Posts Tagged ‘Maine Home Garden News’

Maine Home Garden News — October 2012

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October is the month to . . .

By Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.

  • Clear the garden of remaining vegetation. Apply and integrate compost or manure if you have not already done so. Seed some whole oats on any open areas. Increase the seeding rate as the month progresses. If it’s too late to seed a cover crop, consider spreading a layer straw over the tilled area.

  • This is a good time of year to have your soil tested to determine pH and nutrient levels. Integrate limestone into the soil if suggested by the soil test.

  • Plant dormant perennials like trees and shrubs as there may be some very good deals on these plants at your local garden center.
  • We’ve reached an average daily temp of below 60 degrees F, so bulb planting may start. Plant hardy bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, muscari and scilla. Shop early to get the best selection. Many bulbs are sold in open bins; the later you wait, the more they are apt to be mixed up.
  • Continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing. Mow at its regular height.
  • If you rake leaves, add them to your compost piles.  

  • Consider having a preventative maintenance checkup for your lawn mower. 
  • Empty garden hoses, replace hose washers, roll the hoses up, and store them inside for the winter.
  • Sharpen pruning saws, shears, and blades. Spray cutting surfaces with a thin coat of oil before storing for winter.
  • Take clay pots inside for the winter to avoid them cracking.
  • Evaluate the garden and yard. Make note of what needs to be improved. Act on correcting any hazardous situations in your yard.
  • It’s too late to divide plants, but if there are plants that need to be divided, place a stake or marker to recognize these next spring. The best time to divide plants is early spring because of coolness, adequate soil moisture, and the plants are ready to grow at that time. Think about what you want to divide and do your marking now.
  • Wrap the trunks of young fruit trees with plastic mouse guards or hardware cloth. When using hardware cloth, provide an adequate space for tree trunk growth as the hardware cloth is typically left in place throughout the year. Plastic guards are snug against the trunk through the fall and winter and are removed in the spring and summer.
  • If chainsaws are to be used for bucking up firewood or felling trees, make sure the saw and chains are in good working order. Operators should have proper personal protective equipment such as hardhat, eye protection, earmuffs, chaps, and proper footwear. Review chainsaw safety guidelines in Bulletin #2353, Chain Saw Safety.
  • Be ready for mice with proper control measures. Mice seek a safe winter harborage at this time of year. Your home, barn, shed, and garage can be preferred destinations for them. For more information, see eXtension’s House Mice Damage Management: Damage Prevention and Control Methods.

Sweet Haven Farm Harvest For Hunger Project: A Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteer Project

By Dorcas Corrow, University of Maine Master Gardener Volunteer, Hancock County

Master Gardener Volunteers Tom McIntyre and Sarah Day Levesque harvest crops at Sweet Haven Farm for donation to Mount Desert Island congregate living centers.

Master Gardener Volunteers Tom McIntyre and Sarah Day Levesque harvest crops at Sweet Haven Farm for donation to Mount Desert Island congregate living centers.

Early in February, the grow lights flicker on and seedlings for the Harvest for Hunger project are started; onions and leeks come first. Over the next couple of months, plantings are staged according to how long it takes the plants to be ready to transplant into the gardens. As soon as feasible, the hoop house and cold frames are employed to hold the seedlings while they mature.

In May, volunteer workers start to come several days each week to prepare the garden plots. They add soil amendments according to the soil tests and mix in the required minerals and nutrients using hand tools. They put down weed deterring mulch in the walkways, and plant seeds and seedlings. The harvest will provide fresh produce for congregate living centers around Mount Desert Island.

Things begin to come up in June and by mid-June, lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, green onions, and other early crops are ready for volunteers to harvest and deliver to the various sites that are the target users of Sweet Haven Farm produce. Volunteers continue to weed, plant, and maintain the gardens throughout the summer.

We have 4,000 square feet of growing space devoted to this project. We try out various organic methods of protecting crops from insects and disease. We try new varieties of standard crops. We all work hard at making the gardens a showplace for crop maintenance and succession planting. We work at having plots fallow as short a time as possible. We exchange ideas as we work; we are always experimenting and trying to improve our crop yields. The goal is to provide good tasting and nutritious vegetables that are chemical free to as many people in need as possible.

We delivered 1,000 pounds of vegetables last year and plan to exceed that poundage this year. At the beginning and the end of the growing season, we have a luncheon to discuss our plans, our successes, and ways to improve. The people who make this possible are a combination of University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and community volunteers.

The Volunteers are: Jean Howell, Sarah Day Lavesque, Tom McIntyre, Kay Woody, Jennifer Wright, Torie Hallock, Steve Keiser, Pam Mitchell Dakota Strassner, Heidi Welch, Cass Wright, Muriel Davisson, Cecilia Schmidt, Eva Eicher, and Dorcas Corrow.


Fall: A Good Time to Apply Compost

By Mark Hutchinson, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Knox and Lincoln Counties, mhutch@maine.edu.

My garden in the fall is as busy as in the spring. I spend time removing any weeds that have grown under the canopy of the crop to prevent any additions to the soil weed seed bank. It is also a time to plant cover crops to conserve the soil and retain any plant available nutrients in the soil. However, before planting a cover crop is a good time to add compost.

Compost is a very good soil amendment. One function of compost is to increase the soil organic matter, which provides food for the soil biological community. Healthy soil has a very dynamic and diverse microbial population, which is beneficial to the health of your plants. By adding compost in the fall, you ensure a wealth of food for the biological community late into the fall and early spring.

Just like most things in life, too much of a good thing is not good. Over-application of compost can cause soil nutrient levels to become excessive, especially phosphorous and potassium. Most home gardeners tend to use too much compost in their gardens. Small numerous applications of compost will improve the long term health of the soil better than one large single application. The soil community can only process a limited amount of food at one time, so feed them slowly and often.

So how much compost should be added? Many recommendations suggest 1 or 2 inches of compost; this equals between 60 and 80 cubic yards per acre. This is an excessive amount of compost! Compost should be applied so you can barely see the compost on the soil surface (think about pepper on mashed potatoes!). Though it appears to be very little, the soil biological community will maximize the available food. The compost does not need to be incorporated into the soil. Earthworms and other organisms will carry the organic matter into their holes. This activity will also help maintain the soil structure.

Remember that all composts are not created equal. If you have been composting all summer, some of the compost in your bin may still be immature. Immature compost can cause negative impacts on plant growth. Immature compost applied in the fall, however, is not an issue because the compost will mature before spring planting with the help of the soil organisms. Note: Immature compost should never be used in potting mixes or for potted plants as unfinished compost produces phytotoxins, which can damage plants. This affect is more pronounced in containers and potting mixes because there is less dilution than in field soils.

Fall is also a good time to prepare for winter composting. One way to continue composting through the winter is to collect leaves in a large wire or wood slotted container (4’x4’x4’). The container should be placed in a convenient local with good southern exposure (think about trudging through the snow). Kitchen scraps can be added throughout the winter by moving leaves to the side, placing the food material in the leaves and recovering. The key is to make sure the kitchen scraps are well covered with leaves to prevent any vector issues, a minimum of 12 inches. A wire mesh cover can also be helpful in controlling vectors. Additional leaves can be stored in plastic garbage bags and be added to the bin as the leaves and food compost. It is easier to add food waste if the bin is full of leaves. In the spring, the material can be added directly to the garden or continue to compost during the summer and added in the fall.

Compost and organic matter are critical components of healthy garden soils. Just remember that too much of a good thing usually has a negative effect. Think small quantities often when it comes to compost applications.

For more about compost and compost usage, the following books are my favorite resources:

  • Hanson, Beth-Editor, Easy Compost. Brooklyn, New York, 2005.
  • Martin, Deborah L., Gershuny, Grace-Editors, The Rodale Book of Composting. Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1992.
  • Pleasant, Barbara, Martin, Deborah L., The Complete Compost Gardening Guide. North Adams, Massachusetts, 2008.

http://youtu.be/0vwARMPYHgo


Garden Curiosities, Fact or Fiction?

By Kathryn Hopkins, Extension Educator, UMaine Extension, Somerset County, khopkins@maine.edu.

fasciation

Fasciation. Photo by Kathy Hopkins.

One day, a person brought in this plant and asked, “I saw this unusual plant and would like to buy one. What is it?” It was a bit hard to tell what the plant originally was and here is the explanation why.

Plants usually produce easily recognizable and consistent growth in their stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds. Occasionally plants produce unusual growth with odd or misshapen structures that make identification difficult. Some of the oddities that plants produce are called fasciations, galls, and chimeras.

Fasciations are an abnormal flattening of plant parts, usually stems, that develop when cells at the growing tip are changed to a jagged row of cells, which continue producing jagged cells that form a wide flat stem that may also appear ribbed, like in the picture (at right). Sometimes these flattened stems grow into a coil, like this plant. The leaves are often abnormally small and fasciations in flowers may look like two flowers fused together. Fasciations can be caused by imbalanced hormones, extreme temperature fluctuations, or insect, bacteria or virus attack. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

gall

Gall on goldenrod. Photo by Kathy Hopkins.

Galls are abnormal, localized swellings on the plant that may also look like tumors. On hardwood trees, these are referred to as burls. The causes of some galls are unexplained. Some are caused by the plant’s reaction to bacteria, fungi or insects. One common gall that we see in autumn is the goldenrod gall. It is a swelling caused by an insect, the Goldenrod Gall Fly, Eurosta solidaginis. This insect spends its entire life cycle on the goldenrod plant; the swelling on the stem that you see in the picture is where the female laid an egg that hatched into a larvae. The goldenrod fly larvae has a chemical in its saliva that causes the plant to grow a round stem swelling that makes a home for the larvae for the next year. Many trees also develop galls in response to insects or diseases. Some woodworkers prize the galls from hardwood species and use them to craft beautiful burl bowls.

Variegated ivy

Variegated ivy. Photo by Kathy Hopkins.

Chimeras are formed when some part of the genetic code of a plant cell is accidentally mutated and two or more distinctly different plant tissues overlay each other. If the mutated cells survive and continue producing new mutated cells, the plant is called a chimera, or a plant with two distinct parts. A sport is when a part of the plant shows a distinct variation from the parent. Some chimeras or sports have become valuable commercial plants. Many commercial fruits developed from a sport – a branch of fruit that was different and better than the rest of the original tree.

Sometimes chimeras cause flowers or leaves to be different colors or multicolored. Often, new plants are produced commercially by taking cuttings from these unusual plants. Diffenbachia, Peperomia, Chlorophytum, and Saintpaulia are a few of the chimeras that have variegated foliage. If you have ever had a variegated plant that faded to a single color, it may be that the genetic code has reverted to its original color.

For more information:


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012

Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA 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.

Maine Home Garden News — September 2012

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

September is the month to . . .

By Amy Witt, Horticulturist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, amy.witt@maine.edu.

fresh vegetables

Photo by Amy Witt

  • Enjoy, preserve, and donate your harvest. UMaine Extension has a variety of videos and fact sheets on preserving so that you can enjoy the summer harvest well into the year. Once you have stored and preserved all you are able to, consider donating the extra produce to local food pantries through our Maine Harvest for Hunger program. Last year, farmers, and gardeners raised and donated 293,820 pounds (140 tons) worth $473,328 of vegetables and fruits to food pantries, shelters, and charitable organizations around Maine. Go to Maine Harvest for Hunger to find out how you can get involved.
  • Visit one of Maine’s agricultural fairs. From Clinton to the Common Ground, there are still many fairs happening around the state in September.  Go to the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs to get the complete schedule.
  • Review the year. How did your crops do; which vegetables were high producers; what plant varieties were your favorites; what were your successes and failures; what disease and insect pests did you have (for advice on any disease or insect pest, contact your local UMaine Extension county office); what is your plan for next season?
  • Put your gardens to bed. In your vegetable garden, harvest remaining vegetables and fruits; remove spent plants and debris; plant a cover crop like hairy vetch, winter or annual rye to provide erosion and weed control. Mark your perennials before you cut them back, so you don’t mistakenly dig them up later in the fall or spring. Remember to leave plants with well-established seedheads, like cosmos, echinacea, and rudebeckia, as the goldfinches and other birds will enjoy them throughout the fall. Get additional tips from UMaine Extension’s video: Putting the Garden to Bed.

