Maine Home Garden News – July 2024

In This Issue:

July Is the Month to . . .

By Barbara Harrity, Penobscot County Master Gardener Volunteer

In the fruit or vegetable garden

vegetable garden with tomatoes growing up strings attached to metal hoops. Field in background.
Trellised tomatoes using repurposed garden hoops and metal conduit. 
Photo by Kate Garland.
  • Plant crops for fall harvest. If you have enough room in your garden, July is a good time to plant crops to harvest in the fall. Sow carrot seed in mid-July; it’s important to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.  Sow peas, beets, chard, lettuce, and spinach from mid-July until early August and fall brassicas (cabbage, turnip, kale; broccoli) from late July to mid-August. 
  • Remove weeds before they set seeds. Regular cultivation of small weed seedlings with a sharp hoe on sunny days will do the trick.
  • Prune and stake your tomato plants. These videos demonstrate how to stake, basket weave, trellis, and prune tomatoes. You should also watch for signs of early blight, Septoria leaf spot, and late blight.
  • Monitor your garden regularly for insect pests and diseases. UMaine Extension experts are available to help you identify the problem before using any pesticides. Catching problems early and determining exactly what is causing the symptoms will make management more efficient and effective.
  • July can be a dry month, so be prepared to water. Gardens need 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water a week. If you’re thinking about using trickle irrigation, see Bulletin #2160, Trickle Irrigation: Using and Conserving Water in the Home Garden.
  • Thin peaches. If you have a peach tree, it’s important to thin the fruit so they’re 6-8 inches apart, to keep branches from breaking. For more information, see Bulletin #2068, Growing Peaches in Maine.
  • Renovate strawberries after harvest is complete. For more information see Bulletin #2067, Growing Strawberries.

    a table with plant propagation supplies including: two small pots filled with potting mix, a collection of short cuttings from a variety of plants with leaves stripped off the lower parts of the stem, plant labels, pencil, rooting hormone, and plastic bags
    Plant cuttings and propagation supplies.
    Photo by Kate Garland.

In the yard and flower garden

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs. It’s better to prune spring-flowering shrubs before they develop flower buds for next season, so take your pruners and loppers to your azalea, flowering quince, deutzia, forsythia, lilac, cornelian cherry, dogwood, bridalwreath spirea, rhododendron, and many viburnums. Learn more
  • Propagate softwood cuttings (PDF) of select woody plants. Serviceberry, forsythia, weigela, various dogwoods, viburnum, lilac, summersweet, Japanese maples, and flowering quince all root well from cuttings at this stage of growth.
  • Deadhead annual flowers. Deadheading is especially important for snapdragons, salvias, alyssum, dahlias, zinnias, and pansies, which all tend to stop flowering if not deadheaded promptly. Also, fertilize your annual flowering plants regularly during the summer to maintain growth and bloom.

    small green shrubby plants with numerous light purple flowers
    Lavender plants just starting to flower.
    Photo by Kate Garland.
  • Harvest lavender just as the flowers open. Use the first crop for drying and leave the second flush of flowers to enjoy in the August garden.
  • Deal with daffodils. Daffodil bulbs that produced few flowers this spring can be dug this month and replanted. Remove and discard the small bulb splits and plant only the largest bulbs back into the garden. Or, instead of discarding the smaller ones, you can move them to a cut flower garden where they will mature and produce flowers in a few years. July is also a good time to order bulbs for fall planting. 
  • Mow lawns at the highest setting and leave clippings where they fall. Follow the guidelines in UMaine Extension lawn bulletins and videos for beautiful and low-maintenance green spaces. 
  • Protect yourself from ticks and check yourself after being outside. The UMaine Tick Lab can identify ticks. If you remove one that’s embedded, they can test it for tick-borne diseases for a fee.

