April 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Greetings, fellow Master Gardener Volunteers,

I’m writing this on a day in late March with a cold north wind blowing, and with the temperature just barely above the freezing mark. It sure doesn’t feel like Spring yet, but it must be, since I’ve started to heat my small greenhouse and slowly move all the seedlings I’ve started indoors under lights into their new home with abundant natural light. It is so enjoyable to be puttering in the greenhouse in my shirtsleeves on a cold but sunny day in March with snow still on the ground, surrounded by vegetable and flower plants beginning their journey from seedling to mature plant. 

My primary mission with this newsletter is to ask you to mark your calendars for the CCMGA Annual meeting to be held this year on April 12 at 5pm via Zoom. I had written previously that the Board was planning an in-person meeting this year, but I’m afraid the reality of the calendar caught up with us and we didn’t leave enough time for all the planning and logistics needed for a successful meeting. I promise we’ll do better next year. 

During the meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to hear introductions from each of the candidates for directors on the Board. A vote to approve the Directors for the 2023-2024 term will follow. The Treasurer will report on the current financial state of the association and what investments in infrastructure at Tidewater Gardens and your sponsored projects are planned for 2023. Pamela Hargest will in turn talk about the recent progress and near term plans for Tidewater that are transforming it into a premier educational asset for Cumberland County. She will also give you updates on the statewide Master Gardener program including the just-completed training of the class of 2023 MG volunteers. So please join us for this important meeting – an invitation will soon be coming your way.

T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland called April the cruelest month. His meaning is more nuanced than just a comment on the sometimes depressing nature of the weather in April. Nevertheless, take comfort in knowing that the warmth of Spring and the new gardening season is just around the corner.

Tom Witwicki

Master Gardener Plant Sale 2023

Save the Date: Saturday May 27th Memorial Day Weekend

Tidewater Farm, Falmouth ME 8am till Noon

Volunteer Signup can be found here. A great way to catch up with old friends and meet new Master Gardeners. Plenty of opportunities to meet volunteer hour requirements – work under the tent with flowers and vegetables, on the field with perennials and natives or choose to volunteer in sales and customer service. Remember, this is our biggest fundraising event and we rely on every Cumberland County Master Gardener to volunteer.

The dig team is sharpening their shovels and tossing their potting mix – ready to show up at a garden near you very soon. If you would like to join the team in the room where it happens – learning best practice transplanting techniques from the experts please email Lucretia Bagley at lulubagley@gmail.com. And if you have a garden with perennials begging to be donated to the 2023 MG Plant Sale, again please email Lucretia.

The 2023 Calendar Raffle Tickets are ready for sale. For more information please contact Barbara Dee at catzrul1@live.com or Richard Bicknell at 1961rangerrich@gmail.com. Remember, buy early and often the prizes are fantastic, the value great and the cause most worthy. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a winner.

Call out for gently used garden items: The last reminder, as you start your spring clean up. Think about recycling your unused garden tools, gadgets, and other bits and bobs cluttering your shed/garage.  Your clutter may be someone’s next treasure. The Gently Used committee would love to hear from you – they are especially looking for unusual containers and unique hand tools that are begging for a new home or a new purpose. Please contact Leigh Mundhenk mundhenk@maine.edu  or Sandi Dunham sandidunham@gmail.com.

PS: If you possess marketing or sales skills or are just an outgoing individual looking for a challenge, please consider joining Nancy Morris, our Plant Sale Marketing genius. We are looking for a creative person with some time in May to help Nancy with our marketing and sales needs. If interested please email me, Bonnie Barthmaier, at barthmaierb@gmail.com or Nancy Morris at nrmorris28@gmail.com.

See you all At Tidewater Farm May 27!

Bonnie Barthmaier

It’s Calendar Raffle Sales Time !!!!!

Master Gardeners – It’s time for the sales of the 2023 Calendar Raffle! Per the Maine Gambling Control Board we cannot sell raffle tickets on-line so we are depending on MGVs to reach out to family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to buy tickets. Tickets will be sold at the Plant Sale and at the Extension Office.

