Extension Perspectives Newsletter May/June 2024

Mark your calendar!

Various Dates
Jumpstart to Farm Food Safety Project for Maine Residents

June 1
Maine Small Ruminant Roundtable

June 5
Waldo County 4-H Craft Night

June 6
MG Speaker Series: Growing Small Fruits

June 11
ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Course and Exam

June 11
Beginner Cheesemaking Workshop at UMaine

June 12
Metam Sodium Fumigation in Potato Production

June 14
Integrated Disease and Weed Management in Christmas Tree Production

Click here for a list of all events, workshops and classes throughout Extension.

In this issue…


Maine Families


Home Horticulture

Commercial Agriculture

Waldo County Extension Association (WCEA)

Waldo County Extension Association (WCEA) wraps up for the summer

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Waldo County Extension Association (WCEA) has wrapped up for the season and will resume for our annual meeting in the fall. Stay tuned for more information on the annual meeting. 

The WCEA provides guidance to the Extension for developing and implementing educational programs that will benefit our county’s residents, such as Rural Living Day and Farmers’ Potluck Dinners.  We also officially direct the Cooperative Extension’s work in Waldo County and give a yearly post-secondary scholarship to an area student pursuing a career in a field that supports the Extension’s mission.  

Please consider joining us!  We meet monthly from September-May at the Extension office in Waldo and by Zoom. Members serve three year terms.  Contact the Extension office at extension.waldo@maine.edu or by phone at 207.342.5971 for more information.  You may also fill out the Volunteer Nomination Form at https://extension.umaine.edu/waldo/wcea/volunteer-nomination/.

Maine Families                                                                                                 

Resource Highlight
Have you ever wondered how to protect you and your family from tick related diseases? Have you ever found a tick on your body and wondered, now what?

One of the goals of the Parents as Teachers Curriculum that Maine Families Home Visiting utilizes is to help families build a strong resource network. With that in mind, Maine Families in Waldo County has many community partners that they rely on to share vital information. 

Did you know that the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has its very own Tick Lab and can answer many of your tick related questions? 

Another helpful resource is HealthChildren which has information on tick bites that is specific for children. 

Remember that you are eligible for a parent educator/family visitor through Maine Families if you are pregnant or have an infant under the age of 3 months. Please call or email us at 207.322.2879 or melanie.l.bryan@maine.edu.

If you have questions about Maine Families Home Visiting in Waldo County or to learn more about our upcoming Group Connections, please call or email us at 207.322.2879 or melanie.l.bryan@maine.edu.

4-H Happenings

Waldo County 4-H hosts craft night for youth

Waldo County 4-H is hosting a craft night for youth ages 5-18 on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office, 992 Waterville Rd., Waldo.

Youth will be able to choose from a variety of craft supplies and stations, including barn quilt painting, flower printing, knitting and bracelet making. In addition, the event is an opportunity to meet new friends and learn about 4-H. Participants can submit their finished crafts to the Union Fair 4-H Exhibition Hall and staff will have entry forms available on site. 

The event is free, but registration is required by calling the Waldo County Cooperative Extension office at 207.342.5971. To learn more about Waldo County 4-H, visit the program webpage

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation please contact Sadee Mehuren at 207.342.5971 or sadee.mehuren@maine.edu.

Waldo County 4-H Calendar

State 4-H Calendar

Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs


For more information on how to get involved in a 4-H animal science project please contact your local UMaine Cooperative Extension office or visit extension.umaine.edu/4h/youth/animal-science.

Home Horticulture

UMaine Extension plant diagnostic lab shares updates and announces new fees

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in Orono, which identifies diseases and provides management plans to gardeners, farmers, nurseries, and members of the lawn care industry, received over 800 physical samples from nine different states in 2023. Also last year, the lab launched a new process for digital submission which resulted in 400 additional samples. 

For many years, the lab has been able to provide this service to our in-state customers at no cost. However, due to rising costs of ever-evolving diagnostic tests, the lab is implementing new fees in an effort to recover a portion of its expenses and ensure it can continue to support Maine growers and gardeners.

Starting May 1, 2024, the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab will charge $18 for general in-state samples. Out-of-state sample fees will be increased to $38. Garlic seed testing fees will increase to $38 for in-state and $68 for out-of-state samples. All digital submissions will cost $8. The lab also offers various specialized tests. Details on all tests and fees can be found on the lab’s webpage

In 2023, the lab made more first detections of disease in the state than any other year, which included a new fungal disease on tomatoes and fir trees. The lab also provided confirmation testing for beech leaf disease for the Maine Forest Service, confirming the existence of the disease in five Maine counties. The lab added three new molecular tests for improved virus and nematology detection.   

