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Vermont Victory Gardens E-Newsletter
July 27, 2020
Dear Victory Gardeners –
I hope this newsletter finds you all well and up to your ears in zucchini and tomatoes — or whatever else you’re growing and sharing right now!
Our Vermont Victory Garden network has grown to 29 locations, with more in the works. Yay! We like to pass on information from time to time, so decided to bundle a few items in a monthly-or-so newsletter. Here’s the first one!
1. Summer Online Veggie Pest & Disease Update #2 on Friday July 31
This coming Friday, July 31, at 12:30pm will be the second of these fantastic FREE online veggie pest and disease updates with Ann Hazelrigg. Ann is a UVM Assistant Professor who oversees the Master Gardener Program, the UVM Pesticide Education and Safety Program, and is Director of the UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic, a statewide resource for commercial growers, Master Gardeners, home gardeners and the general public. Ann is an absolute fount of knowledge regarding the critical subject of pests and diseases in the veggie garden, as well as a delightfully entertaining speaker. In addition to her update, you can also have your pest and disease questions answered!
Anyone who attended the first update knows these are great sessions, so don’t delay in signing up — space is limited. These updates are free and open to all, just click this the link here to register.
2. Dealing with Summer (and Fall) Heat
Whoever thought that Vermont gardeners would need to worry about heat? But our climate is changing, and when temps stay over 85°F for sustained stretches — as they most certainly have been lately in our state — heat stress is another challenging issue to manage.
The best responses are pretty straightforward:
Water the roots (not leaves) deeply, in the morning if possible.
Use a good layer of mulch to keep the ground moist and cool.
Use covering if it gets truly brutal. Shade cloth is readily available for a good reason, as being able to block 30-50% of the sunlight hitting your plants can be crucial on a very hot day.
Our temperature worries don’t stop in August – it was 93°F in late September a couple of years ago, and there is every chance of having these short bursts of heat this fall as well.
Here’s some guidelines on heat stress from our colleague Extension Master Gardeners in Texas — where they know a thing or two about dealing with heat!
3. Survey on Gardening During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There are many times when I wish I had some handy research to make the case for the importance of food gardening, especially during times of crisis. Here is our chance to contribute to such a study.
With thanks to the UVM Extension Master Gardeners for passing this on, a group of researchers in the US, Australia, and Germany have created a survey to see how gardening has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Their study examines:
What motivates gardeners during the pandemic,
Whether gardeners’ use of their gardens has changed, and
What additional support would be beneficial for gardeners.
The survey is very straightforward, only takes 10-15 minutes, and your privacy is assured. Could you please take a few minutes to help these researchers and our collective cause of support for gardeners? Your contributions will be greatly appreciated!
To take the survey in English, click here
To take the survey in Spanish, click here
Also feel free to forward this survey to other gardeners that you know, via social media or otherwise. The more, the merrier!
4. Tracking Your Food Donations…and Introducing Penny Weingarten
The joy of growing and giving food to those in need is its own reward. While we always want to be able to share more, the measurement of pounds donated is not a true measure of the gift. However, it can have practical value.
VVG would love to know if you measure the food you donate to local food pantries and the families supported by your gardens, and if so how do you do this? Do you have a scale and track it by weight, or do you count heads, bags or bushels? And if you don’t measure, would you be willing to join us in doing so as we move forward this year? Would it help if we bought you a scale?
We’d be delighted to know and announce how much, as a Victory Garden network, we donate, even if only approximately. It’s also valuable information for the UVM Extension Master Gardeners who have been wonderful as sponsors of Vermont Victory Gardens — and who need to support and substantiate their appeal for public dollars every year. Simply knowing the amount of food donated can be part of that effort.
With this in mind, please let me introduce Penny Weingarten, who will be working with VVG to help us tabulate these amounts! Penny has been growing vegetables in Putney for 10 years, and found out about the Vermont Victory Garden project through the UVM Extension Master Gardener Program that she just completed this May. (Congrats to You, Penny!) She’s also a textile artist and, in addition to growing vegetables and fruit, also has a natural dye garden.
Penny is looking forward to combining her interest in vegetable gardening with the belief that all people should have access to fresh and healthy food — and she’s looking forward to meeting every one of you and finding out more about your gardens. Please join us in welcoming Penny Weingarten to Vermont Victory Gardens…and thanks in advance for helping her out when she gets in touch with you!
5. START YOUR FALL GARDEN NOW!
I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the converted on this one, but in case you haven’t started planning your fall garden, now’s the time to get on it!
