Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

October 2011



In This Issue!
Gardening After the Flood: What's Next?
A Garden of Community
FBG Grantees in the News
Time to Harvest/Time to Plant!
Garden Funding Opportunities
Upcoming Events


Gardening After the Flood: What's next?


What's next for flooded gardens? The Vermont Department of Health has advised gardeners to throw out any produce touched by flood waters, as the waters may have contained any number of contaminants. With all this crop loss behind us, how can we ensure that next year's gardens are safe, productive places to grow food?

Vern Grubinger and Ginger Nickerson from UVM Extension shared these rules and best practices for handling flood damaged produce:


For more information on garden health after flooding and soil testing, check out these links: 


Tips to avoid common flooding in the future:

Tropical Storms in Vermont are rare, but flooding from rainfall can still be a common problem. If your garden is prone to flooding, consider making these changes:

*Install raised garden beds. Ten inches or so is usually high enough to avoid runoff water traveling through garden areas.

*Dig ditches around your garden to help divert water.

*Plant a rain garden to filter runoff.  


In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, FBG is putting together special funding for gardens damaged by flooding. If your school or community garden was affected by flooding, please contact FBG Executive Director Jessica Hyman at or (802) 861-4769.


A Garden of Community
By Russ Elek 

The Chester Community Grateful Garden is located behind Chester Andover Elementary School in Windsor County. It is one of the 40 school community gardens that received funding from Friends of Burlington Gardens in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation. To learn more about the mini-grant program and see photos and reports from the 40 mini-grant recipients, visit   

"A year ago the creek was dry because
of the drought. Everythi
ng almost died."


Carrie King is referring to the creek which runs behind the Chester Community Grateful Garden and is the garden's sole water source. It's also the creek that overflowed its banks and threatened to destroy that same garden when Tropical Storm Irene hit in late August. King has been the garden coordinator since 2007 and says sometimes when a tragedy occurs, "it reminds us that we always have resources in each other."


This has been especially true since the tropical storm, as several community members have been involved in saving the garden. Floodwaters pushed debris against a recently erected fence, forming a three-foot tall wall that blocked water from leaving the garden and created a pool inside. Jeff Svec, a community member who volunteers at the garden, saw what was happening and took action. He lifted the fence gates off their hinges (they were too bent to swing open), allowing the pool of water to disperse, relieving the pressure that had been pushing against and damaging the fence. "Had he not done that, the fence would have been gone," King noted.


In September, other community members stepped in, with 15-20 showing up for a pot-luck/pesto-making/clean-up event. Volunteers celebrated each other's company by sharing a locally grown meal and teaching kids how to make pesto. They then pulled out produce plants that had been touched by flood; they were contaminated by the floodwater and likely not safe to eat. Fortunately, not everything had to be removed; several flowering plants survived and the group left them to promote the beauty and continued usefulness of the garden.


"Students can still come out to the garden and sketch, take photos or do other nature observations," said King of what the garden offers to the community despite the lack of produce. Garden soil is also being nutrient tested now and in the spring, allowing the community to learn about how flooding can effect soil composition.


"There are other things to do besides eat in a garden."


The Chester Community Grateful Garden has survived a draught and a tropical storm in the span of two years. In the wake of both, the garden is thriving thanks to strong community.



Garden Grantees in the News!


Bradford Elementary School, another one of the 40 school community gardens to receive a mini-grant from FBG, was featured recently in NewsLink. Not only is the school dedicated to gardening, but it has  taken steps to reduce the school's carbon footprint! Check out this link for the whole story:  


Time to Harvest/Time to Plant!


October in Vermont offers us the chance to not only harvest, but to begin planting again. 


Sweet Potatoes

After harvesting the sweet potatoes, dry them on the ground for a few hours, then let them cure for 10 days to two weeks at room temperature.


For more information on growing, harvesting, and storing sweet potatoes, check out: 


And find some great sweet potato recipes here:  


After harvesting, you may want to consider planting cover crops to enrich the soil and control weeds. For more information, check out this Vermont Garden Journal episode:  



Mid to late October is the perfect time to plant garlic. For information on how to prepare your garden bed, choose your garlic, and harvest, read this article from our friends at Red Wagon Plants:  



Garden Funding Opportunities 


Youth Garden Grants sponsored by Home Depot

Who May Apply: K-12 teachers, educators, coordinators, and parents. 