The mission of Extension’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab is to enhance the success of Maine agricultural industries and gardeners by reducing losses due to disease and minimizing management costs by providing early and accurate disease identification.

Climate Change and Plants: Panel Discussion

Thursday, June 20, 2024 2:00 PM

Join us on Thursday, June 20th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm at McLaughlin Garden and Homestead in South Paris for a moderated discussion of the impacts of climate change on plants with experts in the fields of horticulture, agriculture, ecology, forestry, and climatology.

The event is free but registration is required. Please submit questions ahead of time via the link provided in your confirmation email.

The panel is a collaboration between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and McLaughlin Garden and Homestead. Register here.

MG Speaker Series: Growing Small Fruits

Thursday, June 6, 2024 5:00 PM

What exactly is a small fruit? Technically, a low growing plant (shrub, bush, bramble, herb) that produces berries. These little flavor morsels are often small, round, and packed with antioxidants. Examples include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Join Master Gardener Volunteer, Joel Leak, to explore the many different small fruits you can grow in any sized yard. Fruits are delicious and nutritious, and many are easy to grow. Joel will cover over 20 different kinds of fruit, both native and cultivated, some you are already familiar with and some you may not have thought of growing before. By the end of this presentation, you will understand the growth habits of different kinds of small fruits, how to select cultivars, the basic requirements of small fruits and how to diagnose problems. 

Joel Leak has been a Master Gardener Volunteer since 2001 and has been gardening for over 50 years. He teaches Adult Education classes in vegetable gardening, fruit trees, herbs and growing berries. He maintains a vegetable garden, orchard, and grows berries at his home in Falmouth. 

The program fee is offered on a sliding scale, $0-$10 and is free to enrolled Master Gardener Volunteers. This session will be recorded and shared with those who register for this webinar. Register here.

Commercial Agriculture – Brett’s Bulletin

Timely Information for the Producers of Waldo County

As summer quickly approaches insects on farms and in gardens are becoming more active. The University of Maine has numerous formal Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs including the Tree Fruit IPM, Maine Wild Blueberry IPM, Cranberry IPM, Potato IPM, Strawberry IPM, and the Sweet Corn IPM programs to help you reduce the impact of pests on your crops or livestock. UMaine Extension’s Pest Management Unit defines Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as “a comprehensive, decision-making process for solving pest problems in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. It is a sustainable approach providing economical control with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment”. In addition to IPM programs, UMaine Extension’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab offers diagnostic services, and plant disease management recommendations. Lastly, UMaine Extension’s Tick Lab provides information on how to manage ticks as well as a tick testing service.

The first step in successfully managing an insect, disease, weed, or other pest issue is to identify the pest or disease you are dealing with. We can help with identification and assist in developing an IPM program for your farm or garden. You can submit insect, diseased plant, or weedy plant samples to our office for identification or diagnosis at (992 Waterville Road, Waldo). Please contact Brett Johnson at brett.w.johnson@maine.edu or 207.342.5971 with questions or requests for information.

Happy growing,

Brett Johnson, Sustainable Agriculture & Farm Business Management Educator

University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Waldo County

How to Talk About Money and Why It Matters – May 31, 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024 10:00 AM

A discussion of all things farm finance – not strictly farm business in nature, specifically personal finances, decision-making, communication, and planning. This session will offer short video interviews with farmers and provide an opportunity for conversation about farms and money.

Location: Virtual via Zoom, Cost: Free. Sign up here.

Maine Small Ruminant Roundtable

Saturday, June 1, 2024 4:30 PM

Inviting all small ruminant farmers, managers, veterinarians, and service providers: the Maine Small Ruminant Roundtable is a new community-driven group, where informed discussions on animal management practices, challenges, and needs are selected by you, and facilitated by UMaine Cooperative Extension and experts in the field. Whether you work with wool, meat, or dairy animals, there is something for everyone here!”

Please join us at the initial sessions to target themes for structured discussions held this summer.

Location: Maine Fiber Frolic, Windsor Fairgrounds, 82 Ridge Road, Windsor, Maine 04363

Registration for the June 1st in-person event is to get a headcount and have your name at the gate. Free entrance as the festival booths shut down at 4:00 PM, or show up early to enjoy the fair ahead of the in-person meeting. Register here. Light refreshments will be served.

