UVM Extension Master Gardener COVID-19 response

We are currently working on the following initiatives:

1. Vermont Vegetable Gardening Resource Map

Are you a vegetable gardener? Do you want to help others in this time of need? If the answer is YES, please help by letting us know what gardening resources you have to share!

We've heard from people all around the state that they need help to start vegetable gardening. Our goal is to connect those with food-growing resources — including seeds, soil, compost, tools, equipment, land, labor, and knowledge — with those who lack such resources, and ultimately to get as much land as possible producing food during this time of uncertainty. 

To share a gardening resource, please fill out this form  with your name, town/city and check off the gardening resources you are willing to share. Then be ready to receive inquires from people in your area who need your help. It's that simple! (You will show up as a pink flower icon on the map)

Looking for a garden resource? Please fill out this form to be featured as someone seeking a resource (You will show up as a blue eye on the map)

If you are looking for a gardening resource, or if you know of someone who needs something, please use the map above to locate a resource in your area. Click on each flower symbol to view the resources people are willing to share. Click on the blue eye symbol to view the resources people are looking for.

2. Vegetable Gardening Videos by Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners volunteers are creating short videos on basic vegetable gardening topics to help the public start gardening this season.

Seed Starting Video by Master Gardener Intern-Erin Hunt

3. Vermont Victory Gardens: Master Gardener Project

VT Victory Gardens is a Master Gardener project lead by Gordon Clark that will support those suffering from food insecurity with the following:

* planning and construction of garden plots
* access to seeds and/or vegetable starts
* season-long instruction on science-based methods for growing vegetables, including presentations, teleconference and hands-on work

To maximize the amount of people trained and the amount of food being produced, Vermont Victory Gardens will not assist with individual gardens but rather focus on three types of growing operations:

* Neighborhood “Sharing Gardens, Sharing Crops” Network Gardens – four or more plots in different yards in a neighborhood that are operated jointly with produce being shared by all.

* Community Food Shed Gardens - larger gardens on public or non-profit property grown with crops designed for distribution through food pantries or other venues upon harvest, with a bias toward nutrient-dense and good storage crops.

* Mini-Farms – larger plots on currently unfarmed lots, preferably in or close to urban areas, where Master Gardeners collaborate with community members and farmers to produce crops of good storing, nutrient-dense food (e.g., bean, potato, sweet potato, winter squash). We are aware of the extraordinary economic stress that farmers are under as well right now, and are also open to possibilities of helping them with existing farm needs.

[Note: All activities will be carried out to the greatest extent possible under latest available social distancing guidelines.)

Read more about this project here.

Fighting hunger in Vermont with Victory Gardens - WCAX TV coverage

Read more about the current state of Food Security in these three articles

  1. The Impact of Coronavirus on Vermonters Experiencing
    Food Insecurity
  2. Food Access and Security During Coronavirus: A Vermont Study
  3. Employement and Food During Coronavirus

4. Research-Based Fact Sheets & Articles

We will be disseminating research-based information on food safety in the garden, nutrient-dense, storage gardens, storing vegetables, the health benefits of gardening and the types of fruits/vegetables that are best to grow for donation to food shelves, and other meal programs.

  • Read more about the profund health benefits of gardening here.
  • Read more about supporting wildlife and pollinators during the pandemic here.
  • Watch this webinar about Food Safety in a Community Garden setting with Omar Oyarzabal, Extension's Food Safety Expert
  • Disinfectant Use Guidance During COVID-19 - UVM Pesticide Safety Education Program
  • Read more about planning your vegetable garden here

6. Ordering Status of Gardening/Seed Companies

Worried about not finding what you need this gardening season? Here is a handy reference guide that tells you about the ordering status at various gardening/seed companies.

View the guide here!

For more info: Please contact beret.halverson@uvm.edu

Does the COVID-19 pandemic have you thinking about growing your own food or growing food for others?

Here are a few research-based resources to get started:

Remote Volunteering Ideas

Schedule an online class, teach others how to garden. It could be a presentation or just a Q&A session. People often have lots of questions, invite them to meet you online and answer a few for them. Advertise your event on the master gardener listserv, online calender and in your own community. 

Contact Julie Marks about writing a short article for the next statewide volunteer newsletter (jlmarks722@gmail.com).
Sign up for gardening or composting webinar.

Work with a project leader to apply for a project grant. 
Offer to make plant tags or educational signs for a demo garden near you -  and contact the project leader to help.
Do you have fundraising expertise? Please contact Cindy about helping with this year's EMG Conference to be held in November.

Do that extra thing you've always wanted to do for your project but haven't had the time to do, plant that fruit tree, research growing that thing you've always wanted to try. Make that educational sign you've been meaning to make. Now is your chance!

Community Composting During COVID 19

Getting Started with Vegetable Gardening (pdf)

Planning Before Planting a Vegetable Garden


Growing Your Own - Oregon State University, Extension Service

Grow Your Own Food, Step-by-Step Guide - by Christopher Forrest McDowell, PhD, & Tricia Clark-McDowell

 Planting the Garden - University of Vermont Extension,  Master Gardeners

Soil Test Lab at UVM

How to Take a Soil Sample for Testing

Raised Beds (How to turn lawn into a garden)

Vegetable Gardening in Small Spaces

Consider Growing a Row for Someone in Need this Season

Regenerative Agriculture for the Home Gardener - Webinar


Tuesday, April 14 from 7-9 pm, featuring Master Composter CAT BUXTON, co-founder of the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. Co-sponsored by 350VT and Sustainable Williston. The webinar will cover all aspects of starting your regenerative garden this spring, from cover cropping to no till methods. If you're interested in learning how to build soil health and sequester carbon while growing your own food then please fill out this form and we'll send you the Zoom link for the webinar.

Curriculum: Choosing Growing & Preparing VT Grown Fruits and Vegetables

More COVID-19 Resources at UVM Extension