October 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Welcome to October! I think the colored leaves make October the most beautiful month. This letter is written in mid-September so that the Extension staff can correct my grammar and include it in October’s newsletter.  

I am hoping that many of you were able to join us on September 9 for the field day at Tidewater Farm. My friend Don from Wayside was there with flavorful snacks! He is a graduate of the 2012 MG program. In addition, Nikki presented an excellent talk about Native Landscapes for Maine. If you did not attend her presentation, I suggest that you obtain a copy of the CMCE Bulletin #2500 Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Native Landscape: Plants to use and plants to avoid. 

The board met on September 11th for our monthly meeting after a two-month mini-summer vacation. I am happy to report that we are in good financial shape. The upcoming Speaker Series looks exciting. Please be on the lookout for additional information as it arrives on your computer.

Remember to sign up for Celebrating the Harvest on October 14th. There will be good fellowship, music, prizes, and potluck dining. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend for family reasons. 

Wishing all MGVs a wonderful month.

David Elliott

Tidewater Newsletter

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Field Days at Tidewater Farm

Join us on Saturday, October 14, 10:00 AM to Noon for our Field Day at Tidewater Farm. This event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and family! Demonstrations begin at 10:30 AM. Child-friendly activities will be provided. No registration required.

Learn how to put your gardens to bed with an emphasis on practices that support wildlife during the winter months. Additional topics include a hands-on demonstration of how to take a soil sample for testing, amend your soil based on the soil test results, and protect your soil going into the winter months.

Peas and oats growing in garden bed as cover crop.
Peas and oats growing in a garden bed as cover crop.

Master Gardener Harvest Celebration

Saturday October 14th 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Tidewater Farm, Falmouth

A potluck supper, music by The Pine Tones, door prizes, tours of Tidewater Farm, and seed grant project presentations. A traditional event now down on the farm presents a perfect occasion to catch up with old friends, and meet new Master Gardener Volunteers! Come for the Suppah – Stay for the Fun!

CLICK HERE to RSVP and sign up for your potluck contribution.

2024 Norm Steele Memorial Seed Grant Application

Master Gardener Volunteers are invited to apply for the Norm Steele Memorial Seed Grant through the Cumberland County Master Gardener Association (CCMGA). Norm was in the first Cumberland County Master Gardener Class. For 25 years, Norm’s passion for helping others was demonstrated with countless volunteer hours and an estimated 12,000 pounds of produce donated to the Maine Harvest for Hunger Program. Norm passed away in June 2013, leaving an amazing legacy. The CCMGA has named the Seed Grant program in his honor because Norm exemplified what it means to be a Master Gardener Volunteer: he taught, inspired and shared so much with so many.

The Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association’s mission is to support Master Gardeners involved in horticulture projects through educational opportunities, association with other gardeners, volunteering on community service-related projects, and sharing knowledge and expertise with the public.

Eligibility: Any active Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer, who is enrolled in the current year and up-to-date on volunteer hours, may apply for funds to support an approved Master Gardener Volunteer Project.

Application: Seed Grant Application 2024 (PDF) or  Seed Grant Application 2024 (Google Form)

Deadline: Friday, November 3, 2023

It is strongly recommended that Master Gardener Volunteer applicants attend the Seed Grant Info Session via Zoom, who are interested in applying, have questions, or need assistance with completing their application on Thursday, October 19th, 2023 at 6:00 pm. Zoom link: https://maine.zoom.us/j/83213565826

Submission: Please submit your application to Mary Wicklund at the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, either as an electronic or paper copy, or via Google Form. Applications can be emailed to mary.wicklund@maine.edu.

A paper copy can be mailed to the address below:
ATTN:Mary Wicklund
UMaine Cooperative Extension
75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Speaker Series

A photo of native Maine plants in a garden.
Native plants growing in the garden.

October 24: Cumberland County Special MGV Tour of Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, ME

12-3 PM Bring a lunch! (rain date October 25)

Wolfe’s Neck Farm is a one-of-a-kind place on the coast of Maine that connects farmers, eaters, and learners to the land and animals at the core of our food systems. A sustainable coastal farm for nearly sixty years, Wolfe’s Neck Center is home to an oceanfront campground, leading demonstration farm, and educational resource center for innovative practices in regenerative agriculture. 

