January 2018 Master Gardener Volunteers Newsletter

From Our President…

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It’s ALMOST too cold outside to even think about gardening. This may be the year where we all look forward to Mud Season (a.k.a. March) just for the warm-up of the outside air. I’ve been thinking about what I would like to do different this year and I’m sure that many of you are also doing the same. Isn’t it exciting to try new things in our gardens?  I resolve to do the following three things different this year.

Who has been making tracks at the Tidewater Gardens?
(Photos by Kookie)

First, add some new-to-me native plants, most likely of the small shrub type. As I age, I need to look for plants that require less maintenance.  In the veggie garden that I share with a neighbor, it’s time to install drip irrigation, dragging the hose over to keep it watered in last year’s heat did get old very fast!

Second, I’d like to find ways to work smarter, not harder, to take care of the gardens. Christmas brought me a new long-handled hoe with a very narrow blade, recommended highly by a fellow master gardener. Those pesky weeds won’t know what hit them when I get out to get them under control! Then I’ll have more time to relax in my gardens.

Last, I hope I’ll feel that I’m never too old to learn something new. The Master Gardeners, the Extension office and all the local plant centers offer a wide variety of classes and workshops and I can’t wait to see the seminar schedule at the Maine Flower Show. If you have a garden skill that you would like to share with others, or there is something you would like to see offered as a class or workshop, please contact someone on the MG Board.

I wish everyone in the garden community, and their families, a Happy and Healthy 2018.

P.S.: I also resolve to get the monthly President’s letter for the MG newsletters to Kookie sooner than the day of the deadline!

Nicki Griffin, President
Cumberland County Master Gardener Association

Master Gardener Plant Sale
May 19, 2018

people shopping at a plant saleThe 2018 Master Gardener Plant Sale will be held Saturday, May 19, 2018, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Barron Center on Brighton Ave.

If you are not able to serve on the committee, keep in mind that we will also need help with the following projects:

  1. Starting veggie and herb seedlings.
  2. Digging plants from existing gardens, as well as potting up and labeling the donated plants.
  3. Transporting the potted plants to the Barron Center on Friday, May 18.
  4. Sorting and pricing the plants at the Barron Center on Friday, May 18.
  5. Volunteering at the Plant sale itself.
  6. Helping with clean up after the plant sale ends.

If you have any feedback you would like to offer from last year’s sale, we would love to hear from you.


Upcoming Events

January 9-11: Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine. Come and Hang Out with Extension and the Beginning Farmer Resource Network at the 2018 Ag. Trades Show

January 29: Portland Food Council’s Annual Meeting in Portland, 4:00-7:00 p.m., 1 Longfellow Square, Portland. Visit the Portland Food Council Annual Meeting Facebook event page for more information.

Sunday, February 25: 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Advanced Business Planning with Julia Shanks, presented by MOFGA, at Coastal Enterprises, Inc., 30 Federal Street, Brunswick, Maine (Directions). $100 per person; $135 for two people coming from the same farm. To register, visit the MOGFA website.

This full-day workshop is designed to help established and beginning farmers understand the financials of their business and learn how to make informed decisions to increase profits. It is best suited for those with at least one year of farming or similar experience. The goals of the workshop are to plan for profit, examine YOUR farm enterprises, better understand financial statements and learn about recordkeeping.

Instructor Julia Shanks is the author of The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business.

February 14: 3:00 p.m.: Master Gardener Speaker Series: What could be more romantic than “Backyard Chicken Keeping” with UMaine Agriculture Professional Jason Lilly.  Location Falmouth Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive. Please R.S.V.P. at extension.rlreception@maine.edu or 207.781.6099.  Limit 25 participants.

Save the Date: Master Gardener Annual Work Day

Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.  More details to come.

News! Exotic Tick Species Identified in New Jersey

According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, an exotic East Asian tick, also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick, was found on a farm in Hunterdon County in New Jersey on November 9, 2017. This tick is not known to be present in the United States, although records exist of at least a dozen previous collections of this species in the country on animals and materials presented for entry at U.S. ports. This tick is a serious pest to livestock (including cattle, horses, farmed deer, sheep, and goats), particularly in New Zealand, as well as wildlife, pets, and humans. Farmers should monitor their livestock for the presence of this tick and decreased growth rates or signs of anemia. The tick is known to transmit a disease called Theileriosis to cattle, which results in severe anemia and possibly death.

Visit the State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture website, Exotic Tick Species Identified on Hunterdon County Farm page.

Beekeeping Courses

graphic with beekeepers and the text, beekeeping coursesBeekeeping: Honey Bee Diseases (Intermediate Level)

This five-hour class will cover the major pest and disease threats to honey bee colonies and their management.  Focusing on non-chemical and IPM strategies, students will learn the best management practices for all of the major threats to colony health in Maine.

Beekeeping: Queens & Nucs (Intermediate Level)

This five-hour class will cover the basics of starting your own sustainable apiary program through queen rearing and nucleus colony management.  Designed for the small-scale “backyard” beekeeper, students will learn how to raise and handle queens and how to move from queen rearing into nucleus colony creation and management.

Beginner Beekeeping

  • Date: Wednesdays, February 14, 21, 28, and March 7 and 14
  • Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Location: UMaine Regional Learning Center, Falmouth, Maine
  • Textbook: The Beekeeper’s Handbook, Fourth Edition (included in registration fee)
  • Fee: $100 per person
  • To register, visit the Beginning Beekeeping, February, Falmouth page.
  • Instructors: Master Beekeepers Jacky Hildreth and Peggy McLaughlin

This five-session course is a great opportunity for new beekeepers, prior to their first year of bees, or it can be a great refresher course for beekeepers just now going into their first winter.

Cooking for Crowds Spring Dates

Extension expert with a Cooking for Crowds class participant and text on an overlay that reads Cooking for Crowds WorkshopsDate: January 23, 2018

Time: 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Location: UMaine Extension Kennebec County, 125 State Street, 3rd Floor, Augusta

Instructor: Deborah Barnett, UMaine Extension Staff

Fee: $15 per person

To register, visit the Cooking for Crowds, January 23, 2018, Augusta page.


Do you need more CLYNK bags?  You may pick them up here at the office.  Our account grows steadily and that money will go towards a Cumberland County project, a SEED PROJECT. Collect your returnables in one of our designated green bags; drop off at your local Hannafords and help us grow our Seed Money. Thanks to all of you who stop by on a regular basis to pick up bags.