Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Soup Time

October 2, 2019

If you brought your tomatoes, peppers and basil in before a frost, you might combine them with celery, garlic, onions and more to make tri-county tomato soup. Roberta Bailey provides the recipe in her Harvest Kitchen column in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. She explains that tri-county refers to the old combined MOFGA chapter of Washington, Aroostook and Penobscot counties. “Three farms, one from each county, made this soup, tweaked it to our likings and canned it.”

Inspiration from the Exhibition Hall

September 26, 2019

This Rezha Macedonian hot pepper grown by Rosey Guest of Jefferson, Maine, was one of the unusual entries in the Exhibition Hall at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair last weekend. ‘Rezha’ translates as ‘engraved’ and refers to the lines on the skin. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds says the fruits “range from mild to sometimes very pungent” and “are to be seen hanging in great clusters, drying in Macedonian warm late autumn sun.” Guest won a blue ribbon (first place) and a gift certificate to a Maine seed company for her entry. What will you enter next year? Information about the Exhibition Hall is posted here.

Dealing with Drosophila on Elderberries

September 19, 2019

If your elderberries dropped to the ground before the entire panicle of fruits was ripe, they may have been attacked by the spotted wing drosophila (SWD). In their new book, “Farming on the Wild Side,” Nancy and John Hayden of The Farm Between in northern Vermont discuss how they are addressing this pest. They have shifted to picking and selling elderberry flowers (for cordials and other products) as one alternative, and for fruits, they pick the ripe portions every few days to try to keep ahead of the pest. They have also planted several varieties of elderberries and try to harvest early-bearing varieties before SWD populations are too high.

Learn About Invasives at the Fair

September 12, 2019

Are you struggling with invasive plants? Come to the Common Ground Country Fair to learn about this issue. From 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, September 20, Nancy Olmstead of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Natural Areas Program, will discuss “Invasive Plants in Your Woods” in the Low-Impact Forestry Tent. Meanwhile, read up on invasives in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener here and here.

How to Do Everything

September 5, 2019

How to save seeds, plant garlic, grow and market lowbush blueberries, grow tree crops, plant an edible landscape, establish a cover crop ... If you want to learn something about organic cultivation (or livestock, fiber work, crafts and more), you can probably find it among the more than 700 talks and workshops at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair on September 20, 21 and 22 in Unity. In addition, plenty of experts will be at the Fair to answer your questions. See all the details at

Photo: From left, Eliot Coleman, Will Bonsall and Eric Sideman in deep discussion at the Common Ground Country Fair.

Fiber at the Fair: It’s to Dye For

September 1, 2019

Fiber and natural dye enthusiasts love the fascinating exhibits and interactions in the fiber areas of MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair.

Visit the Wednesday Spinners Tent, Fiber Marketplace, Fleece Tent and Sale, Maine Fiber Farms area, Agricultural Products area, Youth Enterprise Zone and Dye Garden (with Earth Loom) to learn about spinning, dyeing, weaving, raising animals for fiber, raising plants for dyes, and more. Last year the Wednesday Spinners exhibited these mittens made with yarn dyed with weld or dyer’s rocket, Reseda luteola, a common, introduced weed in North America.

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