Master Gardener Volunteers Newsletter – Hancock – Washington County – April 2024

Table of Contents



Upcoming Dates to Remember!

April 15          Holiday – Office Closed
April 20         Favorite Tools Workshop
May 6            MG Advisory Meeting
May 11           BHNG – Tool Sharpening Workshop


This month we continue introducing you to members of the Master Gardener Volunteer Advisory Committee (MGVAC)

Meet Alison KingMaster Gardener Alison K

Alison King completed the MGV course in 2021 having taken advantage of one of the very few bright spots in a global pandemic, the on-line course option.  Alison started life with a black thumb and the inability to keep a house plant alive and is now someone who has backaches from pulling horsetail and wept upon finding an Asian jumping worm in her garden.  Alison volunteers at the Ellsworth Extension Gardens with a group of ladies (and once in a while a gentleman or two) who make the most of summer Friday afternoons learning about gardening and, arguably more importantly, about each other.  This group famously tamed the overgrown jungle that was the HCTC garden and had a lot of fun during the transformation.

Alison grew up in Saco and Farmington, Maine, studied Russian in college, went to law school in Portland and settled in Hancock County in 2005 first in Trenton, then in Ellsworth.   She now lives with her husband on a property that came with established gardens that she is trying her best to preserve, improve and expand.   The current goal in Alison’s home gardens is to introduce more native species and work on eradicating aggressive invasives all while trying not to be too upset about the worms.

Gardening Tools
Photo courtesy of Heidi Welch, MGV


Favorite Gardening Tools Workshop

Saturday, April 20, 2024
10:00 -11:30 AM
Ellsworth Cooperative Extension Office,
63 Boggy Brook Rd, Ellsworth

Sponsored by UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteers of Hancock County

What’s in your tool bucket? in your shed? Looking for ideas?

Bring your favorite gardening tools to share.
Bring your questions about what gardening tools to choose.
What are your favorite tools? Why, and how do you use them?
What makes a good tool?
Short- and long-handled tools, Unusual tools, Home-made tools, and Basic Every-Day tools,
Where to buy tools.

For seasoned and aspiring gardeners alike – Open to the whole community

Register today, space is limited or 207.667.8212

The Sharpest Tool in the Shed ~Tool Sharpening & Care Workshop

Saturday, May 11th
9:00 -11:00 am
University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Hancock County
63 Boggy Brook Rd, Ellsworth

Click here to pre-register (required)

Workshop fee: $20*

Are your garden tools in need of a tune-up? Get your tools ready for the growing season with this hands-on workshop co-sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Hancock County and NGBH. Our expert instructor, Daniel Cooke, will guide you through the process of sharpening various tools, including pruners, shears, shovels, and more. Learn proper techniques for maintaining your tools, including how to sharpen, clean, and oil them for optimal performance. This workshop is suitable for gardeners of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros. Bring a favorite tool for show and tell and come prepared to get your hands dirty and leave with tools ready to tackle any gardening task.

Daniel Cooke has a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Botany from Humboldt State University. After working in the film industry building sets and landscapes for major motion pictures for over 10 years, he and his family moved to Maine.

Tick Bite Prevention

Deer Tick Photo
Deer Tick

by Nicole Gurreri, MGV

Unfortunately, ticks are a common hazard to Maine gardeners. Tick bites can cause a number of serious diseases including Lyme Disease, babesiosis, and Powassan virus.

This season, avoid tick-borne illness by following these prevention tips:

Understand Tick Habitat

Ticks favor grassy, brushy, and wooded areas. They can also shelter in leaf litter and wood piles. Take extra precautions when working or recreating in these habitats.

Tuck in Clothing

Tucking clothing in – like tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants – helps reduce areas of bare skin where a tick could attach.

Wear Bug Repellent

Use an insect repellent with EPA-approved ingredients like DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These ingredients are proven to be safe and effective for preventing tick bites.

