February 2024 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Hello to February!

The Board resumed monthly meetings in January; at that time, the 2024 budget was finalized. The budget is not balanced, but we have a good amount of funds collected from past years. It is again time to support Seed Grants, and all the gardens that we work with, especially Tidewater Farm.

Wishing you a good and safe month, 

David Elliott
Board President

Board of Directors Nominations

Having reached the term limit of 6 years, two of the existing CCMGV board members will be vacating their seats. This means that the nominating committee is now accepting nominations for new board members.

You can nominate yourself or a friend.

Board participation is an excellent way to obtain more than 20 hours of service in a calendar year while gaining a greater insight into all that the CCMGV association accomplishes. The commitment entails attending monthly meetings, and additional sub-committee work. 

The work is rewarding and fun!

If you would like to put your name forward or would like to nominate a fellow MGV, please send their name(s) to David Elliot at: delliot1@gmail.com.

The election of the new board members will take place at the annual meeting which is to be held on April 3rd at the Wolf Neck Center. More information will be coming as the last items of the meeting are finalized.

Abi Griffith, Cumberland County Horticulture CEA
Welcome to Abi Griffith!

Welcome Abi!

Welcome Abigail (Abi) Griffith to her new role as a Horticulture Community Education Assistant (CEA) for Cumberland County! In this role, she will be supporting the UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm and the Master Gardener Volunteers program. Some of you may already know Abi from working at Tidewater Farm for three growing seasons. Abi has a wealth of small-scale farming experience here in southern Maine and has worked in the non-profit sector in Connecticut and Maine. You’ll have the chance to meet Abi this year when we visit project sites, and also at Master Gardener Volunteer events. If you’d like to introduce yourself, feel free to email Abi at abigail.griffith@maine.edu. We are fortunate to be able to hire this position thanks to the generous support of a private donor.

Master Gardener Plant Sale 2024

The MG Plant Sale Committee is seeking volunteers to join our dynamic planning team.We are offering mentorship opportunities on key committees with the goal of a leadership role. Key Committees include:

  • Annual Veggie and Flowers
  • Perennials and Natives DIG Team
  • Promotion and Outreach
  • Grounds and Vendors
  • Tidewater Raffle

If you have ever dreamed of being in the Room Where It Happens, ZOOM into the Master Gardener Plant Sale Info Session. Meet the Committee Chairs, find your next great volunteer opportunity, and join the FUN!

Monday February 26th from  5:30 – 6:30 pm. 

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: CLICK HERE.  Password: 590802

Telephone:  US: +1 305 224 1968 or +1 309 205 3325.  Meeting ID: 847 2163 0325

Volunteer Opportunities

Bayside Community Garden, Portland

The Bayside Community Garden in Portland is seeking a Master Gardener Volunteer to provide mentorship and guidance for their garden on a quarterly basis (an estimated 2-3 hrs/quarter). They’re looking for someone who can provide advice on how to manage weeds, invasive plants, a compost system, apple trees, etc. They’re also looking for general support of their individual gardeners who have questions throughout the season. Please contact Pamela if you are interested in this opportunity: pamela.hargest@maine.edu or 207-949-4524.

Lake Region Middle School, Naples

The new alternative education program (Causeway Academy) at the Lake Region Middle School in Naples is seeking a Master Gardener Volunteer (or two) to help incorporate gardening in their science and/or social studies curriculum. This volunteer opportunity could either be teaching their 10 alternative ed students about gardening in the spring and fall, or providing support/guidance for their alternative ed science teacher. Volunteer hours will take place during the school day. Please contact Pamela if you are interested in this opportunity: pamela.hargest@maine.edu or 207-949-4524.

Volunteer Newsletter

The Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter is seeking article contributions from Master Gardeners, and help compiling, editing, and distributing the monthly newsletter. This is a great opportunity for volunteers whose schedules don’t align with daytime field work hours. The time commitment can be monthly (1 – 2 hours) or on a flexible schedule throughout the year. If you are interested or want to know more, please get in touch with AJ: jane.andrea@gmail.com

Landscape for Life

Every home landscape has the potential to be more beautiful, help clean air and water, reduce flooding, and combat climate change. Yet conventional gardening practices too often work against nature, damaging the environment’s ability to provide these natural benefits. 

Join us for this five-part series about creating a sustainable home landscape. Learn how to attract beneficial insects and birds, eliminate water problems, build healthy soil, reduce maintenance time in your garden, and save money.

This program will take place every Tuesday evening, 5:30pm to 7:30pm, from February 27 to March 26, 2024 at the UMaine Regional Learning Center (75 Clearwater Dr, Ste 104, Falmouth, ME 04105). The snow date is April 2, 2024. Registration is required and the program fee is $50 per person (for all five sessions). 

For more information and to register, please visit our website.

The vegetable gardens at Tidewater Farms.
Vegetable gardens growing at Tidewater Farms.

Intro to Vegetable Gardening: From Seed to Harvest

Join us for a five part vegetable gardening series where you’ll learn the techniques to start your garden and build a community to support your success! This series is intended for beginner gardeners who enjoy learning in a group environment and are gardening in small spaces. Topics will include planning your garden, starting seeds indoors, soil and bed preparation, planting and early care, and maintaining and harvesting your garden. 

These hands-on sessions will take place the last Wednesday of each month, 5:00pm to 7:00pm, from February to June at various locations in Portland and Falmouth. Registration is required and the program fee* is offered on a sliding scale, $50 – $100. The dates for these sessions are 2/28, 3/27, 4/24, 5/29, and 6/26.

For more information and to register, please visit our website.

2024 Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

Feb. 27-March 26: Landscape for Life w/ Amy Witt/Earthwalkers  (Falmouth, ME – Five sessions)

Feb. 29: All About Seaweed for Gardeners w/ Maine Seaweed Council (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm

Mar. 21: The Problem with Peat w/ Tom Witwicki and Bonnie Barthmaier/MGVs  (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm

May 24: Ornamentals w/ Nicki Griffin and Lucretia Bagley/MGVs (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm

June 6: Small Fruits w/ Joel Leak/MGV ( Zoom) 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Upcoming Events

Reporting MGV Hours and Produce Donations

A new process for reporting hours will be introduced later this month!

Because we are still working on this new process, please hold off on reporting any 2024 volunteer hours for now. This new reporting process will allow you to see your year-to-date hours total so you can see what you’ve already reported for the year.

If you have any outstanding 2023 hours to report they may still be reported through our old form.

Fun fact: Maine Master Gardener Volunteers reported 31,287 hours in 2023!!

Thank you for all your volunteering. If you have any questions, get in touch: Extension.mastergardeners@maine.edu or call 207.356.1348


Do you need more CLYNK bags? CLYNK bags can be picked up at the office Monday thru Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. Our account grows steadily and the money supports Cumberland County Master Gardener projects. Collect your returnables in one of our designated CLYNK bags, drop off at your local Hannaford and help us grow our Seed Money.

The Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter is edited by Clarissa Brown and Annika Schmidt.
Event listings are compiled by Stephanie Karakantas. If you would like to submit an article or help with any aspect of the Newsletter contact AJ Cornell, the newsletter coordinator.