  • Do a soil test and add appropriate amendments to your soil in preparation for planting next spring. Soil test kits can be obtained from your local UMaine Extension county office or directly from the Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service at the University of Maine in Orono. Watch UMaine Extension’s video on soil testing for more information.

dahlias

Photo by Amy Witt

  • Dig up tender bulbs, corms, tubers, and roots (like canna lilies, dahlias, and gladiolas) after their foliage has died back or has been killed by frost. Cure them in a dry, well ventilated room with temperatures between 60º – 70°, and away from direct sun and wind. Most tender plants will take 1-3 days to cure (gladiolas can take up to 3 weeks). To store the cured materials, place them in a ventilated container and layer them with peat moss, sand, shredded newspaper or sawdust. Store them in an area with temperatures ranging from 40º – 50°.
  • Divide summer blooming perennials. Dividing perennials helps rejuvenate and control the size of the plants, as well as increases the number of plants you have (which is great if you need more plants to fill in an empty space, establish a new garden bed, or share with others). Keep in mind that once they are divided, it will take 4-6 weeks for the transplants to become established. Be sure to give the plants enough time to settle in before the ground freezes. See the fact sheet Dividing Perennials published by Clemson University Cooperative Extension for detailed information and instructions.
spring bulbs

Photo by Amy Witt

  • Plant spring bulbs. In addition to crocus, hyacinth, tulips, daffodils, and muscari, why not try something new this year like spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum), orange candle flower (Arum italicum), or Dracula plant (Dracunculus vulgaris)? When selecting bulbs, make sure they are hardy and disease free. Bulbs should be planted in a well-drained soil with a temperature below 60°. Adding organic matter to the soil when planting will provide an added benefit to the bulbs.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Fall is an excellent time to plant. Because plants are putting most of their energy into root development at this time of year they will be more established come spring. Also, many of the nurseries have sales, which means you can purchase more plants for the same money you would have spent on one plant earlier in the season. Refer to UMaine Extension Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting and Caring for Shrubs and Trees in the Maine Landscape for general guidelines on proper selection and planting.
  • Prepare new gardens beds for next spring. It is easy—just determine the site, fertilize (for every 100 square feet of planting area, add 6 cups of a complete fertilizer containing approximately 5% nitrogen), and stamp down, cut or mow any existing vegetation so that all the plants lay flat on the ground. To prevent the roots from re-sprouting, add four layers of newspaper or one layer of landscape barrier paper on top of the area. Make sure to overlap the edges of the paper and wet the paper to keep it in place. Once the paper is down, cover it with mulch (to cover a 100 square foot area 1 inch deep, you need 1/3 cubic yard of mulch—you can use compost, grass clippings, seaweed, wood chips, leaves, straw, and so forth—try to use materials that are free of weed seeds). Let the area sit over the winter and it will be ready to plant in the spring.
  • Fertilize, establish or re-seed your lawn. The period between mid-August and mid-September is the best time to pamper your lawn. For more information about establishing a lawn, see UMaine Extension Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine.


Master Gardener Volunteers Making a Difference — Kids Can Grow, Bangor

By Katherine Garland, Horticulturist, UMaine Extension, Penobscot County, katherine.garland@maine.edu.

The sun is shining, a Master Gardener has pulled the hose across the parking lot to the garden, bags for harvesting are lined up by the fence, and kids are beginning to arrive. Welcome to Kids Can Grow at the new Youth Community Garden in Bangor, one of several Master Gardener projects in Penobscot County.

Kids Can Grow program particpants work in garden

Photo by Barb Baker

Kids Can Grow is a 4-H youth gardening program that provides young people with the training, tools, seeds, and supplies necessary for success in their own garden. Kids Can Grow sites are dotted throughout the state, each with their own unique character. The Bangor program began meeting after school in late April of 2012. Participants were matched with a Master Gardener Mentor who helped them work on planning their own 3’ x 5’ garden plot found within the collection 20 raised beds located at the Bangor Housing Authority Community Center. During after school meetings in the spring, we enjoyed healthy snacks, started seeds, constructed raised beds, and planned a few extra gardens for kids who would enter the program later in the season. Weekly summer activities included garden planting, nutrition lessons, garden maintenance, entomology, and composting. Our young farmers enjoyed a bountiful harvest this year and none of it would have happened without the generous support of our dedicated Penobscot County Master Gardeners who made this program a great success: Ellen Fisher, Jim Green, Alix Johns, Mara Kosa, Jan Placella, Dale Quimby, and Susan Sombret.

For more information on the Master Gardener Volunteer Training visit  umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners.


Winter Squash & Pumpkins — An Interview with Dr. David Handley, UMaine Extension Small Fruit & Vegetable Specialist

By Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.

How do you know when pumpkins or winter squash are ready for harvest? The best thing to do to determine ripeness is to look at the “ground spot.” The spot where the fruit sets on the ground will develop a deep yellow or deep orange color. This color change is a good indication that the fruit if ready to pick.

When I harvest winter squash or pumpkins, what do I need to look for in regards to quality, size, and being blemish-free? The skin of the pumpkins or squash should be sound (no obvious wounds, lesions or soft spots). The stem should be firm and well attached to the fruit. Minor scrapes or cuts can sometimes be resolved with good curing.

I have heard that winter squash stores better when the squash is cured. What does curing entail? Curing is basically a process for the skin to thicken to preserve the flesh better. Curing involves storing the harvested fruit it in a warm, dry place for about 2-3 weeks, such as in a greenhouse, a high tunnel or upstairs in a barn. Field curing of harvested fruit gathered in a windrow and left in the field is also used. If the windrow method is used, the fruit must be protected from frosts and freezes. By the end of 2-3 weeks, the pumpkins and squash are then placed into cold storage 50-60 degrees F. An unheated bedroom or cellar works fine.

What effect does frost or freeze have on winter squash or pumpkins in the field or left outside (uncovered)?Low temperatures tend to freeze the skin of the fruit. After freezing, the skin becomes soft. With softened skin, the fruit will lose its storage life. If pumpkins or squash have been frozen, they should be consumed or processed immediately.

squash

Photo by David Handley

Which winter squash varieties store best for long-term storage? Buttercup, Hubbard, and Acorn can store for long periods if cured properly.

Are there some varieties of pumpkin that are better for eating than others? Yes, UMaine has been looking at varieties for several years. In general, some varieties are sold as “pie type” or “eating type.” These are small (3-5 lb.) fruit, including varieties such as New England Pie, Small Sugar, and Winter Luxury. They have much better eating quality than the larger jack-o-lantern pumpkins. FYI, good pumpkin pies are usually made with squash.

What do I look for when selecting pumpkins and squash varieties for next year?Look at the descriptions and characteristics in the seed catalogs for next year’s selections. Seek varieties that mature under 100 days (if direct seeding). Plant seeds or transplants after the danger of frost has passed.

squash

Photo by David Handley

What is the difference between winter squash and summer squash? All squashes are in the genus cucurbita. Within the genus are three main species. They include: cucurbita pepo (star shaped stem); cucurbita maxima (Banana, Buttercup, and Hubbard); cucurbita mochata (Butternut, Wheel pumpkins). All summer squash varieties are in the genus and species cucurbita pepo; the skin and flesh of summer squash are meant to be eaten when the fruit is immature. Summer squash are divided into three general types: yellow, green or scallop. Winter squash have thick skin that is meant to be peeled, leaving the flesh for consumption.

What is Suberization? Suberization is the self healing process for any abrasions on the skin of pumpkins and squash. A corkiness is formed. (Merriam-Webster’s definition.)


Been Thinking about Low Cost Foods & Winter Meals?

By Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.

I have limited garden space and I am unable to produce large quantities of vegetables or fruits to preserve or store for the winter. What I commonly do to rectify the situation is to search out and purchase produce from local farmers that is low cost and easily stored (unrefrigerated). I focus on four vegetables — potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, and winter squash. When you consider the price of food, these four vegetables are a real bargain. The price of these vegetables is typically at or under $1.00 per pound. These types of vegetables can be stored in a cool, clean place that is protected from freezing temperatures.

Are you in the same situation? If so, you might try these activities.

  • Take a fact-finding tour of the produce section of your local grocery store or supermarket. Go there with the purpose of finding foods that are $1.00 per pound or under. Bring a hand calculator and small pad of paper (or your cell phone for picture-taking). Check the unit pricing label so you can easily compare price per pound. This is what you will probably find: a 10 pound bag of potatoes in the grocery store is typically about $5.00 (50 cents/pound); rutabagas are 89 cents/pound; a 5 pound bag of carrots is under $5.00; and the price of winter squash ranges from 80 cents to $1.00/pound. Much of the produce in the grocery store likely came from farms within Maine (or could have). You can probably find lower prices and larger units from local farmers.
  • Interview family members to determine what low cost produce is favored for winter consumption. Think like your grandparents or think like a pilgrim. What did they stock up on in the fall for the long New England winter?
  • Depending on your location (and the price of gasoline), schedule a road trip to Aroostook County in early October. Columbus Day weekend is a great time for a road trip to The County. You will find potato growers selling 50 pound bags of their potatoes on the roadside at prices that range $10.00 to $18.00 — that’s 20 to 36 cents a pound!
  • Do you know a farmer who grows potatoes, carrots, winter squash or rutabagas? If so, make a connection now to arrange to purchase 10-20 pounds of produce. Many of these crops are harvested in September. If you don’t know a local farmer, you can find Maine farms at the website of the Maine Department of Agriculture: Get Real, Get Maine and Find a Farm.
  • Seek out a winter farmers market in your area or participate in a winter CSA. This type of produce is typically grown and sold at these markets. This strategy might be appropriate for you especially if you lack storage space.

Before purchasing bulk produce for winter consumption, calculate how much your family will consume over the next 6 months (November to April) and make sure you have a suitable space and site for proper storage. An unheated bedroom or an unheated cellar works well for most produce. Food grade plastic bins are cheap containers for keeping produce organized, clean and protected. Condensation can occur, so check the bins occasionally (once or twice a week) and wipe any moisture collecting on the sides or lids. Line the bins with newsprint to absorb condensation. Produce stores best under conditions of proper temperatures and humidity. Be aware of rodents and watch for signs of their presence. Address rodent control quickly. Rodents are seeking winter harbor, too, and usually start entering homes and cellars in October.

UMaine Extension has developed some handy resources on how to use these products. Here are links to specific publications:

There are some other low cost foods that are produced locally that you could buy in bulk. You might consider beets, cabbage, apples, onions or garlic.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012

Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA 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.

Maine Home Garden News — August 2012

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

August is the month to . . .

By Diana Hibbard, Home Horticulture Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, dhibbard@maine.edu.

  • August is: asters, goldenrod, corn, squash, tomatoes and the 2nd cutting of hay
  • August is: early apples, peaches and peas
  • AUGUST BEGINS THE HARVEST!
  • Pick up news gardening ideas and tips by visiting public gardens or parks in your area. Garden clubs and groups often arrange tours of some of their best gardens.
  • Harvest your garlic saving the best heads for replanting in October. Wait for the bottom 2 or 3 leaves to turn yellow. Watch our video below or see Growing Garlic from University of Vermont Extension

  • Dig your potatoes. New potatoes are delicious. Further tips for growing potatoes in your garden next year can be found in Bulletin #2077, Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden.
  • Water newly planted shrubs and trees. It is essential they have enough moisture going into the winter. See Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting and Caring for Trees and Shrubs.
  • As areas in your garden become empty, amend your vegetable garden soil by sowing cover crops. These green manures will be turned under to improve the soil tilth and fertility.
  • Sow another crop of peas, collards, kale, and brussel sprouts. Extend the season with successive plantings. See all the ways you can get your garden going earlier in the spring and later into the fall in Bulletin #2752, Extending the Gardening Season.
  • Fertilize peonies. Peonies prefer full sun. Wait until frost damages the foliage before cutting down. Peonies do not need to be divided often, but if you need to move them fall is the best time. Don’t plant them too deep to assure a good bloom.
  • Check out the Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Maine. The success of perennial plants depends on many factors, including temperature, light levels, light duration, and soil, water, oxygen and nutrients. Bulletin #2242, Plant Hardiness Zone Map of Maine.
  • Pay attention to your lawn. This is the best time of year to plant and reseed. Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine.

  • Try a “low-mow” grass to decrease your mowing. For more information, see Bulletin #2166, Steps to a Low-Input, Healthy Garden.
  • Pick tomatoes and make spaghetti sauce and salsa and all your favorite dishes. Keep the plants healthy by watering regularly in the early morning and continue to fertilize every 2 weeks. Cut the tops off your indeterminate tomatoes sending energy to help the fruit mature and grow larger. Bulletin #4085, Let’s Preserve Tomatoes.

  • Buy fall mums. They can add color to those empty spots in the perennial garden. Or pot them up for your deck or front porch.
  • Feed the hungry! Sign up for Maine Harvest for Hunger and donate your excess produce. See Bulletin #4303, A Donors Guide to Vegetable Harvest.
  • Sign up for the 4th Annual Backyard Locavore Day in Cumberland County scheduled for August 11th (Rain date: August 12th). This educational event, provided by University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers, will showcase sustainable ways to increase self-sufficiency to meet your own food needs. Demonstrations will focus on backyard gardening techniques, food preservation methods, and more.

Master Gardener Volunteer Outreach — Gardening at the Veterans’ Home

By Barbara Murphy, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Oxford County, barbara.murphy@maine.edu.