In the kitchen

  • Presto, it’s pesto time. Although pesto is most commonly made with basil, it can also be made with other herbs like parsley, lovage, or sorrel, or garlic scapes, or even greens such as spinach or kale. Pesto comes together quickly for an easy weeknight dinner and also freezes well. 

Around and About

garden in foreground with white awning set up along the back edge of the garden. People milling around the tent and exploring a field beyond the tent. A body of water in the distance.
Master Gardener Volunteers hosting Open Farm Day at Brae Maple Farm in Union. Photo credit Liz Stanley

Take part in the 35th annual Maine Open Farm Day. Maine Open Farm Day is a yearly event on the fourth Sunday in July, which this year is Sunday, July 28. Participating farms

showcase the wide range of Maine agricultural products, from specialty farms (apiaries, lavender, even water buffalo) to dairy, livestock, and fiber producers, to fruit and vegetable growers. Click the link to see the list of open farms.

  • Visit a pick-your-own berry, flower, or vegetable farm. If you don’t have your own garden, you can still enjoy one of the best parts of gardening—harvesting—by visiting a pick-your-own farm. Recommendations from friends and neighbors or roadside signs can lead you to a great PYO farm, or you can check the Maine Department of Tourism’s PYO farm list
  • Enjoy the numerous cultural festivals throughout Maine noted in our article below. 

Donate excess produce to a local food pantry or soup kitchen or neighbor. More information is available at the Maine Harvest for Hunger website.

My Battle With Bishop’s Weed

By Tricia Griffith, Master Gardener Volunteer Intern

My name is Tricia and I have bishop’s weed.

I originally wrote this post for my personal treehugger and gardening blog back in April. It was early spring and I was young and optimistic. Now, it’s late June, and I come back to edit this article for Maine Home Garden News with a more grim view of my situation. So, consider this a “lessons learned” edition!

Aegopodium podagraria

AKA: bishop’s weed, goutweed, ground elder, snow-on-the-mountain.

It’s an embarrassing gardening problem to have, but at least I didn’t plant it myself. We bought our house in 2020.  It came with a very large flower bed that covers the slope between the house and the driveway. “Thanks” to the early months of the pandemic, I had a lot of time to really dig into the garden.

I spent several months weeding, digging up the rock borders, and figuring out what exactly grew there. It took me a while to identify everything, including this particularly persistent groundcover that was taking over everything. I eventually identified it as bishop’s weed, all the names listed above, and a few names not appropriate for a mixed readership.

Because I had a ton of time, I managed to pare the plant’s presence down to a minimum. Of course, I did eventually have to go back to work, giving me much less time to manage an invasive plant. In last year’s rainy summer it went from bad to worse. I spent less time in the gardens, and the goutweed flowered and went to seed [insert ominous music here].

Some Bishop’s Weed Basics:

Bishop’s weed, Aegopodium podagraria is a member of the parsley family, related to Queen Anne’s Lace and carrots. It was introduced to the US in the mid-1800s from Europe and Northern Asia.

Due to its popularity as a low maintenance ground cover, it is now found from Maine south to South Carolina and west as far as Minnesota and Missouri. It’s found in the Pacific Northwest from Montana to Washington and Oregon, and in most Canadian provinces. Here in the Northeast, it is considered invasive in natural areas; it is prohibited from sale in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Why is it a problem?

Goutweed’s natural habitat is disturbed land such as felled forests, abandoned fields, and pastures. It forms dense patches by spreading long, branching rhizomes. While it can also reproduce by creating seeds, most of its spread happens through its hard-to-remove roots and rhizomes, which are exceptionally hard to weed out.

Where this plant grows, it impacts the reproduction of a variety of native plants by inhibiting seedling growth.  It decreases biodiversity in its habitat and is of particular concern in Maine’s rare floodplain forests, due to the fragility of these wetland habitats. In addition, various beetles, bees, and flies pollinate it, potentially disrupting the relationships between native plants and pollinators.

I can tell you from personal experience, it has been relentlessly taking over, drowning out the smaller plants in my garden before they can grow tall enough to reach above it. Taller plants like daisies and irises have held their own, but that’s about it.

