Hancock and Washington Counties Master Gardener Volunteers News – September 2022
Table of Contents
NEW STAFF- MEET LISA / MGV PROFILE / MGV HOME GARDENS / LOAVES & FISHES PROJECT / SUMMER CELEBRATION
Upcoming Dates to Remember!
September 30 – Marjorie’s last day!
October 3 – MG Advisory meeting
October 10 – Indigenous People’s Day – Office Closed
October 24 – MGV Class of 2022/23 begins
October 25 – MGV Class meet in person (Hancock County)
October 27th – (tentative) MGV Class meet in person (Washington County)
November 1 – 3 – Office Closed for All-Staff Conference on Campus
Exciting news! Please help us welcome Lisa DePasqual as a new member of the Hancock County Extension Office staff!
Collaboration, generosity, dedication, and hard work are characteristic of most MGV’s. Janice Kenyon, MGV 2016, demonstrates these qualities in spades. She generously agreed to be profiled, wrote thoughtful answers to my questions, and hosted me for an onsite interview to her home and garden. And she sent me home with tomatoes and basil!
Here are her responses to my queries and some photos of her and her successful vegetable garden. When she is not gardening, Janice is a partner in an IT consulting firm, Avantlogic, and she is the administrator for Acadia Senior College.
- What prompted you to take the MGV training?
I don’t recall if I knew anything about the program before seeing a poster calling for applications for the next training session. At the time, I considered myself an average gardener and had just installed a new raised vegetable garden. I was also interested in the idea of growing food for lower income and/or older folks who might not have access to fresh vegetables. I was volunteering for At Home MDI, providing rides and social support to seniors and I thought that might be a good fit for one of the volunteer MGV projects.
So, I guess my inspiration for taking the course was to become a better gardener and find a meaningful volunteer opportunity.
- What MGV project have you continued to work on? Describe your involvement in the overall project and the challenges and rewards of your work.
For the first year, I volunteered at the Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Garden and at Sweet Haven. The combination helped me learn more about both flower/perennial gardens and vegetable gardening. After the first year I continued volunteering at Sweet Haven Farm in Seal Cove, a Harvest for Hunger project, where we grow vegetables and deliver them to senior and low-income housing in Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor, the YWCA, and the Common Good Soup kitchen.
At Sweet Haven, I volunteer one morning a week from May to early October. We prepare the raised beds and hoop houses for planting, plant seedlings and seeds, manage garden pests, water, harvest, and clean up the beds in the fall.
I also coordinate the vegetable delivery in Southwest Harbor, preparing bags of vegetables and delivering them each week.
The rewards are many. I treasure the friendships I’ve made at the garden and look forward to learning and laughing with the other volunteers. Being in the garden every week brings such happiness and peace, and particularly during the first couple of years of the pandemic, the garden was one of our only “social” activities. The opportunity to share knowledge, ideas, and troubleshooting is so helpful in my own garden as well. As the delivery person in SWH, I occasionally speak to the recipients. Just last week one person told me she wanted to thank me personally for the wonderful vegetables we bring each week.
- Describe your personal garden and its evolution over the years. What part of the garden brings you the most joy? What problem solving has been needed to bring the garden to fruition?
I lived in Vermont for 23 years before moving to SWH. In Vermont I had large perennial gardens and a traditional field garden for vegetables. The perennial gardens were lovely, but the vegetable garden was more of a challenge. When we decided to move, one of our criteria for a house was having a small area for a raised bed vegetable garden. We started with nine beds and the following year we redid the back yard landscaping and relocated the raised beds. I now have 13 raised beds, and this summer we rebuilt all of them and my husband George built a new garden gate and arbor.
My biggest challenge is dealing with the large Eastern White pines on the edge of my garden. They are quite happy to send their roots up under the raised beds where there is plenty of water and fertile soil, so every year I have to dig them out. I’m quite sure this affects my soil quality and the ability of some of the vegetables to thrive, but I don’t really have an alternate location for the garden on our small lot.
Each year brings different successes and failures. Unlike virtually everyone else, I have never been able to grow summer squash – it always succumbs to some disease before the fruit is ready. So now I don’t bother and rather enjoy other people’s success. The success of other crops changes every year too, so you just never know what you will get.
I love planting flowers among my vegetables and seeing the blooms all summer. And, of course, having all the vegetables we can use is wonderful.
As Nancy Adams showed me some of the features of her stunning backyard gardens, we agreed it’s always a treat to see what’s growing. She suggested our newsletter would be just right for MGV’s to share photos of their gardens so all our friends can admire the wonder. Imagine how stirring it would be on an upcoming winter day to take some virtual garden tours!
So we encourage you to e-mail us a few photos of your home garden as it appears in summer. We will include your views and comments you provide in the MGV newsletters over the coming months.
Send to: MGVnewsletterinput@gmail.com . Thank you.
Views from Nancy’s Gardens:
New Project – Summer 2022!
MGV’s have been busy this Spring and Summer establishing raised beds at the new Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry at 137 Downeast Highway(AKA Rte 1) in Ellsworth. Andy Matthews, President of the Board of Trustees at Loaves and Fishes wrote for a Grant through the Dept. of Agriculture to get funding for the Garden. She was able to purchase supplies and MGVs provided the labor. A team of carpenters spearheaded by Tom Matthews, coordinating with Marjorie on specs for the beds and layout, constructed a total of 8 beds for vegetables. Another group of volunteers removed old landscape fabric and mulch overgrown with weeds to develop flower beds in the front of the building to accommodate perennial flowers especially those that attract pollinators. Throughout this drought-filled summer volunteers have planted, watered, weeded and harvested at least 3 times/wk. to provide vegetables for the Food Pantry. I can only begin to acknowledge all the volunteers David Struck and Lavon Bartel, Betsy Armstrong, Jane Ham, Susan Guilford, Jan Mignault, Marjorie and Reeser, Betsy Adams, Mary Doherty, Dave Hollenberg, and Diane Fehrenbach. Please stop by and visit now that the paving is complete. Providing fresh, local produce to local communities is our mission. Many thanks to all who participated and welcome future volunteers who want to help.
On August 11, 2022 there was a gathering of MGV’s at Loaves and Fishes new Pantry building at 137 Downeast Highway. It was an opportunity to reconnect with fellow MGV’s and meet new Volunteers. The food was provided by our wonderful MGV cooks, with a variety of potluck from our gardens and kitchens. Jim Bradley led us in trivia questions related to Master Gardening, and some related to Marjorie and her time at Cooperative Extension over the last 32 years. Entertainment was a mix of Smart speakers with familiar music as well as a few tunes from Jim on mandolin, Cindy Blake on guitar, and Tony and Kate with humorous homegrown lyrics. Sue provided a slide show with both old and new MGV projects. Betsy gave tours of the new MGV Garden at Loaves and Fishes as well as the new building. There was some friendly competition playing corn hole. A good time was had by all!
This month’s 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.