UVM opens helpline for gardeners

BURLINGTON — Gardening season is here, and help is a free phone call away for home gardeners, whether they are planning a garden, concerned about pest control or searching for suitable cultivars for their plant hardiness zone.
The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Service has opened a helpline for calls from Vermont and northern New Hampshire gardeners four days a week. With the Master Gardener Helpline questions may be phoned in between 9 a.m. and noon, Monday through Thursday.
The helpline is staffed by certified Master Gardeners who completed an intensive 13-week horticultural course and internship to earn their certification. They are trained to answer questions about soil bed preparation, vegetable and fruit gardening, annuals and perennials, lawn care, trees and shrubs, composting, insect pests, plant diseases and other home horticultural topics.
Vermonters from across the state can call 800-639-2230 with their questions, except for Chittenden County callers, who should call 802-656-5421.
In addition to the helpline, the Extension Service welcomes walk-ins during regular helpline hours. The office is located at 201 Jeffords Hall on the UVM campus.
There are other options for questions as well. They can be submitted through an online form that includes an option for providing photos, found at www.go.uvm.edu/ask-a-master-gardener, and gardeners may send in samples of insects and diseased plants for identification. Instructions for submission are at www.uvm.edu/mastergardener, under “Garden Help.”
The UVM Agricultural and Environmental Testing Lab also offers soil testing for home gardens. The cost for a basic nutrient test is $14, payable when the sample is submitted. For information, visit www.uvm.edu/pss/ag_testing.
Commercial growers should contact the UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic at 802-656-0493 or e-mail Ann Hazelrigg, clinic coordinator, at [email protected] regarding a pest or disease issue.

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