What’s a Treehugger To Do?

I’m personally not keen on using a herbicide. There are recommendations out there, but keep in mind you need to try not to treat all the stuff around it. This isn’t easy when the plant is literally everywhere in the garden, including growing up between the stems of other plants.

I am opting for a more long-haul plan. Because I’m an extra busy lil’ treehugger, I don’t have time to go out every single day and pull bishop’s weed and its miles and miles of rhizomes and roots. So. Here’s my plan, based on some recommendations from University of Illinois Extension and Plant Conservation Alliance.

I’m going to smother them.

Grim, right? But if I don’t want to use chemicals, a treehugger’s gotta do what a treehugger’s gotta do.

So. In a perfect world, I would have just dropped a big old black tarp on them in late April, when they were new, tender little bebbies. But. Here’s the catch: I had a ton of stuff I actually didn’t want to smother in that garden. The Plant Conservation Alliance’s recommendation is to cut all the plants once they’ve fully leafed out, using a mower, scythe, or string trimmer, then cover the area with plastic. That would theoretically give me time to recover the plants I want to save.

Then Came the Reality Check

Since the bishop’s weed blooms in June, that meant I had a month to dig out anything I wanted to save from The Smothering. Seems easy enough, right? Yeah, no. Because most other plants grow so much more slowly than the bishops’ weed, I ended up weeding my way through it like the Tasmanian Devil to get to the plant I wanted to save, only to find that it was completely dead.

The competition was just too much for them. By mid-May, I realized I would have to give up on pretty much everything else in order to attempt to get rid of the bishop’s weed. Sigh. Fortunately, I have awesome friends who have offered me replacements.

Implementing ‘The Smothering’

terraced garden area along the edge of a house with a deck is covered with black plastic anchored down with rocks and bricks.
The author’s newly covered garden. Photo credit Tricia Griffith.

I considered my options for covering the garden, because microplastics are always a concern. But, since I’m going to want to cover the area for a year or longer, it needs to be something that will hold up. Cardboard or leaves won’t do that, particularly with how much wind I get in this area, though they may work fine in smaller gardens.

I managed to find a great deal on a hundred feet of black and white poly film (did I mention it’s a BIG bed?). Since the garden is on a slope, there is a retaining wall of loosely stacked bricks across the middle. In order to effectively cover the whole bed, I would need to remove the bricks. I could repurpose them to hold the poly in place.

Fingers Crossed

So yeah, that’s my plan. After one more string trimming of the entire area, the tarp went on in mid-June and will stay there until next June, when I will peek to see what things look like under there. I’m fully prepared to leave it there all of next year, since I wouldn’t be able to plant too much that late in the season anyway. It might be overkill, but that’s kinda the idea, isn’t it?


  • Every single plant you want to save will need to have its roots washed nekkid to prevent those rhizomes from spreading.
  • If you prefer to dig instead of smother, loosen the soil with a garden fork to access as much of the root system as possible and get to it early, ideally before it flowers and DEFINITELY before it goes to seed. But keep in mind that even a tiny piece of root left in the ground can start your problem all over again.
  • If you toss bishop’s weed into your compost pile or onto your lawn, you risk spreading it. I’m using a combination of black contractor trash bags and just letting it dry out in piles in the garden since it hasn’t gone to seed yet.

If you too, have a bishop’s weed problem, know you’re not alone. Good luck and remember, “There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” ~ Janet Kilburn Phillips

Additional resources:

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Ask the Expert
Maine Natural Areas Program
Methods for Disposing Non-Native Invasive Plants

Maine Summer Events Celebrating People, Places and Food

By Lynn Holland, Horticulture Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Maine’s fabulous summer weather brings July and August visitors to Vacationland and to our guest rooms!  There’s no shortage of activities to keep your visitors engaged and amused. Here are just a few to consider.