Try Treating Clothing with Permethrin

    1. Permethrin is a broad-spectrum, non-systemic insecticide that incapacitates and kills ticks that come in contact with it. You can buy clothing pre-treated with permethrin or buy and apply the spray at home. Permethrin lasts through several washings.
    2. I personally treat my shoes, pants, and shirts with permethrin once a month throughout the gardening season.

Do a Daily Tick Check

Thoroughly scout your body for ticks after being in tick-prone environments. Ticks often attach in warm crevices like the underarms, belly button, behind the ears, around the waist, or in the hair.

Remove Outdoor Clothing; Run through Dryer

When returning home from a tick-prone environment, remove all clothing and run it through the dryer for 10 minutes at high heat. The combination of high heat and low humidity will kill any ticks that are on your clothing.

For more resources and research, see these links:

More About Ticks from Cooperative Extension and CDC


Bulls-Eye rash:

Bulls-eye rash is a classic sign of Lyme Disease. If you have a bull’s-eye rash, you have Lyme Disease. However, less than 50% of reported cases in Maine exhibit the bullseye-like rash, so don’t wait to get treatment and send any ticks you find attached to you tested.

Lyme Disease Prophylaxis After Tick Bite:

·       Personal anecdote (Betsy Adams) – many of my fellow gardeners at Native Gardens of Blue Hill will start a course of antibiotics ASAP after finding a tick attached to them. The sooner you start, the less likely you are to contract Lyme Disease. If you send the tick to the lab and it comes back negative for Lyme you can stop the antibiotics. This has worked for me personally.

Extensive information about Maine ticks from the Cooperative Extension Tick Lab:

MGVs in the News

Our own Rachel Emus was on TV to promote the annual Hancock County Food Drive, which is on for all of April. Rachel talks about it here:  WABI – Rachel Interview

For more information on the drive and how you can be involved, click here!

Miles for Meals – TEAM MGV!

Patty Persson has set up a team for anybody who would like to participate in Miles for Meals (part of the Food Drive). It costs $10 to register and raises money for the food drive.

Description Excerpt

Spring is on its way, which means it’s time to sign up for Hancock County Food Drive’s annual Miles for Meals movement challenge! Set a goal, encourage your friends to join your team, compete for great prizes, and fundraise for our community’s food pantries, free meal sites, and school backpack programs. 100% of donations raised during Miles for Meals (which includes registration fees!) directly benefit 17 food security organizations in Hancock County. Visit Hancock County Food Drive to learn more about the Hancock County Food Security Network and how your donation makes an impact.

Fun local prizes will be awarded to the individuals and teams who log the most miles and raise the most funds!

Join the effort anytime before April 30. The earlier you sign up, the more time you have to compete for great prizes!  Easy to do if you have a fitbit!

The password is the same as the name of the team, Team MGV – Include capital letters and don’t forget the space between words, or it won’t work.

Other Notes!

The Continuing Education Subcommittee is busy setting up some great workshops and field trips. Keep an eye out here and for e-mails from Sue Baez

Central Park Photo Betsy Adams
Photo Courtesy of Betsy Adams


Note from Betsy Adams -I’ve been in NYC for the past week or so and spent a lot of time walking through Central Park. I came across a group of volunteers eradicating invasives. They even have uniforms!


We are always on the lookout for articles you’d like to see here, or topics you would like to write about. Contact us at or contact the Chair of the newsletter subcommittee at


volunteers at seed swap
Sue Samuels, Mary Jude, and Jane Ham – MGV’s

On March 16th – Mary Jude, Jane Ham, and Sue Samuels – MGV’s,
represented UMaine Cooperative Extension and our
Master Gardener Volunteers at a Seed Swap event at the
Ellsworth Public Library.  Thank you!!


Lots of Seeds!   Sue still has lots of seeds available for anyone at the Extension Office.  If you’d like to come and pick some up for your gardens, stop by!


This newsletter gets sent to 150+ people every month. Do you know an MGV who doesn’t receive the newsletter and would like to? Let us know!

Thank you from
Betsy Adams, Mary Doherty, Nicole Gurreri, Jane Ham, Mary Hartley, and Jan Migneault.