What’s in this year’s calendar? A family membership for the Maine Coastal Botanical Garden! Dinner for two at the Sea Glass Restaurant! A Wild Seed Project membership! Mushrooms, original artwork, a Food Preservation class for 4! We have met challenges before and we can cope with this one! Have Questions? Contact Barbara at catzrul1@live.com

MGV Work Day, Saturday May 6th – Sign up is open!

Mark your calendars – this year’s Master Gardener Volunteer Work Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 6th, from 9:00 to Noon (rain or shine!). This year we have 5 different projects located around Cumberland County.  

Here is the LINK to the MGV Work Day sign up form. 

This is a great opportunity to get out and work with fellow MGVs, lend a hand in the community, and learn more about various MGV led projects.

To learn more about each project, simply click on the project name on the sign-up form, and you’ll find the Project Coordinator, a description of tasks for the day, as well as any specific volunteer requests.

If you have specific questions about a particular project, please contact the coordinator listed on the sign-up sheet.

Please sign up at your earliest convenience, as I’m sure we are all itching to get out and put our hands in the dirt! Project Coordinators will receive the volunteer list April 21st, and will communicate the logistics for the day with the volunteers.

Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

Thursday, April 13: Propagation | 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
In-person, Cumberland County Extension Office with Joel Leak, MGV 2001

Register online here

Have you ever wanted more of your favorite perennial flowers, trees or shrubs? Or maybe you wanted an entire bed of annuals for just the price of a packet of seeds. Join Master Gardener Joel Leak for a lecture and hands-on demonstration on how to propagate plants from seed, cuttings, layering, division, and grafting. Save money and have fun learning how to start your own plants.

Joel Leak graduated from the Cumberland County Master Gardener program in 2001 and has been growing ornamental plants, vegetables, and fruit for 50 years. He teaches adult education classes in Freeport, Windham, and Gorham as a Master Gardener volunteer. He also participates in the Harvest for Hunger program and the Tedford Housing project in Brunswick.

Thursday, April 27: Opening the Garden in the Spring | 5 – 6:30 p.m. (Zoom) 

With Tyra Hatcher-Mitchell, MGV 2018

Register online here

It’s time! Are you ready to open your garden for the season? With some planning and organization, not only can you tame the to-do list but also find joy in moving through the tasks. Topics we will be exploring include: triage from winter damage, soil preparation, purchasing plants, seedlings, or seeds, planting schedule, and best practices to prevent gardening injuries. If you would like to submit questions prior to the class, please send them to Tyra at tmahatcher@gmail.com.

2023 Speaker Series Future Dates:

  • Saturday, May 13: Ornamentals | 2 – 3:30 p.m. (In person) 
  • Saturday, June 17: Yoga for Gardeners | 10 – 11:30 a.m. (In person) Rain date: June 24

Volunteer Opportunities

Processing & Packaging Seeds, Tuesday, April 11, Falmouth Extension Office from 10 a.m. to Noon.
We’re looking for 2-3 volunteers to help process and package native/pollinator-friendly seeds. These seeds will be distributed at outreach events and programs this year. If you’re available to help, please contact Pamela at pamela.hargest@maine.edu.

Girl Scouts of Maine Green ME Up event,  Saturday, April 15th at L.L. Bean from 10am-3pm.
We have been invited to participate in this event again this year. We will have a pollinator/plant matching activity and will be distributing seed packets. We’ll be sharing the booth with Master Food Preserver volunteers who are leading a hands-on food preservation activity.

There are two volunteer shifts, each needing 2 or 3 volunteers:
Shift 1: 9:30 am (set up) to 12:30 pm
Shift 2: 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm (clean up)

Please contact Mary (mary.wicklund@maine.edu).

The Scarborough Land Trust Walking Program, Sunday, May 14
The Scarborough Land Trust is looking for a MGV to lead an informative walk/program on native trees and shrubs at one of their properties on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14th.  For more information, please contact: Andrew J. Mackie, Executive Director Scarborough Land Trust: amackie@scarboroughlandtrust.org (207) 289-1199 (office) | (719) 221-6200 (cell)

The Freeport Community Services, Garden/Food Workshop Series, May 17, June 14 & July 12

The Freeport Community Services is organizing a 4-part series once a month from May to August at their location in Freeport. Each session will be 90 minutes in length with 2-3 speakers, including 30 minutes for questions. They are looking for speakers to contribute to their series and three of their sessions are garden-related (listed below). If you are interested in being a speaker for any of the topics below, please contact Pamela at pamela.hargest@maine.edu.

  • Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Part 1: Growing and Storing Food in Maine– Topics could include growing, preserving and storing food. This session will be done in collaboration with Kate McCarty, UMaine Extension Food System Professional.
  • Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Part 2: Flowers for a healthy Maine Ecology– Topics could include pollinators, native plants, invasive species, and deer-resistant plants. 
  • Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Part 3: Go Native– Topics could include Maine shrubs, bushes and trees, plants deer hate, and invasive species. 

UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm, On-going work days

Our volunteer work days are now scheduled for Tidewater Farm! Volunteer work days will alternate between Wednesday early evenings (4:00 – 6:00 PM) and Thursday mornings (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM), beginning on May 11, 2023. For more information about the work days and other volunteer opportunities, check out our volunteer information for 2023 or contact Pamela: pamela.hargest@maine.edu (207)949-4524 (work cell). 

If you have a volunteer opportunity you’d like to share, please send Mary an email at: mary.wicklund@maine.edu

Master Food Preserver Training

Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver. The applications for the 2023 Master Food Preserver training are available HERE. Applications are due by the end of the day Friday, May 5th. If you have any questions please contact Kathy Savoie at ksavoie@maine.edu.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, April 3: Preserving Dilly Beans & Pickles | 5:30 – 8 p.m. Oakland, ME (Register Here)

  • Tuesday, April 4: Growing Great Tomatoes, Peppers, Melons, and More! | 6 – 7:15 p.m. (Online)

  • Wednesday, April 5: Grow Your Own Organic Garden | 7 – 8 p.m. (Online)

  • Saturday, April 8: Compost Workshop at Wolfe’s Neck Center | 1 p.m. (Register Here)

  • Monday, April 10: Preserving Jams and Jellies | 5:30 – 8 p.m. Oakland, ME (Register Here)

  • Tuesday, April 11: Spring Plant Walk at Gilsland Farm | 4 – 6 p.m. (More Info.)

  • Tuesday, April 11: YardScaping: Healthy Lawn Care Made Easy  | 6 – 8 p.m. (More Info.)

  • Tuesday, April 11: Beyond the Apple: Growing Unique Fruit in Maine | 6 – 7:15 p.m. (Online)

  • Wednesday, April 12: “Bringing Nature Home” Best Practices Webinar | 6- 7:30 p.m. (Online)

  • Wednesday, April 12: Grow Your Own Apothecary | 6 – 8 p.m. Freeport, ME (More Info.)

  • Thursday, April 13: Gardening Q&A | 7 – 8 p.m. (online)

  • Saturday, April 15: Fruit Tree Pruning and Grafting at Wolfe’s Neck Center | 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. (Register Here)

  • Saturday, April 22: Urban Runoff 5K | 7:30 a.m – 12 p.m. (More Info.)

  • Saturday, April 22: Spring Clean-Up at Scarborough Marsh | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (More Info.)

  • Saturday, April 22: Seed Starters Workshop at Wolfe’s Neck Center | 10 a.m. (Register Here)

  • Sunday, April 23: Grafting Fruit Trees | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. South Portland, ME (More Info.)

  • Tuesday, May 2: Canning Rhubarb Lemon Raspberry Jam | 6-8:30 p.m. OOB, ME (Register Here)

  • Monday, May 8: Canning Pickled Spring Vegetables | 4-6 p.m. Lewiston, ME (Register Here)

Reporting MGV Hours and Produce Donations

Thank you to everyone who has been reporting their hours so far this year. This is a friendly reminder to report your volunteer hours here: Reporting Master Gardener Volunteer Hours (bookmark this page!). MGVs have until the end of the year (December 31, 2023) to complete their annual requirement of 20 hours or 40 hours if you are currently working on your certification.

If you are donating produce this season, please report the number of pounds donated here:
Cumberland County Maine Harvest for Hunger Donation Report Form.


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.
If you would like to submit an article or help with any aspect of the Newsletter contact AJ Cornell, the newsletter coordinator.