Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

March 2013  



The sun was warm but the wind was chill.  
You know how it is with an April day  
When the sun is out and the wind is still,  
You're one month on in the middle of May.  
But if you so much as dare to speak,  
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,  
A wind comes off a frozen peak,  
And you're two months back in the middle of March.


-Robert Frost 
excerpt from Two Tramps in Mud Time


In This Issue
Grow It! Garden Organizer Trainings Spring Workshops
In the Garden: Start Your Seeding!
In the Kitchen: Pulp Pots
Get Your Garden on the Map!
Teaching Garden Program Expands with New Site at the Intervale
Garden Grant Opportunities
Upcoming Events


Grow It! Garden Organizer Training Series & Edible Landscaping Talk with Charlie Nardozzi

 VCGN is presenting a state-wide Community and School Garden Organizer Training series. If you are a garden leader, educator, or have an interest in community-based food production, this workshop series is for you! 


The series consists of three seasonal workshops at various locations throughout Vermont. Spring workshop topics include: garden community assessments, using storytelling for fundraising and engagement, and increasing volunteer participation. Summer workshop topics include: learning opportunities in the garden, outreach, cultivating the next garden leaders, and community compost programs. Fall workshop topics include: long-range planning, community partnerships, and state-wide network development.  


The spring workshop series continues today:

  • BENNINGTON: March 14, 3:30-6pm, Mount Anthony Middle School
    (community & school gardens)
  • NEWPORT: March 18, 3:30-6pm, Goodrich Memorial Library (school gardens) 
  • WHITE RIVER JUNCTION: April 2, 3:30-6pm, Upper Valley Food Coop
    (community & school gardens)
  • BRATTLEBORO: April 4.(school gardens) 
    Part of the Windham County Farm to School Regional Farm to School Conference)
  • PUTNEY: April 10, 3:30-6pm, Putney Central School (community gardens)
The workshops are $30 each, or all three - spring, summer, and fall - for $75, and include a light meal. Garden organizers who complete the series will receive a VCGN Garden Organizer certificate. Many scholarships are available, register here or by calling 861-4769.

Following the spring workshops, local garden expert Charlie Nardozzi will give a public talk on Edible Landscaping. Charlie delights in making edible gardening easy, fun, and informative. He will talk about the best varieties for our climate, techniques for growing plants successfully, organic pest controls, and, of course, answer all of your gardening questions. Free admission for workshop participants with a chance to win garden products ($5 suggested donation for the general public). Full schedule here.



March In The Garden: Start Your Seeds!

March is here and brings with it the inconsistencies of early spring weather! Gone are the days of 5 o'clock sunsets, and back are the sounds of Blue Birds and Robins. The days are getting longer, the sun is warmer, now is the time to start seeds and prune trees. Here are a few tips for gardening in March:   


When making the final edits to your garden plan, remember to rotate crops from the previous year. If possible, avoid planting crops of the same family in the same place more then once (for at least a cycle of three years). There are many diseases and pests that overwinter in the soil, moving the crop family will disrupt their life cycle.

Check your seed viability by doing the damp paper towel in a plastic bag trick. It's easy, just place a few seeds between damp paper towels and put inside a plastic zip-lock- type bag. See how many germinate to determine their viability.

Start your seeding process:
Check your area's frost dates and organize seeds accordingly. Some seeds are to be directly sown into the garden; separate those from the rest. For seeds that will be started indoors, organize them by planting time, arranging them by the weekly increments they need to be planted before the last average frost (8 weeks, 6 weeks, 4 weeks before the last average frost).

Starting seeds in our Vermont climate is beneficial as the growing season is so short. Potting for seed starts can be as thrifty as cleaned yogurt containers, emptied egg cartons, or toilet paper/paper towel rolls.In mid-March, start peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and  cole crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. To get the best transplants keep the seedlings well fed and moist, but not over watered. If seedlings become leggy it is likely they are receiving too little light or too much fertilizer.
It is a good time to check out your trees, see what pruning can be done to dead or winter damaged branches. If planning on growing summer raspberries, spring is the time to prune out canes that are weak from winter or brittle canes that fruited last year, leaving about six inches between canes. 
Stay tuned with events in the community and sign up for seminars and trainings to stay inspired and thinking green! 


