June 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Welcome to the beginning of summer!

The board had their recent meeting on May 8th. A report about the upcoming plant sale highlighted that publicity was ramping up and that there were more plants available than in the previous years! Furthermore, a committee has been formed to organize our fall gathering: Celebrating the Harvest. Stay tuned for further details in the coming months.

This month I wish to address two topics that I feel all Master Gardeners may want to familiarize themselves with. 

The first is food insecurity

The Bangor Daily News reported that Maine ranks the highest in New England and seventh in the nation for food insecurity. The University of Maine Extension Service reports that Maine ranks ninth nationally with 14.4% of homes, 20% of our children, and 16% of our seniors being food insecure. The state has a plan to end food insecurity by 2030. (https://legislature.maine.gov/doc/8096).

How can Master Gardener Volunteers help to lower these statistics? A few MGV’s I know are helping through their work at Growing to Give, in community gardens, at middle and high school gardens, and at Tidewater Farm where all the produce is donated  through the Harvest for Hunger Program. Another avenue to help with food insecurity is through volunteer work with 4-H programs that provide educational opportunities and resources that equip youth with knowledge and hands-on learning. 4-H helps youth learn agricultural basics which they can take home and share with their families. 

Just a thought–perhaps when we are helping our young students in the school gardens, the students will take the knowledge home. The parents may then start growing tomatoes in a container.  Once they taste these tomatoes, they will never buy a store-bought tomato again. This saves money and helps with a healthy diet.  Who knows–eventually the family may join a community garden and grow more produce.  

The second is the environment and global warming. 

I may be older than some of you… When I was a child, we never worried about ticks and we never saw vultures in Maine. I am sure you have seen the effects of the warming climate. What can we do as individuals?  First, I suggest reading Advocating for the Environment by Susan Inches. The book gives some ideas about what individuals may do at the local level. 

You will receive this letter after the plant sale; hopefully I will have seen many of you at the sale.

Have a wonderful June and stay safe.

David Elliott

Field Days at Tidewater Farm

Join us at Tidewater Farm on the second Saturday of the month from June to October, 10:00 AM to Noon, rain or shine, for our family-friendly field days! 

Come experience the gardens at Tidewater Farm, learn about what we do, ask your gardening questions, and participate in hands-on demonstrations with UMaine Extension Staff and Master Gardener Volunteers. Demonstrations begin at 10:30 AM. Child-friendly activities will be provided. No registration required.

  • June 10: Dividing Perennials | Succession Planting and Irrigation
  • July 8: Pollinator-Friendly Gardening | Scouting for Pests and Encouraging Beneficial Insects
  • August 12: Deadheading | Extending the Season
  • September 9: Growing Native Plants | Preserving your Harvest
  • October 14: Putting the Gardens to Bed | Supporting Soil Health 

For more information, please visit our website: https://extension.umaine.edu/cumberland/tidewater/events

Spinach growing in garden beds
Spinach growing in garden beds.

Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

Saturday, June 17: Yoga for Gardeners | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Tidewater Farm (Rain date: June 24)

This in-the-garden session will teach gardeners how to prepare for and recover quickly from the exercise of gardening. Using yoga techniques to release lower back, hips, side, legs, ankles and feet you will practice standing, balance and restorative postures combined with gentle movement and deep breathing.

Martha Williams has been a yoga teacher for over 20 years and graduated from the Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Spirit School of Yoga. She also worked at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Her yoga teaching focuses on wellness, healing, and the mind-body connection to allow transformation to optimal health and thriving in all areas of life.


A cartoon frog in a yoga pose.
A tree frog practices yoga.

Volunteer Opportunity

Help With the Herb Garden at Tidewater Farm
Nini McManamy is looking for volunteers to join her crew in the herb garden at Tidewater Farm. This crew maintains the culinary and medicinal demonstration gardens as well as the nearby blueberry, strawberry and groundcover gardens. Tasks change over the season, but right now we are pruning and grooming and planning the summer’s plantings. We have overwintered rosemary, bay and aloe to plant. We will be seeding in annuals. As the season progresses we will harvest for Wayside, and are already cutting lovage. If you would like to join us, contact Nini McManamy at 207-329-1232.

Freeport Climate Action Now, Lands and Waters Committee
Upgrading Our Yard Care Practices Series, Thursday and Friday afternoons, all summer.
Bessie’s Farm Goods, 1 Grace Lane, Freeport, ME

The Lands and Waters committee at Freeport Climate Action Now is hosting a summer initiative called Upgrading Our Yard Care Practices.  They are looking for MGVs to lead a one-hour discussion and/or offer hands-on workshops. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Climate impacts of lawn care; 
  • Native Plants; 
  • Planting for pollinators; 
  • Vegetable gardening basics(there will be access to a raised bed);
  • Invasives.

 Please contact Laurahench@yahoo.com for more information.

Food Preservation Workshop: Preserving Low-Sugar Strawberry Jams & Jellies 

Thursday, June 8, 2023 | 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Strawberry season is right around the corner in Maine. Join UMaine Extension nutrition staff to learn how to make strawberry jam and jelly. We will discuss using natural and alternative sweeteners in jam and jelly-making and demonstrate making low-sugar jam. Instructors will demonstrate preparing recipes in an interactive format.

Registration is required; a $5 donation per session is optional. Register on the program webpage to receive the link and resources.
For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact UMaine Extension at 207.781.6099 or email:  extension.foodnutritioncumberland@maine.edu.

Fresh strawberries and strawberry jam.

Upcoming Events

Friday, June 2: Medicinal Plant Walk  l 5-6:30 pm, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport
Tuesday, June 6: Yard Scaping: Healthy Lawn Care Made Easy l 6-8 pm, Brunswick/Online
Thursday, June 8:  Canning Low Sugar Jams & Jellies l 1-1:45 pm, Online
Thursday, June 8: Assisting the Path of the Monarch Butterfly l 4-5:30 pm, Oxford County Extension Office Friday, June 9: Edible Plant Walks l 4-6 pm Gilsland Farm (Maine Audubon), Falmouth
Saturday, June 10: Farm and Homestead Day l 9-3 pm MOFGA, Unity
Saturday, June 10: Summer Plant Walk l 10-12 pm, Falmouth
Saturday, June 10: Field Day at Tidewater Farm l 10-12 pm, UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm, Falmouth
Saturday, June 17: Native Plant Sale and Festival l 9-3pm, Gilsland Farm (Maine Audubon), Falmouth
Wednesday, June 21: Shrubs for Habitat Restoration l 10-12pm, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm
Wednesday, June 21: 4-H Adulting 101 Club l 4-5:30 pm, Online
Thursday, June 22:Blueberry Hill Farm Field Day l 9-3pm, Jonesboro
Thursday, June 22: Tomato Pruning and Trellising l 5-7:30 pm, Freeport
Saturday, June 24: Volunteer Workday: Mast Landing Invasive Plant Control l 9am-12pm, Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary, Freeport
Tuesday, June 27: Preserving the Harvest: Jam and Jelly Basics lCumberland County Extension Office, Falmouth
Tuesday, June 27: Summer Plant Walk l 4-6 pm, Gilsland Farm (Maine Audubon), Freeport
Wednesday, June 28: Introduction to Maine’s Wild Edibles l 7-8:30pm, Online

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.
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.