Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Poisonous Pasture Plants

September 17, 2020

What can I do to manage undesirable plants in my pastures? That’s one of the questions Jacki Perkins, MOFGA’s organic dairy and livestock specialist, answers in her column in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Perkins responds, “Good grazing practices that avoid grazing too low or too often paired with timely clipping to avoid weeds reseeding themselves will help outcompete undesirable plants. Given enough of a budget, seeding a variety of perennial grasses and some annuals can help worn-out pastures.”

Raise Strawberries Under Low Tunnels

May 14, 2020

At The Berry Patch in Stephentown, N.Y, Dale-Ila Riggs and Don Miles grow everbearing strawberries in low tunnels so that "instead of having to make it or break it in three to four weeks in June, we can have berries in late July or August and into October when nobody else has berries," says Riggs. Bungee cords hold the plastic to the frames. Thanks to low tunnels, the farmers can pick quality berries even after a heavy rain. Read more about these farmers' techniques, presented at MOFGA's 2019 Farmer to Farmer Conference, in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Photo: Strawberries grow in low tunnels covered with clear plastic with ventilation holes. Photo courtesy of The Berry Patch

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Growing Saffron in the Northeast

April 23, 2020

Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is the dried stigmas of flowers of the fall-blooming saffron crocus, Crocus sativus (not of the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, which is toxic). Research from the University of Vermont tells how to grow this spice in crates or in raised beds in New England. Read about the fascinating and entertaining talk that Dr. Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani and Dr. Margaret Skinner gave at MOFGA’s 2019 Farmer to Farmer Conference in “Saffron: A Good Fit for New England” in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Birthday Greetings, Maine!

March 12, 2020

In her State of the State address in January, Gov. Janet Mills noted that after Maine separated from Massachusetts 200 years ago (this March 15), “we, Maine people, learned to be self-reliant and, at the same time, to rely on each other.” She also noted, “We stand here today because of the resilience of Native Americans.” So much history … and much of it lives on in the seeds that continue to grow here – some conserved thanks to Native Americans, some that washed up onto Maine’s shores after shipwrecks, some brought by early settlers even before Maine became a state, some saved by MOFGA members. We love seeing this mix of crops in the Exhibition Hall at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair – part of a living representation of all that history. Grow on, Maine!

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Potatoes Under 7-Foot Row Cover

February 20, 2020

Last summer Jonathan Mitschele of New Gloucester, Maine, planted two rows of potatoes in a 4-foot-wide bed. That allowed him to use 7-foot row cover from planting to bloom, after which he removed it. His 180 row feet of potatoes yielded about 330 pounds, all with little or no scab and no leafhopper or potato beetle damage. Read more in the winter 2019-2020 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Garden

August 1, 2019

We all want to garden in a level, deep, well-drained, loamy soil nourished with organic matter. But sometimes you just don’t find those qualities where you live. What to do? In her article “Rock and Roll: Terraces in Ancient Jerusalem” in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Deborah Rubin Fields discusses how challenging ancient Jerusalem’s topography and climate were – yet people still farmed and gardened there, by establishing terraces. Read more and be inspired.

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Minimizing Seedcorn Maggot Damage

November 2, 2017

The seedcorn maggot is the larvae of a fly, says Eric Sideman, MOFGA's organic crop specialist, in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He continues: This critter spends the winter as a pupa in the soil. Flies emerge very early in the spring from these pupae and lay eggs near decaying organic matter and germinating seeds. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the seeds or young plants. Fall is the time to start thinking about managing this pest because the pupae that overwinter come from eggs laid in the fall.

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