Food, Glorious Food

8-10 light purple flower with yellow centers with green foliage in the background
Potato blossom.
Photo by Kate Garland

The Wild Blueberry Festival at Union Fairgrounds is July 10-14.  There are also local festivals in Machias (August 16-18), Gray (August 10), and many other towns.

The Yarmouth Clam Festival, a Maine tradition since 1965, welcomes over 100,000 people each year.  This year’s dates are July 19-21.

Fort Fairfield hosts the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, July 13-21. This nine-day multi-event festival is Aroostook County’s premier summer event.

The Maine Artisan Bread Fair at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds  “is a fair dedicated solely to real bread and everything associated with this most ancient and central staple.”  July 27 is this year’s date.

Rockland celebrates the Maine Lobster Festival July 31-August 4. Established in 1947, the festival welcomes over 30,000 people and likely as many or more lobsters.

Cultural Celebrations

The DAWNLAND Festival of Arts & Ideas (July 12-14, 2024) will be held at the College of the Atlantic on Mount Desert Island. This artisan event and marketplace is presented by the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.

Penobscot Nation Community Days is usually the first weekend in August, but information for 2024 is not yet available.

The Sipayik calendar is full of Downeast events, including Passamaquoddy Days to celebrate Tribal dancing, drumming and crafts. This event is held the second weekend in August.

The Mi’kmaq Nation in Aroostook County hosts a Mawiomi, August 16-18 at Spruce Haven in Caribou. All are welcome to join this gathering of the tribes, “intended to showcase the beauty, strength, spirit and endurance of the Mi’kmaq culture and tradition.”

Indoor and Online Exhibits for Rainy Days

Portland Museum of Art “As the first-ever major retrospective of a Wabanaki artist in a fine art museum in the United States, Jeremy Frey: Woven is a groundbreaking exhibition in contemporary and Indigenous art.”  More than fifty baskets are on display until September 15.

The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of the Wabanaki people.  This is the only Smithsonian affiliated museum in Maine. The main location at 26 Mt. Desert Street is open 10-5 Monday through Friday.

The Hudson Museum on the University of Maine Campus in Orono is FREE and open to the public Monday through Friday: 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. It is closed on weekends and holidays. This ethnographic and archeological museum hosts a large collection of Pre-Columbian art as well as fascinating artifacts from many North American indigenous cultures. The Penobscot Nation Cultural Tourism Program is also housed here.

The Davistown Museum in Liberty focuses on Native American topics including traditional tools and items related to the major canoe routes followed in Maine.

The Maine State Museum is currently closed for substantial repairs, but their online exhibit “First Peoples” is a good primer on the history of the interaction between the people of the Dawn and the Europeans.

The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, located in Portland, has a new interactive outdoor exhibit titled “Ckuwaponahkiyik Atkuhkakonol: Wabanaki Storytelling Through Art and Traditions” which translates to “People of the Dawn’s Stories”.

Historic Hikes and Paddles

Those interested in Wabanaki history may want to check out two shell middens on either side of the Damariscotta river.  The Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site is just outside of downtown Damariscotta. This 11 acre property is owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and operated cooperatively with Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust. It is adjacent to two other conservation areas with hiking trails and picnic areas.

The Glidden Midden on the north side of the river can be reached via the Salt Bay Heritage Trail, Newcastle, Maine.  “This loop hike traces the shore of a peninsula between Great Salt Bay and the Damariscotta River, where the Abenaki once hunted and fished. From the parking area on Mills Road, follow the trail east along the shore then take a left on a side trail, about 1.5 miles into the hike. You can’t miss the Glidden midden, a 30-foot-high heap of oyster shells, on the riverbank. Estimated at around 2,400 years old, the pile marks a once-popular feasting spot. Return to the main trail to complete the loop. Because the Damariscotta is tidal, plan to hike this route at low tide for best visibility.”

