It’s Spring Planting Time
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
1M ago
Sunny, warmer days make the garden real in May.  While there are many garden plants that can be seeded outdoors now, don’t be tempted to start working your soil if it is still wet.  If you insist on tilling your garden it is very important to wait until the soil has drained and dried enough to be crumbly, not gooey or sticky.  I do not till my garden soil at all because tilling is very damaging to soil & unnecessary.  If you have raised beds (see previous article) you can get started sooner because of better drainage, warmer soils & no tilling is needed.  Let’s ..read more
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May Gardening:  When to Plant?
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
2M ago
This is the time of year when we can plant some things in the ground.  Some seeds can go in early, other seeds & plants need to wait for warmer days.  How do we know what to plant when?  In April and early May most soil is still too wet to dig or till unless you have raised beds.  Let’s look at several ways to determine when it’s OK to plant seeds or put out transplants.  Also, a few words about the benefits of not mowing lawns in May and what good are wasps. Frost Free Dates.  Climate change has affected our growing season but we still need to pay attention t ..read more
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March Gardens, Let’s Begin!
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
4M ago
As March begins, we can’t be sure if it’s going to snow or rain but there are garden tasks for us to do.  Snow has buried any sprouts peeking up from the ground but the good news is that the snow means more water availability come spring.  As the days get longer there are indoor and outdoor garden preparations we can be doing now, including planting, pruning, and feeding! If you haven’t yet pruned your fruit trees (apples, pears, cherries, etc.) use a mild day to get that pruning done before the trees break dormancy and buds swell.  Basic pruning is the removal of dead, diseased ..read more
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Seed Starting
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
5M ago
February is too early to start most seeds indoors but not too early to get organized and ready for planting in March-April.  Our growing season is too short for many plants like tomatoes, peppers, and many flowers to sow their seeds outdoors in the spring so we can get a jump start by starting them indoors and effectively extend the season. If we provide the right conditions of soil, light, and temperature our favorite plants can be ready to transplant in spring.  Buying our own seeds also lets us select the best varieties for local conditions (not what commercial sellers do!) and to ..read more
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January Gardening
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
6M ago
Despite the winter season there’s plenty to keep a gardener occupied.  If you haven’t ordered your garden seeds yet, start by listing seeds leftover from last year.   Then look at the short list of local seed companies that I list below (or any others that you like).  Browse online catalogs from the comfort of home. Don’t delay, the best varieties sell out early.  In this article I suggest a few winter tips and easy-to-do ideas that will make the coming garden season more productive.  If you can’t wait and want to grow something in mid-winter, consider micro-green ..read more
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Winter Gardening
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
7M ago
The 2024 gardening season has begun with the arrival of new seed catalogs!  Mid-winter is the ideal time to take inventory of what happened in 2023, which seeds will be needed and begin preparations for the next gardening season.  It’s also important to take care of indoor plants and get started with early pruning of woody plants when we have an occasional nice winter day.  Here are some details… Got seeds?  Before ordering new seeds, I like to check my inventory of leftovers that can be used.  Generally, seeds that are 1 or 2 years old will be fine this year so make a ..read more
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Christmas Tree Care
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
7M ago
Here are three simple tips that will help your Christmas tree stay green and hold its needles longer:  1)  Just before placing your tree in the stand, cut off 2 inches from the trunk bottom so there is a fresh wood exposed to submerge in the water.  If the cut surface has dried out after being cut it can no longer take up water. 2)  Always refill the stand reservoir with clean warm water through the holidays.  All cut plants & flowers take up warm water much better than cold water. 3)  Do not place any fresh fruit like bananas, apples, or pears in the same roo ..read more
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Got Leaves? Make Compost!
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
9M ago
Trees made the Green Mountains green all summer and now provide the beauty of autumn across the Vermont landscape.  Nature is now releasing them from their trees to add fertility and build soil.  We should convert those rich leaves into compost, not remove them as is often the misguided custom.  This message is all about not raking leaves and how to enrich your soil with your own compost. Since the first green buds of spring, tree roots have been pulling up essential minerals from deep in the earth to feed their growth and productivity.  Those nutrient minerals (calcium, ir ..read more
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Seed Saving & Storage
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
10M ago
Seed Saving.  Gardeners and farmers have traditionally saved seeds from their favorite plants because we know that is the best way to have the best varieties and strains adapted to your local conditions.  Seeds contain the genetics of the parent plants and if you have a favorite heirloom tomato, bean or lettuce that does well for you why not save some seeds for next year?  Besides, they are free and abundant right now!  Seed Savers Exchange has been promoting seed saving for many years and offers very practical advice for beginners to get started. Not all plants lend themse ..read more
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Fall Garden Health & Harvesting
Vermont Home Gardener
by mhgardener
10M ago
The rains of July and August have promoted plant diseases, weeds, soil nutrient loss, and some pests.  While harvesting onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables it’s important to keep weeding and begin soil preparations for next year’s garden. Potatoes, onions, and winter squashes will store better if they are “cured” in a warmer space before storing.  Pest control in Brassicas is still needed to protect our late harvests from cabbage worms and aphids.  Finally, it’s time to harvest some herbs like basil (pesto!) and dill seeds and plant some more salad greens (but not b ..read more
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