Hancock and Washington County Master Gardener Volunteers News – June/July 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS
UPCOMING DATES TO REMEMBER
June 9 Getting the Most Out of Your Compost
June 15 How to Preserve Maine Foods Throughout Our Growing Season
June 23 Irrigation for the Home Garden
COVID Protocols Update
Watch your emails soon for updates on Covid safety protocols based on the newest CDC guidelines. Thank you all for being so patient and cooperative! It’s been a long haul!
The 2021 MGV training spring session has ended! Final Exams were completed last week! The class participants are now emerging themselves into their volunteer projects! Time to get our hands dirty!
Join the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension as our spring gardening series continues! Each will take place every other Wednesday at 6:00 PM until June 23. These one hour and 15-minute webinars will include a 40-minute presentation, followed by Q&A and discussion.
Registration is required with a sliding scale program fee ($0 – $10) for each webinar. Participants will receive the Zoom information after registering for a webinar.
Getting the Most Out of Compost and Manure
Wednesday, June 9, 6:00 – 7:15 PM
Registration: Online here (registration closes at 4pm on June 9)
Moderator: Nate Bernitz, Home Horticulture Outreach Program Manager for UNH Extension
Instructor: Olivia Sunders, Field Specialist in Fruit & Vegetable Production for UNH Extension
Irrigation for the Home Garden
Wednesday, June 23, 6:00 – 7:15 PM
Registration: Online here (registration closes at 4pm on
Moderator: Marjorie Peronto, Extension Educator for UMaine Extension
- Rebecca Long, Agriculture and Food Systems Professional for UMaine Extension
- Pamela Hargest, Horticulture Professional for UMaine Extension
Topic: Preserving the Maine Harvest
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Time: 12:00 – 12:45 PM
Cost: $5 optional donation is appreciated
Join the University of Maine Cooperative Extension food preservation staff for a lively discussion and demonstration on how to preserve Maine foods throughout our growing season.
This webinar will include:
Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats
- Demonstrate how to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and meats safely
- Discuss uses for dehydrated foods
- Answer your questions
Pre-registration is required: REGISTRATION
Each monthly newsletter will highlight a MGV Project. For May we are pleased to introduce:
Friends In Action Gardens: That’s What Friends Are For
Remember Dionne, Stevie, Gladys, Elton and an all-star cast bringing to life the lyrics of “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1988? The 7 minute YouTube video of the performance is stirring and a perfect prerequisite for the feature article on our MGV/FIA (Friends in Action) garden. With the music to motivate, you may be each day singing the lyrics as you plant, water, harvest in any MGV garden and, indeed, as you read the following.
Since July 2015, when Marjorie agreed that MGV’s would help with the Friends in Action plan to establish a garden, the spirit of friendship has led to good work. Raised beds were built by MGV’s aside the BE Moore School in Ellsworth, and the garden crew planted lettuce, radishes, and kale in mid-August. By September, the first harvest of produce was being served at the FIA Seniors meal site within view of the garden. That’s what friends can do!
Still smiling, still shining, MGV and FIA volunteers gardened together in the 4 raised beds through 2016 and 2017. The team grew with the leadership of Mary Jude and Nancy Adams as they built an all-star cast of gardeners who productively applied the square foot technique. Bumper crops resulted which sure did please the gardeners as well as the cooks who served fresh produce to smiling Seniors at the FIA meal site.
In 2018 and 2019, as the FIA coffee hour packed the cafe with Seniors from the community and Seaport Village, the gardening team harvested, bagged, and handed out just-picked produce to delighted guests. The smiling and shining filled the room as MGV’s accepted simple thanks along with statements of surprise about what a freshly pulled carrot actually looks like and how great a warm-from-the-garden tomato tastes.
Despite the local impact of a worldwide pandemic, 2020 was yet another fruitful year. Applying all safety precautions, the MGV team became community volunteers who planted, tended, and harvested the usual bounty from the garden which Everybody Eats prepared for carry-out meals. In good times and bad times, just count on gardeners, for sure: that’s what friends are for.
Maine’s harsh weather has also challenged, yet the team prevails. Several years ago they relocated and rebuilt beds due to damage by snow plows and in 2020, repaired the garden shed after wind took the roof. Disappointing too that wheelchair accessibility has yet to play out such that Seniors at FIA can join in the gardening. However, hope abounds as does good work. They’ll be on the job forevermore: that’s what friends are for.
Plans are progressing for an exceptional 2021 season of gardening as the seasoned team of MGV gardeners welcomes 3 new members. With Friends in Action hopeful of resuming their coffee hour sessions and serving as a Senior meal site, gardeners may be able to resume the fun of harvesting produce that can be delivered directly to the patrons in the FIA cafe.