March In The Kitchen: Pulp Pots

Despite the warm weather, the saying March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" reinforces the possibility that winter may still have its hold. The next time you find yourself stuck inside due to inclement weather, experiment with this recipe for biodegradable seed starting pots, and soon enough you'll be transplanting them into the garden!

Blender, Muffin Tin, Cheese Cloth
Paper (newspaper works well), water

Step 1: Shred paper and fill blender, slowly add a small amount of water at a time and pulse blender until mixture is consistent. The mixture should not be too watery.

Step 2: Empty contents of blender onto cheese cloth and wring out until mixture is moldable.

Step 3: Using your fingers mold paper mixture to fit each container in the muffin tin.

Step 4: Let dry, either air dry over night, or bake in the oven at 200-220 for about an hour or until dry. 


This is a very easy and quick way to make paper pots, it is also a recipe that can be used as the foundation to make Seed Bombs (just add seeds to mixture after it has gone through the blender). Try it out to see what biodegradable creations you can come up with!


Are You a Vermont Garden Organizer?

VCGN is asking community and school gardens throughout Vermont to provide information for our Garden Map and Directory project.  Our goal is to create an interactive map that provides garden locations, and organizer contact information for gardens throughout Vermont. Please take a few minutes to fill out our directory update and needs assessment survey.

Thank you to those who have already helped us move forward with this project, we are grateful for your role in strengthening Vermont's gardening and food system! 


Register Now for our Community Teaching Garden Program!
Program expands with second site at Intervale
The Community Teaching Garden is a fun, hands-on organic gardening program for adults. Participants learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve fresh vegetables in a supportive learning environment. Classes are held twice a week from May through September at Ethan Allen Homestead and - new in 2013! - at Tommy Thompson Community Garden in the Intervale. The course fee includes garden beds, instruction, seeds, plants, supplies, water, use of garden tools, garden potlucks, and all the delicious fresh produce participants can grow and eat. Scholarship assistance is available to cover up to half of the course fee thanks to the Frank Way Memorial Scholarship Fund. The new site is in partnership with Burlington Area Community Gardens and a special instruction-only option is available for existing Tommy Thompson gardeners. For more information, visit our website or call (802) 861-4769. The enrollment deadline is March 22! Register here 



New Gardener Plot Registration is Open in Burlington! 

Now is the time for new gardeners in the Burlington area to register for community garden plots through the Burlington Area Community Gardens program.  Returning gardeners in good standing can still renew their plots throughout the new gardener registration period. There are 12 community gardening sites, and four plot sizes to choose from; full, half, quarter and kitchen. Not all sizes are available at each location, check the website for site location and plot availability, and click here to register.  Tell your friends!


Additional sites are available at the Archibald and Riverside neighborhood gardens in the Old North End. More info at 



Garden Grants 


SEED & GROW - The Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN), Highfields Center for Composting and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) are partnering to provide grants of up to $1,000 with a revolving deadline(SEED) and up to $3,500 with a March 15 deadline (GROW) for Vermont-based school & community gardens and compost projects. More info

Small Grants Program for Congregations Doing Faith-Based Initiatives to Transform the Food System - The Presbyterian Hunger Program offers grants from $100 - $1000. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. More info  


Awesome Foundation's Food Chapter - Every month, one $1,000 micro-grant will be given for an awesome idea involving food. The more inventive, the better. More info   


Espoma Environmental Stewardship Award- National gardening Association and Espoma are offering 5 awards to home gardeners who  demonstrate excellent environmental initiative by incorporating environmental  stewardship practices to their garden design. More info 

EventSave the Date:    


Here's a sampling of garden events from Chittenden County and around the state. For more events, visit our website.  