As a Master Gardener Volunteer program coordinator, it is my job to connect Master Gardener Volunteers with thoughtful, worthwhile projects that utilize their gardening skills. Finding activities with the right mix of education, outreach, fun, and volunteer satisfaction can be quite challenging, especially in rural Oxford County. So, when an opportunity came to create a vegetable garden at the local, residential Veterans’ Home, it seemed like something to explore further.

Four years ago I was contacted by the activities director at the VA home to answer some questions that a resident had about blueberries. As it turned out, I knew the resident, Norm, when he grew prolific blueberries in Bethel. The director of the Veterans Home had given Norm permission to plant a dozen blueberries on the property and he was eager to get going. Once the blueberry plants were in and established, Norm then focused on creating a vegetable garden on the extensive grounds, one where able residents could participate or at least enjoy from their windows or as they stroll along the garden path.

To get the process rolling, I met with the director, the head of grounds and landscaping, the activities director, and kitchen manager to listen to their concerns about maintenance, cost, and participation. It was agreed to start small, 10’ x 20’, and that the VA would pay for costs of soil amendments and seeds, and provide access to water. Master Gardener Volunteers would plan, plant, maintain, and harvest the garden, and bring the harvest to the kitchen. Residents of the facility were encouraged to participate (some even attended planning meetings) as much as their physical abilities allowed.

Master Gardener Volunteer works in the vegetable garden; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

Since 2010, the Oxford County Master Gardeners have been tending the Veterans’ Home garden. Lots of different crops have been tried, but now the focus is on residents’ favorites such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, winter squash, beets, onions, and zucchini. To accommodate all of the vegetables, the garden was enlarged to 10’ x 30’ last year. Initially our hope was that residents would participate in the garden work, but few have the ability to work on a ground-level garden. However, there are plenty of raised beds, whiskey barrels, and wheelchair accessible garden beds around the facility to keep all who are interested up to their elbows in soil. Lack of physical participation does not mean that the residents are not interested in what is happening at the garden. What is magical about the Master Gardener garden is the opportunity it provides for residents, their families, and visitors to talk with the volunteers while they garden, to reminisce about their gardening experiences or to offer an opinion about what should be done next. Recent comments show that the garden is appreciated. One resident told a gardener, “I’m so glad you’ve continued with the garden; I walk by it every day to see how it’s doing.” Another man said, “I never gardened at home, but my wife always had a nice big garden. This makes it seem more like home for me.”

If you are thinking about starting a gardening project at a veterans’ center, here are some things we learned:

  • Meet with the leadership at the veterans’ center regularly while the plans are being put together.
  • Make sure there is a long-term maintenance plan in place. Who will be tending the garden three, five, and ten years from now?
  • Make the garden as accessible as possible — wide rows and beds and, if finances allow, raised beds.
  • Don’t be discouraged if no one actively participates in the garden. Over time we have learned that people enjoy the garden in many ways — showing it to friends and family, keeping track of how much is being grown, talking to the gardeners, enjoying the harvest in a meal.
  • Put a sign in the garden letting everyone know that the garden is there for all to enjoy and snack on.

Our small garden is not a burden to maintain, it provides a worthwhile volunteer experience, and gives pleasure to the residents of the facility — a definite win for everyone.


On the Trail of the Anonymous Ambersnail

By Craig Anthony, Home Horticulture Coordinator, UMaine Extension, Piscataquis County, craig.anthony@maine.edu.

snail

Photo by Craig Anthony

I first became aware of an unidentified ambersnail this past June, when I awoke each morning to find that my eggplant seedlings disappearing one by one. A warrant was issued for the usual suspects to be brought in for questioning, but none quite fitting the description were found in my garden’s jurisdiction. Then, one sunny morning, I came across a likely suspect innocently seeking refuge on the shady side of one of the container plants.

When I arrived at work that day, I came across twenty to thirty members of the same suspicious gang resting beside the raised bed demonstration garden at the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County office. My supervisor mentioned that she had never seen these snails in the garden before this summer. Again, there were tell-tale signs of vandalism in the garden, yet all of the suspects were relaxing peacefully under the shade of the Mountain Ash tree in their daylily hammocks.

I soon learned that there had been sightings of suspects all over the state — Downeast and all over central Maine. Clay Kirby, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Insect Diagnostician, reported that, “I have been seeing this snail all over the place for the past several years. I’ve seen it in the boonies along the Machias river years ago and in my back yard. It’s got a soft shell. It is probably an ambersnail.”

I had my first ID on the perp, but exactly which ambersnail was it? It has done so well at remaining ordinary that ascertaining its true identity remained a mystery. It became apparent that a thorough investigation was necessary to create a more comprehensive profile of the garden marauder, so we did not, in fact, implicate an innocent garden denizen.

An inquiry to Jeanie L. McGowan, Director of the Nylander Museum of Natural History in Caribou, ME, revealed:

“Yes, it looks like one of the Succinea species to me also. And I agree we are seeing large numbers of these in many areas in Maine. I’ve gotten calls from Downeast and I see them all over central Maine. Unfortunately we’ve never found anyone who can identify which species we’re seeing and whether they are native or introduced. In our collections there is mention of the following specimens that may be your find:

  • Succinea ovalis Gld. Aroostook County, ME.
  • Succinea obliqua Say. Woodland. Common everywhere
  • Succinea avara Say. Common in wet places on lake shores

Nylander documents NYW-0028 (1895) and NYW-0031 (1900)

Fellow malacologist Scott Martin added: There have been six species of Succineid land snails reported from Maine, but probably 2-3 are questionable. Your snail pictures mostly look yellowish-gold to me, which I would ascribe to the common Novisuccinea ovalis, or oval ambersnail, which has been reported from all 16 of Maine’s counties. Catinella vermeta is usually brownish, while Oxyloma retusa is longer and often more inflated at the opening. Technically, you’re supposed to do dissections of the reproductive parts to verify the ID of succineids, but this can be problematic even for the experts, as the reproductive system does not necessarily look the same throughout the year (and the sex might even change).

The plot thickened when Ken Hotopp, conservation biologist with Appalachian Biology of Bethel, ME, observed: “You are right that it is a type of ambersnail, Family Succineidae. The snail looks like Succinea putris, an introduced European species. There is one native species that size — Novisuccinea ovalis — but it tends to have whorls that are little more “inflated” so it’s less sleek-looking. S. putris tends to become abundant in summertime in parks, gardens, nurseries, and agricultural areas, sometimes along river floodplains. It gets introduced on plants, shrubs, and probably mulch and landscaping materials.

So for now, it remains an open case until further evidence comes in, but I would have to agree that the suspect is most likely Succinea putris. We had recently purchased bark mulch for the office garden and it had been very wet early this summer, which may account for its sudden appearance at the office garden, but not necessarily for the other sightings.

As for control, the damage was minimal and the snails have all but disappeared in the hotter weather. Some management ideas were generated, but untested, including using slug controls such as iron phosphate baits, mowing or creating barriers of crushed stone or other materials that will slow them down on their way to the garden, or even a “prescribed burn” if the snails are in a limited area.

Clearly, more research is necessary to learn more about this particular ambersnail, why we are seeing such an abundance of them now, and how best to manage their numbers in the future. This writer requests more information from individuals who have encountered this species of ambersnail for a possible follow-up article.


From Lawn to Garden: South Portland Resident Donates Lawn to Hunger Relief

By Don Morrison, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, Cumberland County, DMorrison@waysidemaine.org.

tangle of overflowing tomato plants, tripods of creeping, climbing pole beans, towering sunflowers, and bushy herbs

Photo by Don Morrison

Last April, South Portland resident Liberty Bryer had a lush green grassy lawn, the American homeowner’s dream. And then she decided to do something about it. Working with staff and volunteers from Wayside Food Programs in Portland, and Cumberland County Master Gardeners, Bryer tore up the lawn and planted a garden. Where the lovely, though unproductive, lawn once was, now lies a tangle of overflowing tomato plants, tripods of creeping, climbing pole beans, towering sunflowers, and bushy herbs. The produce grown in the garden is being harvested by volunteers and used in Wayside’s hunger relief efforts at its free community meals and mobile food pantries.

Bryer approached Wayside volunteer coordinator Carly Milkowski after learning about a similar garden project in Cumberland that had fallen through due to the sale of the land. Having recently bought a home in South Portland after moving to Maine from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bryer was looking for something productive to do with her land, which gets full sun and seemed like a perfect place to garden.

lawn turned into garden

Photo by Don Morrison

“We literally tore up Liberty’s entire lawn,” says Milkowski. “It felt a little crazy at first, trying to kill the grass by laying down cardboard, and then crawling around digging out clumps of sod. I don’t know what the neighbors thought at that point, but they were all willing to lend a hand or some tools, and now we have this beautiful garden and food coming out of it that’s been grown with a lot of love to help the community. It’s been an amazing experience.”

The garden project has been made possible by generous donations of time, tools, and seeds by Town and Country Federal Credit Union, Tammaro Landscaping, and Broadway Gardens. Volunteers from Learning Work’s Youth Building Alternatives help out on a weekly basis, weeding, turning compost, and keeping the Japanese beetle population under control. Many other community volunteers have also donated their time.

# # #

Wayside is currently in its 25th year of increasing access to nutritious food for people in southern Maine. Wayside’s hunger relief efforts include five free community meals sites, four mobile food pantries, a kids’ healthy snacks program, family summer meals and two community gardens. Through its Food Rescue Program, Wayside recovered 1.8 million pounds of food in 2010. The rescued food is distributed to more than 60 agencies throughout Cumberland County, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. For more information please visit us at www.waysidemaine.org or www.facebook.com/waysidefoodprograms.


4th Annual Backyard Locavore Day

Saturday, August 11, 2012, 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Rain date: Sunday, August 12, 2012

backyard garden

Photo by Kelly Ash

This educational event, provided by University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers, will showcase sustainable ways to increase self-sufficiency to meet your own food needs. Demonstrations will focus on backyard gardening techniques, food preservation methods, and more.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — July 2012

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

July is the month to . . .

By Kate Garland, Horticulture Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Penobscot County, katherine.garland@maine.edu.

  • Seek local gardens to tour as a way to pick up news gardening ideas and tips. Visit public gardens or parks in your area. Garden clubs and groups often arrange tours of some of their best gardens.
  • Pay attention to what is happening in your yard and garden. Look for and note any changes, growth, damage, stress, death, fruit formation or flowering. On damaged plants, look for the culprits. Some of this inspection might need to take place on your hands and knees.
  • If slugs are in your gardens, consider using control such as iron phosphate. For more information, see Bulletin #5036, Slugs.
  • Enjoy your flowering lilies. If you have lilies, you may have lily leaf beetle. For more information, see Bulletin #2450, Lily Leaf Beetle.
  • Enroll in Maine Harvest for Hunger. Learn how you can help – it’s not just for gardeners who have a lot of zucchini! Consider Harvest for Hunger if you are a business or organization looking for a service project.
  • Enjoy a bountiful crop of beans.   Learn how to freeze green beans. While you’re at it, be sure to gather supplies and learn about preserving all of your upcoming harvests.

  • Learn about insect repellents. Remember insect repellents are registered pesticides!
  • Visit your local farmers market and visit a nearby farm on Open Farm Day, Sunday July 22nd. Watch farm activities and demonstrations from milking to felting; pet farm animals, pick berries, tour a barn or go on a hay ride.
  • Set up drip irrigation in your home garden. Water plays a big role in how much you harvest every year.
  • Learn about common diseases and insect pests on fruit trees.
  • Scout for Colorado potato beetles. They are a serious pest of potatoes and they also like tomatoes and eggplant. Destroying their bright yellow egg masses as soon as you see them can greatly reduce their damage.
  • Re-seed empty spots in your garden with peas, lettuce, radishes, chard, spinach, beet greens and other short-season crops. You could also sow a cover crop.

Mosquitoes!

By Donna Coffin, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County, donna.coffin@maine.edu.

mosquitoMosquitoes are one of the most common complaints from people who enjoy gardening during the spring and summer months. It’s only female mosquitoes that feed on blood to obtain the required protein needed to produce and lay eggs. In this biting process the females can act as vectors of parasites and disease organisms, such as malaria, yellow fever, and various forms of viral encephalitis such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV).

In Maine, most of the nuisance biting mosquitoes can be broadly placed in three groups based on their breeding sites or where they are likely to cause the greatest problem: urban, woodland or salt marsh. All mosquitoes pass through four developmental stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs are laid either in or near water or in moist depressions that will fill with water during the spring or in flood times. All larvae and pupae require water to develop to adults. Mosquitoes are usually the most active in the evening or on overcast days.

Control Methods

The following are various controls that can be undertaken to reduce the presence of mosquitoes, either by elimination of breeding places or destruction of the adults or larvae. Alone, these methods won’t eliminate your mosquito problem. However, using an integrated approach of combining several of these methods, you should see some results in reduction of mosquito annoyance.

