News from the UVM Extension

Community Horticulture Program




Giving Thanks to You, Volunteers!

As I celebrate my ninth month leading Extension's Community Horticulture efforts, I wanted to take a moment to thank you, Extension Master Gardener (EMG) and Vermont Master Composter (VMC) volunteers. You have made me feel very welcome in this position. Through our volunteer survey and personal connections, I have appreciated the feedback and ideas you've shared about what you love most about our program and ways we can improve it as we move forward. I enjoyed visiting 26 approved EMG and VMC projects across the western side of the state this summer (and thank you, Cindy, for visiting projects across the east "coast" of Vermont!)--what incredible efforts you are all doing to show Vermonters best gardening practices. And I deeply appreciate the time that you are collectively taking to share research-based gardening information throughout our communities via our approved projects, at the Helpline, fairs and other tabling events, presentations, and more. You are amazing! I can't wait to read about your achievements in our year-end reporting. As we near the end of the gardening season, our office is gearing up for our annual conference and 2023 courses and events--stay tuned! And thank you for all you do to support gardening in Vermont.

Be well and happy gardening,

Deb Heleba, State Coordinator

UVM Extension Director Roy Beckford visited with EMG volunteers Patti Westburg, Jan Sherman, Sarah Gallagher (pictured) and several other EMG volunteers as they put final touches on the demonstration gardens at the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Rutland.


End-of-Summer Check-In

End-of-the-summer problems usually include the two main tomato leafspot diseases, Alternaria/early blight and Septoria leafspot. These fungal diseases overwinter on dead tissue, producing spores in early summer that are splashed onto lower leaves and then work their way up the plant as the season goes on. The leafspots move higher in the plant with each infection period (rain, dew, overhead sprinkling, etc).

Alternaria leaf spot with bull’s eye appearance. 

Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,

Septoria leafspot with dark gray circles.

Nancy Gregory, University of Delaware,

Blossom end rot on tomato. USU Extension

Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot has also been common on both tomato and peppers due to our fluctuating/lack of rainfall. Look for brown or black dead portions of the blossom end of the tomato and side browning on the peppers. This disorder usually affects the first tomatoes but I have noticed it on my later tomatoes this year. The healthy part of the fruit is fine to eat. For more information on these problems and their management, check out this factsheet:


Drought has been a problem again throughout the state with most areas just abnormally dry but there is one corner of the state under severe drought.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor for Vermont, as of September 8, 2022, the yellow areas signify “abnormally dry”, the lighter tan is “moderate drought” and the lower corner of the state with the orange color is classified as “severe drought.” What this means for plants is higher stress, making them less able to withstand insect or disease problems. This is also important in terms of winter stress and desiccation in evergreens. Be sure your evergreens and broadleaf rhododendrons go into the fall watered since they continue to transpire moisture through needles and foliage all winter. 

For current drought conditions go to

Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Extension Plant Pathologist

Drought Map Vermont as of 09.08.22

Deformed cucumbers due to incomplete pollination. 

Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,

1654099087099 image

2022 Annual Conference to Feature Doug Tallamy

Mark your calendars for our Annual EMG Conference to be held online on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Doug Tallamy, entomologist at the University of Delaware, and author of "Bringing Nature Home" and "Nature's Best Hope". We are still accepting suggestions for Vermont speakers (including Extension Master Gardeners) who have integrated Dr. Tallamy's concepts in Vermont; contact Deb with your ideas.



Celebrating Dottie Sundquist

In this issue, we celebrate Extension Master Gardener Dottie Sundquist. Dottie is the co-chair of the Bennington County EMG Chapter, leads the George Aiken Wildflower Trail Demo Garden at the Bennington Museum, and co-leads the Gardens project at Yellow Barn Farm in Arlington. She has contributed more than 1,086 volunteer hours to the program. Thank you, Dottie, for your leadership and continuing ongoing efforts to help Vermonters become better gardeners and stewards! Learn more about Dottie through a quick Q&A here.


Hartland Community Herb Garden

EMG volunteer Peg Solon from Ascutney is the newest project leader at the Hartland Community Herb Garden, succeeding long-time volunteer project leader Helen Prussian, who is still involved with the project (thank you for your leadership, Helen!). In addition, a new EMG transfer from New Hampshire, Bill Emerson, has recently joined the project. This is an EMG demonstration garden at the Hartland Library in collaboration with the Hartland Community Garden, with great plans for the future including creating a pollinator garden and continuing plant identification. Extension Master Gardener volunteers have installed plant tags for easy plant identification by garden visitors, and Peg notes that “...we're working together with the coordinator of the Hartland Community Garden and other community groups to plan a series of in-the-garden talks on how to use the herbs, including a demonstration using the Hartland community outdoor pizza oven.” Extension Master Gardener volunteers also field questions from community gardeners who are working in the adjacent community garden plots. Like many Vermont towns, Hartland is a small, tight-knit community with a lot of potential for involvement by various community groups, town departments, and local businesses including the Hartland Garden Club, Hartland Library staff, Hartland Little Free Gardens, and Solstice Seeds. Congratulations Peg & Helen, and welcome new EMG volunteer Bill Emerson!


Putting Our Gardens to Bed

The gardening season is winding down for another year and it's time to think about preparing our gardens for the winter. The following resources provide some autumn tips.

Harvesting and Storing Home Garden Vegetables

Ecologically Sensitive Fall Garden Maintenance (written by UVM Extension EMG Bonnie Kirn Donahue!):

Fall Garden Tasks:

Putting the Garden to Bed:

Community Horticulture in the News

In addition to Bonnie Kirn Donahue's Ecologically Sensitive Fall Garden Maintenance piece (see Gardening Resources), EMG volunteers have continued to work with UVM Extension's press editor to develop gardening media releases. Here are a few recent headlines, ready to share with your community.

Take Cuttings Now For New Plants Next Spring

Marvelous Milkweed:

Common Garden Invasives: What You Can Do

You can see all of our EMG press releases at:

whats-bugging-you-banner_1 image

What's Bugging You? NYS IPM Program Offers Free Monthly Webinars

Fridays | 12:00 pm. – 12:30 p.m. EDT | Zoom | Free; registration required

The first Friday of each month, spend half an hour over lunch learning about practical solutions for pest problems with the New York State IPM Program. Each presentation will end with an IPM Minute. 

Register to attend these monthly events. Submit photos of how you are implementing IPM to the “IPM and You Photo Contest.” 

Recordings of past presentations are also available.

Upcoming First Friday Events:

  • October 7: Fall lawn IPM: managing leaves and ticks (IPM Minute: Is that a praying mantis egg case?)
  • November 4: Repellents, fencing, and other IPM approaches for managing deer damage (IPM Minute: Where you chuck your pumpkins matters)
  • December 2: Homeowner update on emerald ash borer management (IPM Minute: Creepy crawly Christmas - what to do if you find insects in your Christmas tree)


Lisa Chouinard, Office & Program Support

Ann Hazelrigg, Plant Pathologist

Cindy Heath, Volunteer Coordinator

Deb Heleba, State Coordinator

Ask _500 _ 400 px_.png
support _1_.png

University of Vermont Extension

Community Horticulture Program

206 Jeffords Hall

Burlington, VT 05405

(802) 656-9562

Web  Facebook  Instagram

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.  Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.