David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about a three-day Blog the Barrens junket for social media users in an effort to promote wild blueberries. The event was sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and included a tour of the Wyman processing plants, a visit to Cherryfield Foods’ barrens and a lesson in raking at Merrill Blueberry Farms. In an attempt to raise awareness about the berry, Yarborough was on hand to offer information, such as the fact that 3 million varieties of wild blueberries grow in Maine.
Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will offer a workshop on seed saving at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at Wells Reserve, 342 Laudholm Farm Road.
Why and how gardeners save seeds for the next season will be the focus of the program. Master Gardener Volunteers Cate Fitzgerald Rice, Gail Sawyer and Tinuviel Sampson will explain how to grow, harvest and store healthy seeds, as well as breed unique varieties.
The $7 fee ($5 for Laudholm Trust members) is payable at the event. To register, call UMaine Extension in York County at 207.324.2814 or email email@example.com. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Frank Wertheim at 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in Maine).
The workshop is part of the Four Season Gardening series brought to the Wells Reserve at Laudholm by UMaine Extension’s York County Master Gardener Volunteers.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) will offer Beginner Bee School, 6–8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 1-29, at Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale.
Instructor Larry Peiffer, master beekeeper and former MSBA vice president, will discuss honeybee colonies, hive construction, pests and diseases and honey production. During the five-week course, participants will also observe area hives and gain hands-on experience during a field lab. Cost is $90 per person/$130 for two people who share the text and materials. A one-year membership in the York County Beekeepers Association is included with the fee. Sept. 19 is the deadline to register.
More information, including registration, is available online or by contacting the UMaine Extension York County office at 800.287.1535 (in state), 207.324.2814 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a disability accommodation, call Frank Wertheim, 800.287.1535 (in state) or 207.324.2814
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the Art in the Garden event held at Rogers Farm in Old Town, which is part of the University of Maine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The demonstration garden at the farm is maintained by Master Gardener volunteers. The event featured live music, food, demonstrations on pressing flowers, children’s activities and poems read in the garden. Kate Garland, a horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said she’s always happy to see new faces at the farm and hopes it attracts as many people as it can. “We want to showcase the wonderful work the Master Gardeners have been doing all season long and welcome a broad range of people into the garden,” Garland said.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about planting fall crops such as spinach and arugula as summer gardening wanes and space becomes available in the garden. He also suggested gardeners plant cover crops such as a mixture of peas and oats to amend the soil before putting the garden to bed for the winter
WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about changes in U.S. Department of Agriculture standards that require organic beer to be brewed with organic hops and how those changes are inspiring more Maine brewers to grow hops. According to the article, UMaine Extension is testing several organic hop varieties to see which thrive and can make tasty brews in Maine.
AUGUSTA—This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help Mainers dispose of banned or unusable pesticides.
This free disposal program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collection will occur at sites located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. To qualify, people must register by September 26, 2014.
Governor Paul R. LePage is urging Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the environment and save money through this once a year collection event that highlights cooperation between government agencies. “This is an opportunity for Mainers to dispose of unusable pesticides properly and at no expense,” said Governor LePage. “By consolidating collections into four central locations and using in-house resources and expertise, we can reduce disposal costs to about $2 per pound. That’s a great value for Maine taxpayers.”
It’s not unusual for homes and farms to have unintentional hazardous waste—banned pesticides or pesticides that have become caked, frozen, or otherwise rendered unusable—sitting around in basements, garages, or barns. These chemicals can be difficult and expensive to dispose of; DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of proper disposal of banned or unwanted pesticides.
“It’s important for the protection of public, wildlife, and environmental health that these products are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “People holding these chemicals should contact the BPC as soon as possible to register for the October collection.”
“Providing an easy and no cost solution for Mainers to properly dispose of pesticides is a win for the environment and public health,” said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. “The collection events cover the State and are held in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland providing accessible methods of collection and future disposal.”
The collected chemicals go to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed.
Registration by September 26, 2014, is mandatory—drop-ins are not permitted. To register, get details, and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org, or call 207-287-2731.
The Maine Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP, and paid for entirely through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.
A Portland Press Herald article about Maine bakeries using more local grains mentioned the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project, a USDA-funded collaboration of researchers, farmers, millers and bakers in Vermont and Maine that aims to help farmers increase organic bread wheat production and quality. For the past four years, Alison Pray, co-owner of the Standard Baking Co. in Portland, has been working with the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project at the University of Maine and the Northern Grain Growers Association. The groups occasionally send her new heritage wheat varieties to bake with so she can evaluate their properties and flavor, according to the article.
The University of Maine’s Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle is celebrating 100 years of service to the state and Maine’s potato industry with a centennial celebration and alumni social on Aug. 13.
As the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s potato research facility, the farm is the center for agricultural research and development for Maine’s potato industry. Research and outreach programs at Aroostook Farm aim to provide essential information for Maine’s potato industry to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.
The farm’s celebration will include tours, a program commemorating the anniversary, and a social and picnic.
Invitations were mailed to more than 1,000 individuals and organizations including growers, producers and other representatives from the agricultural community; local, state and federal policymakers; university administrators; and alumni.
More information about Aroostook Farm and its centennial celebration is online.