Fall SOUL Course Information

The fall 2015 SOUL course will be offered by The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program in Springfield, VT at the UVM Extension Office (Howard Dean Educational Center).  October 3 – 14.
More details:
The SOUL course counts for 5 continuing ed. hours for EMG.

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2015 Master Composter Registration is Open

compostRegistrations now being taken for the 2015 Master Composter Course. Here is a link to course information:


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Downy Mildew on Basil

basilThe first case this year of downy mildew on basil was diagnosed by the University of Vermont (UVM) Plant Diagnostic Clinic on July 23. The infected plant sample came from a home garden in Burlington.

“Although the pathogen does not overwinter in Vermont, since 2008 we have had to contend with the disease every summer, typically in July,” says Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Extension plant pathologist.

“Basil is the leading culinary herb grown in the country, and fairly easy to grow. Disease was not a concern until the fall of 2007, when downy mildew was first reported in Florida, followed by widespread reports in several states including Vermont in 2008 in both greenhouse and garden settings.”

Growers and home gardeners should be on the watch for this destructive disease. The most notable symptom is a yellowing of the foliage, often confused with a nutritional deficiency.

bas2The gray spores of the fungus, giving the undersides a “dirty” appearance, is another indication of downy mildew. Even if not visible, if the pathogen is present, the spores will be evident within a day if suspect basil leaves are placed in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel in a dark location overnight.

The pathogen can be seed-borne or spread by air-borne spores and prefers wet or humid conditions. Growing basil where it gets plenty of sun and is not overcrowded may help.

However, once the disease is present, it spreads rapidly and management is difficult. Often the infection results in total crop loss.

“Growers can purchase disease-free seed for next season that has been “steam-treated” to kill the pathogen,” Hazelrigg recommends. “This will eliminate the chance the disease originated in the seed. The plant still will be susceptible later in the season from air-borne spores.”

Less susceptible basil species are available, but these do not offer the same flavor or leaf color as the common sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) that most gardeners prefer for pesto and other uses. Plant breeders currently are trying to develop new downy mildew-resistant varieties.

Fungicides can be used to manage the disease but would need to be applied before the symptoms appear and be repeated often. Basil crops should be turned under or destroyed as soon as possible after the infection is found to eliminate this source of inoculum for other plantings.


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Visit Parks Place Gardens This Summer

Press Release

June is one of the best times to visit the gardens at Parks Place Community Resource Center in Bellows Falls.  The gardening season kicks off with irises and poppies dominating the scene followed by lots of   perennials carefully chosen to provide sustained color and interest through the rest of the growing year.   Plantings are selected to require minimal care and maintained using organic gardening methods.
Established in 2000, Parks Place’s gardens are designed and maintained by Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) and other volunteers.  Lori Miller, who leads the Parks Place Volunteer Gardeners, earned her University of Vermont EMG in 2007 and immediately began volunteering in the Parks Place gardens“I really enjoy volunteering at Parks Place because I’m happiest when I’m in a garden setting seeing all that can happen after the designing, planting, and weeding.  It’s a challenge to have something blooming all summer and to keep it healthy.  It’s also fun to work with like-minded people who want to help create beauty for many people to enjoy.  Every time I work there I hear many compliments on how nice the gardens look.  There is great satisfaction in knowing the people who use the facility appreciate the beauty.”
Founded in 1994, Parks Place connects individuals and families with the programs, resources and information they need to move their lives forward.  Parks Place offers a wide-array of health and human service programs, from parenting classes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, from mental health counseling to employment programs, from high school education and college/higher education guidance.    Thirty-five regular programs are offered at Parks Place.
The Parks Place gardens are a project of the Windsor and Windham County Chapters of Extension Master Gardeners.  The Vermont Extension Master Gardener program trains new students and provides continuing education to members.  It also operates the Garden Information Helpline (1-800-639-2230) and places volunteer educators in outreach gardening projects throughout Vermont.  Further information about the Master Gardener program is on their web site, www.uvm.edu/master gardener 
Check out Parks Place on Facebook at www.facebook.com/parksplacevt. or their website www.parksplacevt.org.  There’s always room for more helping hands in the garden.  To volunteer in the Parks Place gardens, contact Lori Miller at 802-722-9854.






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Across the Fence

Thursday, July 23rd
Protecting Yourself Against Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants
–Leonard Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist, and Dr. Anita Licata, Dermatologist

Watch shows online shortly after they air, at:   http://www.uvm.edu/extension/atfence/?page_id=22

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Late Blight Update

7/13/2015 found in Craftsbury.

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Your Vegetable Photo Could Win a Prize

FYI just for fun; does not count for EMG hours

Green Mountain Compost’s Harvest Showcase Contest features a different vegetable or flower each week of the summer, with prizes awarded for the best photo.


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Late Blight is in Vermont


From Ann Hazelrigg: Sorry to say, but late blight has been found on organic potatoes in Hinesburg. Here is the link to review about the disease and look at some pictures.


This disease blows in on storm fronts, which we have had plenty of lately which rains out of the sky during rain storms and typically shows up in the upper foliage first, unlike the 2 other leaf spot diseases (Septoria and early blight-Alternaria) that overwinter here and splash up to the lower leaves.

Home gardeners should watch for the disease on both tomato and potato.

We are recommending that commercial growers keep their crops protected with fungicides. Home gardeners should do the same-Chlorothalonil or organic copper products. Sprays should be every 7-10 days depending on weather. For organic, under wet conditions, you would want to shorten to 5 days. Sprays need to be repeated since the material weathers off and there is always new unprotected tissue. Take precautions not to breathe in the fungicides while applying them.
If gardeners have the disease and they are not going to spray, they should destroy the plants ASAP by cutting and covering with a tarp, burying, or land filling. The spores do not live on dead tissue.


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Fall VCGN Workshops

Counts for EMG continuing ed hours.  Contact VCGN for all and any questions.

Join community and school garden leaders from around your region for a fall workshop near you. Learn strategies to boost your garden programs, share stories and ideas, and celebrate this growing movement! Workshops take place at seven locations around the state, and are presented by VCGN in partnership with regional garden expert, Charlie Nardozzi. All workshops are 4-7pm and include a visit to a local community or school garden. This fall’s schedule:

Food Connects at the VT Agricultural Business Education Center in Brattleboro: Sept. 8
Cornwall School: Sept. 10
Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction: Sept. 17
Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury: Sept.21
Milton High School: Oct. 6
Barre Town Middle & Elementary School: Oct. 8
Manchester Elementary & Middle School: Oct.15
Visit http://vcgn.org/what-we-do/growit/LL vcg for more details and check back soon to register online.

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Goutweed is in Bloom Now

Goutweed, Aegopodium podagraria

goutThe weed you sent for ID is goutweed. It is a troublesome plant that often is grown for its ground cover attributes but then it escapes and takes over! You can either hoe it all up, smother it with tarps, etc or use an broad leaf herbicide containing glyphosate.  It will kill anything that is green so you must be careful.


goutThe green and white variety will revert to plain green once the prolific seeds escape into other areas.  It is illegal to trade or sell this invasive plant.


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