Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Focus on Your Forest

November 7, 2019

With gardens put to bed, those of us with woodlots might turn our attention to them during the “off” season. Noah Gleason-Hart, MOFGA’s low-impact forestry specialist, says that regardless of the size of your woodlot or your level of experience, you can learn to build financial value, encourage biodiversity and foster the carbon sequestration potential in your woodlot. He offers suggestions for accomplishing those goals in his article “What Can We Do Today to Make a Difference for the Forest?” in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.


Rapid Apple Decline

October 31, 2019

Have some of your apple trees mysteriously and rather rapidly died? C.J. Walke, MOFGA’s organic orchard educator, says that researchers at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture have named this phenomenon Rapid Apple Decline (RAD), or Sudden Apple Decline (SAD), and an explanation has yet to be found. Symptoms resemble characteristics of stress, in which leaves begin to look pale yellow, then reddish, which often indicates girdling, and then curl up and eventually die. Whole limbs or whole trees can be affected. Read more in Walke’s article “Rapid Apple Decline” in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.


To Till or Not To Till

October 24, 2019

Tilling and not tilling both have their pros and cons. Will Bonsall looks at the practices in his article “To Till or Not To Till” in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He concludes about various no-till practices, “While all of these approaches have their strengths, I am skeptical that any one will be appropriate for every crop in every situation. I pooh-pooh some aspect of each while adopting features that seem useful. Like any other system, we must weigh all inputs: the land area supplying mulch and the labor and energy required to collect, process and move it. The real bottom line is often elusive. We may not have all the answers, but we can insist on asking better questions.”


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.