Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

Publications \ Organic Gardening Tips

Diversity in the Orchard

April 30, 2020

Diversity is one key to balancing orchard ecosystems and farm income. Jesse Stevens of Sy’s Trees in Sweden, Maine, for example, grows more than 100 species and 1,000 varieties in his orchard, including the usual apples and pears, as well as quince, Cornelian cherry, persimmon, honeyberry and more. And at their 5 Star Orchard in Brooklin, Maine, Molly DellaRoman and Tim Skillin grow highbush blueberries, elderberries, raspberries, strawberries and native perennials as well as a 3-acre commercial orchard with 30 to 40 varieties of heritage apples, about 60 peach trees, European and Asian pears, and plums. Read about these farmers’ presentations at MOFGA’s 2019 Farmer to Farmer Conference in “Mixed Orchard Crops” in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Buy Local and Organic

November 17, 2017

Who needs Black Friday when we've got Green Everyday in Maine? Please support your local organic producers this holiday season by purchasing their goods at farmers' markets, food co-ops and other local outlets – or by mail order or website. MOFGA-certified organic producers, along with their products and markets, are listed here, where you'll find sources of chaga tea, maple cream, garlic, grains, herbs, seeds and so much more. You can also find local and organic Thanksgiving and December holiday meal ingredients, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey, squash, pumpkins, cranberries ... oh my! And check MOFGA's online Country Store for gift items, as well, including sweatshirts and T-shirts with the Common Ground Country Fair designs, select Common Ground Country Fair posters, gift memberships to MOFGA and more. Thanks for supporting MOFGA and local, organic businesses.

Local Ordinances Protect Health and the Environment

January 26, 2017

With an apparent 700 percent increase in the distribution of home-use pesticide products in Maine in recent years, some Maine citizens have decided to act locally when state and federal governments were not adequately protecting their health and environment from these toxic chemicals. Maine is one of seven states that allow towns to create local laws that are more restrictive than state or federal laws, and 27 Maine municipalities have ordinances that restrict pesticide use beyond state requirements. Learn how local efforts have worked, as presented at the 2016 Common Ground Country Fair teach-in on this subject organized by MOFGA's Public Policy Committee.

Watch for Pests

July 14, 2016

Eric Sideman, MOFGA's organic crop specialist, reminds us that his past Pest Reports since 2006 are posted on the MOFGA website. "It may be worth your while to go back and look at the ones from the same time in years past," says Eric. "Mostly, pests are timely and can be counted on to return year after year at roughly the same time." Expected around this time of year: squash vine borer, Colorado potato beetle, potato leafhopper, cucumber beetle, imported cabbage worm, powdery mildew and squash bug.

The MOFGA Vegetable Pest and Disease Calendar, also compiled by Sideman, offers another way to anticipate the most common problems of vegetables in our area, and it provides the "most important organic solution" for each.

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Grow an Organic Lawn

June 2, 2016

Did you know that no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are needed for a quality lawn? Using synthetic chemicals on lawns can pollute bodies of water and harm wildlife, from beneficial insects to worms, fish, birds and others. Unfortunately, according to the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, more than 6.2 million pounds of yard care pesticides were brought into Maine in 2007 – a sevenfold increase since 1995 that coincided with an equal explosion of yard care companies in Maine. The trend reversed in 2011, when yard care pesticides brought into Maine dropped to 5.7 million pounds. You can help continue this decrease by growing a lawn without using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers or by hiring an organic lawn care company. To learn more, see MOFGA's newly updated fact sheet, "Establishing and Caring for an Organic Lawn."

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