Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Clean Beans

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October 4, 2018

How do you harvest and clean dry beans? In his article "Dry Beans – A Staple Crop Worth Growing," Will Bonsall says that he piles dead plants of mature bush beans on a tarp for threshing and then, using a flail, "I wale away at the pile until all the pods have shattered and the beans are in a dense heap at the bottom … For smaller crops I may just strip off the pods." He scoops up the resulting beans and pours them between two buckets in a gentle breeze to winnow them. "With pole beans I pick dry pods off the vines … I either dump the beans into a large galvanized washtub to trounce with my feet or I stuff them into a burlap bag and beat them with a flail or just a stick."

Cooking the Harvest

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September 27, 2018

Did you stock up on garlic and potatoes at the Common Ground Country Fair? Is your garden still pumping out tomatoes? As always, Roberta Bailey provides recipes in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that feature the abundance produced by Maine farms and gardens. Here’s her suggestion for Creamy Salsa: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast 10 large or 15 small paste tomatoes on a sheet pan. Cool and peel. Blend in a food processor or blender. Add 1 to 3 cloves of garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Blend until smooth. With blender running, in a slow drizzle, add 1 cup olive oil. Add chopped herbs as desired, or serve as is. Excellent with chips or crusty bread.

Visit a Garden Labyrinth at MOFGA

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September 20, 2018

In 2014, volunteers created a perennial garden labyrinth in MOFGA’s south orchard during Farm & Homestead Day. The ambitious project was a success due to the hard work of about a dozen dedicated volunteers organized by Jack Kertesz, Rose Swan (who donated many of the perennials) and Dee Clark. The design, a three-circuit classical labyrinth with 2-foot paths and 3-foot beds, provides hundreds of square feet of planting area as well as a contemplative path to the center. Visit the labyrinth during the Common Ground Country Fair to see how it’s filling in, to get ideas for your own planting or just to meander its path and relax.

Save and Share Seeds

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September 7, 2018

Why save seed? Maybe for historical, political or economical reasons. Maybe because a variety is not longer offered in the trade. Whatever your reason, the time to start saving, or thinking about saving, is now.

Hold That Soil

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August 29, 2018

As garden areas become available after harvesting vegetable crops, protect the soil by planting cover crops. Oats or a mixture of oats and peas are good choices for this time of year. They establish quickly and will hold soil and some nutrients in place during the fall. Then they’ll winterkill, making those areas ready for planting in spring. For more information, see MOFGA Fact Sheet #10, Using Green Manures.

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