Hancock and Washington County Master Gardener Volunteers News – May 2021


Class of 2021 |Spring Gardening SeriesContinuing Education | Food Preservation|Monthly Project Highlight  | MGV Pofile |Seasonal Help Wanted | Reporting Hours


May 12                        Preparing Your Garden Site:  Getting Ahead of Weeds
May 18                        Hugelkulture with our MGV Betsy Armstrong
May 18                        Boiling Water Bath Canning
May 19                        Preserving Strawberries
May 26                        Supporting Pollinators in Your Landscape
June 9                          Getting the Most Out of Compost and Manure
June 23                        Irrigation for the Home Garden
May 30 – June 1         Plant Sale/Plugs  – Final pick up days

Class of 2021 News

The 2021 MGV training is going great!  The class is now well into Week 10!   Focusing on vegetable production, site selection and getting started to garden planning, deciding what and how much to grow, rotating crop families to reduce disease and insect pressures, growing intensively in a small space and season extension to lengthen Maine’s short growing season.

We are all looking forward to working together and feeling fresh earth under our fingernails!

Statewide Spring Gardening Series – Wednesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 pm

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.

Preparing Your Garden Site: Getting Ahead of WeedsSheet mulching

Wednesday, May 12, 6:00 – 7:15 PM

Registration: The event has passed, and registration is closed.
Moderator: Nate Bernitz, Home Horticulture Outreach Program Manager for UNH Extension
Instructor: Nick Rowley, Food and Agriculture Field Specialist for UNH Extension

Supporting Pollinators in Your LandscapeBumble bee on blueberry flower

Wednesday, May 26, 6:00 – 7:15 PM

Registration: The event has passed, and registration is closed.
Moderator: Lynne Holland, Community Education Assistant for UMaine Extension

  • Phil Fanning, Assistant Professor of Entomologist, University of Maine
  • Emma Erler, Field Specialist in Landscape and Greenhouse Horticulture for UNH Extension

Getting the Most Out of Compost and ManurePerson holding composted manure in hands

Wednesday, June 9, 6:00 – 7:15 PM

Registration: The event has passed, and registration is closed.
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 GardenDrip irrigation in raised bed garden

Wednesday, June 23, 6:00 – 7:15 PM

Registration:  The event has passed, and registration is closed.
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


Continuing Education workshop offered for and by Hancock & Washington County MGV’s


Tuesday May 18, 12-1 pm  hugelkultur

What Is Hugelkultur and Why Would I Want One?

If you have heard or seen the name but have no idea of the purpose of this “hot” permaculture grow structure, join MGV Betsy Armstrong on Zoom at noon on Tuesday, May 18.  Hugelkultur is a technique that can expand your growing area, reduce watering needs, use scrap wood and sad soil effectively, provide an inexpensive landscaping feature, and perhaps jazz up your gardening experience.  In the one hour session, you will follow Betsy’s experiment, get links for how-to’s, and have some of your questions answered.

Register Now for this Workshop by email:  sue.baez@maine.edu

Food Preservation webinars for the late spring harvest

Spring produce is on its way, so get ready to preserve rhubarb, strawberries, and more with these virtual workshops. Instructors will share recipes and techniques in an interactive format in this webinar series, with time for participant questions.

Registration is required and workshops will not be recorded. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Kate McCarty, 207.781.6099; kate.mccarty@maine.edu.

Date: May 18, 2021
Topic: Boiling Water Bath Canning
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: virtual
Price: $15
To register: The event has passed, and registration is closed.

Date: May 19, 2021
Topic: Preserving Strawberries
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: virtual
Price: $7
To register: The event has passed, and registration is closed.

MGV Project Highlight  ~ Hancock and Washington County

Each monthly newsletter will highlight a MGV Project.  For May we are pleased to introduce:

Camp Discovery’s Organic Garden

Camp Discovery’s Organic Garden (CDOG) was established in 2017 in collaboration with DownEast Family YMCA Summer Camp.  It’s in Eastbrook on Webb Pond.  CDOG’s purpose is three-fold: to introduce young campers to gardening organically; to provide food for the camp kitchen; and to distribute food to local Food Pantries.  

Each year we expand the garden – either trying different vegetables, or methods of gardening.  Last year the garden was expanded to include the high field closer to the main camp, with easier access to water.  The campers and camp counselors, plant, weed, water and harvest.  Chris Edie, MGV and Assistant Camp Director, has educational sessions on composting, the benefits of butterflies, and butterfly gardens.  The children get hands-on experience planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, weeding and watering plants.  Some of the kids’ favorite activities are digging in the soil, harvesting strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas, and especially eating as they harvest.  

MGV’s are involved in planting early season crops, soil preparation, and growing seedlings in early Spring.  Volunteers adapted to Covid restrictions with ZOOM calls for planning and coordinating who was responsible for certain crops in the garden.  Also, small groups of MGVs, counselors, and kids, had specific times in the gardens and each group was responsible for a raised bed.

