Preserving the Harvest -July workshops announced

July 7th, 2014 8:00 AM

Ever wonder how to preserve all those great garden vegetables? UMaine Extension’s hands-on food preservation workshops teach techniques for hot water bath and pressure canning, fermentation, drying of herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Cost: $15 materials fee per person unless otherwise noted. Contact us at (207) 781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (within Maine) or register at: Current Workshops .      remsberg_11081030738  Colorful vegetables from the garden

July 8, 2014   2:00pm-4:00pm  Refrigerator Pickling and Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs at  Kennebunk  To register: Contact Brick Store Museum at (207) 985-4802  or register online

July 15, 2014  5:30-8:30pm   Hot Water Bath Canning and Freezing: Pickled Green Beans at UMaine Extension, South Paris   – Space available - sign up today!

July 18, 2014  2:00pm-4:00pm  Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs at Little Ridge Farm, 101 Gould Rd., Lisbon Falls     – Space available  – sign up today!

July 29, 2014   5:30pm-8:30pm  Hot Water Bath Canning and Freezing: Pickled Green Beans  at UMaine Extension, Falmouth   – Space available  - sign up today!

July 31, 2014   5:30pm-8:30pm  Hot Water Bath Canning and Freezing: Pickled Green Beans  at UMaine Extension, Lisbon Falls  – Space available  - sign up today!


Maine Home Garden News

July 4th, 2014 8:00 AM

The Maine Home Garden News is now available for the July issue at:

Maine Home Garden News designed to equip home gardeners with practical information. It includes timely and seasonal tips as well as research-based articles related to garden, yard, kitchen and community. Articles are written by UMaine Extension specialists, educators, and horticulture professionals, as well as Master Gardener Volunteers from around Maine. 

 In this issue . . .

Reminder:  ~ Save the Date for the Cumberland County Backyard Locavore Day event being held on August 9, between 10 am-3 pm rain or shine.~

White Pine Needle Disease Generates Concern

July 1st, 2014 12:40 PM


White Pine Needle Disease Generates Concern

State officials cite wet weather as a key factor, urge caution before thinning

AUGUSTA – Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry officials have received numerous calls recently regarding the extensive early “casting” of white pine needles. Callers have stressed that the white pine crowns of affected trees have turned from the dull winter green to a yellow-straw color and then quickly to tan and brown. Heavy rains resulted in the near complete removal of the affected needles from the trees, leaving crowns appearing thin. With many trees now having only the current-season needles left to photosynthesize, concerns have been raised prompting this informational bulletin from the Department.

White pine needle-drop condition

The white pine needle disease epidemic has been occurring in Maine, and in most other areas of New England and New York, for at least eight consecutive years. Above-average spring and summer precipitation patterns experienced in the Northeast for the past decade are believed to be a primary factor in facilitating needle infection, caused by the development of one or more of several pathogenic fungi.

Fungi infect needles early in spring and develop through the needles during summer and fall.  The following year, when the weather warms, the symptoms on the infected one-year-old needles first appear during early to mid-June. The progress from symptom development through needle casting occurs over a very short period of time – usually about three or four weeks.  The symptoms appear as a rapid flare-up of needle yellowing and casting, which has occurred throughout Maine over the past two weeks. This year, trees continue to show weakening due to the stress caused by the reduction in foliage and photosynthetic efficiency.

What is being done to address this?

State Foresters are collaborating with neighboring states and with the U.S. Forest Service to determine the scope of the problem and identify solutions. In Maine, a survey of damaged trees is currently underway and results will be compared with defoliation estimates from previous years. Early indications are that the severity of disease is similar to that in past years, but that the long-term effect of many consecutive years of the loss of the one-year-old needles has weakened some trees to the point where mortality is now occurring. Other secondary insect and disease problems have also appeared in many stands where sustained and severe damage from the needle disease complex has occurred, but these effects are not yet well-understood. It appears that for the foreseeable future, white pine will be another threatened resource unless the needle disease epidemic abates, either from a break in the weather and moisture patterns, or from some other as yet unknown reason.

What can you do?

Control or management recommendations are limited, but state foresters urge caution before conducting thinning operations. As this season progresses, current-season foliage will develop that will help to “mask” the thin appearance of the crowns. Heavily infected stands and trees in stands where mortality is believed to be the result of needle diseases may be salvaged.  Thinning efforts need to be carefully considered, as thinning operations may cause additional stress and result in an increase in mortality and stand collapse. In the meantime, landowners should consult with a professional before thinning operations.

Who can you contact?

Woodland owners are encouraged to contact their licensed forester to help assess the actual impact of the blight on their woods. For yard and ornamental trees, contact a licensed arborist. If you need help finding a resource professional, contact the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-367-0223 (in state) or (207) 287-2791.

