Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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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.

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!

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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Be Like an Ancient Apple Tree

July 23, 2020

As we struggle to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic, says John Bunker, we might consider looking at old apple trees that have survived famously cold winters, a summer without summer, hurricanes, drought, insect and disease infestations and more. There’s a chance that everything we need to know about survival, these trees have known for millennia: Don’t move; build community; waste not, want not; eat local; bend. Read more in “The Pandemic and the Ancient Apple Tree” in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Enjoy the Veggie Bounty

July 16, 2020

Given the surge in seed sales last spring due to the pandemic, Roberta Bailey predicted that many gardeners' counters would be overflowing with freshly grown produce by now. She asked, "What can one do with 20 zucchinis or all the broccoli that is ready at the same time?" Her recipes for zucchini puree, dilly vegetables and broccoli cheddar soup, and her tips for freezing vegetables answer that question. Read more in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Growing Cannabis at Home

July 9, 2020

Legislation passed in 2016 and amended in 2018 allows Maine adults to grow up to three flowering cannabis plants per adult in the household for personal use on their land. In his article “Why Grow Cannabis at Home,” John Jemison of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension writes about why he grows cannabis, how cannabinoids affect the body, and how to grow the plant in your own garden. “Cannabis is easy to grow (it is called weed), but like potatoes, it is hard to grow well,” he says. Read more in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Consider an EarthLoom

July 2, 2020

This year we'll miss the beautiful weaving that has grown on the EarthLoom in previous years during the Common Ground Country Fair (an online, alternative event this year). You can still read about that loom and its history in Sonja Heyck-Merlin's article "EarthLooms Weave Community at MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair" in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Maybe this is the year to build your own EarthLoom.

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Cranberries – Don't Assume You Can't Grow Them

June 25, 2020

Most folks think of cranberries as a crop with requirements that are too challenging for their situation. Cranberries like sandy, acidic, soggy peat soils that can be flooded at will, whereas the average gardener has (or aspires to have) a well-drained, marl, near-neutral soil with sufficient nitrogen-containing humus. Will Bonsall found, however, that the crop is not quite that picky. The summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener relates his experiences with growing this plant in a low spot in the landscape.

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Beautiful and Useful Calendula

June 18, 2020

There are so many reasons to plant a big bed of calendula, Calendula officinalis. It blooms until frost for cut flowers and medicine, it isn’t fussy about where it’s planted, pollinators like it, it can be added as a garnish to food, and its seed is easy to save for next year’s planting. Read Joyce White’s article “Calendula – Beautiful and Useful” in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Time for Rhubarb Shortcake

June 3, 2020

In the May-June 1975 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Spoons & Spiders columnist Barbara Mather wrote, “There are some things that neither Mort nor I cared for until we grew our own and ate them as they should be eaten, rather when they should be eaten – picked when ripe and eaten fresh. Rhubarb is one of those things. Now we look forward to the treat of Rhubarb Shortcake – hot, stewed rhubarb heaped between and on top of a big biscuit, and generously topped off by a mound of whipped cream.” By the way, the “spiders” in Mather’s long-running column reflect, she said, her “abiding faith in and devotion to cast-iron pans, which were called spiders years ago. Teflon II, Miracle Maid, PAM – Bah, Humbug! – I wouldn’t trade my cast-iron pans for anything!”

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