This year the garden is adding a high tunnel in the High field to extend the growing season.  Funding for the garden comes from the YMCA, along with a one time grant from Maine Master Gardener Development Board in 2018.  Generous community donors have included Viking Lumber in Hancock, Eagle Arborculture in Trenton and Home Depot in Ellsworth.

CDOG’s coordinators are Chris Edie and Jim Bradley with other MGV’s Rose Ann Schultz and Mary Doherty.   We’d happily welcome 3-4 more MGV’s.

Camp Discovery Sign


Zoom to Learn and Grow in 2021

Health and safety guidelines keep your MGV Continuing Education Committee from offering field trips again this year.  Of course, we also miss our Saturday morning workshops at Cooperative Extension, but we can Zoom some fine chances for learning.

*Bonsai, Shiitake, Soil, Oh My!

Oh my, indeed, if you’ve missed the workshops on Zoom presented by MGV’s the past few months.  Thank you to Greg Mekras for his session on Bonsai basics, Dominika DelMastro on growing Shiitake mushrooms, and Kaelen Doughty on building nutrient rich soil.  Marjorie hosted each session while the enthusiastic MGV’s took a turn at being the instructors.

*Next Up—Hugelkultur

MGV, Betsy Armstrong will teach us some new twists on permaculture on Tuesday, May 18th at noon.  It’s not too late to register with Sue and get the link for what’s sure to be yet another great session.  (See Registration Details above)

*Plans for Fall…

Please let us know your ideas for topics of workshops and/or presenters as we arrange a series of 1 hour sessions once a month from September-December via Zoom.  PLEASE offer your suggestions by e-mail to MGVnewsletterinput@gmail.com

New!   Master Gardener Volunteer Profile

Jessica Marks

Jessica Marks

I work at a private estate in Seal Harbor. I started out 8 years ago working for a local gardener/landscaper/caretaker and learned the basics from him. After a season working in Seal Harbor, the owner of the estate asked me to work for her full time and to this day I am still enjoying my time at the same property. I took a horticulture class at UMaine Orono, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but decided it was too much to travel to Orono from Seal Harbor with a family at home and trying to keep up with work. That’s when I heard about the Hancock County UMaine MGV program and decided to apply. I have gained knowledge by participating in many workshops offered locally and also a women’s tree climbing clinic a few years back in Massachusetts at Harvard Forest. What a wonderful program for women to learn the basics of climbing trees!  https://www.womenstreeclimbingworkshop.com/

I think MGV training has taught me to utilize resources in the area and network! Networking with other MGV’s has helped me tremendously. The extension offers a wide variety of gardening topics on their website which I have turned to when faced with questions I’ve had about gardening not only for work but my personal gardens as well.

Working on the estate is year round for me. I have been gardening in 90 degree weather in the heat of the summer and pruning trees in the middle of cold Maine winters with temperatures dropping to the single digits. The best part about this though is seeing the changes in the plants and trees as the seasons change.  It’s truly amazing.  So, with that being said, it takes someone committed to their job to endure all the fluctuations in the weather that comes our way every year in Maine. Another skill I believe is valuable on the job is being flexible to “switch gears” if something should come up on the property. We go from landscaping to planting, pruning, identifying issues, and getting harnessed up on several green roofs on the property during the spring/summer to take care of trimming and weeding on those. Being outside on your feet/knees for 8 hours a day is something one has to get used to. Definitely a job that is wear and tear on the body!  If you get it in your mind you can do anything it makes the job so much easier.

When I hire someone at the property I look for any gardening background they have had but more importantly their work ethic and drive to work. I can train them as needed.  The property is a place where my boss comes to enjoy for a short period of time out of the year. So making it look as best as we can is what I strive for. Therefore, the employees I hire must want to give it 100% when they are working .

The best thing I did 8+ years ago for myself was take the leap and get out of an office I had been working in for several years. Change is good.

Click It Before You Pick It

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. 

Earth Day Celebrations

You know you’ve got a good thing going when 51 years later folks are still joining in the work to keep the earth healthy.  Given our vested interest in the effort and the fact that many of us have celebrated on April 22 since 1970, what is an Earth Day event that you’ve enjoyed and would like to see repeated?  Send your ideas to MGVnewsletterinput@gmail.com and watch for them to appear in a future edition of your newsletter.  We might even enact some of them as MGV celebrations.


Season Job Opportunities

Virginia Grogean – from Newberry Neck Rd – Surry – Looking for a gardener at her home.
Her phone number is 266-6282

(Please note – we do not endorse any employers of help wanted outside of UMaine Cooperative Extension.  The information provided is all that we are able to share)

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As folks are returning to volunteer projects “in person” please be reminded to REPORT your Master Gardener volunteer Hours monthly REPORT HERE

This months newsletter sent by Sue includes articles from our new “Communicate with MGV’s” task force.  We’d like the next edition to feature your suggestions and articles about gardeners and gardens.  Please contact us at MGVnewsletterinput@gmail.com with your ideas as we work on ways for us to stay in touch with all our gardening friends while following virus-safe guidelines.

Thank you from,

Holly, Jane, Wendy, Linda, Mary D., Mary H., Rita