September 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Dear Master Gardeners,

Hope your tomatoes  are growing better than mine! This summer has served as a good example on why growing tomatoes in a high tunnel or greenhouse yields better results. If you haven’t visited Tidewater Farm in the last few weeks, stop by the high tunnel and look at the tomatoes!

I visited the August Field Day at Tidewater. I went early and saw many Master Gardeners and members of the public. AJ presented a program on deadheading. It was fun to watch. The next Field Day is September 9th.

The topics will be Growing Native Plants and Preserving the Harvest. Hope you will attend.

In my Master Gardener class, we mostly discussed vegetables and very little on ornamentals except to identify wildflowers. I did poorly in the wildflower ID class. At that time, food insecurity was very high (as it is now) therefore classes were designed to address the problem, and horticulture was our primary focus. Lately I have become more interested in landscape design and thinking about the benefits of great design on our wellbeing. This interest started when my wife attended Boston Architecture Collage in Landscape Design. If you have the opportunity to visit the Thuya Garden (a Dawn Redwood is on the property) and the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, you will feel a sense of ease seep in and your stress float away.

Wishing you a great September,

David Elliott

Tomato plants in the high tunnel at Tidewater Farms
Photo courtesy of David ElliotTomato plants growing in the high tunnel at Tidewater Farms

Field Days at Tidewater Farm
Saturday, September 9, 10:00 AM to Noon: Growing Native Plants | Preserving your Harvest

Join us on Saturday, September 9, 10:00am 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 10:30am. Child-friendly activities will be provided. No registration required.

Enjoy a guided walk through the gardens as we highlight native plants for various growing conditions and how those plants are grown from seed. Then, join us for a hands-on demonstration preserving produce from the gardens with a discussion of food safety practices for food preservation. 

Our friends at Wayside Food Programs will be on hand to offer samples and recipes utilizing fresh produce from Tidewater Farm. Learn about their food programs aimed to increase food access across Cumberland County and beyond.

Other Events at Tidewater Farm this September:

Tuesday, September 12, 5:00 to 6:00 pm: Garden Tool Maintenance
Program Fee: Sliding Scale, $5-$15 | Registration: Required, Register Online

Proper tool care is an important step for enhancing the longevity and safety of garden tools. In this workshop, we’ll demonstrate best practices for maintaining your garden tools during and at the end of the growing season. Participants will gain hands-on experience cleaning and sharpening tools of their own and learn how to store their tools during the winter months.

Wednesday, September 27, 5:30 to 7:00 pm: Getting to Know Garden Herbs
Program Fee: Sliding Scale, $5-$15 | Registration: Required, Register Online

Join Tidewater Farm’s Master Gardener Volunteers at the demonstration garden to sample tea made from easy to grow herbs, learn how to make an aromatic healing salve from flowers, learn about harvesting and storing herbs including ginger and turmeric, and enjoy a tour where all can share tips for using garden herbs.

Bumble bee on blueberry flower
Bumble bee on blueberry flower

UMaine Cooperative Extension Open House and Annual Meeting 

An invitation to the Open House and Annual Meeting

Join us for our Open House and Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 6 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth!

Come learn about Extension’s work, explore the gardens, attend a short presentation by local beekeeper, Peter Richardson, and participate in King Arthur’s Flour Pie Bake-Off. Presentation begins at 5:30pm. Light refreshments and locally made ice cream will be provided. No registration required. In case of inclement weather, shelter will be provided.

For a detailed schedule of events, as well as more information about the presentation and the Pie Bake-Off, visit our website.

2023-2024 Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

Here is a highlight of what’s coming during the next Speaker Series Session (September 2023-June 2024).  Our theme is “Climate Change for Maine Gardeners” and we will again be offering the Zoom sessions to Master Gardener Volunteers throughout Maine.  In an exciting new development we will also be extending the Speaker Series Zooms to non-master gardeners throughout the state.

SEPT. 15: Creating a Habitat for Backyard Birds w/ Andrew Tufts/Audubon (Zoom)  5:00 – 6:30pm (Register HERE)
OCT. 5: Drought Resistant Plants w/ Amy Witt/Earthwalkers (Zoom) 5:00 – 6:30pm
OCT. 24 or 25: Tour of Wolfe Neck Center including sensory garden project  12:00 – 3:00pm
NOV. 16: Native Trees w/ Jeff Tarling/Arborist (Zoom) 5:00 – 6:30pm
DEC. 6: Holiday Decoration to Share with a Care Facility (In-Person @ Extension Office) 2:00 – 4:00pm
JAN 11: Growing Figs in Containers in Maine w/ Bob McArdle/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
JAN. 24: Doug Tallamy (sponsored by the Maine Garden Club and Audubon)
JAN 25: Winter Sowing w/ Tyra Hatcher-Mitchell/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
MAR 5: Landscape for Life w/ Amy Witt/Earthwalkers  (Five sessions) 5:30 – 7:30 Feb. 27, March 3, 12, 19 + 26
FEB. TBD: Homegrown National Park w/ Andrew Tufts  Audubon (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
FEB. 29: All About Seaweed for Gardeners w/ Maine Seaweed Council (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
MAR. 21: The Problem with Peat w/ Tom Witwicki and Bonnie Barthmaier/MGVs  Zoom 5 – 6:30pm
APR 11: No Till Practices w/ Mariam Telob/MOFGA (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
MAY 23: Ornamentals w/ Nicki Griffin and Lucretia Bagley/MGVs (Zoom) 5 – 6:30pm
JUN. 6: Small Fruits w/ Joel Leak/MGV ( Zoom) 5:30 – 7:00pm

Save the Date: Master Gardener Harvest Celebration
Mark your Calendars For Saturday, October 14th 3 – 6pm at UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm

A traditional event, the Master Gardener Harvest Celebration is now down on the farm! Join us for a potluck supper, raffle baskets, and music by the pine tones! Featuring the fantastic 2023 Seed Grant Gardens and tours of Tidewater Farm. A perfect time to catch up with old friends and  meet new Master Gardeners! More Details and Potluck sign up to follow. Come for the Suppah – Stay for the Fun!

