By Barbara Murphy, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Oxford County, firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Charles Armstrong, Cranberry Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, email@example.com.
Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, and unfortunately the bulk of the advertising for cranberry products that you see on television does little to dispel that belief, showing nothing but cranberries floating in seemingly endless oceans of water. While it is true that cranberries are a wetlands plant and are better than most plants at tolerating flooded conditions, after about two weeks of being completely saturated, the roots begin to run out of oxygen. Cranberries do, however, require a moist, well-aerated, acidic (pH of 4.0 to 5.5) growing medium such as sand or peat, or a combination thereof. But, there is actually very little to prevent anyone from having their very own garden of cranberry plants.
About the Plant
Cranberries are in the genus Vaccinium, which—together with the likes of blueberries, lingonberries and huckleberries—belong to the Ericaceae, or heather family. They are sun-loving (the more sun the better), produce flowers and fruit year after year, and are adapted for nutrient-poor acid soils. Their roots, most of which are very shallow, are associated with mycorrhizal fungi that are essential to the survival of the plants, greatly increasing the ability of the roots to absorb nutrients and water. The plants themselves are characterized by two different types of growth habits: runners, which are vines that trail along the ground, not unlike a strawberry plant, and uprights, which arise upwards from nodes along the runners and it is the uprights which bear the flowers and hence, the berries. A typical upright stores up enough nutrients and sugars to be able to support, on average, just two cranberries, but sometimes a number closer to five berries may be seen on an occasional upright.
Preparing the Bed
Acquiring Plants and Planting the Bed
Winter Protection and Frost Control
Please take a peek at UMaine Extension’s cranberry website for information on additional topics such as pest ID, fertilizer questions and recommendations, grower services, cranberry health benefits, cranberry educational activities for kids, and much, much more.
By Donna Coffin, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although many people enjoy deer, these animals can be destructive to gardens, orchards, and landscaped areas. Deer damage to ornamental plants is associated with a variety of factors, including increasing numbers of deer, human population shifts to rural and suburban areas, landowners prohibiting deer hunting, and neighbors deer feeding stations.
Although a deer-proof fence is the best insurance against deer damage, landscaping with deer-resistant plants is a more aesthetically pleasing alternative. Deer are selective feeders; they prefer some foods over others. Plants deer usually avoid are considered deer-resistant. Deer eat a variety of vegetation including woody plants, grasses, fruits, nuts, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, and garden vegetables. Landscaping based on a knowledge of deer feeding habits can reduce or eliminate costly browsing damage to ornamentals.
A plant can be deer resistant for several reasons. Many of the most deer-resistant plants are poisonous–some at all times, and others only at certain growth stages.
Tastes, preferences, and digestibility also vary with plant parts, plant age, growth stage, and time of year. The availability of natural food can greatly affect the amount of damage caused by deer. If an adequate supply of natural browse is available, deer are less likely to eat ornamental plants. When the natural food supply is low, however, few ornamental plants will be resistant, and deer may cause heavy browse damage. A large deer population can create competition for food, causing deer to eat many plants that they normally would avoid. Deer damage usually occurs from late fall through early spring.
Oregon Cooperative Extension developed a list of deer-resistant plants as a general guide. Some plants included on this list are: Foxglove, Iris, Narcissus, Daffodil, Common Lilac, Russian Olive (invasive), Norway Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, and Red Pine. Oregon Cooperative Extension also offers a general reference: Reduce Deer Damage in Your Yard (EC 1557).
By Bettina Voight, Maine AgraBility Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, email@example.com.
Maine AgrAbility is an educational outreach between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Alpha One Independent Living, and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. Our primary goal is to keep farmers farming! We assist farmers who have a chronic health condition or disability that makes farming harder than it used to be.
Gardening is a lot like farming – if you have a flower, fruit, or veggie operation, no matter how big or small, you know what I mean! Planting, weeding, digging, tilling, and more – these things can sometimes leave you sore at the end of the day. That’s because it’s hard work! What are you doing to protect your body?
Maine AgrAbility recently participated in the Portland Flower Show at which we displayed an array of tools that are considered “adaptive” or “assistive” because they help ease the burden of hard work! For example, we displayed telescopic tools with adjustable handles that allow you to make them shorter or longer, which may help in easing back pain. We also displayed some ergonomic tools, which are tools that have been designed to help your body maintain neutral, natural body positions. Ergonomic tools tend to be lightweight and bent to help keep your body (your wrist, your back, etc) in a neutral position while using them. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce twists, torques, awkward angles, and uneven weight distribution.
Experts agree that gardening is a great form of exercise and that it’s good for your mental health. It’s important to stop and take a moment to evaluate how your body is feeling throughout your day of gardening. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
The most important, take-home message is to make sure you are working within your body’s limits. As with any exercise, it’s important to warm your muscles up before using them to prevent injury. Consider taking 5 minutes before you start your time of gardening to stretch your major muscle groups, or the muscle groups you know you will be using a lot of. You may want to consider stretching afterward, too. You can contact Maine AgrAbility at 207-944-1533 or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit our website at umaine.edu/agrability.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.
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Maine Home Garden News was created in response to a continued increase in requests for information on gardening and includes timely and seasonal tips, as well as research-based articles on all aspects of gardening. Articles are written by UMaine Extension specialists, educators, and horticulture professionals, as well as Master Gardener Volunteers from around Maine, with Professor Richard Brzozowski serving as editor.
Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.
Call 800-287-0274 or TDD 800-287-8957 (in Maine), or 207-581-3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.
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Image Description: Extension expert working in a rain garden; photo by Edwin Remsberg
Image Description: cranberry blossoms; photo by Charles Armstrong
Image Description: Common Lilac
Image Description: Extension expert with farmer; photo by Edwin remsberg