The sweet potato slips are a VCGN product. Red Wagon Plants generously donates the organic potting soil, pots, and greenhouse space - and hosts the sale. The slips come from Jones Family Farms in Bailey, North Carolina and are approved are approved for use in certified organic production by Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC. Our volunteers pot the slips to allow them to root in time for the sale and they are ready for planting as soon as the soil warms up and nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees.


  • Each pot contains 3 rooted slips for $6!
  • Gardener's half dozen: Buy 6 pots, get one free.
  • Bulk pricing available for 60 slips or more.

Red Wagon Plants is at 2408 Shelburne Falls Road in Hinesburg.   


* If you miss the sale this weekend, there will be slips available at Red Wagon Plants next week.   

Click here for more info about the sale.


VCGN Adopts Gardens For Learning program 


The 2014 Gardens For Learning Site Coordinators wave in an exciting new season of food and garden education.  


This spring, VCGN adopted Gardens For Learning from Food Works at Two Rivers Center.


We are honored to continue the legacy of this important program.  

Food Works planted the seeds of change throughout the state with youth garden and nutrition education. Gardens For Learning teaches hundreds of nutritionally at-risk children throughout Vermont how to grow, harvest, and cook healthy meals and snacks, supplementing children's diets during the summer when the risk of hunger increases because free and reduced-price school meals are not available. The statewide program provides a unique support system for communities needing access to funding and technical assistance for summer gardening, nutrition, and cooking activities. 


Through growing gardens, children learn firsthand skills and concepts in cooking, nutrition, and gardening.  The goal is for them to experience the satisfaction of cooperatively working with others to build a foundation for happier, healthier lifestyles and communities.  


VCGN is dedicated to the growth and success of community and school gardening across Vermont.  Through Gardens For Learning, VCGN will expand its support for groups that educate youth by teaching gardening practices, strengthening awareness of local food systems, and empowering people to grow, prepare, eat, and preserve their own food. The program will evolve within our organization, and we look forward to learning and growing with Gardens For Learning.  


2014 Gardens 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







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. 
  • Mulching, Weeding & Trellising Techniques: June 14
  • Pests & Disease Prevention & Control: June 28
  • Food & Medicine from Your Weeds: July 26 (Come early for a brunch potluck, 10:00-11:30am)
  • Using & Preserving Garden Produce: August 23
  • Extending the Season & Putting the Garden to Bed: September 27
More info and registration.



Nine Gardens Receive Compost Grants 

This spring, Green Mountain Compost and the Vermont Community Garden Network teamed up to give Chittenden County  gardens a chance to win 3 cubic yards of compost, a bundle of seeds (courtesy of High Mowing Seeds and American Meadows and Depot Home and Garden), and other garden resources.Congratulations to the grantees:



  • Essex Middle School/Essex Town Community and School Garden, Essex Junction
  • Ethan Allen Residence (EAR), Burlington
  • Extension Master Gardeners, Williston
  • Harbor Place, Shelburne
  • Jericho Elementary School, Jericho
  • Taft Farms Sr. Living Community, Williston
  • The DREAM Program, Winooski
  • VNA Family Room in Burlington


 Community Teaching Garden Blog



"Although we are just beginning this season's garden, Denise introduced our students to the concept of crop rotation as an important concept to note when thinking about a garden or field in the long-term. Rotating crops in successive seasons is key in maintaining soil fertility and disturbing pest cycles and diseases. Each garden is different, and therefore each crop rotation cycle differs in terms of length of the rotation and the types of crops being included."  ~ Sarah Shaw


Click here to read more.


The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders


Your Tip: Spring in all its glory is finally here and everyone is eager to get their hands, seeds and plants in the soil!  Before everyone is going full speed ahead in their own garden, take the time to orient your gardeners, classrooms, and volunteers to a new season in your garden. Here are a few tips to spruce up these first garden gatherings.


1) Provide Options: If possible, provide several week nights and a weekend daytime as options for gardeners and garden volunteers to gather. For those of you working with teachers, ask to incorporate your orientation into a staff meeting that will meet in the garden!
2) Introductions: In addition to getting to know the garden, you can also learn a lot about people with a simple introduction that gathers their name and something unique about them (i.e. what they love about gardening, what they're most excited about for the season).

3)  Core content: Make sure that gardeners have all of the basic information on what they should expect from being a part of the garden and what's expected of them.  For tips on how to create effective guidelines click here.  


For more engaging tips to help get you started click here.






EBT Cards for Seeds/Plants


There's no better way to put fresh food on your table than to grow it yourself.  You can use your EBT Card (3Squares VT Food Benefits) to start growing your own garden today.   


For more information on how/where to use your card and for seed starting tips Click here.



VCGN Welcomes Summer Staff

  Our new interns and staff joined Day in the Dirt! team on May 3. Front row, from left VCGN Intern Shannan Webb, VCGN Intern Sydney Foster, VCGN ED Jess Hyman, VCGN Intern Sarah Shaw, and VCGN Program Manager Libby Weiland. Back row, from left, VCGN Intern Colin Reid, former VCGN Intern Aleyna Rodriguez, and the UVM CDAE Public Communication Capstone team - Hillary Laggis, Morgan Whitehouse, Ellie Mills, Jessie Gehlmeyer, Sarah Sweerts, and Molly Stackhouse - and Day in the Dirt! Volunteer Coordinator Dory Cooper. 


This spring, we welcome five new faces to the Vermont Community Garden Network.  One part-time staff member and four interns have joined us to help make the summer as productive as possible.


Sydney Foster and Sarah Shaw are our two Community Teaching Garden interns.  They will be assisting with the teaching of the 22-week, hands-on, organic gardening program for adults.


Sydney, from Lancaster, Mass., joins us from the University of Vermont's ecological agriculture program. She is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge with the Teaching Garden students and VNA Family Room Garden participants.  "There is something amazing about eating food you've grown yourself," she said. "And if I can help even a handful of people feel that, I'll be satisfied."


Sarah grew up in the finger-lakes region of New York and majors in Global Studies and minors in Community/ International Development and Food Systems at UVM.  After studying Spanish and Food Systems in southern Mexico, Sarah became inspired to learn more about Vermont's food systems and agricultural practices. "I find it amazing how food, and consequently the ways in which it's produced, can impact virtually every aspect of our lives," she said. 


Shannan Webb is our compost systems intern.  Shannan is from Coconut Creek, Florida, and joins us from the University of Vermont's Environmental Science program. She will be talking with garden leaders and compost experts to find ways to design both large and small scale compost systems for two of Burlington's community gardens. "I believe that composting is the perfect example of sustainability because in composting you use exactly what you create, so no waste is generated," she said.


Colin Reid is our summer communications intern. He grew up in Concord, N.H., is a Writing and Literature major at Burlington College and is also interested in wildlife and nature photography. He is excited to gain real-world work experience while interning with VCGN. "This is an inspiring place to be as a Writing and Literature major and aspiring photographer," he said. "I am determined to combine my work with my passion for the outdoors."


Maggie Callahan, from Easton, Conn., joined the VCGN staff as the Gardens for Learning Coordinator for the summer.  She recently graduated from UVM where she studied Nutrition and Food Science and Community Entrepreneurship.  Maggie has volunteered with SEEDS, Campus Kitchen, and has interned with the Northeast Organic Farming Association.  "Combining these areas of experience, I have found that my interest and hopes for the future are mostly based around educating and directing the youth towards healthier lifestyles."


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 organizers 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
Find us on Facebook          Follow us on Twitter