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 1: Maine Outdoor Film Festival l 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Falmouth
Saturday, September 2: Foraging: Finding Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants l 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Holden
Wednesday, September 6: Apple Tasting Maine Heritage Orchard l 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Unity
Friday, September 8: Fermenting Sauerkraut l 1 – 3 p.m .Wiscasset
Friday, September 8: Fall Edible Plant Walks l 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, September 9: Growing Native Plants/Preserving Your Harvest l 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Falmouth
Saturday, September 9: Fall Plant Walk at Gilsland Farm l 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Falmouth
Sunday, September 10: Herbal Salve Workshop l 10 – 11:30 a.m. Freeport
Tuesday, September 12: Garden Tool Maintenance l 5 – 6 p.m. Falmouth
Tuesday, September 12: YardScaping: From Lawns to Landscapes l 6 – 8 p.m. South Portland
Wednesday, September 13: Apple Tasting Maine Heritage Orchard l 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Unity
Tuesday, September 19: Pressure Canning l 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Falmouth
Wednesday, September 20: Seaweed Farming l 5 – 6 p.m. Freeport
Thursday, September 21: Autumn Equinox Maine Audubon l 4 – 7 p.m. Falmouth
Friday-Sunday, September 22 – 24: Common Ground Fair l 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Unity
Saturday, September 23: Mushrooms of Maine l 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Holden
Wednesday, September 27: Breeding and Plant Selection l 3 – 5 p.m. Albion
Wednesday, September 27 Getting to Know Garden Herbs l 5:30 – 7 p.m. Falmouth

Maine Offers Free Collection of Unwanted Pesticides to Protect Natural Resources

Maine residents can participate in the Obsolete Pesticide Collection Program, a joint initiative by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The program aims to safeguard Maine’s natural resources and prevent agricultural pollution by promoting the safe and proper disposal of outdated, unused, or unwanted pesticides.

Homeowners and family-owned farms are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity by bringing their unwanted pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, disinfectants, and similar products used in agricultural production or around the home, to collection sites in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland.

Key Information:

  • The next obsolete pesticide collection days will be held during October 2023, with one-day events in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland.
  • Pre-registration is required by September 29 to participate; drop-ins are not permitted.
  • The program only accepts pesticides and spray adjuvants.
  • Registration instructions and forms can be found on the program webpage:
  • Each registration must be from the person currently possessing the pesticides, and materials collected on behalf of others will not be accepted.

More details, including drop-off locations and the obsolete pesticides inventory form, will be provided soon on the BPC website.

About Maine’s Obsolete Pesticide Collection Program
Removing obsolete and unwanted pesticides is essential for protecting public health, wildlife, and the environment. Improper handling and disposal of pesticides can contaminate land and water resources. The Maine Obsolete Pesticide Collection Program ensures these hazardous materials are handled and disposed of safely. Since its inception in 1982, the program has successfully diverted over 250,000 lbs. of pesticides from entering the waste stream. Collected pesticides are transported to licensed, out-of-state disposal facilities through a hazardous waste disposal contractor.

Disposing of Pesticides Safely
Always follow the label instructions for the proper use, storage, and disposal of any pesticides you use. For more information about safe pesticide disposal, visit the EPA website.

Photos of outdated pesticides
Examples of old or unwanted pesticides.

Invasive Weed alert: Persicaria Perfoliata a.k.a.: Mile-a-Minute Weed
First Occurence of Mile-a-Minute Weed Confirmed in Maine, Urgent Action Required

The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) has recently verified the first known occurrence of mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata) in Maine. This fast-growing invasive vine, native to India, Asia, and the Philippine Islands, poses a significant threat to nurseries, Christmas tree farms, reforestation projects, and restoration areas, as it can smother young plants and trees under its dense growth.

The discovery was made at a private residence in Boothbay Harbor, where the alert landowner reported finding a mile-a-minute weed plant while cleaning up weeds that came with newly installed landscape plants. This invasive species is one of 33 plants listed on the DACF’s do-not-sell list, notorious for hitchhiking on nursery stock and spreading rapidly. 

Mile-a-minute weed derives its name from its astonishing growth rate of up to 6 inches per day or 25 feet in six to eight weeks. It features distinctive triangular leaves, spikes of pea-sized blue fruits, and recurved barbs along the stems and leaf margins. The vine also displays peculiar circular leaves, known as ocreae, clasping the stem beneath each fruit spike. 

Invasive species like mile-a-minute weed have the potential to cause severe harm to Maine’s environment and economy. As part of our commitment to controlling and eradicating this invasive plant, the DACF urges the public to report any potential sightings promptly. If you encounter a vine resembling mile-a-minute weed, please visit the Maine Natural Areas webpage for identification information. If the plant matches the description, we encourage you to take photos, note the location, and report the finding via email to or call (207) 287-7545.  

“The timely reporting of invasive plants is crucial to our efforts in safeguarding Maine’s natural areas,” said State Horticulturalist Gary Fish. “With the public’s support, we can respond rapidly and take necessary measures to eradicate any other mile-a-minute weed plants in the area.” 

For more information on mile-a-minute weed and other invasive species of concern in Maine, please visit, Let’s cooperate to protect our state’s biodiversity and preserve its natural beauty.

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 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.