Details: Applicants must plan to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 years.Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and inter-generational groups are eligible. Priority will be give to programs that emphasize one or more of these elements: Educational focus or curricular/program integration, nutrition or plant-to-food connections, environmental awareness/education, entrepreneurship, and social aspects of gardening such as leadership development, team building, community support, or service-learning.

Amount: 95 $500 awards, 5 $1,000 awards    

Deadline: Nov. 28th, 2011

More Info:  


Subaru Healthy Sprouts

Who May Apply: K-12 teachers, educators, coordinators, and parents.  

Details: School or organization must plan to garden in 2012 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and education related to environmental, nutrition and hunger issues.

Amount: 50 $500 awards    

Deadline: Nov. 30th, 2011

More Info:  


Captain Planet Foundation Grants

Who may apply: Schools and organizations with less than $3 Million annual operating budget

Details: Grants are made for activities that conform to the mission of the Captain Planet Foundation which is to: promote and support high-quality educational programs that enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through learning experiences that engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve the environment in their schools and communities. Preferential consideration given to applicants who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their program.

Amount: Limited to $2,500 and

Deadline: Dec. 31, 2011 

More info: 


Mantis Tiller Grants  

Who May Apply: K-12 teachers, educators, garden coordinators, parents, and interested parties.  

Details: In the past, winners have included schools, churches, correctional facilities, parks departments, youth camps, community gardens, and many others. Applicants must operate a charitable or educational program that is not-for-profit. The tiller may not be used as a prize for fundraising (e.g., auction or raffle).

Amount: 25 programs will each receive a Mantis Tiller/Cultivator with border/edger and kickstand, and their choice of gas-powered 2-cycle engine or electric motor. Total value  $349.00.  

Deadline: March 1st, 2012

More Info: 





Community Harvest Dinner:

It's harvest time and local schools are holding community dinners to highlight their farm to school programs.


Burlington's Hunt Middle School is holding its annual Free Community Dinner at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25. The menu features a salad bar with a variety of homemade salads, Misty Knoll Chicken, roasted root medley from Healthy City Youth Farm, pasta with homemade sauce,  and fresh apple cherry crisp and ice cream. 


Food Day is October 24th!


100 Mile Meal: 6:00 p.m., One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT  05439

The University of Vermont Food Systems Spire is hosting a day of panel discussions and displays. More info at


Archibald & Riverside Neighborhood Gardens clean-up day: 10 a.m.-noon, Sunday, Sept. 23. 


Check out for more information and nationwide events  


City Market Workshops:


A Mosaic of Flavors: Somalian Sambusas: Thursday, October 27, 6-7:30 p.m., The Sustainability Academy


More Events and Opportunities:


VT School Nutrition Association Conference: Oct. 21 & 22, 2011, Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee


 Green Mountain Farm to School 4th Annual Fundraiser Dinner: Saturday, Oct. 22, 4:30-8:00 p.m., Westfield Community Center,110 North Hill Road, Westfield. $50


Intervale Food Hub: Subsidized Farm Shares available for limited income households. $5/week for 14 weeks. To sign up, contact Brianna Farver at (802) 660-0440 x111 or
Oct. 31 application deadline. 



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. Don't forget to send in your garden news and events to share with our growing network of more than 1,300 school and community gardeners all over the state. Please include a web page link to help direct readers to the information source.

The Vermont Community Garden Network is hosted by Friends of Burlington Gardens, a nonprofit organization supporting school, community and neighborhood gardens in Burlington and across Vermont. For more information, visit our web site at or contact FBG at:
  Friends of Burlington Gardens
  180 Flynn Ave Studio 3
  PO Box 4504
  Burlington, VT 05406-4504
  (802) 861-4769

We'd love to hear from you!
Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Jenn McGowan, Program Director
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Jim Flint, Founder & Garden Mentor

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