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to:

Haskell Facilitates Facilitation

July 1st, 2014 11:31 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Jane Haskell specializes in strengthening skills of group facilitators so meetings can be conducted effectively and efficiently. Fishermen and graduate students are among her more than 400 clients.

This summer, Haskell, who has authored a national facilitation-training curriculum, is working with members of Wabanaki Nations.

She’s also researching how to buoy skills of facilitators who assist refugees. Specifically, she’s studying how American-born, English-speaking facilitators and group leaders ask for feedback from refugees who have recently arrived in the United States.

Refugees, she says, may not have positive experience with regard to giving comments in a formal group setting and may not understand the concept from a Western perspective or framework.

Haskell and a colleague who specializes in immigration and refugees issues are exploring how to best partner with refugees so that their perspectives are heard and understood in Maine.

UMaine Extension Offers Backyard Locavore Day

July 1st, 2014 9:40 AM
The 6th Annual Backyard Locavore Day, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, in six gardens in Brunswick and Freeport. This self-guided tour will be held independent of the weather.

Learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore — a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses, beekeeping, and backyard poultry. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning, and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided. UMaine Extension Master Gardner and Master Food Preserver Volunteers, as well as homeowners, will answer questions.

Cost is $15 for those who register in advance, $20 the day of event and free for children younger than 12. Registrants will receive a booklet with a map and descriptions of each site. Proceeds benefit UMaine Extension’s Cumberland County Food Preservation Program. Online registration and information are available at Also, for more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (in Maine), or email

Kersbergen Cited in Story about Organic Dairy Farms

June 30th, 2014 3:52 PM

The Portland Press Herald’s article on a $1.7 million training program launched by Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Stonyfield to invigorate the local and regional organic dairy industry and jumpstart the next generation of organic dairy farmers included statistics from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Rick Kersbergen.

There are currently 285 dairy farms in Maine, compared to 597 in 1995, Kersbergen says. Within the same time frame, Kersbergen says the number of organic dairies has increased from one to 60.

Maine Sea Grant Updates Guide to Managing Hurricane Hazards

June 30th, 2014 9:23 AM

Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. All of these can affect people who live on shorefront land. To help property owners take steps now to make their homes more resilient and less damage-prone over the long run, Maine Sea Grant has updated the Maine Property Owner’s Guide to Managing Flooding, Erosion & Other Coastal Hazards.

The online resource contains detailed information on navigating state and federal regulatory and permitting processes associated with actions such as elevating a house, moving a house back away from the water, restoring dunes, creating buffers and stabilizing coastal bluffs. Normandeau Associates Environmental Consultants worked in partnership with Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension to make this new information available. Now, not only can coastal property owners learn more about the hazards they face and what can be done to protect their property, they also can access step-by-step recommendations and permitting guidance.

Examples of property owners who have taken some of these steps are highlighted in case studies from across southern Maine. Information about a tour of resilient properties to be offered in September will be online.

Property owners in Maine’s coastal communities are encouraged to review this updated guidance document as soon as possible. By taking action now to prevent hurricane damage, public and private property owners can greatly reduce their risk of damage and avoid significant costs and delays associated with repairs and restoration.

Hiring Full-time Admin Clerk

June 27th, 2014 4:15 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County in Falmouth has an opening for a full-time Administrative Clerk. The position will provide reception & phone coverage, data entry, filing, respond to questions, receive and process correspondence, make photocopies, scan and fax documents, monitor and restock office supplies, and accept payments. Position requires some knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite and a willingness to learn new software programs. Incumbent must have exceptional Customer Service skills.

Application and full job description available at

Any required pre-employment physicals and/or background checks will be paid for by the University. The University of Maine is an Affirmative Action/Equal opportunity Employer and encourages minorities and under-represented groups to apply.

Handley Talks About Maine Strawberry Crop for Press Herald Article

June 27th, 2014 2:37 PM

David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about this year’s strawberry season. Handley said conditions have been ideal starting last fall and continuing through this week, when many farms in the Augusta area are opening for picking. He said the last two years the crop has come in early, but this year is a more normal ripening schedule. He said he expects the best strawberry crop Maine has had in three or four years.

UMaine Extension’s Integrated Pest Management Program Cited in Press Herald Article

June 25th, 2014 9:38 AM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s integrated pest management (IPM) programs were mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about local organic strawberries being limited in Maine. Cathy Karonis of Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham said she has contemplated going organic, but can’t risk crop failure or inconsistent quality on her 14 acres of strawberries. Karonis said she follows UMaine Extension’s IPM reports and sprays when necessary. IPM is a comprehensive, decision-making process for solving pest problems. It is a sustainable approach providing economical control with the least possible hazard, to people, property and the environment.