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MOF&G Cover Fall 1999

 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 1999MOFGA – Fall 1999   
 MOFGA Notes – Fall 1999 Minimize


Common Ground Country Fair Landscape Committee Report
Old Stage Farm and MOFGA Earn Palette Award at 1999 Portland Flower Show
Low Impact Forestry Weekend Planned
Farmer to Farmer Conference Scheduled for November


Common Ground Country Fair Landscape Committee Report

A lot has happened to Common Ground since last year’s Fair, and we hope that you enjoy the additions and improvements. The most visible improvement is the addition of the large shade trees that have been planted around the fairgrounds. Other new garden spots include: the first stage of a large perennial garden along the boulevard; a medicinal herb demonstration garden on the south side of the bathroom building; vegetable and herb gardens located on the south side of the Exhibition Hall – these grew flavorful food for the Common Kitchen. These are just the first steps in the long-term process of planting Common Ground and developing many garden spots throughout the Fair site.

Much of the work was done before, during and immediately after the First Annual Spring Thing, which happened this past May. This event promises to grow into the spring showcase for organic gardening demonstrations; the source for the plants, seeds, fertilizers and supplies used in Maine organic agriculture; as well as the opportunity for interested volunteers to help with the planting and care of all the trees and gardens. If you missed this year’s Spring Thing, be sure to attend next year’s event on May 20 & 21. Admission is free and it’s guaranteed fun for all.

On September 4, MOFGA will hold another landscape work day to plant additional trees and prepare gardens for this year’s Common Ground Country Fair. Also, we are developing a volunteer mailing list; if you are interested in helping and staying informed of future landscape work, please stop by the MOFGA booth to leave your name and address.

I would like to thank all of the volunteer members of the Landscape Committee for their time and efforts, not only during the hectic spring planting season but also during the winter planning meetings. I would like to thank all of the vendors and participants in the 1st Annual Spring Thing – The fairgrounds would not look so nice if not for your time and effort. Many thanks also to the folks who donated the Dedicated Trees. (For more information about dedicated trees, stop by the MOFGA Booth.) Thanks go to all who donated the trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs, flowers, vegetable transplants and seeds – without you, nothing would be growing here. And last but not least, thanks to the MOFGA office staff for helping with mailings, promotion, phone calls and all other administrative tasks.

We have just begun to green the earth around Common Ground.

– Ernie Glabau, Volunteer Landscape Committee Coordinator

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Old Stage Farm and MOFGA Earn Palette Award at 1999 Portland Flower Show

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Old Stage Farm were honored to receive the Palette Award at the 1999 Portland Garden Show. The Palette Award is given to the garden that best demonstrates skillful use of color. Flowers and plants used to create the display garden were organically grown by Susan and John Belding of Old Stage Farm in Lovell, Maine. This was the second year in which MOFGA and Old Stage Farm, a certified organic farm, worked together to create a display garden for the Portland Flower Show. (This was also the second award: In 1998 we won the Lyle Littlefield Commemorative Award for the garden that best introduced new or under-used plants in its design.)

“Insight in the sanctuary of the garden. Seclusion within flowers. The grace of fragrance and beauty. Insight found through the senses in a mirrored image to the soul. Integrity of organically grown flowers and herbs.” These are some of the phrases that designer Susan Belding used to describe the garden.

In addition to being the only organic garden in the show, this garden displayed another unique and extraordinary aspect – most of the flowers were raised from seed grown and saved at Old Stage Farm. Seed saving started as a personal interest and has grown into a business for the Beldings, who now raise over 50 varieties of flower seed.

All of the plants and flowers were grown in a pit greenhouse at Old Stage Farm, some having been started as early as September. Considerable planning was required to have everything in bloom for the exact five days in March. Moving the plants to the show was the next challenge – they had to be moved from the tropical conditions of the greenhouse, through the cold March weather, to heated vehicles, and then to the show site where, even inside, temperatures can vary tremendously.

Finally at the show, the fragrance from MOFGA’s garden attracted many people who remembered the wonderful smell of gardens from years ago, when everyone grew “heirlooms.” They were pleased to see “old friends” that they haven’t seen or smelled in years. Favorites at the 1999 show included: parlour maple (Abutilon), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii mis), beach bells (Kalanchoe manginii), Indian pea (Lathyrus sativus), toad flax (Lineria), Dutch iris (Oriental beauty and white wedgewood), and sweet peas.

MOFGA and Old Stage Farm will work together again to create a garden display for the 2000 Portland Flower Show.

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Low Impact Forestry Weekend Planned

Discussions about the possibilities of the forested part of MOFGA’s new home in Unity have resulted in a plan for our first woods-oriented event, a low impact forestry weekend, scheduled for November 12th, 13th, and 14th. We plan to have a group of experienced woods workers doing hands-on work each morning, and to use their work as a teaching tool on the 13th and 14th. Along the way we’re hoping to generate some of the building materials for our future projects.

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Farmer to Farmer Conference Scheduled for November

The 10th annual Farmer to Farmer conference will be hosted by MOFGA on November 5, 6 and 7 at Atlantic Oakes-by-the-Sea in Bar Harbor, Maine. Presentations and workshops at the conference allow enough time to really discuss subjects; speakers have actually gotten their hands dirty doing what they’re talking about; and interaction among participants during non-scheduled hours is part of the plan. Food served at the conference is mostly organic and locally grown. We hope that this conference can be a mini-vacation as well as a learning opportunity for farm families.

Presentation subjects at the 1999 Farmer to Farmer Conference will include: manure management for vegetable growers; alternative soils; crop rotations; growing and marketing soybeans; beef; small farm poultry production; growing and marketing perennials and everlastings; raspberry production; melon varieties and production techniques for cool climates; growing and marketing greens; and connecting with-out-of-state markets. On Friday, participants can tour an area farm where apples, blueberries, organic eggs and organic broilers are raised.

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