November 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Dear fellow Master Gardeners:

Bumblebees on tithonia.

Our board meeting was postponed until October 11th because of Indigenous Peoples Day.  As you may remember, that was a holiday for the Extension Service.  It was a good meeting until my unstable internet eliminated my participation!  Thankfully, the meeting continued without me.

We are in excellent financial condition, and wish to personally thank all CCMG’s who work to sustain this success.  As you may know, the Extension Service is overworked and Board members have reached out to ask, “How can we help?”  This conversation is ongoing.

All who attended the Field Day at Tidewater Farm on October 14th had a beautiful day to visit.  The presentation on soils was excellent. There were many questions on “No till” gardening.  I was pleased to hear that more and more gardeners are learning more about soil health. 

Are you aware that there are an estimated 40 million acres of lawn in the US (equivalent to the size of Wisconsin)!!!? At Cornell Botanic Gardens, there is a small demonstration area devoted to the question of how to construct a ‘native lawn.’ Todd Bittner, a plant ecologist, and his colleagues took up this question about 15 years ago.  You can read about their research here.

Sadly, it is time to put our gardens to bed, unless you have a greenhouse or high tunnel. 

Wishing you a good November!

David Elliott

2023-2024 Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

 Thursday November 16: The Past & Present Future of Trees with Jeff Tarling | 5:00-6:30 pm via ZOOM

 Learn about the history and current status of trees in Maine. What are the best trees to plant? What about invasive trees? Pests are always a concern so what can we do? Are tree conservation efforts in Maine working?

 Jeff Tarling, is a lifelong ‘tree-hugger’! As Portland’s City arborist, a post he  occupied for 34 years, Tarling has helped plant and care for thousands of trees in the city.  He is now assisting Cape Elizabeth as their ‘Tree Warden’ and also works with Maine Audubon as the Urban Forestry Specialist. Jeff lives in South Portland where he served on the South Portland Conservation Commission and currently participates on the Open Space Acquisition Committee.


SAVE THE DATE 2023-2024 MGV Speaker Series: Climate Change for Maine Gardeners 

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

2024 Norm Steele Memorial Seed Grant Application: Deadline November 3rd

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 Associations’ 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

Submission: Please submit your application to Mary Wicklund at the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, either as an electronic or paper copy. Applications can be emailed to  A paper copy can be mailed to the address below:

ATTN:Mary Wicklund
UMaine Cooperative Extension
75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Upcoming Events

Thurs. 11/02: Seed Sowing Workshop with Wild Seed Project | 3:30 – 5:30pm (Lewiston Public Library)
Thurs.11/02: Yarmouth Community Garden Harvest Dinner & Silent Auction | 5 – 7pm (Yarmouth HS)
Thurs. 11/02: Seed Saving Walk | 4 – 6pm (Gilsland Farm)
Sat. 11/04: Fall Plant Walk | 10am-Noon (Gilsland Farm)
Sun 11/05: Fall Edible Plant Walk | 2-4pm (Gilsland Farm)
Thurs. 11/16: 2023 Horticulture Training Keynote | 12:00-1:30pm (Zoom)
Thurs. 11/16: Cooking For Crowds | 1 – 4pm  UMaine Extension Office, Falmouth
Sat. 11/18: Fall Plant Walk | 10am-Noon (Gilsland Farm)

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.