Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Give Seedy Gifts

November 30, 2018

Seeds make great holiday gifts. Whether you saved seeds of a favorite variety from your garden or are ordering from a local seed company, consider giving organically grown seeds as gifts this holiday season. Put larger seeds in a pretty gift bag (which might be used later to keep tarnished plant bugs off your dahlias); put large or small seeds in decorated jelly jars.


Giving Thanks for Local, Organic Producers

November 15, 2018

Many of us grow our own gardens and have plenty to feast on come Thanksgiving and through the winter. Now and then, however, potato leafhoppers or drought or heavy rains reduce our yields. We are so lucky to have so many local, organic producers to fill the gaps in our own production, and to introduce us to new and varied foods. So thank you, growers. To find winter farmers’ markets where you can stock up on ingredients you didn’t raise yourself, please visit the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets.  And to see where MOFGA-certified organic producers sell their goods, please visit our certification website.


Consider a Crabapple

November 8, 2018

When is an apple really a crabapple? Generally a crabapple is any Malus species with fruit under 2 inches in diameter, explains Roberta Bailey in her article, "Grow Your Own Crabapples." Now that the leaves have fallen, crabapple fruits that remained on some trees are readily apparent – and some varieties hold their fruits into winter, when birds enjoy them. Some varieties are good for cider or jelly. If you don't have these trees in your landscape, plan now to plant one (or two – they need a pollinator, but that could be any apple or crabapple tree that blooms at the same time) in spring. Fedco has some tempting offerings.


Connecting with Fungi

October 25, 2018

Are abundant edible mushrooms popping up at your local farmers' market or perhaps even in your own fields and woods? Roberta Bailey writes about mycorrhizal relationships between plants and fungi and about the growing awareness "of the interconnected microbiome that surrounds us and thrives within us – at the same time that we strive to thrive within all of that biome." Read about her thoughts and try the recipes from her article "Connecting with Fungi" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.


Clean Beans

October 4, 2018

How do you harvest and clean dry beans? In his article "Dry Beans – A Staple Crop Worth Growing," Will Bonsall says that he piles dead plants of mature bush beans on a tarp for threshing and then, using a flail, "I wale away at the pile until all the pods have shattered and the beans are in a dense heap at the bottom … For smaller crops I may just strip off the pods." He scoops up the resulting beans and pours them between two buckets in a gentle breeze to winnow them. "With pole beans I pick dry pods off the vines … I either dump the beans into a large galvanized washtub to trounce with my feet or I stuff them into a burlap bag and beat them with a flail or just a stick."


Cooking the Harvest

September 27, 2018

Did you stock up on garlic and potatoes at the Common Ground Country Fair? Is your garden still pumping out tomatoes? As always, Roberta Bailey provides recipes in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that feature the abundance produced by Maine farms and gardens. Here’s her suggestion for Creamy Salsa: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast 10 large or 15 small paste tomatoes on a sheet pan. Cool and peel. Blend in a food processor or blender. Add 1 to 3 cloves of garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Blend until smooth. With blender running, in a slow drizzle, add 1 cup olive oil. Add chopped herbs as desired, or serve as is. Excellent with chips or crusty bread.


Visit a Garden Labyrinth at MOFGA

September 20, 2018

In 2014, volunteers created a perennial garden labyrinth in MOFGA’s south orchard during Farm & Homestead Day. The ambitious project was a success due to the hard work of about a dozen dedicated volunteers organized by Jack Kertesz, Rose Swan (who donated many of the perennials) and Dee Clark. The design, a three-circuit classical labyrinth with 2-foot paths and 3-foot beds, provides hundreds of square feet of planting area as well as a contemplative path to the center. Visit the labyrinth during the Common Ground Country Fair to see how it’s filling in, to get ideas for your own planting or just to meander its path and relax.


Save and Share Seeds

September 7, 2018

Why save seed? Maybe for historical, political or economical reasons. Maybe because a variety is not longer offered in the trade. Whatever your reason, the time to start saving, or thinking about saving, is now.