  • Eliminate Breeding Sites – sources of stagnant water, (e.g. unused pools, old tires, tin cans along with other similar discarded containers, rain gutters, and birdbaths). Also, be sure to check and refresh water weekly in small children’s wading pools, birdbaths, and animal water dishes and tubs to eliminate larvae. Keep dumpsters and trash receptacles covered to prevent water accumulation.
  • Eliminate Adult Resting Sites – Cut back or remove dense brush and similar vegetation from around houses and camps. Keep grassy areas mowed short. Promote natural breezes to discourage mosquito occurrence.
  • Encourage Natural Predators – Although limited in their effectiveness, predators such as dragonflies, bats, birds, frogs, and mosquito eating fish naturally control the numbers of mosquitoes, especially in and around small farm and garden ponds or pools.
  • Water management – Every community should consider water management as a very important component of their mosquito reduction program. Roadside ditches and culverts should be cleared to avoid water stagnation.
  • Use of burning wicks containing pyrethrum or citronella candles may provide some relief in limited areas, provided that there is no wind. Although expensive, commercial traps that use carbon dioxide and octenol as attractants can be effective in reducing mosquito annoyance when used with other management tools. However, proper placement of commercial traps is critical.
  • Homeowners and camp owners can alleviate the mosquito nuisance indoors by installing and maintaining tight fitting window and door screens and keeping outside lighting to a minimum. Specific materials for screen treatment containing insecticides, such as permethrin, may add to the effectiveness of screens.
  • Beware of novelty approaches to mosquito control, including such things as “bug zappers,” various sound devices, and scented geraniums (“mosquito plants”). While there may be certain psychological benefits to the use of such things, they are usually expensive and there is little scientific evidence to support the claims of those who market such products. There is no sure-fire solution to the problems as some would assert.

Personal Protection

The use of protective clothing and insect repellants are two tactics that can provide some personal protection against adult mosquitoes.

  • Protective clothing include veils or mosquito netting worn around the head, or even the entire body as a suit, high boots, long sleeved shirts, long pants, gloves, etc. As with many biting flies, it is best to avoid the use of colognes and perfumes while in the field as these may enhance biting fly activity!
  • Insect repellents are chemicals that can be applied to the skin or clothing that will repel mosquitoes and to a lesser extent black flies and ticks. A number of products are available, and come as pressurized sprays, creams, sticks and liquid formulations that are usually spread on exposed parts of the body. The two repellents that have demonstrated a higher degree of efficacy in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature are DEET and Picaridin. Studies indicate that oil of lemon eucalyptus, a plant-based repellent, also provides protection similar to low concentrations of DEET. Usually a few drops of repellent applied to the neck, face, hands, and arms or sprayed onto thin clothing items such as stockings can repel mosquitoes for periods of 2 hours or more. Since repellents can irritate the eyes or the lips, care should be taken in their application. Be sure to read the instructions to make sure the repellent won’t harm clothing or especially plastic items. Do not over use repellents. Be especially careful with DEET on young children. For more information regarding the use of repellents visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.
  • Clothing treatments with permethrin (a toxicant) products have a long lasting period of effectiveness but cannot be applied directly to the skin; once dried on clothing however, there is little or no transfer of chemical compounds.

UMaine Extension Fact Sheets:


Are You Berry Smart?

By David Handley, Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist, UMaine Extension, Highmoor Farm, david.handley@maine.edu.

strawberriesSure, you’ve been growing all those great berries for years, but how much do you really know about small fruit? Here’s a little quiz for all of you horticultural trivia fans and berry know-it-alls that provides some interesting facts and insights about our favorite little fruits. A score of 10 or better earns you the rank of Golden Strawberry.

Small Fruit Trivia Quiz

  1. Which three fruit are considered the only true native American fruit?
    1. Strawberry
    2. Raspberry
    3. Concord Grape
    4. Blueberry
    5. Cranberry
  2. What small fruit variety is considered to be the first commercially bred and named horticultural variety in the United States?
    1. Concord Grape
    2. Hovey Strawberry
    3. Elizabeth Blueberry
    4. Early Black Cranberry
  3. “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.” This famous quote is attributed to William Butler, a 17th Century writer, referred to what fruit?
    1. Strawberry
    2. Raspberry
    3. Grape
    4. Blueberry
  4. Botanically speaking, a berry refers to a very specific type of fruiting structure. Which one of the following are “true” berries?
    1. Strawberry
    2. Raspberry
    3. Blueberry
    4. Grape
  5. The Concord grape formed the basis of an entire juice and jelly making industry in America, yet the man who developed it earned no money and received little recognition for his efforts. Who was he?
    1. Luther Burbank
    2. Thomas Jefferson
    3. Ephraim Bull
    4. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. What Native New Englander and famous fruit breeder has had a strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry variety named in his honor?
    1. Elwyn Meader
    2. George Darrow
    3. Thomas Latham
    4. Arthur Howard
  7. Which small fruit can not be grown in Maine as a result of state law barring its culture and importation?
    1. Juneberry
    2. Black currant
    3. Loganberry
    4. Hempfruit
  8. What berry(ies) did President Reagan publicly cite as an example of frivolous government spending?
    1. Strawberry
    2. Raspberry
    3. Blueberry
    4. Cranberry
  9. What fruit, originally called “Chinese Gooseberry,” was renamed to improve its consumer appeal?
    1. Kiwifruit
    2. Jostaberry
    3. Star Fruit
    4. Jujube
  10. What fruit, in its botanical and anatomical or structural sense, most closely resembles a strawberry?
    1. Raspberry
    2. Fig
    3. Lemon
    4. Pineapple
  11. Which berry is said to have been the favored fruit of Greek Gods? Hint: the Latin or species name of this fruit refers to this honor.
    1. Strawberry
    2. Raspberry
    3. Blueberry
    4. Grape
  12. What is the official fruit of the state of Maine?
    1. Apple
    2. Cranberry
    3. Blueberry
    4. Strawberry

Answers

  1. c, d, e. (cultivated strawberries and raspberries are mixed with European types)
  2. b.  Charles Mason Hovey (1810- 1887) of Massachusetts, was one of the first and most prolific strawberry breeders in the U.S.
  3. a. Dr. Butler’s quote was made famous by Izaak Walton in his book The Complete Angler (1655), a treatise on fishing.
  4. c, d. Botanically, strawberries and raspberries are considered “aggregates”, not berries.
  5. c. Ephraim Wales Bull (1805-1895) developed the grape from wild seedlings in Concord Massachusetts, but it was Thomas Welsh, who began experimenting with the juice of this grape in 1869, that would, with his son, develop large and successful company based on the fruit.  Bull died near penniless.  His epitaph reads “He sowed, others reaped”.
  6. b. George Darrow (1889-1983) was a native of Vermont, but spent most of his professional career at the USDA Fruit Laboratory in Beltsville, MD.   He wrote over 200 publications on small fruit and developed such important varieties as the Blakemore strawberry, which was an industry standard for over 20 years.
  7. b. Black currants are illegal to grow in Maine because they are an alternate host for white pine blister rust, an important and devastating disease of white pine.  Maine is sometimes called the “Pine Tree State”.
  8. c, d. In his 1986 State of the Union Address, President Reagan was hoping to win support for a line item veto in the federal budget by citing what he called wasteful research programs on such things as blueberries and cranberries.  Ironically, a blueberry flavored jelly bean was later developed especially for his second inauguration and has become one of the most popular flavors.
  9. a. The original name was thought to be unappealing by fruit growers in New Zealand hoping to develop a world-wide market for the fruit, and thus changed the name to honor their country’s famous native flightless bird, the kiwi.
  10. d. Both pineapples and strawberries are aggregates, with each “fruit” having numerous small, true fruit called achenes.
  11. b. The red raspberry is classified as Rubus idaeus with the species name idaeus referring to Mount Ida where, it is said, the Greek gods would go to harvest this fruit.
  12. c.  Actually, it’s the Wild Blueberry.

Morris Farm Master Gardener Volunteers Strive for Continuous Harvest

By Paul Fenton, Master Gardener Volunteer, UMaine Extension, Knox, Lincoln, Waldo Counties.

In 2007, I took the Master Gardener Volunteer program for Knox, Lincoln, and Waldo Counties. I really enjoyed the classes and the positive attitude of everyone I met. I’d found a home and volunteered to do several different things. While all of the projects I tried were wonderful, the Morris Farm in Wiscasset really hit a home run for me. It had a great atmosphere and a well established group of Master Gardeners who’d maintained a large garden for many years.

In 2008, after winter planning meetings, I planted a circular-shaped demonstration garden with vegetables that were uniquely Italian. We grew cardoons, arugula, radicchio, fennel, Cavolo Nero kale, and fava beans. The colors, textures, and flavors in the garden were truly beautiful.

The next year, two of us decided to run a carrot trial. We selected 10 varieties and tried to measure whether they would meet the specifications they were bred to produce in the farm’s notorious heavy clay. Planting was late because of wet weather, thinning was difficult, and at harvest the carrots did not meet the specs. Our conclusion? Carrots would never be a cash crop for Morris Farm!

In 2010, we decided to grow more vegetables for Plant-A-Row for the Hungry (now Maine Harvest for Hunger). To get past the clay and quack grass, we decided to add two very large raised beds, 30 feet long and 4 feet wide. We grew 20 different varieties of vegetables and made careful notes about their performance. We found that raised beds were ready to plant earlier in the spring, but very quick to dry, needing extra watering and coordination of volunteers to keep them at peak performance. We were rewarded with a harvest of over 1,300 pounds of food, which we donated predominantly to the Bath Soup Kitchen. We also had a very well-attended tomato tasting event to raise money for the Morris Farm Trust. At the end of the season, we wrote a detailed summary of our results and decided to expand the number of raised beds for the next season’s focus on Maine Harvest for Hunger.

In 2011, we added two 24’ x 4’ raised beds and a “Three Sisters” demonstration garden with corn, squash, and pole beans. Despite losing most of our squash to insects, our tomatoes to late blight, and a record infestation of Colorado potato beetles, we exceeded our harvest from the year before. We also learned a great deal about how to increase our soil productivity, spending one of our group work days applying chicken manure to the gardens.

This season, we’ve completed our raised bed journey by adding one 36’ x 4’ and two 12’ x 4’ beds. This left us with the original circle garden and the Three Sisters garden as the only ones with native clay, which has been greatly improved with organic matter and a 2:1 mix of blood meal and kelp meal for general fertility. We’ve also been fine-tuning our bio-intensive planting schedule, where there’s never a space left unplanted. When we harvest a vegetable, another one goes in. Within this succession, we do our best to rotate crop families.

The garden at Morris Farm has been a learning experience for all nine of us. We’ve tried to use our successes (and mistakes) to manage tasks, improve our soil, and increase our yield for Maine Harvest for Hunger. If you’d like to meet us and see our gardens, please visit on July 22nd for Open Farm Day!

A few of the Morris Farm Master Gardener Volunteers on planting day.

A few of the Morris Farm Master Gardener Volunteers on planting day.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — June 2012

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

June is the month to . . .

By Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties, tori.jackson@maine.edu.

  • Identify white grubs you may have in your lawn and apply preventive treatment, if necessary. It is too late to treat for the grubs you have now, but you may be able to impact the next generation. For assistance in identifying white grubs, contact the Insect and Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in Orono. Be sure to read and follow the label of any pesticide you use. The label is the law!
  • Enroll in Maine Harvest for Hunger to help provide fresh, local produce to Maine’s food insecure. You can help us reach our goal of 300,000 pounds in 2012. Information and enrollment are available online. These fact sheets on Food for ME: Citizen Action for Community Food Recovery will give you some ideas for community gardens, gleaning, and other ways you can help.
  • Stake your tomato plants to ensure good air flow, reduce diseases, and improve fruit development. For a quick how-to, check out Vegetable Specialist Mark Hutton demonstrating some best practices. If you prefer tomato cages, he can give you some tips for that as well.

  • Consider container gardening! If you are short on space, time or both, container gardens can be a great way to enjoy fresh produce on your deck or patio all summer long. Extension Educator, Barbara Murphy can show you how.
  • Think about garden safety. From choosing a site for your garden to harvesting and washing your produce, plan ahead to ensure the safety of the foods you grow. For more tips on food safety, visit our Food & Health website.

  • Visit a local strawberry farm to pick your own delicious summer fruit. You can find a farm near you at the Maine Department of Agriculture’s website. When you get home, enjoy your strawberries fresh or preserve them by freezing or making jam to enjoy them year-round.

  • Get ahead of garden pests by mulching where you can to reduce weed pressure and regularly scouting your plants for insects. Consider Integrated Pest Management (IPM) when you have a pest management issue.
  • Get in the habit of protecting yourself from the sun. Simple steps like daily sunscreen application and wearing a hat when working in the sun can go a long way to preventing skin cancer.
  • Introduce a child in your life to the joys of gardening! Fresh air, exercise, and the satisfaction of a job well done are some of the benefits you get from gardening. When learned at a young age, gardening can be a hobby and skill a child takes with them for the rest of their life. Check out our Kids Can Grow program!