If you plan to attend please email: Barbara Dee: catzrul1@live.com 

Bonnie Barthmaier  barthmaierb@gmail.com

2023-2024 Speaker Series Save the Date:

NOV. 16: Native Trees w/ Jeff Tarling/Arborist (Zoom) 5:00 – 6:30 pm
DEC. 6: Holiday Decoration to Share with a Care Facility (In-Person @ Extension Office) 2:00 – 4:00 pm
JAN 11: Growing Figs in Containers in Maine w/ Bob McArdle/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
JAN. 24: Doug Tallamy (sponsored by the Maine Garden Club and Audubon)
JAN 25: Winter Sowing w/ Tyra Hatcher-Mitchell/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
DATE TBD: Landscape for Life w/ Amy Witt/Earthwalkers  (Five sessions)
FEB. TBD: Homegrown National Park w/ Andrew Tufts  Audubon (Zoom) 5 – 6:30
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
APR 11: No Till Practices w/ Mariam Telob/MOFGA (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
MAY 24: Ornamentals w/ Nicki Griffin and Lucretia Bagley/MGVs (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
JUN. 6: Small Fruits w/ Joel Leak/MGV ( Zoom) 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Upcoming Events

Wed., October 4: Apple Tasting in the Maine Heritage Orchard l 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Unity
Wed., October 4: Ash Trees and Our Community l 6 – 7 p.m. Online
Wed., October 11: Climate, Carbon & Forest Ecology in ME, New England and Beyond l 6 – 7 p.m. Online Thurs., October 12: Seed Saving Walk with Wild Seed Project at Gilsland Farm  l  4 – 6 p.m.
Sat., October 14: Tidewater Farms Field Day l 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Falmouth
Sat. – Sun., October 14 – 15: Introduction to Permaculture l 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Freeport 
Sun., October 15: Great Maine Apple Day l 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Unity
Thurs., October 19th: Food Preservation Webinar: Winter Squash and Pumpkins l 1 – 1:45 p.m. Online

Volunteer Opportunity

Janet Kane and Sally Wright are helping the folks at the Homeless Services Center, 654 Riverside Street in Portland with their raised bed gardens. They are looking for 3-4 MGV volunteers to be part of their team beginning either this fall or next spring. The job site is ten (9 X 12) raised beds inside a fenced area at the Homeless Services Center.

Right now the job entails a big push in spring/fall for planting/cleanup. So far the upkeep is pretty light. They estimate that 1 or 2 gardeners once a week for an hour or so can maintain the beds with the help of the onsite guests. Work includes pruning, watering, and planting. (The staff & guests are harvesting for themselves.) There is the added opportunity to discuss garden techniques and to work side by side with the guests. A staff employee—a counselor—is always on hand to greet gardeners and connect us with shelter guests who are interested in helping with the gardens.

This is not a big time commitment but you must want to work with this population. Janet and Sally find it incredibly rewarding. Mostly, they are looking for help when they are not in town and want to have a bigger support system for this project.

Also, the shelter is brand new and in need of supplies. They want to write an MG grant this fall. If there’s someone who is interested in learning how to write a grant with assistance please reach out. 

If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, get in touch with Sally Wright at sallylucywright@gmail.com

Outstanding Horticulture Volunteer 2023

2023 Outstanding Horticulture Volunteer AJ Cornell

This year’s Outstanding Horticulture Volunteer was awarded to Andrea-Jane Cornell at the Cumberland County Extension Open House and Annual Meeting on September 6, 2023 at Tidewater Farm. AJ completed her Master Gardener Volunteer training in 2021, and has been a fantastic asset to the MGV community ever since. In addition to the more traditional, “hands in the soil” volunteering at the Tidewater Field Days, she has been invaluable with her design work for the Tidewater brochures and stepping up as the Coordinator for the Cumberland County MGV Newsletter. AJ’s time as a MGV is a fantastic example of how MGV can volunteer in a variety of ways. Thanks for all you do, AJ!

Newsletter coordinator’s note: aww gee, thanks!

Seeking MGVs – National Disease Monitoring Program

Two plant disease monitoring programs, based at Cornell University, have been collecting data for the past 14 years, and are looking for MGVs for help. The programs are gathering data on downy mildews caused by pathogens capable of extensive spread each year due to their wind dispersed spores. 

What’s involved?  Simply grow basil and/or cucumber plants, look for symptoms (websites below have images plus information about the diseases), and report when seen at the websites including a photo of symptoms to document.

 The protocol for volunteer data collections as follows:

  1.  Learn about the diseases, especially their symptoms at the 2 websites below.
  2. Examine leaves about weekly for symptoms; less frequently is fine if they are not being grown at your home. Morning following a dewy or humid night is the best time because those conditions are favorable for these pathogens to produce their diagnostic spores.
  3. When you see suspect symptoms, take photos including at least 1 good image of the underside of the leaves showing the spores.
  4. Put in a report with the photos at websites below.

 Monitoring pages for the 2 diseases:

Both have information about these diseases and their identification, as well as a reporting form and map showing where the diseases have already been reported.

Thanks for being a part of this program!

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.

Need to check the status of your MGV hours?
Email Becky Gray at extension.mastergardeners@maine.edu or call 207.356.1348

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.