Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Crop Rotation as a Fall Garden Chore

November 12, 2020

“The first fall chore is to begin planning where you will plant crops next year based on problems you had this year,” Eric Sideman says in his article “The Best-Laid Fall Plans Lead Pests Astray” in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. For those with multiple gardens, your “strongest tool” is crop rotation. By rotating crops that act as hosts for pests, you can hopefully put some distance between your crop and the problem. Sideman presents three criteria about pests to help determine whether or not rotation will help. Read more here.

Find Inspiration at the Exhibition Hall

November 5, 2020

For gardeners, growers, seed savers and eaters, the Common Ground Country Fair Exhibition Hall provides delight in the year’s harvest and inspiration to take home for next year’s season. This year growers throughout the state sent in photographs of their crops for our virtual Exhibition Hall. From houseplants and flowers to fruits and vegetables, there is a bounty to explore. Many entries were grown by school gardens, including the watermelon radishes pictured here; Walker Elementary School in Liberty, Maine, won a Judge’s Award for their submission. When sliced, this open-pollinated winter radish reveals a bright pink interior similar to that of its namesake, the watermelon. Browse the Hall here.

Fall Garden Cleanup

October 29, 2020

As you’re putting your garden to bed for winter, you may be wondering about what plant debris to clean up and what to leave behind. “Protecting the soil is the guiding rule, but all rules may be broken given a good enough reason to do so – such as weeds, insects or diseases that may wipe out your crops,” writes Eric Sideman, Ph.D, in “Fall Cleanup, or Not?” in the fall 2013 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Read more here.

How to Make Cannabis Salve

October 22, 2020

As cannabis has become legal and more readily available, people are embracing its uses – including as a topical salve. Roberta Bailey writes in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that cannabis played an important role in personal care thousands of years ago. Now we have the option of coming back to relying on ourselves for simple medicine and personal empowerment. Check out Bailey’s simple cannabis salve recipe here.

Tending the Woodlot

October 1, 2020

Many MOFGA farmers and gardeners will head to their woodlots this fall and winter. To improve those stands, Noah Gleason-Hart, MOFGA’s low-impact forestry specialist, discusses one method of management in his column “Crop Tree Management: Managing for Value, Not Volume” in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Crop tree management, he writes, “identifies valuable individual trees and then focuses growth on these trees by cutting direct competitors while leaving the rest of the forest untouched. It’s an accessible method that you and I can use to start actively managing our woodlots.” Read more here.

Try Common Ground Recipes at Home

September 24, 2020

In her column “Kids in the Kitchen” in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Roberta Bailey writes about past Common Ground Country Fair times with her kids. “When they were young, for a few years we did a Country Kitchen demo together called Kids in the Kitchen. We made bumps on a log and scrambled eggs and tiger candy – sweetened peanut butter balls with dried fruit and coconut, all rolled in carob powder. When they were a bit older, we had a booth in the farmers’ market called the Kids and Moms booth. We shared it with another mom and their two friends. The moms sold fiber art and the kids sold gourds, clothespin dolls, corn necklaces, cutting boards and a score of odd inspirations.” Bailey shares recipes from that time in her column. Enjoy!

Poisonous Pasture Plants

September 17, 2020

What can I do to manage undesirable plants in my pastures? That’s one of the questions Jacki Perkins, MOFGA’s organic dairy and livestock specialist, answers in her column in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Perkins responds, “Good grazing practices that avoid grazing too low or too often paired with timely clipping to avoid weeds reseeding themselves will help outcompete undesirable plants. Given enough of a budget, seeding a variety of perennial grasses and some annuals can help worn-out pastures.”

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What Apple Is This? Identifying Apples in 2020

September 10, 2020

Wondering how to get an apple variety identified without having an in-person Common Ground Country Fair this year? John Bunker gives these directions: Email [email protected] or write to MEHO Apple IDs, P.O. Box 12, Palermo, ME 04354. Include your name, the location of the tree in question and two photos: one of the tree trunk at ground level from about 15 feet away and one of the tree as a whole from about 20 feet away. (You don't have to include photos of fruit.) The Maine Heritage Orchard folks will send you a questionnaire and your 2020 ID number. Return the questionnaire to them with four specimens from each variety. Read more in "What Apple Is This? Identifying Apples in 2020" in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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The Almost-Last Garden Hurrah of the Season

September 3, 2020

We're down to about 13 hours of daylight. Beans and greens, blueberries and raspberries pack the freezer. The garden bursts with late-summer abundance – for us human consumers and for lots of other beings. Hummingbirds lick the nectar from scarlet runner bean flowers before the birds' long flight south later this month, while bumblebees and honeybees gather pollen from sunflowers that support the runner beans. It's a jungle out there – one to appreciate as the equinox approaches; one to evaluate for next year's even better garden. Enjoy!

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Time for Zucchini Patties

August 6, 2020

Here's one way to enjoy some of summer's abundant zucchini. Mix 4 or so cups of grated zucchini and one chopped onion with three eggs. Add 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan, 2 cups seasoned panko bread crumbs and a couple of squirts of barbecue sauce. Let the mixture sit for half an hour. Form the mixture into patties and fry in butter or oil. Serve with fresh corn on the cob and a salad and/or potato salad. Freeze any leftover patties for winter, when you'll think fondly of summer zucchini.

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