Time To Start an Asparagus Bed!

By David Handley, Extension Professor and Mark Hutton, Extension Vegetable Specialist, Highmoor Farm, Monmouth, ME, david.handley@maine.edu, mark.hutton@maine.edu.

Asparagus is often the first vegetable that we can harvest from the garden in the spring, and the sight of those tender spears emerging from the soil fills a gardener with hopeful anticipation for the coming season.

An asparagus planting is usually established from fleshy crowns bought from a nursery supplier or local garden center. Plants can also be started from seed, which should be planted into peat pots and started indoors about six weeks prior to moving outdoors. It is important to select varieties that are disease resistant and will perform well under Maine’s challenging climate. Varieties we presently recommend include Mary Washington Improved, Jersey King, Jersey Knight, Guelph Millennium, and for those wanting spears with a unique color, Purple Passion.

The site for an asparagus planting must have a well drained soil, because plants in wet soils will succumb to root rot problems. A soil test should be carried out well before planting and any needed amendments should be worked in during the fall or spring prior to planting. Perennial weeds such as quack grass must be eliminated prior to planting, or they will quickly overcome the crop. Asparagus should be planted on the west or north edge of a garden to prevent the ferns from shading other crops and interfering with tillage of the rest the garden. Plant asparagus in the spring after the danger of hard frost has past. How much should you plant? Figure that each crown should produce about ½ pound of spears per year once fully established.

To plant dormant crowns, dig a furrow two to three inches wide and about four to six inches deep. Phosphorus can be helpful in plant establishment. If your soil tends to be low in phosphorus, apply about two pounds of super phosphate (0-20-0) per 50 feet of row along the bottom of the furrow (bone meal can also be used, but it tends to attract skunks). Space the crowns about 18 inches apart at the bottom of the furrow. If planting more than one row, space them at least four feet apart to allow the ferns plenty of growing space. After planting, fill the furrow back up to the original soil level, but do not compact or press the soil over the buried crowns, as this may damage the buds and will delay spear emergence. Keep the soil moist. You should start to see spears emerging in one to two weeks. Do not harvest the spears during the planting year. The spears will elongate and form “ferns,” which will support and promote the growth of the roots. The plants can be mulched lightly during the growing season to help reduce weed pressure with wood shavings, pine needles or the like.

The ferns will die off in the fall and should be mowed off either late in the fall or early in the spring, prior to the emergence of new spears. Waiting until spring may improve winter survival. During the second year spears may be harvested as they emerge over a two to three week period. Snap the shoots off when they are seven to nine inches high and before the tips start to loosen. The bed should be harvested every three to four days. After three weeks stop harvesting and allow the shoots to develop ferns to build up the plants for next year. Fertilizer should be applied after the last harvest. About ½ pound of ammonium nitrate or 1 ½ pounds of 10-10-10 should be applied over 50 feet of row. An application of compost over the plants can also be used as a fertilizer. Check the product container to determine its nutrient levels.

asparagus beetles and larvaeLate frost or cutworms can cause the spears to “crook” after they emerge, and asparagus beetles and their larvae may be found feeding on the ferns during the season. In the latter case, handpicking may provide an effective means of control on a small planting, but insecticides may be warranted on larger plantings. There are both organic and synthetic insecticide options available, but be sure to check product labels for rates, timing and safety precautions.

And that’s it! Every year thereafter the first shoots to emerge in the spring should be harvested for a three to four week period, then allow the ferns to grow and mow them off the following spring. Enjoy your asparagus planting and be sure to share with your friends. They’ll be much more tolerant of your excess zucchini in the summer.


Edible Flowers: Pretty in Your Garden and a Culinary Delight

By Amy Witt Horticulturist, UMaine Extension, Cumberland County, amy.witt@maine.edu.

layer cake with edible blossom decorations

Cake with edible flower decorations; photo by Amy Witt

Did you know that many of the flowers in the home landscape are edible and the flowers of most culinary herbs are safe to eat? Flowers have a long tradition in cooking including European, East Indian, Victorian, English, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Early American colonists also used flowers as a valuable food source. Many flowers are high in nutrients and can be used fresh in salads, garnis hes, baked goods, jams & jellies, teas, oils, vinegars, honey, wine, butters, stuffed, and stir-fried.

Because some flowers are toxic, proper identification is a must before consuming any flowers (or plants).  (Both Rutgers and the University of Vermont are good resources for lists of poisonous plants.)

Take the following precautions before eating any flowers:

  • spring peeper on a lily blossom

    A spring peeper enjoying a daylily’s beauty; photo by Amy Witt

    Pick flowers that are disease, pest, and pesticide-free.

  • Know your source. Don’t use purchased flowers from garden centers, nurseries, florists or the side of the road. These flowers were not grown for consumption and many of them have been sprayed. Pesticides used on flowers and ornamentals have not been researched to determine safety on food crops. Whereas, pesticides used on food crops have been extensively tested to determine the waiting period before consumption.
  • Avoid flowers from plants fertilized with un-composted/fresh or treated manure.
  • Introduce flowers slowly into your diet in order to determine any possible allergies. (Keep in mind that a flower’s pollen can detract from the flavor and may cause an allergic reaction — especially if you have hay fever).

Edible Flowers to Consider Trying

Common Name Botanical Name Edible Parts Flavor Suggested Uses
Calendula Calendula officinalis Petals at peak Tangy; peppery Fresh in salads; substitute for saffron
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Young flowers (yellow parts — sepals are bitter) Sweet, honey-like (mature flowers become bitter) Wine, sauté, vinegars, butters, garnish, fritters
Daylily Hemerocallis fulva Buds and blooms. Eat in moderation — daylilies may act as a diuretic or laxative. Combination of asparagus/zucchini. Prepare buds like green beans.  Use blooms in desserts, as a garnish in salads or on cakes.
Gladiolus Gladiolus spp. Blossoms Mild Container for garnish or dips or spreads.
Hibiscus, China rose, Rose-of-China Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Petals Citrus/cranberry flavor Used in many tea flavorings and as a garnish.
Hibiscus, Rose-of-Sharon Hibiscus syriacus Petals Mild, nutty Teas, fruit salads
Hollyhock Alcea rosea Flower Slightly bitter Best as a garnish or container for dip.
Lilac Syringa vulgaris Flowers Perfumed, slightly bitter Candied
Nasturtium Tropaelum majus Blossoms Watercress; peppery Garnish in salads
Rose Rosa spp. Petals, hips (remove the white, bitter base of the petal) Sweet to bitter. Hips are tart and cranberry like. Petals used in salads, garnishes, candied & rose water. Hips are used in teas, jams, wine, pastries
Squash or pumpkin Cucurbita spp. Male and female blossoms Slightly floral Eat raw or cooked — sautéed or batter fried, stuffed.
Tuberous begonia Begonia x tuberhybrida Petals. Tuberous hybrids are best. Citrus-spicy Salads or garnish
Violet Viola odorata Flowers Sweet, perfumed Candied or garnish for soups, desserts, and punch; jams, fruit & green salads

*In many cases, other parts of the plant are also edible (please check a reputable source to identify which plants and parts). 
**For more extensive lists of edible flowers, visit the following websites: www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/07237.html or www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8513.html.

For optimum results:

  • Hibiscus syriacus

    Hibiscus syriacus; photo by Amy Witt

    Pick flowers early in the day, but after the dew has dried.

  • Don’t pick un-opened (daylilies are the exception), wilted or faded flowers.
  • In most cases, use just the petals and remove the pistil, anthers, stamens, and stems of the flowers since they might be bitter.
  • Flavors vary with growing conditions and cultivars—it is best to conduct a taste test before harvesting large amounts of a specific flower.
  • To maintain maximum freshness, keep flowers cool after harvest. Long-stemmed flowers should be placed in a container of water. Short-stemmed flowers should be harvested within 3-4 hours of use. Place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator (place a damp paper towel in the bag to provide humidity).

Consider integrating edible flowering plants to your vegetable garden. They will not only attract beneficial insects and pollinators for your vegetable crops, but you will also be able to use them for food.

Enjoy the flavor and colorful additions to your culinary dishes!

Sources:

Edible Flowers, S.E. Newman and A. Stoven O’Connor (11/09), www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/07237.html

Edible Flowers, 1/99 HIL-8513, Cyndi Lauderdale, Extension Agent, Wilson County Center and Erv Evans, Extension Associate Department of Horticultural Science College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8513.html


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — May 2012

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

May is the month to . . .

By Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.

  • Have a plan for planting your 2012 vegetable garden. Consider sowing some seeds and transplants 2-3 weeks before the traditional Memorial Day weekend. Some vegetables are not affected by frosts. See Vegetable Gardening ~ Keep Your Garden Growing ~ Plant from Spring to Fall.
  • Prepare garden spaces for this year’s planting. Consider raised beds, containers, and new gardens for fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Addition of organic matter into the soil will help water- and nutrient-holding capacity of your garden soil.
  • Repair or replace the sides and ends of wooden raised beds as needed.

  • Try a new vegetable variety this year, like conical cabbage (early fresh cabbage) or something your family enjoys eating.
  • Consider growing perennial food crops, like rhubarb, asparagus, blueberries, apples, strawberries, and raspberries. These crops take planning and site preparation. Pick out a spot this year to prepare the soil for the planting next spring.
  • Visit your favorite garden center to learn about new and different plants, products, and tools. Ask the owner or an employee about what’s new.
  • Review safety rules for using your lawn mower. For more information, visit University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service online publications listing and search for “Lawn Mower Safety” or “FSA1005″. You will be asked for your zip code.
  • Consider using mulches on your perennial beds and plantings to prevent and control weeds. Improve beds this month by edging, removing weeds, and adding fresh mulch.
  • If you use any type of pesticides (organic or synthetic) in your yard or gardens, be sure to purchase the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Specific protective gear such as eye protection, respirators, gloves, and clothing will be specified on the pesticide label.
  • If you have not done so already, start a compost pile. Pick a site that is convenient and accessible. For more information on the essentials of home composting see Bulletin #1143, Home Composting.

http://youtu.be/0vwARMPYHgo


Soil Temperature as a Guide to Spring Planting

By Lauren St Germain, Home Horticulture Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Franklin County, lauren.stgermain@maine.edu.

gardeners planting seeds; photo by Edwin Remsberg, USDAEvery spring, gardeners are faced with the challenge to determine when to plant seeds and seedlings in the ground. Factors most gardeners consider are average day and night time temperatures, the date of the last expected frost, how early crops were planted the year before, how wet the soil is, or the date of the next full moon.

One important factor that is often not considered is soil temperature. Soil temperature has a strong influence on when seeds will germinate and on performance of transplanted seedlings. Seeds planted in soil that is too cold or even too hot may have poor germination. The result is wasted time, money, and a lot of frustration. Some seeds planted in soil that is too cold are also more susceptible to soil-borne diseases and insects that will feed on them. Vegetable seedlings, if planted in cold soil, have difficulty absorbing nutrients, have very slow growth and root development, and are likely to develop diseases like blossom end rot.

There are minimum, optimum, and maximum temperatures at which different vegetable seeds will germinate. By using Soil Temperature Conditions for Vegetable Seed Germination by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System as a guide, gardeners will not only have better success with seed germination, but can also space plantings over time to gain a longer growing season and hopefully greater yields. For example, radish seeds can be planted when the soil is a minimum of 40º F. It could be a month or more after that before soil temperatures reach the minimum of 60º F for pumpkin seeds.

Ideal soil temperatures for seedlings are 60º F for tomatoes, cucumbers, snap beans; 70º F for peppers, watermelons, and squash; and 75º F for cantaloupe and sweet potatoes. This is not to say that plants will not live if planted at lower temperatures, but there will be higher risk for complications.

To measure the soil temperature for seeds, insert a soil thermometer around 2 inches deep into the soil. Use the average temperature over the course of 3 days as a guide to whether or not to plant seeds. For seedlings, measure a little deeper down to 4 or 5 inches.

Tracking soil temperature is a simple, inexpensive addition to any garden planning ritual. Soil thermometers can be found at most garden supply stores, and generally cost less than ten dollars.


Reasons for Not Establishing Vegetable Gardens on Septic System Disposal Fields

By David Rocque, State Soil Scientist, Maine Department of Agriculture, david.rocque@maine.gov.

