People from the Northeast with any interest in gardening or horticulture know Charlie Nardozzi—or at least recognize him thanks to his signature wide-brimmed straw hat. The Connecticut-born gardening guru has established a mini empire in the Stowe area: He regularly plays TV cohost and gardening tour guide, authors books such as Vegetable Gardening for Dummies and works the speaker/consultant circuit sharing his insights on all things related to gardening. He’s perhaps best-known for his longest-running gig—closing in on two decades—as a radio personality on WJOY-AM’s call-in gardening show In the Garden.
“It’s really a hoot,” Nardozzi says. “People call in with all kinds of outlandish questions. I sing to them, I tell them stories, I help them settle marital disputes. I just like that live interaction with people. That’s why I love garden coaching, too: I can be out in the field talking with people, seeing what they’re doing and thinking about. It keeps me fresh with what’s going on in the gardening world.”
In Nardozzi’s gardening world, a nook of western Vermont that encompasses Stowe, Burlington and his current town of North Ferrisburgh, he’s noticed that autumns have been lasting longer, allowing avid gardeners to grow and harvest all the way into November and even December, providing a welcome addition to the local farm-to-table menus of restaurants around the area.
“I plan a lot of plantings in vegetables to mature at that time of year,” he says. “Leeks and parsnips, for example, you’ll put in, let them grow all season and not really touch them until September or October when it’s a little cooler and they’re full-size.”
And when he’s not advising New Englanders on their gardens, he retires to work on his own: He and his wife live on 5 acres of land that includes a 3,000-square-foot vegetable garden, an edible hedge row, flower gardens around the house, berry plantings and a small orchard.
“It’s tiring just talking about it,” he says with a laugh. “Thank God my wife gardens, too!”