Even though the days are growing shorter, late summer and fall are fantastic times to grow a range of cool weather plants, including lettuce, greens, spinach, radishes, white turnips, kale, peas, broccoli and more. You can even grow a great crop of bush beans starting in early August!
Now is the perfect time to sprout those seeds, and/or to plan where you’re going to put the starts that you buy in a few weeks. And remember, you can always utilize low tunnels when it gets cold in a couple months! (A combo of heat warnings and cold warnings in the same newsletter — is that Vermont or what?)
With best gardening wishes to all of you,
Gordon Clark, Co-Coordinator
Vermont Victory Gardens
August 27, 2020
Dear Victory Gardeners –
Is this an update or an e-newsletter? I haven’t figured it out yet. :-) But here’s some information and new items you might find helpful -
1) “Growing Together: Gardening with Kids” VPR Special with Charlie Nardozzi on Thursday, September 3
This terrific-looking program will demonstrate easy home gardening projects you can do with kids this fall. Sponsored by Vermont Public Radio, the program features Vermont garden guru, instructor and radio and TV host Charlie Nardozzi along with Sarah Pounders, Senior Education Specialist at KidsGardening. As we look at a challenging school year ahead, we're all looking for ways to engage kids in hands-on, meaningful learning: there's no better way to do that than with gardening, and Charlie and Sarah are here to help!
This must-see, online presentation will air Thursday, September 3 at 7pm. It’s free, but you do need to register. Go here to register
2) Check out the new VVG logo! Help support other giving gardens!
We hope you like the new Vermont Victory Garden logo - which is either immediately below or attached at the bottom of the email, depending on how your browser works (grrrr...) - and that it reflects just a small sampling of the bounty from our gardens helping to feed others. If people are interested, we might make some signs with it next year that you can use. In the meantime, you are very welcome to use the logo on your own garden’s website, Facebook page, or anywhere else online you’d like to associate with and promote the Vermont Victory Gardens network. We have a few different formats, and will be happy to send one that works best for you – let us know!
We’re also pleased to announce we now have a modest webpage up – you can check it out here
Contributions to Vermont Victory Gardens are 100% tax deductible - and since we’re all volunteer run, your donation goes 100% to support other new and developing giving gardens with seeds, soil, plants, and gardening services. Thanks for chipping in a few bucks to help other new gardens and keep VVG growing!
3) Final Lunchtime Veggie and Pest Update with Ann Hazelrigg, Friday August 28 (tomorrow)
This Friday (tomorrow) at 12:30pm will be the final in the summer series of online lunchtime updates from Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Assistant Professor, director of the UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic, and all-around friend to commercial growers and home gardeners across the state! These online presentations provide an excellent update on the critical pests and diseases you’ve been dealing with in the veggie garden this summer, as well as an opportunity to ask Ann questions directly.
These online updates are free and open to the public, just go to the link below to register – you won’t be disappointed! Register here.
4) “Organic Veggie Gardening – How’s Your Summer Going?”
This is a Zoom presentation that I did for the Windsor Public Library last week, on my experiences with expanded veggie gardening this year, as well as answers to a wide range of gardening questions – everything from raised beds and vertical growing to my struggles with cucumber beetles and squirrels, my victory over powdery mildew, and prepping garden beds for the winter. (It also includes everything I’ve learned from Ann Hazelrigg and a host of other great Vermont gardeners it’s my pleasure to know.) The presentation received positive reviews from many participants, so I’m happy to offer the recording to all of you. Watch here!
p.s. – if you can get through the first couple minutes of looking at me talk, there are a lot of pictures! Hope it’s helpful!
5) Bringing in (and measuring!) the Harvest
Many thanks to all of you who have responded to Penny Weingarten’s calls and emails regarding tracking our food donations this year – and thanks in advance to those who have yet to respond, for getting back to her soon!
The number of pounds of potatoes or bags of kale or meals donated can never be a full measure of the true benefit of these garden donations, for all involved. But it’s still a wonderful and very real measure of what we bring to our fellow Vermonters in need through community and victory gardens, and great and useful information for the Extension Master Gardeners, who are such a boon to all our efforts.
And we look forward to reporting the results to you all – so thanks for keeping track, and keeping in touch with Penny!
That’s it for now! Fall is on for sure – the change in the weather these past couple weeks has been pretty dramatic – but there is still plenty of gardening, and great harvesting, ahead!
Yours in community food production,
Gordon Clark, Co-Coordinator Vermont Victory Gardens