While there are no rules or regulations concerning the placement of vegetable gardens on or adjacent to septic system disposal fields, it is the policy of the Maine Department of Agriculture to discourage the practice. Following are the reasons for this policy:

Background:

Most septic system disposal fields designed since 1974 are installed either partly or completely above the original ground surface. This is because most of our soils in Maine have a shallow seasonal groundwater table, hardpan and/or bedrock. The bottom of the disposal field must be elevated above any “limiting factor” in order for the waste water to drain into the soil and be renovated. For the most part, fill material over the stone or other components (plastic or concrete chambers, fabric wrapped pipe, geo-textile sand filters, etc.), which comprise the main body of the disposal field is usually 8” – 12” deep. Generally, only the top 4” of this fill material has silt or clay and organic matter in it. The lower part of this fill is supposed to be a gravelly coarse sand material. This is to allow for the free exchange of air into the disposal field so that microbes can quickly attack and renovate the waste water. Below the fill material, and immediately above the stone or other disposal field components is a layer of compressed hay or filter fabric. The purpose of this compressed hay or filter fabric is to prevent fine soil particles from the fill material above entering voids in the stone or other devices. The stone or other devices main function is to provide storage capacity for the wastewater, which is usually generated faster than the soil can absorb it (people usually generate most of the waste water in the morning before work and school and in the evening after coming home from work). If the voids in the stone or other devices become filled with soil, they will not be able to store the waste water causing a septic system failure.

  1. The most important reason you should not create a vegetable garden above or immediately adjacent to a septic system disposal field is because of the potential for the plants to become contaminated with human pathogens. The vegetable garden plants will send roots down in search of water and nutrients; neither of which will be found in the gravelly sand fill material. If the roots come in contact with waste water, they can take up pathogens such as viruses which can then infect the person eating the plants.
  2. In a brand new septic system disposal field, the waste water level in the disposal field is usually quite low. Over time, however, as the disposal field matures, ponding of waste water can be expected. This is due to the partial clogging of the soil pores by particles escaping from the septic tank and the living and dead bodies of microorganisms. The thicker this clogging layer is the higher in the disposal field the waste water level will be. The waste water level will also rise during heavy use events or as a family grows up and/or adds more members. Eventually, the waste water levels in a disposal field will likely be high enough for even shallow rooted plants to come in contact with it.
  3. Water (including waste water) will “wick” up into soil due to capillary attraction. If waste water rises high enough in the disposal field to come in contact with the fill material on top of it, capillary attraction could cause the waste water to wick up to as high as 18” above, depending on the texture of the fill. This is also why no vegetable garden should be placed on a disposal field fill extension, especially near the disposal field. There may be no wicking up to the top of the disposal field or fill extension material at first but it may occur as the disposal field matures.
  4. Generally, the soil over the top of a septic system disposal field is very droughty, particularly soon after the disposal field is installed, and therefore not suitable for the growing of a vegetable garden. This would create the need for watering of the plants in order for them to prosper. Adding water to the top of a disposal field, particularly if the disposal field was only marginally functional, could cause it to fail.
  5. Roto-tilling the top of a disposal field could result in damage to the compressed hay or filter fabric. If the compressed hay or filter fabric is damaged, it could allow soil particles to migrate down into the stone or other devices in the disposal field reducing the waste water holding capacity.
  6. Placing additional fill over the top of a disposal field, in order to create a safe zone for vegetable plants to grow is also not a good idea. The additional fill material might “suffocate” the disposal field by making it more difficult for the free exchange of air. An anaerobic disposal field is much more likely to clog up and fail than an aerobic one. In addition, placing the additional fill material on the disposal system could result in damage to disposal field components by heavy equipment.

The most suitable plants to grow on top of septic system disposal fields and fill extensions is grass. It is also permissible to grow flowers, but only if the soil is not roto-tilled and minimal watering is done. No plants that have woody roots should be planted on the disposal field or fill extensions since the roots might clog up pipes and other devices in the disposal field. If you do not want vegetation to grow over your disposal field, it is permissible to cover the bare soil with bark mulch.


Changing the Culture of Lawn Care

By Frank S. Wertheim, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, York County, frank.wertheim@maine.edu.

lawn grassFive step fertilizer and pesticide programs, irrigation, frequent mowing, lawn care services – the American lawn has become an icon and status symbol across the country. Along with this explosion in the lawn care industry, there has also been an increase in use by Maine home gardeners in the pounds of active pesticide ingredients, from 800,000 pounds in 1995, to 6.2 million pounds in 2007 – an almost 8-fold increase in 12 years (chart below). Excessive fertilization can result in leaching of nitrates, which can end up in toxic levels in fresh groundwater sources and/or be a threat to groundwater quality and coastal estuarine environments. Soil levels of phosphorus from lawn fertilizers can become excessive, and if spread too close or from erosion into fresh water bodies, can result in algae blooms causing pond and lake water quality degradation.

We all live downstream!

chart showing increase in home use pesticides

Click on the chart above to view an enlargement.

Fortunately, there has also been a rising interest in alternatives to intensive lawn management practices. Programs like the Maine Yardscaping Coalition are dedicated to promoting low input lawns and garden practices to reduce fertilizer and pesticide inputs and recommend the right plant for the right place. Visit www.yardscaping.org.

The good news is there are some pretty simple steps, which while they do take some research and labor, result in healthy lush lawns with a minimal or no fertilizer and pesticide inputs. For more information, see Bulletin #2166 Steps to a Low Input, Healthy Lawn.

Through education and best practices we can have our cake and eat it too – healthy, vigorous lawns and positive impacts on our environment.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — April 2012

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

April is the month to . . .

By Barbara Murphy, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Oxford County, barbara.murphy@maine.edu.

  • Finish pruning your fruit trees, raspberries and blueberries.
  • Start vegetable seedlings such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and early crops of lettuce, greens and spinach. See Bulletin #2751, Starting Seeds At Home.
  • Sow peas when the soil is workable.
  • Clean and sharpen your gardening tools.
  • Clear winter debris Extension expert working in a rain garden; photo by Edwin Remsbergfrom around the base of foundation plants and hedges.
  • Consider a new design for your landscape. See Bulletin #2701, Designing Your Landscape for Maine.
  • Learn more about ticks and Lyme disease. See Bulletin #5047, Ticks and Bulletin #2357, Lyme Disease.
  • Get the mower ready for the season by sharpening the lawn mower blade, changing the oil, changing the spark plug, checking wheels and tires, checking safety features, etc.
  • Head to your favorite garden centers to view or purchase new products, supplies, and plant materials.
  • Check online or through the “app store” for garden planning applications.
  • Evaluate your lawn, gardens, and property to determine if possible repairs are needed.
  • Learn about mulches and how to select and use them for weed control in landscape plantings.
  • Consider extending the gardening season – start now. See Bulletin #2752, Extending the Gardening Season.
  • Consider making a cold frame for early crops or for hardening off transplants.
  • Clean out birdhouses and clean bird feeders.

How to Have Your Own Cranberry Garden

By Charles Armstrong, Cranberry Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, charles.armstrong@maine.edu.

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

cranberry blossoms; photo by Charles Armstrong

Cranberry blossoms (click on the image to view an enlargement). Photo by Charles Armstrong.

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

  1. Grab a shovel and start digging (the hardest part of the process). Dig out an area to the dimensions you desire. An area 4×8 would be considered a large plot, and a general rule of thumb is that for every 5 square feet of bed, one should expect about a pound of cranberries, assuming the plants are healthy and at least 3 years old.
  2. Dig to a depth of anywhere from a minimum of 8 inches to as deep as a foot (a few cranberry roots will eventually venture down to this depth, even though the vast majority of them will remain just 4 to 6 inches from the surface). Use what you dig out to form a protective wall or berm around your bed, to help slow the encroachment of weeds and to maintain good separation between the bed and your lawn. You can also cover the berm with wood and/or plastic, which works very well at keeping out the weeds.
  3. Fill your entire plot with peat moss, or a mixture of peat moss and sand (but save out some of your sand for later use). Add in some slow-release fertilizer if you desire. Also, it doesn’t hurt to add a little potting mix and/or compost, especially closer to the surface, to help give some additional body and nutrients to the mixture. Moisten it all gradually, and mix it frequently, to expose any dry pockets. Once you are finished mixing and wetting, it helps to add some additional sand to the uppermost layers (and an inch or two on top). The sand will help to anchor the plants, and it will also aid in weed prevention. Adding an additional half inch to 1 inch of sand every two to three years after planting will yield additional benefits, helping with not only weed control, but insect and disease control as well. This periodical sanding also encourages greater upright formation from the runners, having essentially a pruning effect on the vines.
  4. What about water needs? Except during extended dry periods or on extremely hot days, you needn’t worry too much about watering the bed. Peat moss holds moisture extremely well, so as long as it is moist 1” below the surface, that’s fine. But if you have the time, and can spare the water, giving them some during questionable times isn’t a bad idea, especially when berries are present in order to ensure that they remain nice and plump.

Acquiring Plants and Planting the Bed

  1. Where do I find plants? Searching online using keywords such as “purchase cranberry plants” will yield some good choices for plants, including a Maine grower-owned option, where you can also find some additional planting and care instructions for your new bed. Another alternative that some folks have attempted, with varying success, is to transplant existing cranberry plants found in the wild, if you know them to be good producers. Planting from seed is generally not a good idea simply because most seeds fail to germinate. Also, since any of the resulting offspring are not genetically identical to the parent, usually you are left with mostly vegetative, non-fruiting genotypes when all is said and done. In other words, with seeds, you can never be sure what you’re going to get.
  2. How many plants? I would encourage one to begin with a minimum of four to six pots (ideally 6″ diameter pots) of cranberry plants—assuming your bed is large enough to accommodate that many, with each plant having about a 2’ x 2’ spacing—simply because in my own experience they will take hold and spread faster that way, and also starting with older plants (at least 3 years old) is a sensible strategy, as you won’t have to wait three to four years before seeing any significant fruit.
  3. When to plant? Cranberries in Maine can be planted in the fall through as late as the first part of November, but I believe the best time to plant is in the spring, during the month of April. This will give the plants an entire growing season in which to establish themselves and to adapt to their surroundings. It will also ensure that they are ready for winter, having had the full time to respond to the shortening daylight cues, and to more fully develop their root systems.

Winter Protection and Frost Control

  • Winter Protection: Mulch your cranberry plants, each year, shortly before the ground freezes (around late November). You can use peat moss, pine needles, leaves, or any combination thereof. Pine needles are especially acidic, so they help your bed maintain the low pH that the cranberries like, but sometimes tree leaves provide a better covering on the very top as they don’t simply fall through the empty spaces as much. However, if it is a particularly snowy winter, snow by itself will insulate the plants, but as our most recent winter has demonstrated extremely well, you cannot always depend on having a pile of snow over your bed for the entire winter. Note: The barrier that the snow and mulch create is not for the purpose of insulating against low temperatures nearly as much as it is meant to insulate the plants from the desiccating nature of the wind. Since cranberry leaves are evergreen, they are subject to drying out in the presence of winter winds. Growers refer to cranberry tips and leaves damaged this way as having died due to “winter kill.” Often the plants will recover, but not if the injury is too severe.
  • Uncover the plants around April 1st, but be on guard against dangers from frost. Cover them up again if you suspect a dangerous frost event.
  • Frost Control: New shoots that are starting to elongate from the buds in the spring need to be protected from frost. The tolerance levels vary somewhat depending on what variety you have and what growth stage most of your plants are at. For Stevens, new shoots in the spring can withstand temperatures as low as 29.5° – 30° F (as low as 20° F if the buds are still dormant and not growing). In the fall, by the end of October, Stevens vines will tolerate temperatures down to 23° F. Perhaps just apply your winter protection a little early if there is a real danger of frost at that time. You can find a table of both spring and fall frost tolerances, tied to variety and growth stage, on the web at http://extension.umaine.edu/cranberries/growing-cranberries/frost-tolerances/

Additional Information

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.


Deer Resistant Ornamental Plants

By Donna Coffin, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County, donna.coffin@maine.edu.

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.

Common Lilac

Common lilacs are deer-resistant.

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).

Sources:

  • Deer-resistant Ornamental Plants, J.L. Horton and W.D. Edge, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University; and W. Daniel Edge, Extension wildlife specialist; Oregon State University. extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1440.pdf. February 2003.
  • Reduce Deer Damage in Your Yard (EC 1557), E. Henning, J. Kelly and N. Allen, Oregon State University Cooperative Extension, http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/19669/ec1557.pdf. November 2002.

Maine AgrAbility

By Bettina Voight, Maine AgraBility Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, bettina.voight@maine.edu.

Extension expert with farmer; photo by Edwin remsbergMaine 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:

  • How is my body? Do a simple body scan and think about any areas that may need attention (i.e. do you have any pain in your back, neck, shoulders, knees, etc?)
  • How is my posture? Am I using my core strength to keep myself upright?
  • When is the last time I took a stretching break?
  • When I have to carry a heavy load, am I keeping it close to my body? Am I bending at the knees to lift it up?
  • When is the last time I took a break to stretch out my hands?
  • Have I had enough water today?

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 maine.agrability@maine.edu. 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.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — March 2012

Monday, March 5th, 2012

March is the month to . . .

