A University of Maine Cooperative Extension composting course was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald feature on composter Geoff Hill, 67, of Belgrade. Hill said he first became interested in composting on April 22, 1970 — the first Earth Day — as a way to improve the planet’s health. In the early 1990s, he took a UMaine Extension course to earn the title of Master Composter. He also joined the Maine Compost Team, a group that won the gubernatorial Teamwork Award during his time of service, between 1992 and 1997.
The Associated Press reported officials with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association say late blight symptoms have been found in a potato field in Buxton. According to officials, late blight is a nontreatable disease that affects potatoes and tomatoes and spreads rapidly in warm and wet conditions. UMaine Extension and MOFGA ask growers and gardeners to take precautions to prevent infections and spread of the disease, according to the article. Maine Public Broadcasting Network, The Republic, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2) and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with UMaine Extension, were interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “Climate change presents Maine farmers with new challenges.” Handley spoke about testing new crops for the region, such as grapes, as the climate changes. Moran, who is currently testing several varieties of peaches, plums and cherries, warns climate change is unpredictable and more research is needed before any farmer is recommended to make a big investment in traditionally warmer weather fruits.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was the focus of the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke about the importance of the program that provides produce and recipes for those in need. This week, Master Gardener Volunteers at the Orono Community Garden will harvest greens for about 50 local senior citizens. Since Maine Harvest for Hunger began about 15 years ago, it has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of food for community members, according to the report.
The St. John Valley Times reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Potato Board will sponsor the “Potatoes for the Health of it” potato-cooking contest July 27 at the 2014 Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle. Participants are asked to prepare a heart-healthy recipe using the Maine potato as a primary ingredient. Recipes must contain no more than 30 percent fat and no more than 140 mg sodium per serving, feature Maine potatoes and use ingredients that are readily available. Recipe categories are soups, salads, breads, casseroles, desserts and miscellaneous.
Master Gardener Training Offered in SkowheganUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers training will be held Mondays, Sept. 8 through Nov. 17, 2014, and Mondays, Jan. 19 through Feb. 9, 2015. Classes will meet 6–9 p.m. at the UMaine Extension Somerset County Office, County Drive, Skowhegan.
UMaine and state specialists will present 15 three-hour gardening sessions focused on vegetables, fruit and volunteerism. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and, following the course, work on educationally based, volunteer projects. Projects may include assisting people taking part in community vegetable gardens and/or school gardens, designing and creating displays for fairs and other public functions and answering public calls and requests.
Cost is $220; scholarships are available. The course features an online manual and requires an Internet connection. For more information, to request an application or disability accommodation, or if interested and do not have reliable Internet access, call Pete Bastien, 207.474.9622, 800.287.1495 (in Maine). Completed applications are due by Aug. 22, 2014.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on gardening advice and touched on topics such as soil conditions and crops gardeners should expect to see ready by July.
Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 3, July 10, 2014, “Fall Armyworm, Corn Earworm Threaten Silking Corn.”
Maine State Pomological Society Summer Meeting and Orchard Tour
Please visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension Tree Fruit website for more information on the Maine State Pomological Society Summer Meeting and Orchard Tour, scheduled for Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at a Cooper Farms orchard located in Hartford, Maine.
Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 2, July 3, 2014, “Corn Borer, Corn Earworm and Fall Armyworm Moths Active.”