Thoreau-Wabanaki Canoe Trail  “Follow the route taken by Thoreau and his Penobscot guide in 1857, as they traveled down the East Branch of the Penobscot River. Paddle through an area rich in history, scenery, and wildlife, including native brook trout and landlocked and sea-run salmon.”

Tekαkαpimək Contact Station, the new welcome center at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, is slated to open August 17. It will offer interpretive displays of Wabanaki culture and a gorgeous view of Mount Katahdin. The contact station is your gateway to 50 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Book Review: Lawns Into Meadows

By Owen Wormser (Stone Pier Press 2020), Illustrated by Kristen Thompson. 157 pp.  Second edition, 2022.

Book review by Clara Ross MGV, Penobscot County

I have a hunch most of you have heard of the term “no mow May”, but how about “no mo(re) mow?”

In Lawns into Meadows, Owen Wormser taught me how those newish concepts may impact all of us.

From the history of lawn-making and the development of lawn mowers to a description of the enormous amount of carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of these practices, Wormser has written an interesting, easy to read book on how to make a beautiful eco-friendly meadow full of pollinators. Seriously, I sat down and read it right through and I rarely do that with non-fiction!

Wormser, originally a Mainiac, now lives in Massachusetts. Growing up off-grid in the North Woods, he learned to value the environment and wanted to spend his life working outside.  After college, he started a landscape design business, which segued into the use of plants in more natural landscapes. During the 1990’s, when he became interested in developing meadows for their sustainability, he couldn’t find examples, so he taught himself.

tall grasses with tall purple flowering plants in the background
Photo by Kate Garland

If you choose to give the book a go, you will find solid reasons for removing some or all of your lawn and replacing it with a meadow, which can actually remove and store carbon from the atmosphere. Wormser explains how to prepare for planting a meadow, how to design for your wants/needs, how to deal with pests (rodents!) and how to maintain the planting. He provides pros and cons for using plugs or seeds, reviews tools which may be of help, and describes 21 plants that can work well.

While describing actual meadows he has created, Wormser recounts how he successfully advocated for meadow development near municipal buildings, on college campuses, and in a lawn-ridden neighborhood. He admits mistakes he made and how he found solutions.

We’ve all heard about the nasty outcomes from the usage of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides on our lawns and around our plants. I didn’t realize how a beautifully sculpted fresh-looking bright green lawn can be an unhealthy mess below the surface. I learned that “most perennial plant nurseries regularly use pesticides, including neonicotinoids”, and consequently, “when the treated plants flower, they attract–and then poison–local pollinators.”  I also didn’t know about the many groups advocating for the development of meadows to support our pollinators. I appreciated that Wormser provided an addendum of “Notes” to support his factual assertions.

My home landscape in Bangor has no lawn and is planted mostly with native shrubs, trees, and perennials. Now, with the help of Wormser’s information, I’ve decided to develop a small meadow of about 20 x 40 feet. Let’s see how it goes.

Ask the Expert – Planting Strategies for Erosion Control

Answers by Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

What are the best plants to prevent and stop erosion on a steep river bank?

Erosion is a major environmental, structural, and ornamental problem, and we salute your efforts to mitigate it on your riverbank!

In general, you’re seeking two things in preventing erosion: 1) canopy cover to prevent rainfall from directly striking sloped soil, and 2) a strong plant root system to bind the soil. Generally speaking, a horizontally spreading network of fibrous roots works better than plants with deep taproots. If you’re interested in how water erosion occurs and how various root structures interact with it, you can spend a rainy afternoon consulting the Oklahoma State University resources for Using Vegetation for Erosion Control. A slightly more lay-friendly resource from University of Delaware Extension discusses the phenomenon, as well as suggesting other mitigation strategies for controlling erosion.

forest understory along the edge of a pond. red foliage shrubs in foreground with pond in background on a sunny fall day. 
Photo by Kate Garland