The group anticipates the possibilities for further expansion of gardening at the BE Moore as they consult with teachers at the adjoining YMCA pre-school. Staff note the interest of children and their parents in affording youngsters the chance for an early start on gardening. Even as MGV’s met at the garden to write this news article, anxious children kept smiling, kept shining, and kept telling us they are ready to garden.
It is winter in Maine. I have assembled my aging body and an aging laptop into the passenger seat of the car, parked outside the local library where there is free wi-fi . I am not coping well with retirement. I want vaguely but desperately to make a difference in my new community. I’ve just read about the University Extension Offices Master Gardener Volunteer program. This program, I believe, will save me. So here I sit in the awkward cold, uncomfortably putting together words of self- promotion, needing so very badly to be accepted.
Well, “ hallelujah!” is all I can say. The committee did accept my application for the class of 2019. There was a plant sale that year. I wore a bee suit. My job was to flit about and offer to “bee” of assistance. What an auspicious start to being an MGV! Because I’d follow her anywhere, I did my internship with Marjorie at the extension office Hoop House and Garden. Perhaps the most important take away from that hands on training was that even the experts run into problems that aren’t easily fixed. Perhaps it is not the mastery that makes the biggest difference, but the humanity.
Back in Brooklin, that lesson manifested itself in me showing up for stuff, not because I knew stuff, but simply showing up, willing to help. I showed up in the Youth Corps garden, weeding and working alongside two teenaged boys and their coordinator to get produce ready for sale at the Farmers Market. I showed up to school PTF (parent, teacher and friends) meetings, and the next thing you know, I’m helping with literacy in the first and second grade classroom, and then with math in the 5/6 classroom. If not exactly thriving, I was at least occasionally feeling useful.
Cue the Pandemic. School goes online and the Youth Corps goes on hiatus. When my friend Lynn Curran arranges with the Youth Corps to use their garden space as a community garden, why, you absolutely know I showed up. We aimed to use the space to grow food to supplement the Magic Food Bus allocation to Brooklin. And when the PTF voted to send food home to students throughout the summer shutdown , we grew even more produce so we could share with that program, too.
I do understand that the pandemic was a tragedy. For many people it was a terrible ordeal. Yet some of us found a silver lining. I had the privilege of pulling together all the MGV training and 9 months of showing up to use it to feed my townspeople.
This spring, after two decades of successes, the Brooklin Youth Corps had become a weak and spindly program. A brand new organization is taking its place, The Brooklin Food Corps. The Community Garden, now in its second season, is a central part of the Food Corps. When we needed compost to amend the garden’s soil, we joined with the PTF to run a fundraising compost sale. The PTF kept the profits, local gardeners got quality compost into their gardens on the cheap, and the Community Garden received the unsold compost. As of this writing, the seven plots in the garden allocated for residents’ personal use and the five plots being used to teach gardening methods to kids at the school and in community workshops are being prepped and planted. And one MGV candidate from this year’s class is doing her internship here.
Hope is in the air every spring at planting time. But this year seems even more hopeful. For those of us who are vaccinated, we are putting the pandemic behind us. For me personally, I feel as though I have found that meaningful place in my community, just as I had dreamed I might on that cold winter day, anxiously filling out the MGV program application on the laptop from my car outside the library. I could not be more grateful.
Lisa DePasqual – Master Human Gardener Volunteer
Nature’s beauty, bounty, and wonder too prompt us to share that which both pleases and puzzles us. So we
encourage you to send your photos of special views to be included in your next MGV newsletter. Your gardening friends are sure to enjoy pictures that range from the simple to the sublime. Just e-mail your photos along with any comments to the newsletter team at: MGVnewsletterinput@gmail.com .
For starters, what do you suppose is going on with the trunk of this tree? Both the tree and its owner will be pleased to learn of your explanation and any suggestions for survival.
Click It Before You Pick It
Reminder as plants are beginning to bloom! Before cutting your posies in bloom, please snap summer photos of the perennials you will donate next year to the MGV plant sale. The colorful views of plants are sure to help shoppers with their selections! Thank you from the 2022 plant sale committee which will be delighted to receive your perennials and pictures next spring.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Division of Animal and Plant Health has received a federal grant to conduct a terrestrial mollusk survey of five groups of exotic snails and slugs in the state. These could potentially cause significant harm to crops and/or native wildlife. One group, which includes three slugs in the Arion genus, has been confirmed in Maine in two locations (Vinalhaven Island and Jackman). If you think you have seen any of these, send a photo and details to Bugwatch@maine.gov
As folks are returning to volunteer projects “in person” please be reminded to REPORT your Master Gardener volunteer Hours monthly – REPORT HERE