By Katherine Garland, Horticulturist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Penobscot County, katherine.garland@maine.edu

http://youtu.be/fsCsIGbWP2I

  • Tap maple trees. The exact best time to start depends on the weather. Watch for when temperatures are freezing at night and 40-45° during the day.
  • Connect with your local food pantry to find out what vegetables their clients might like to receive next season and sign up to participate in Maine Harvest for Hunger in 2012.
  • Force branches for indoor color (see Cornell gardening resources; scroll down to “‘Forcing’ Twigs for Indoor Bloom”). Forsythia isn’t your only option! Other woody plants that are easy to force include: tamarack, apple, quince, pussy willow, cherries, alder, and birch.
  • Grow sprouts. Fresh greens can be grown indoors with just the following ingredients: mason jar with screw-top ring, small piece of cheesecloth, aluminum foil, seeds, and water.
  • Try new recipes for vegetables that you plan to grow next year. Planning meals ahead will help you take advantage of your bountiful harvest.
  • Keep composting! You may not see a lot of activity in your pile right now, but keep contributing those kitchen scraps. You’ll be amazed at how fast the pile shrinks when the outdoor temperature begin to rise.
  • Plan your next botanical adventure. Warm thoughts of gorgeous gardens are fun to entertain this time of year.  We’re lucky to have some great gardening playgrounds nearby such as Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay and Rogers Farm Demonstration Garden in Old Town. If you’re willing to travel, there are many to choose from. Looking for travel suggestions? Consider visiting the botanical gardens in Montreal, Quebec or St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Plant highbush blueberries. UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are having a blueberry plant sale to benefit their programs. Consider taking advantage of this sale.

Orchid Growing in Maine

By Kathryn Hopkins, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Somerset County, khopkins@maine.edu  

orchid blossoms

Probably a Phalaenopsis sp. Photo by Kathryn Hopkins.

At Christmas time, my husband did a good deed and received an orchid as a token of appreciation. Since we knew nothing about raising orchids except for their alleged finicky and difficult reputation we went into panic mode when the giver also said, “By the way it needs repotting!” So now what were we to do with this thing?

The first step was to decide what type of orchid this was in order to provide the best growing conditions. There are five major orchid types: Cattleya, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, and Oncidium. Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) and some Paphiopedilum varieties (slipper orchids) are best suited for home environments. Flowers on these orchids are long lasting. Phalaenopsis flowers can last from two to six months. My orchid arrived without a tag, but had the leaf and flower structure of a Phalaenopsis orchid and arrived potted in sphagnum moss rather than regular potting mix, suggesting that it was epiphytic and not terrestrial.

Once you identify your orchid, you will be able to plan for its care. Orchids really seem very easy to grow if you supply the correct potting mix, light requirements, water, and fertilizer. The correct conditions usually allow you to successfully grow any plant.

Because many orchids are tropical in origin and are found in nature growing on trees or tree branches, they require a potting mix that is composed of bark, sphagnum moss or a fibrous potting mix. They get most of their water and nutrients from the air through aerial roots. The potting mix should let the water flow through freely and orchids should never be left in standing water. Water again when the potting mix has dried out some but not completely. The roots should not be trimmed. Because many orchids are native to the tropics, they may benefit from a more humid environment than we typically have in our Maine homes in the winter. Putting your orchid on a tray of gravel and water with the roots above the water level will provide some humidity.

orchid

Photo by Kathryn Hopkins.

Orchids need good light and warm temperatures — about 68-75 degrees during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night — in order to set buds. Orchids may fail to bloom if night temperatures are the same or very close to daytime temperatures. A two-week period in spring or fall where temperatures at night are kept ten to fifteen degrees cooler than during the day should initiate flower development, assuming the plant is receiving adequate light levels.

Orchids are intolerant of temperatures that are either too low or too high, so you may need sheer curtains in the summer to reduce temperatures in south or west-facing windows. You may choose to grow orchids under fluorescent lights if you don’t have an east, south or west-facing window. The lights should be about 8-12 inches above the orchids’ foliage, and should be on from 12-14 hours a day.

Orchids need fertilizer for good growth and flowering, and are also very sensitive to over-fertilization that can cause root damage. Only fertilize actively growing plants and do not fertilize during the plant’s rest period. Use a special orchid fertilizer or a good houseplant fertilizer and feed plants potted in bark every two weeks and plants in sphagnum once a month following the label directions.

For more information on growing orchids go to:

For more information on orchids and to see videos on orchid care, go to the American Orchid Society website and click on the tab “All About Orchids.”  


Why Donating Produce Matters

By Barbara Murphy, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Oxford County, barbara.murphy@maine.edu

In August, we gardeners are typically awash in produce, so much so that putting it to good use becomes a challenge. Our friends, neighbors, and co-workers grimace as they see us coming with yet another bag full of zucchini, carrots, and beans. So, rather than doing the same thing this year, commit now to making a plan about where your high-quality excess produce is going to go.

Why It Matters

Volunteers distribute fresh produce to hungry Mainers; photo by Edwin RemsbergBoth nationally and regionally, Maine’s food insecurity ranking is frightening; third highest in the nation, highest in New England.

Food insecurity in wealthy nations like the US doesn’t look like the stereotypical images of swollen bellies and stick-like arms and legs. Rather, in Maine and elsewhere, it is more likely to look like obesity; the result that in America, calorie-dense, nutrient poor food is generally less expensive than nutrient rich food. So, making a plan to donate your garden produce to those with limited access to fresh produce just might start to turn the tide against food insecurity here in Maine.

What You Need To Do

  • Think about how much you plan to donate either by designating a row in your garden for this purpose, or estimating how much excess you generally have and of what.
  • Think about the resources in your area — where would you go to find good “homes” for your garden vegetables and fruits? Some possibilities include senior centers, summer feeding programs, food pantries, senior lunches, and neighbors.
  • Once decided, schedule a meeting with the head of the organization, or have a conversation with your neighbor to discuss what their vegetable needs are. Are some items more desirable than others? How much can they deal with each week? How do they want them to arrive — bagged, loose, washed? If appropriate, include recipes from the Maine Harvest for Hunger website to give people some suggestions on use.
  • Keep the recipient notified about pending harvests. A quick reminder that you will be bringing a bag of beans next week will help insure that they are ready to put them to good use.
  • Finally, record an estimate of the weight of the donation and where it went, and send this to your UMaine Extension county office so that we can include your donation in our Maine Harvest for Hunger total.
  • Even small donations matter.  Providing the ingredients for a salad or side dish of vegetables is a great way to let someone know you care.
  • To see what a difference fresh produce makes, watch the video:


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2012
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.

Maine Home Garden News — October 2011

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

October is the month to . . .

By Katherine Garland, Horticulturist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Penobscot County, katherine.garland@maine.edu

  • Keep up with the weeds. Mow, cover, or pull weeds to minimize the seed bank and reduce perennial weed pressure. Allowing weeds to go to seed in the fall can lead to a lot more work in the garden for many seasons to come.
  • Take pictures and save tags for your garden records. Going a step further by making a map of your current garden and making notes of varieties that worked well or didn’t work well will be an enormous help when planning your garden for next season.
  • Store produce in the proper location and process produce safely. University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a number of helpful videos and free bulletins on food preservation and harvesting on their website: visit our Food & Health website or call 1-800-287-0274 with questions.
  • Join Maine Harvest for Hunger by sharing your extra produce with your local food cupboard, shelter, and neighbors in need. Help us reach our goal of donating 250,000 pounds this year by reporting your donations online or call your local Extension office.

  • Perennials . . . to cut back or not to cut back?It depends.
    • Cutting back foliage provides a clean aesthetic, removes diseased plant tissue, leaves less to pick up next spring, and makes it much easier to divide plants and clean out weeds.
    • Leaving perennials intact provides attractive seed heads and interesting plant structures for enjoyment through the winter, sturdy stems for bird habitat, thermal protection for the roots of marginally hardy perennials, and a natural marker for late rising perennials.
    • To safely cut back most perennials leave 2-3 inches of plant material above the crown.
  • Have your soil tested. A standard soil test is an easy and inexpensive way to find out information regarding essential nutrients, pH, and organic matter content that may be limiting the productivity of your garden. For only $15, you will receive a full report that will include a lead scan and specific recommendations for soil additives. Request a soil test kit from the Maine Soil Testing Service or stop by your local University of Maine Cooperative Extension office to pick one up.

  • Protect stems of fruit trees from mice and voles with hardware cloth or other physical barrier. If you have a deer population, fences will help reduce browsing pressure on young trees.
  • Add organic matter (OM) to the soil.OM improves soil structure and stability, drainage, moisture retention, and nutrient availability.
    • Manure
    • Cover crops (ex: oats, rye, buckwheat)
    • Disease-free plant debris (ex: shredded leaf litter)
  • Plant garlic, tulips, daffodils, and other fall bulbs. Follow planting instructions carefully and avoid planting bulbs too early.

  • Dig tender bulbs such as dahlias and cannas to overwinter in a cool, dark location.
  • Empty container gardens and properly store containerized plants.
  • Extend the season. Crops adapted to cool seasons are a real treat to harvest well after the snow flies. Broccoli, salad greens, beets, carrots, radishes, and cabbage are all excellent options for the fall garden.
  • Explore your resources! If it gets too cold or rainy to be out in the garden, please take a moment to visit your UMaine Extension website or local UMaine Extension county office. Find hours of short video clips about specific gardening topics at extension.umaine.edu.

Fall Gardening Practices & Plant Diseases — What’s a Gardener to Do?

By Dr. Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu and Dr, Bruce Watt, Scientist/Plant Disease Diagnostician, University of Maine Pest Management, bruce.watt@maine.edu

White mold with pebble-like structures called sclerotia

White mold forms specialized pebble-like survival structures called sclerotia, which can survive in the soil for several years. Photo by Bruce Watt. (Click on the image to see an enlargement.)

One might assume that because we live in a cold climate, plant diseases don’t and can’t over winter. That assumption would be wrong.

Plant diseases can and do overwinter in Maine. For that reason, it is important to clean up your gardens in the fall to reduce the possibility of diseases occurring next year. Clear the garden of all annual plant materials — these are potential harborage for diseases that had occurred this year.

Most diseases which are common in the garden are caused by fungi, whether it be a garden of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers or grasses. Fungi can vary considerably, much like plants and other living things vary. Different fungi have different life cycles and survival strategies. Some fungi might spread throughout the growing season while others are restricted to a specific time period. But to get through the winter, fungi survive in winter hardy growth stages such as specialized spores or as mycelium.

Overwintering spores are similar to seeds. They remain dormant until the temperature warms in the spring and the presence of moisture signals them to germinate. A mycelium is a fungal mat within the plant tissues which can be winter hardy and which resumes growth in the spring, often producing a new crop of spores.

So as a gardener, what can you do to reduce or eliminate the potential of fungal diseases on next year’s plants?

  1. Remove all annual plant tissue from the garden. Pull it up — roots and all. Remove it from your property. Other options for handling this annual plant material include: shredding it in place, plowing it under, composting it or burning it. By plowing plant debris under the soil in the fall, micro-organisms such as beneficial bacteria, fungi, and insects can help break it down and eliminate it as a harborage during the winter and into the spring.
  2. Cut back perennial plant materials when the plants display dormancy or no growth. Perform the cutting prior to the ground freezing (October and November). Perennial plants generally use the time after flowering and/or fruiting to store carbohydrates in their roots as a store of foods for the next growing season.
  3. Mow grass and weeds that might surround your garden areas before November. Remove brush growth. Remove any trees branches that are shading the garden area using a pole saw or hiring a tree service. Keeping things open and sunlit will help reduce disease pressures.

Think back to what occurred in your garden(s) this past growing season. Some signs of fungal disease include cankers on stems, rotted and withered fruit, wilted leaves, and yellowing or browning of leaves. Severe disease problems are pretty obvious but even low levels of disease can build up over the years to become a bigger and bigger problem.

Be aware that some diseases are very difficult to eliminate and it is best to identify these problems in your garden. For example, white mold forms specialized pebble-like survival structures called sclerotia which can survive in the soil for several years. If white mold was a problem for you, remove the plant material entirely from your garden.


Don’t Feed the Deer!

By Donna Coffin, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County, donna.coffin@maine.edu

white-tailed deer

White-tailed deer. Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org.

For some home gardeners and homeowners, deer are a wonderful species of wildlife that they want to see frequently near their home. We live in a state that is known for its large deer population and many people enjoy seeing them frolicking in their backyard. To encourage more deer sightings, some people start feeding deer grain in the fall. The folks at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) know that this act can, unfortunately, have detrimental affects on the deer. For years, IF&W has tried to discourage people from feeding grain to the deer.

Why? Feeding deer grain changes the microorganisms in their stomach so that they can’t digest their usual winter diet as well (usually deer browse on tree branches in the winter). Also, feeding grain causes large numbers of deer to congregate near the feeder, making them more susceptible to disease and even traffic fatalities. One year on a one mile stretch of road that I traveled frequently in Central Maine, the game wardens said they had cleared over 100 dead deer from the road. That didn’t include the injured deer that ran farther away from the road to die. The deaths and injuries resulted from a large herd of deer that were moving daily between two homes, located on opposite sides of the road, where folks were putting out grain for them.