Your site conditions (sun, soil condition, soil wetness) will dictate to a large extent what plants will thrive there, but for a riverbank, you’re probably looking for quick, inexpensive, and effective over an ornamental investment–another reason for low, spreading covers as opposed to larger trees and shrubs. So you want something like a grass or fern, which will spread and create a dense mat of roots near the surface. The Maine DEP Buffer Handbook Plant List was developed in conjunction with the UMaine Cooperative Extension and has a wealth of information on sturdy, low maintenance, mostly native species for planting in buffer zones (including embankments). The groundcover section begins on page 29 and will give detailed information on selected plant environmental needs, as well as their general growth habit and utility in the landscape. If you would like to invest in more showy plants, there are plenty of options for that as well.

Where can I learn more about ways to prevent topsoil from washing away during storms?

The two sources we primarily recommend for plants in erosion-prone areas are the Coastal Planning Guide from the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Buffer Handbook Plant List from the State of Maine. We also recommend reaching out to the local Maine Soil and Water Conservation District office.

Fresh From the Garden: How to Enjoy Green Beans

By Kate Yerxa, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Kate Garland, Horticulturist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Green and yellow snap beans are a common garden crop in Maine. Both bush and pole types are fairly easy to grow for new home gardeners, but it can be overwhelming if your entire crop reaches maturity over a short period. I asked Kate Garland, Horticulturist, what she recommends for a more manageable harvest. Below are her tips to make the most of your beans:

  • Try planting small batches of beans every two or three weeks to avoid having too many ripening all at once. This way your harvest will be spread out through the season.
  • Be ready to pick every day or so when they begin to ripen. Beans are likely to get tough and go to waste if not harvested frequently.
  • To keep your garden as productive as possible, pull out the bean plants when their production slows, and plant a short-season crop like radishes, lettuce, or other greens in their place.

Pick your beans when they are straight and slender . They should snap easily when bent. If you see the seeds (beans) bulging in the pods, they are overripe.   Beans are best when used right after harvest but can be kept in the refrigerator for three to five days before use. If you are interested in freezing or canning, review University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Let’s Preserve Snap Beans publication for more information.

lose up image of a collection of freshly harvested green, yellow and purple beans
Photo by Kate Garland

If you are not going to freeze or can your beans, there are several ways to prepare them. Before cooking, rinse them thoroughly in clear, cool water to remove dirt and debris. Pinch or cut off the stem end and remove any tough strings. Snap beans can be cooked whole, cut into bite-sized pieces, sliced lengthwise, (French style), or cut diagonally. Try the following methods:

  • Boiling, steaming, or microwaving are all good options. Boiling takes about 10 minutes, steaming takes 3 to 5 minutes, and microwaving takes 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir-frying or sautéing beans with a little oil or broth is a tasty way to cook them. This method also helps preserve nutrients and takes about 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Toss your beans with a drizzle of oil or cooking spray, add some seasoning or salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. This gives the beans a crispy texture and sweet flavor.

A few of my favorite recipes include Green Bean Salad, a nice twist on the typical potato salad. It is great to bring to summer cook-outs to show off your snap bean and new potato harvest. Another delicious side dish is Green Beans with Garlic. You can make this with fresh or frozen beans so it is a great year-round recipe.


Backyard Bird of the Month – Song Sparrow

By Maine Audubon Field Naturalist Andy Kapinos

close up of small brown and white bird standing in the grass
Photo by Nick Lund

The song of the male Song Sparrow is one of the most frequently-heard vocalizations across the continent. The exact song varies by region and individual, and individuals will often sing multiple distinct songs, but they always follow a discernable pattern: two to four introductory notes, followed by a trill, and then a jumble of quick notes and/or trills. The Song Sparrow singing outside my window as I write this is mostly singing a song with three introductory notes, a clear, long trill, and a couple of notes to finish. They can be found singing this song throughout the year in Maine, though they are mostly concentrated along coastal and central Maine during the winter. They will nest in nearly any shrubby habitat, often at the edges of fields or meadows, where the female builds an open cup nest in dense cover. Watch for them foraging on the ground for a variety of insects, fruits, and seeds. Like most songbirds, they feed their young mainly insects, and often return to their nests with a mouthful of caterpillars. Even in July, they could still be nesting in your backyard: they regularly raise a second brood and sometimes even a third in one season. There is even a record of two experienced Song Sparrows in British Columbia raising four broods in 1981! By leaving leaves, tall grass, and “weeds” in your yard, you can create habitat for Song Sparrows to forage in and feed their own young.