Beginner Cheesemaking Workshop at UMaine

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 10:00 AM. Cost: $85/per person

This will be a 1-day, hands-on workshop to learn the basics of cheesemaking using household equipment/utensils, as we will be making two kinds of cheese: a quick mozzarella and ricotta cheese. 

Location: Commercial Kitchen, Hitchner Hall, UMaine Campus, Orono, Maine 04469. Parking is available behind Hitchner Hall and temporary parking permits are available upon arrival.

Please wear comfortable shoes, clean non-shedding clothes, and bring an apron, if possible. Feel free to wear a hat or head bandana and tie back long hair. Hairnets will be available. Bring your lunch and a cooler with gel packs to transport your cheese home. Tea and coffee will be available.

The maximum number of participants is 10 and the minimum number needed to hold the class is 6. If we do not meet our minimum number of registrants, we may have to cancel or reschedule this workshop due to low registration. Questions? Please contact Beth Calder at 207.581.2791 or beth.calder@maine.edu

The registration deadline is Friday, June 7, 2024.

Metam Sodium Fumigation in Potato Production

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 10:00 AM

In this free webinar (ZOOM), Dr. Shan Shan, research scientist from the University of Wisconsin, will discuss her research on metam sodium in potato production systems, and how it affects soil health. Speaker: Dr. Shan Shan, Research Scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Pesticide Credits: 1. For more information, click here

Integrated Disease and Weed Management in Christmas Tree Production

Friday, June 14, 2024 3:00 PM

Join us at Quinn’s Tree Farm in Cornville for an introduction to integrated pest management in Christmas tree production. Participants will learn how to apply crop protectants using backpack sprayers safely and efficiently. Participants will also learn about the life cycles of common needle cast pathogens in Maine and how to manage these diseases. In the final presentation of the day participants will learn about IPM strategies for both broadleaf and grass weeds that commonly impact Christmas tree production. Location: Quinn’s Tree Farm, 290 West Ridge Road, Cornville, Maine 04976. Cost: $15 (optional)

Participants can earn 3 pesticide credits. Register here.

No-Till Farming
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 9:00 AM

Come join UMaine Extension and the Maine New Farmers Project at Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine for a farm visit about No-Till Farming Techniques with Stonecipher’s Ian Jerolmack. Ian Jerolmack and Emily Goodchild own and operate Stonecipher Farm, a certified organic 5-acre “no-till” vegetable, fruit, and egg farm. This farm visit is a good chance for new farmers to learn about no-till farming techniques and to network with other new farmers and service providers.

This event is part of the Maine New Farmer Farm Visit Series – click the “more information” button to learn about the series. Location: Stonecipher Farm 1186 River Road, Bowdoinham, Maine 04008.

Blueberry Hill Farm Field Day

Thursday, June 27, 2024 9:00 AM

Blueberry Hill Farm, 1643 US-1, Jonesboro, ME 04648. Pesticide Credits: 3. For more information, click here.

Small Tools for Small-Scale Farming

Tuesday, July 9, 2024 9:00 AM

Come join UMaine Extension and the Maine New Farmers Project at Rustic Roots Farm in Farmington, Maine for a farm visit about using small tools for small-scale farming with Rustic Roots Farm’s Erica Emery. Erica owns and operates Rustic Roots Farm, a small-scale farm in Farmington, Maine producing mixed vegetables. This farm visit is a good chance for new farmers to learn about using small tools for small-scale farming and to network with other new farmers and service providers.

This event is part of the Maine New Farmer Farm Visit Series – click the “more information” button to learn about the series. 

Mid-Coast Farmers Listening Session with UMaine Extension Educator, Brett Johnson

Please join Waldo, Knox, and Lincoln Counties new Sustainable Agriculture Educator, Brett Johnson for a lively discussion of current issues facing commercial agriculture in Mid-Coast Maine. Your participation will inform and guide the work of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in the region and help to bring educational opportunities covering high-priority agricultural topics to your community. Discussion starts at 1:00 PM on Sunday, July 7 th at the Union Fair Exhibition Hall (175 Fairgrounds Ln, Union, ME). Pre-registration is not required. See you at the Union Fair!

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In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, familial status, ancestry, age, disability physical or mental, genetic information, or veterans or military status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 5713 Chadbourne Hall, Room 412, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5713, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).

For more information or to make a reasonable accommodation, please contact Billiejo Pendleton at 207.342.5971.