Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Double Down on Resisting Roundup

May 11, 2017

Even more prevalent than the edible, bee-friendly dandelions popping up in lawns and gardens now are the ads for Roundup and other lawn "care" pesticides (some including neonicotinoid insecticides) and the proliferation of these products on store shelves – and even in bags piled on floors of some stores. Alas, another place for the resistance movement to take root! If you doubt that these products can harm humans and the environment, please read our pesticides quiz, compiled by Sharon Tisher of MOFGA's Public Policy Committee. If you doubt that a healthy lawn is possible without toxic synthetic chemicals, please see our fact sheet, "Establishing and Caring for an Organic Lawn."

Simple Gifts of Kindness

May 4, 2017

In her "Simple Gifts of Kindness" article in the spring 2017 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Roberta Bailey says, "These days 'kindness' is the word that I hold in the foreground of my mind … It reminds me of the goodness in humanity and the heart-opening power that a simple gesture can hold." Among those simple gestures are the recipes she offers for simple gifts – including Onion and Cilantro Chutney (a good way to use up those storage onions before they sprout), Jammy Tortes (dig into those raspberries in the freezer) and Rhubarb Juice (and rhubarb is coming up now). Spring is such a wonderful time to savor the transitioning bounty of Maine-grown organic foods!

Cabbage Aphid Control Begins in Spring

April 27, 2017

Cabbage aphid damage can be most severe on fall crops in the Brassica family – but actions you take now and continue through summer can help avoid that damage. In his article "Managing Cabbage Aphids" in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Eric Sideman recommends crop rotation, good management of crop residue, and supporting beneficial insects, among other practices, for addressing this insect.

Remember to Remove Vole Guards

April 20, 2017

If you haven't done so already, remember to remove vole guards from orchard trees asap – and then keep an eye on tree trunks for signs of borers. For other spring orchard-care tips, see C.J. Walke's article "In the Orchard – A Calendar to Guide Apple Tree Care" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. And remember, too, Walke's advice that "the best orchard activity is the frequent observation of tree and fruit growth, combined with an awareness of life in your orchard ecosystem."


Handle Seedlings by Their Cotyledons

April 13, 2017

When transplanting seedlings, handle them by their cotyledons – the "seed leaves," or the first leaves to emerge from the seed. These are the most expendable parts of the seedling, which will grow new leaves. Handling by the stem could crush that delicate tissue and kill the seedling. For an innovative way to use the heat from a compost pile to help grow heat-loving seedlings, see Adam Tomash and June Zellers' article "Low Cost Ways to Grow Heat-Loving Plants in Maine" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Winter Crops Flourish Now

April 6, 2017

We now enjoy about 13 hours of daylight in Maine, and the snow is (slowly) melting! Some crops overwintered in hoophouses should be ready for harvest. Look for them under your own protected structure or at farmers' markets. Interested in growing more in the "off season"? Read about the work of Eliot Coleman and Patrice Gros in "Farming the Shoulder Seasons" in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Growing Medicinal Herbs

March 16, 2017

Have you always wanted to make your own herbal salve? Do you value plantain as a medicinal rather than a lawn weed to be killed with a toxic, polluting herbicide? Read about Wendy Green’s herb gardens and herbal preparations in Joyce White’s article "Growing a Good Life" in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Permanent Beds Benefit Soils and Plants

March 9, 2017

Farming with no-till permanent beds can improve soil structure, reduce weeds, enable earlier planting dates, increase yields and reduce reliance on expensive equipment. At MOFGA's 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, four experts described their permanent bed farming. Read about their methods, which include plenty of ideas for farmers and gardeners, in "Permanent Raised Beds" in the spring 2017 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Growing Kale and Kin

March 2, 2017

"I always plant kale with leeks as a companion, not so much to deter pests as to use space (and water and fertility and every other input) efficiently," says Maine gardener Will Bonsall. "The plant forms and root zones are so compatible that they hardly notice each other, allowing me to get more total food per square foot than if I'd planted each crop by itself." Read more in Bonsall's article "Kale and Kin" in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.