Please don’t feed deer grain!

If you want to help deer through the winter and you have a woodlot, consider cutting a few cedar trees down for them to browse. If you cut down hardwood trees this winter to start on your firewood needs for next winter, consider leaving the tree tops on the ground to provide food for deer.

Deer can be very destructive in the home landscape and garden. Anyone trying to grow apple trees, strawberries, cedar hedges, yews, etc. are plagued by deer eating their plants at all times of the year. When neighbors feed the deer, the gardens and landscapes around them suffer.

View the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife position statement on the practice of supplemental feeding of white-tailed deer during winter. This website includes information on the disadvantages to supplemental feeding, why deer may starve when fed supplemental foods during winter, long-term impacts on the behavior of deer, preferred alternatives to supplemental feeding of deer, and how citizens of Maine can best help Maine’s winter deer herds.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is designed to equip home gardeners with practical, timely information.

Subscribe via RSS or let us know if you would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

  1. Fill out our online form, or
  2. Contact Colleen Hoyt at colleen.hoyt@maine.edu or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates.

Visit our Archives to see past issues.

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.

© 2011
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.

Maine Home Garden News — September 2011

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

September is the month to . . .

By Hannah Todd, Home Horticulture Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Piscataquis County, hannah.todd@maine.edu

  • Continue to harvest crops.
  • Donate excess produce through the Maine Harvest for Hunger program. For more information please visit the Maine Harvest for Hunger website.
  • Watch the weather; if there is a chance for a frost, then take steps to protect your plants (place a sheet or piece of plastic over them).
  • Pull weeds. Pull weeds. Pull weeds.
  • Do a soil test…and if the results indicate the need for lime and manure additions, September is the time to apply those amendments. For more information on soil testing, see Bulletin #2286, Testing Your Soil. For safe manure practices, see Bulletin #2510, Guidelines for Using Manure on Vegetable Gardens. For more information on soil organic matter, see Bulletin #2288, Soil Organic Matter.

  • Plant a winter cover crop. If you live in one of the northern Maine counties (like Piscataquis) September 15th is typically about the cut off date for planting a winter cover crop. Refer back to the Maine Home Garden News July issue article on cover crops. If planting a cover crop is not an option, use organic mulch, such as straw or leaves to protect the soil from winter winds and precipitation. Mulch will also add nutrients to the soil and build organic matter.
  • Build raised beds now, so they will be ready to plant in early spring. For more information, watch our videos: Extending the Gardening Season Using Raised Beds. Includes a link to plans and materials list.
  • Clean out plant debris left in the garden. This can help reduce insect and disease populations.
  • Tend your lawn. Fall is a good time to fertilize or re-seed. For more information see:

  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials.
  • Do not fertilize or prune woody plants. These actions will prompt growth, which will not have time to harden off before winter.
  • Apples are ready to harvest when the seeds turn dark brown. Remember not to pick apples until ambient temperatures rise above freezing, otherwise, you could bruise the apple.
  • Attend your local fair and check out the gardening displays (and the 4-H exhibits).
  • Keep an eye out for invasive insect pests, such as the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle.
  • Preserve your harvest by freezing, canning, or dehydrating. If you have questions about these techniques contact your local UMaine Extension county office or attend a hands-on workshop.
  • Take notes on the gardening season and start planning for next year.
  • Did I mention, pull weeds?

Planting Trees Successfully in the Fall

By Amy Witt, Horticulturist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, amy.witt@maine.edu

After a long winter, most Mainers can’t wait to get out in their yards to prepare their gardens and rejuvenate their landscapes. Often, one of the first tasks on people’s list is to plant trees and shrubs, thinking that spring and early summer are the best time for this activity. While late spring and early summer are good times to plant, late summer to mid-fall is also a great time to plant trees. The soil temperatures are warmer and less saturated than in the spring, people generally have more time to plant, and many nurseries often have end of the season sales on their plant material. When planting trees in the fall, the general rule is to plant them by Columbus Day in order to give the roots time to establish before the ground freezes and the cold weather shuts down growth. Tree roots need soil temperatures of at least 55° (at a 6-inch depth) and take approximately 6 weeks to get established.

The first step to a healthy tree is selecting the right tree for the right location and then planting it correctly. In order to select the best tree for your site you must consider the following:

  • What is the hardiness zone in which the tree will be planted? (Refer to Bulletin #2242, Plant Hardiness Zone Map of Maine.)
  • What is the environment the tree will be planted in (exposure to light and wind, type of soil, drainage, topography, etc.)? Select a site with enough room for the branches and roots to reach their full size.
  • What is the purpose of the tree (fruit bearing, shade, ornamental)?
  • What characteristics are you looking for (4-season interest, deciduous, conifer, shape)?
  • What is the mature size of the tree (makes a big difference in regards to where it is planted)?
Trees that adapt well to fall planting include:
Ash (Fraxinus)
Crabapple (Malus)
Maple (Acer) — (most)
Horsechestnut (Aesculus)
Elm (Ulmus)
Pine & Spruce (before end of September)
Trees that are best planted in the spring or summer include:
Oak (Quercus) –- (most)
Birch (Betula)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Cherry (Prunus)
Broadleaf evergreens

Once the tree and site have been selected, it is time to plant.

  • Before digging the hole, you need to call DIG SAFE (1-888-344-7233). They will survey the area and make sure you will not be hitting any underground utilities.
  • Find the root flare (place where roots attach to base of trunk).
  • Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 3-5 times the size of the diameter.
  • If the tree is balled and burlapped, remove the burlap and any wires or rope around the ball before planting. If the tree is in a container, remove the container and carefully cut through circling roots with a knife to release them.
  • Plant the tree so once settling has occurred, the flare will be at grade level (it is better to plant a little too high than too low).
  • Back fill the hole with un-amended soil.
  • Water well to settle the soil and remove air pockets.
  • Add a 2-3-inch layer of mulch, but not within 6 inches of the trunk of the tree.
  • Do not stake unless the tree has a large crown, is not able to stand up to the wind, or is located where people may push it over. Then only stake it for a maximum of one year and make sure the tree can flex in the wind. (Conifers rarely need to be staked.)
diagram showing root ball of tree in a hole

Used with permission from O’Donal’s Nursery.

Once the tree has been planted:

  • Remove tags and labels from tree.
  • Prune basal suckers, co-dominant leaders, narrow crotch angles, and damaged, rubbing or crossed branches.
  • Do not prune terminal leader or branch tips (you do not want to promote new growth).
  • Water newly planted trees will need an inch of water each week until the ground freezes. (Trees planted in the fall need extra attention as cold winter winds and sun cause plants to lose water from their branches and the roots have to replace that water.)
  • Wrap the trunks of thinned-bark young trees in late November to prevent frost cracks, sun scald and animal damage. Remove wrapping in March.
  • Fertilize the second year after planting (fertilizing newly planted trees will weaken the tree and take energy away from root establishment).

For more information on selecting and planting trees, refer to Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting and Caring for Trees and Shrubs in the Maine Landscape.


Keeping Cats Out of the Garden

By Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu

cat sitting atop a chain link fence

Photo by Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Cats whether they be domestic or feral (wild) can be a real problem for gardeners. Cats can destroy plants and mess up your seed bed. Cats defecate and urinate in the garden soil and make the place an unpleasant place. Cats can serve as a reservoir for diseases that include histoplasmosis, leptospirosis, mumps, plague, rabies, ringworm, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, cat scratch fever, and distemper. Cat feces can contain parasites that can affect the health of people. It is in the interest of the gardener to keep cats out of the garden.

The following strategies are offered for those gardeners with a cat problem:

Barriers

  • Chicken wire fencing can be laid on the ground in the garden to prevent digging by cats. The wire can be secured with extra large “hair pins” formed by cutting wire coat hangers in half. Most plants will grow through the wire easily. The wire can be covered with a thin layer of mulch if needed.
  • Single or double strands of electric fence at low voltage can be used to teach cats that the garden is not a place for them. Polywire strands or ribbons are attached to short fiberglass rods. The polywire is durable and will last several years with care. As a substitute for the polywire, one could also use 22 gauge galvanized utility wire. The wire should be placed at heights of four and nine inches. A single strand could be placed at a four-inch height. Fence chargers can be purchased from farm and feed stores or from farm supply catalogs. One style of electric fence charger is powered by flashlight batteries. The fence can be turned off after the cats have “learned” to avoid the area. This same barrier can help keep woodchucks out of the garden.

Repellents

  • Rough textured mulch is uninviting for cats. Cats are attracted to garden soil with the same texture as kitty litter, so use mulches that are coarse.
  • Rue, a hardy blue-green herb, is said to repel cats.
  • Dog hair spread on the ground or hung in onion bags around the garden could work to keep cats away. Some cats won’t go near dog hair.
  • Live dogs can serve as garden guards against cats as well as other animal pests.
  • Anise Oil, methyl nonyl ketone, Ro-pel and Thymol as well as other repellents sold at pet stores and garden centers may be effective in repelling cats. Read and follow label directions of any product that you obtain. Some of these products may not be labeled for use around food crops. Some products may be irritating to people.

Other Techniques

  • Keep the cats indoors or negotiate with the cat owners to do so.
  • If the cats are stray, call your local animal control officer.
  • Avoid feeding pets outdoors. Food is an invitation for stray animals and neighborhood pets as well as wildlife.
  • Remove brush and other cover where animals are apt to hide or live. Keep the vegetation in the area clipped.
  • Some animals are attracted to compost piles. When composting use a covered and walled compost bin. Bury fresh materials in the pile.
  • Try placing loaded mousetraps under a layer of newspaper in and around the garden to teach the cat(s) to stay out.

Practices to Avoid

  • Don’t grow catnip in your garden. This attracts cats.
  • Don’t use mothballs or moth flakes made from naphthalene to try to repel cats and other pests outside. When used outdoors the balls and flakes melt and may contaminate ground water.

Final Thoughts

Cats are more active during twilight and night-time so freshen repellents and prepare barriers for higher use during those times. To avoid contamination by cats feces wear gloves when gardening. Wash your hands and under fingernails thoroughly after working in the garden when not using gloves.


What are Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)?

By Rosalie Deri, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, Franklin County

Lingonberries

Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Photo by Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

Lingonberries are small, red, edible berries that grow on a perennial, woody, evergreen shrub with a low growth habit. They are related to both blueberries and cranberries. The first fruit ripens in mid-summer, around July, and the second crop ripens in late September to early November. Lingonberries are native to Scandinavia, Alaska, and northeastern Canada. They are similar to cranberries but not quite as tart and they make great jam, jelly, juice, sauce, wine, and liqueur.

Storage

Lingonberries contain high levels of benzoic acid, which helps provide for a long refrigerated shelf life. Lingonberry jams, jellies or other products should be kept in the refrigerator after opening.

Using Lingonberries

Lingonberries can be used in any recipe that calls for cranberries or blueberries. They make a great accompaniment to meat and cheese dishes.

  • Use as a garnish for pancakes, waffles, French toast or crepes.
  • Add to other fruit in pies or cobblers.
  • Heat and stir lingonberries until soft and crushed, sweeten, then add small amounts of this “juice” to ginger ale or soda water for a unique beverage.
  • Stir lingonberries into cookie, muffin or sweet bread dough.
  • Lingonberries complement wild poultry, game, turkey, chicken, pork, and ham.
  • Use lingonberries in place of cranberries to make sauces and relishes.

A Berry by Any Other Name

You may know lingonberries by one of their many other names: cowberry, red whortle berry, foxberry, northern mountain cranberry, dry ground cranberry, rock cranberry, partridge berry or whimberry.

How Nutritious are Lingonberries?

Since lingonberries are closely related to cranberries, they probably have a similar nutritional content, although exact data is unavailable; they are a good source of vitamin C. Lingonberries contain valuable phyto-chemicals, which are natural chemicals that plants produce. In particular, lingonberries possess anthocyanin, about 100 milligrams per 3 1/2 ounces of berries.1 Anthrocyanin, a member of the flavonoid family, is a potent antioxidant. Researchers believe that these substances can help reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack and cancer.2 Anthocyanins help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood. By doing so, they keep blood vessels healthy. Therefore, anthocyanins play a preventive role in the early stages of heart disease. Researchers believe anthocyanins may also help decrease inflammation and stop cancer before it gets started.

1J. Kuhnau, The Flavonoids: A Class of Semi-essential Food Components: Their role in human nutrition. World Review of Nutrition and Diet 24, 117-91, 1976.

2Bohm, H. et al. Flavonols, flavone and anthocyanins as natural antioxidants of food and their possible role in the prevention of chronic diseases. Z Ernahrungswiss 1998 Jun; 37(2): 147-63. (German)

Adapted with permission from “What are Lingonberries” by Carol Miles, Associate Professor, Horticulturist Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Washington State University, 1999.


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.

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© 2011
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.

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