January 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Greetings and a Happy New Year to my fellow Master Gardener volunteers!

This monthly CCMGA Newsletter is now being assembled under the capable coordination of MG volunteer, Andrea-Jane, who is a member of the 2021 MGV class. I’d like to thank AJ and all the contributors to this newsletter for their work and dedication to enable you, our volunteers, to stay connected to the local and statewide events of the Master Gardener Program. We’ll be attempting to track newsletter access statistics on the Cooperative Extension website. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for newsletter content to meet your needs; check the volunteer opportunities section below for more information.

Here is some news from the CCMGA Board which last met in November:

The Seed Grant Committee reported that there were 13 Seed Grant applications received this fall requesting a total of $8600. These requests surpassed last year’s in number and amount, so the board is pleased to have the opportunity to support your MG projects at this new level. Thank you for the thought and effort you put into the applications. The Board will be voting to approve the committee’s funding recommendations at its January meeting.

The new 2022-2023 MG Volunteer Training Class has begun with 21 Cumberland County and 135 statewide participants. The Cooperative Extension statewide team that develops this training class will also be planning this year for the continuing education of current MG volunteers. Watch this space for future developments.

The Speaker Series Committee chaired by Barbara Dee has finalized the 2022-2023 educational events. The topics for the first three dark winter months should really pique your interest and include such subjects as PFAS information for the home gardener, starting your seedlings using a peat free medium, backyard wildflower meadows, and the soil plant web. This last topic is of special interest to me personally, as I’ve transitioned my vegetable garden to “no-till” and have a lot to learn about the biology of the soil and how plants are supported by the microorganisms that live in a healthy soil.

In closing, let me offer my New Year’s wishes to you for a healthy, happy and satisfying 2023 gardening season.

Tom Witwicki

Cumberland MGVs keep the Casco Bay Dialysis Center Garden bursting with produce.
2022 Seed Grant recipients and Master Gardener Volunteers at the Casco Bay Dialysis Center Garden

Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

PFAS in Agricultural Systems presented by Caleb Goosen, MOFGA

Thursday, January 12, 2023 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Free Zoom webinar open only to MGVs

Caleb Goossen, Crop and Conservation Specialist for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, will discuss PFAS contamination of agricultural systems in Maine, including some of the lessons that have been learned from specific instances of discovered contamination.

Please register online here so we know how many MGVs will be joining us!

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: HERE
Password: 822209 / Meeting ID: 894 5660 7059 | Or Telephone: US: +1 309 205 3325 or +1 312 626 679

two hands holding brown soil
USDAHands filled with soil, photo by the USDA

Save the Date 2023 – MGV Speaker Series at a Glance
Saturday February 18: Seed Starting with Peat Free Mix | 2 – 4 p.m. (In-person)
Tuesday March 7: The Soil Food Web and Plant Communication | 5 – 6:30 p.m (Zoom)
Thursday March 23: Growing a Meadow for Nature in Your Backyard | 5 – 6:30 p.m. (Zoom)
Thursday April 6: Propagation | 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (In-person)
Thursday April 27: Opening the Garden in the Spring | 5 – 6:30 p.m. (Zoom)
Saturday May 13: Ornamentals | 10 -11:30 a.m. (In person)
Saturday June 17: Yoga for Gardeners | 10 – 11:30 a.m. (In-person) Rain date: June 24

2023 Calendar Raffle

Master Gardeners, get ready for the online sales of the 2023 Calendar Raffle! How about a seasonal wreath or 20 pounds of bird seed and a birdfeeder? A yard of compost delivered? Hand-knit wool socks? A 90-minute float? Dinner for two at the Seaglass Restaurant? Please start thinking about how to encourage online sales of the calendar through social media and word-of-mouth; start thinking about what businesses you know that might provide a donation or a service. We did a fantastic job last year selling raffle calendars and we raised over $5000 for seed grants. Let’s sell even more this year! We can do this! Any questions, suggestions, donations please email Barbara at catzrul1@live.com or Richard at 1961rangerrich@gmail.com.

Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for ways to put in some MGV hours during the winter months? The Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter is looking for contributors. The newsletter is a tool for all to use and we are looking for new contributors to write articles and help with editing. And, of course we are always open to comments and suggestions as to what you would like to see in this newsletter. If you would like to get involved, reach out to AJ Cornell at jane.andrea@gmail.com.

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

Echinacea and other perennials herbs at Tidewater Farm
UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye on the following pages to learn about opportunities for further enrichment in the form of events, webinars, and workshops, Click on the links below for more information.

MGV Lunch and Learn Series

Beat the winter blues by tuning in for special monthly presentations by fellow Master Gardener Volunteers from across the state! The Lunch and Learn Series takes place on the first Thursday of each month. More information here. Did you miss a past Lunch and Learn? Check out our recordings here!

No registration required! Open only to Master Gardener Volunteers. Please use the Zoom information listed below for each webinar you attend:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://maine.zoom.us/j/82551078918?pwd=REVOenZwSWtxdkxOdlE2c3ZQL3FuUT09
Password: 093872 / Meeting ID: 825 5107 8918 | Or Telephone: US: +1 301 715 8592

Reporting MGV Hours for 2023

A new year brings new volunteer opportunities. Hours can be reported 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.


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.