Maine Weather and Climate Overview (July 2024)

By Dr. Sean Birkel, Assistant Extension Professor, Maine State Climatologist, Climate Change Institute, Cooperative Extension University of Maine

June 2024 brought near-normal precipitation and was among the warmest Junes on record statewide.  Mean temperature ranks for June 1–26 for observations in Bangor, Caribou, and Portland are 6th (66.5°F), 1st (66.5°F), and 5th (66.1°F) warmest, respectively.  These rankings were boosted by an early-season heatwave in the third week of the month, where temperatures reached into mid to high 90s across much of the state on the 19th and 20th.  Some locations with long-term observations set or tied high temperature records for either daytime high or overnight low.  For example, Caribou reached a high of 96°F on the 19th, tying the previous record for that day in 2020; this temperature is the all-time record high for the station (also set in June 1944 and May 1977).  The airmass associated with the heat wave had tropical humidity, and the overnight low temperature of 71°F on the 19th tied as record maximum low temperature set on several previous occasions.  Portland reached a daytime high of 94°F on the 20th, breaking the previous record of 93°F for that day in 1964 (the all-time record high is 103°F, set in July 1911 and August 1975).

The drying effect of this early-season heat wave was offset by abundant precipitation that soon followed statewide.  However, the Northeast Drought Early Warning System continues to show some streamflow and groundwater sites measuring below normal due to two-month precipitation deficits.  Soil moisture is generally near normal for this time of year statewide.  The latest 10-day weather forecast (starting June 27th) and the 6–10 day outlook products from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center indicate that the first part of July will see near normal temperature and a lean toward above normal precipitation.  The July and July–August–September outlooks both show above normal temperature, but have a weaker signal for precipitation and range from equal chance to a lean toward above normal.  The latest weather forecast for your area is available at

NOAA Climate Prediction Center Outlooks

Product Temperature Precipitation
Days 6-10: July 2–6 (issued June 26) near normal lean above normal
Weeks 3-4: July 6–19 (issued June 21) above normal equal chance
Seasonal: Jul-Aug-Sep (issued June 20) above normal lean above normal


see caption for full descriptive text
La Niña, which is the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, is forecast to develop by late summer.  This development of La Niña will moderate global mean temperatures somewhat, but the North Atlantic Ocean continues to be unusually warm, including over the hurricane main development region between 10­°N–20°N.  Atlantic warmth combined with reduced wind shear expected from Niña are expected to produce a very active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season (June–November), which for us on the East Coast translates to increased risk of tropical storm or hurricane impacts.  For additional climate and weather information, including historical temperature and precipitation data, visit the Maine Climate Office website.

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University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

For more information or questions, contact Kate Garland at or 1.800.287.1485 (in Maine).

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Maine Home Garden News was created in response to a continued increase in requests for information on gardening and includes timely and seasonal tips, as well as research-based articles on all aspects of gardening. Articles are written by UMaine Extension specialists, educators, and horticulture professionals, as well as Master Gardener Volunteers from around Maine. The following staff and volunteer team take great care editing content, designing the web and email platforms, maintaining email lists, and getting hard copies mailed to those who don’t have access to the internet: Abby Zelz*, Annika Schmidt*, Barbara Harrity*, Kate Garland, Mary Michaud, Michelle Snowden, Naomi Jacobs*, Phoebe Call*, and Wendy Robertson.

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