Got questions about growing vegetables and fruit in Maine?

Extension experts identifies a plant sample for a client; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Ask the UMaine Extension gardening experts!

With years of experience in home horticulture and commercial agriculture, our experts help beginning gardeners achieve successful harvests, encourage gardeners and commercial farmers to donate excess produce to those in need, and use gardening as a vehicle to develop communities.

If you have a question about growing vegetables and fruit in Maine, you are welcome to


Answers are provided by Caragh Fitzgerald, Associate Extension Professor, Agriculture, UMaine Extension Kennebec County; Kate Garland, Horticultural Professional, UMaine Extension Penobscot County; Kathy Hopkins, Extension Educator, UMaine Extension Somerset County; Tori Jackson, Extension Educator: Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMaine Extension Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties; Cathy Kloetzli, Agriculture & Food Systems Professional, UMaine Extension Oxford County; Kathleen McNerney, Home Horticultural Coordinator, UMaine Extension Cumberland County; Marjorie Peronto, Extension Educator, UMaine Extension Hancock & Washington Counties; and Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Horticulture, UMaine Extension York County.

garlic; photo by Edwin RemsbergQ: I’ve been growing garlic and was told when I first started to feed in the fall to plant with 10-10-10 or blood meal and to use 5 tablespoons for every 6 bulbs. Then in the spring to feed it at a 1/4 rate as the fall feeding. Can you tell me what would be the number of tablespoons that I would use in the spring or do you cut down on the number of bulbs that get fed with the 5 tablespoons? With our falls being so much warmer, I’m finding in South Portland that I’m planting later in the fall. Closer to the first of November. I plan on putting in on 11/12 this year. Should I still plan on putting in Sept./Oct. even if it may be still in the 60s?

A: It would be wise to plant closer to November 1 in Portland. Stick with the 1/4 rate in spring.  Apply when plants are about 6 inches tall, then apply a like amount a couple of weeks later.

Q: We have property in Fryeburg and because of the wet areas, get quite a few mosquitoes. What plants can we grow that will deter mosquitoes and won’t be poisonous to animals? And are their plants that will help absorb the wet soil in Spring/early summer. The area is very wooded.

A: These sites should help you learn about some plants that will grow well in damp, shady or sunlit areas. There is little scientific evidence of any plants that deter mosquitoes simply by growing in a specific area. The main benefits from suggested plants requires them to be crushed and/or burned to release the botanical oils in the leaves.

The best control for mosquitoes is to minimize any standing water in the area and use an effective mosquito repellent that contains DEET. You can destroy many breeding sites by draining, dumping or filling them. There are also some botanically based repellents available.
Larvae are easier to manage as they are concentrated in known areas, don’t yet bite, can’t fly away and prefer shallow water that doesn’t easily dry out.
Chemical or biological control methods (mosquito dunks, bricks, or sprays) will kill larval and/or adult mosquito populations in small areas such as a backyard. Bt affects only fly larvae, so it won’t harm predatory insects living in the pond or water area. All pesticides should be used only according to label directions.

Q: I have some lingonberries gifted to me by a friend. They were dug up about 10 days ago and are in small pots. They are currently in a green house that will turn cold as winter progresses. What is the best way to overwinter them? Plant in ground in pots? Plant in ground out of pots? Bring into our house? I have plots southerly and protected from the wind.

A: There are two types of Lingonberry, but I would assume winter treatment would be similar for both. It is difficult to predict how your plants will do since they were potted late in the season and roots will not have had a chance to establish themselves. Be sure to water roots in well. If you have an unheated basement, you may have better survival rates than if you try to overwinter them outside. Please refer to this publication for suggestions. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

mushrooms growing in the lawnQ: My lawn is filled with large, ugly mushrooms. They are brown and flat, about 2-3″ tall and 4-5″ in diameter. How can I get rid of them? They also smell bad as they are decomposing.

A: With some wet weather finally arriving after a dry summer,  lawn mushrooms started to make an appearance a few weeks ago. They typically do not cause a problem, and they can help by decomposing thatch or other organic material in the lawn. If they are unsightly, you can rake them off. Freezing weather will also kill them. Here are some additional resources about lawn mushroom:

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