Enroll Now for VCGN's Community Teaching Garden Program! See above for details.  


March 15: Join Margaret Lowe at the Maple Street Recreation Center in Essex Junction to learn how to grow your own transplants from seed. More info 


March 16: Burlington's 3rd Annual Seed Swap and Community Potluck at the memorial Auditorium Annex (downstairs from the Farmers Market) 12:00-3:00pm. Burlington Permaculture, Burlington Area Community Gardens, VCGN, and Grow Team ONE, are putting on a community event for people in and around the Burlington area to anticipate the gardening season, learn from fellow gardeners, and connect with active community organizations working to propagate urban agriculture throughout the area. Community members are invited to bring their own non-GMO seeds to share and exchange, and we'll be well-stocked with a supply of seeds to share as well. Stick around for the potluck after the swap; please bring a dish to share and your own plate and fork to reduce waste.


March 16: Join High Mowing Seeds for their Spring Social. Participate in educational workshops, tour High Mowing's warehouse and hoop house, enjoy a potluck dinner, and network with fellow farmers and gardeners.This event is held at High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott from 3:00-6:30pm, Contact Brigitte Derel at 802-472-6174 x132 for more information.


March 16: Learn the basics of water gardening with Dave Hamlen at Gardener's Supply in Burlington from 9:30-11:00am.More info  


March 18: VCGN's Grow it! Garden Organizer Training  Spring Workshop for school gardens at the Goodrich Memorial Auditorium in Newport. Workshops are between 10:30am-1:00pm followed by a talk with local gardening expert, Charlie Nardozzi, beginning at 2:00pm. This is the first of three seasonal workshops in the training series. Register here   


March 20: Turning Lawn into Eden with David Fried, owner of Elmore Roots Nursery. Learn what varieties of fruit and nut trees are grow best in the climate of Northern Vermont.


March 23: Garden Plants with Medicinal Interests seminar at Gardener's Supply in Burlington from 9:30-11:00am. Learn about the medicinal properties of your garden plants with Heather Irvine of Giving Tree Botanicals. More info 


March 23: Introduction to Square Foot Gardening seminar with Peter Burke at Gardener's Supply in Burlington from 11:30-1:00pm. Learn the basics of space saving gardening with tips about planning, pathways, perfect soil, successional planting, trellising, and more.


March 30: Protect Your Garden seminar with Charlie Nardozzi at Gardener's Supply in Burlington. Join Charlie to learn how to protect your garden from deer, woodchuck, rabbits and more! More info 


March 30-31: Organic Beekeeping for Beginners at the Metta Earth Institute in Lincoln. During this two day workshop, Ross Conrad, former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, will provide an introduction to small scale and hobby beekeeping with information about organic beekeeping practices. More info 



April 27:
Day in the Dirt!  Teams of volunteers get their hands dirty with community and school garden projects all over Burlington then gather for a celebratory BBQ and prizes. Contact
Jess at (802) 861-4769 for more info or to sponsor a team.    


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 comments and suggestions for the VCGN Bulletin. Send your garden news and events to share with our growing network of more than 1,500 school and community gardeners all over the state. Please include a web page link to help direct readers to the information source.

Since 2001, Friends of Burlington Gardens has worked with community and school groups to help start, sustain and grow gardens, building strong local food systems and vibrant educational sites. We are changing our name to the Vermont Community Garden Network, which has been the name of our statewide program since 2006. The name change reflects our mission to support the hundreds of garden communities across the state. This means more resources, technical assistance, grants, training and networking opportunities that meet the growing needs of local garden leaders. Meanwhile, our established local programs will continue to provide fun, hands-on garden education for youth and adults in Burlington and offer models for the rest of the state and beyond.

For more information, visit our web site 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, Admin/Bookkeeper
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Hannah Aitken, Newsletter Editor, Events and Communications Intern

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