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Master Gardener Newsletter April 2012

Hi everyone, it was looking like spring back on March 21 and outside temperatures felt like mid-summer. The high reached nearly 80 degrees here at the office! Crocus and daffodils were starting up through the soil and in many sunny sheltered locations blooming had started. But don’t  get too excited. We do still live in Maine and as the saying goes if you don’t like the weather now, just wait a minute and it will change. It’s a little more than a week later and we now have snow again! With that happy thought, here are some thoughts on things to do in April.

April is the month to:

  • Start warm weather seedlings such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs that you’ve put off doing until now.
  • Depending on your garden plot, you may want to direct sow an early crop of greens such as spinach or Swiss chard, or even a row or two of peas.
  • Take a walk around the yard and check for winter damaged shrubs or trees. Now is a good time to prune out any dead or badly damaged limbs or branches.
  • Lawn care can be started now by raking up debris, dead grass, and earth mounds left by your friendly neighborhood moles. You may also want to do some reseeding of spots in your lawn toward the end of the month. Watch our video about lawns and lawn care for more info. April is also a great month to plan a visit to a local nursery or attend a garden show to see the latest in new and exciting plant material.
  • If you haven’t done a soil test yet, NOW is the time to get your soil test into the University of Maine soil testing lab. Check out our video on soil testing.
  • For other useful information from UMaine Extension, be sure and visit the publications section of our website, along with our YouTube Channel. These are being updated frequently with new and additional research-based information.
  • For those of you who are interested in information about the delicious Fiddle Head Fern (Ostrich Fern), we have two bulletins on the subject: Bulletin #4198, Facts on Fiddleheads, and Bulletin #2540, Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads.

April is usually the month that gardeners and gardens start getting into full swing! Have fun and have a great gardening season!

Items of interest:

The Somerset County Soil & Water District:

  • Now taking orders for their annual Trout Sale! The updated order form for 2012 is available on the Trout Sale page of their website or call 474-8324 x 3 with questions or for more information. Deadline for orders is May 18. Pickup day is May 24. See order form for prices and more details.

The Maine Forest Report:

  • Maine Forest Service Condition Reports for 2011 are now online. This seasonal newsletter provides timely information about insects and diseases affecting Maine’s forest and shade trees. Several issues are produced each growing season with the first issue usually appearing in mid- to late-April, and the last in late summer. To view or download the reports, visit the Maine Forest Service.
  • Beginning in May, 955 purple prisms will decorate Maine trees. Find out why at the Maine Forest Service’s Purple Traps and the Emerald Ash Borer.

Learn, grow, eat, give: Blueberry plant sale to benefit UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteer’s program.

  • UMaine Extension and its Master Gardener Development Board is now conducting an online highbush blueberry plant sale to raise funds for the Master Gardener Volunteers program. For more information, call your local UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine).

UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center

  • The University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond has just released its summer schedule of events. Visit the Bryant Pond website for information or to register for summer programs.

Upcoming Events:

Maine Garden Day

  • The 19th Annual Maine Garden Day is slated for Saturday April 14 at Lewiston High School, on 156 East Avenue, in Lewiston, ME. For more information, visit the Maine Garden Day website.

Apple Tree Field Day

  • Master Gardener Alumni Mark Sheriff and family, in collaboration with UMaine Extension, will host an Apple Tree Pruning and Grafting Field Day at their Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm in St. Albans, ME on Saturday April 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Homeowners who are growing apple trees or who are planning on planting apple trees this spring are strongly encouraged to attend.  The day will start with information about general planting and management practices for apple trees and then move into the orchard for a pruning and grafting demonstration. To register for this event, please call Tom Goodspeed at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 474-9622 or toll free in Maine at 1-800-287-1495. There is no cost to attend this event.
  • Directions to Avalon Acres Farm: From Newport takes Rt. 7 West toward Nokomis High School. Turn left on Williams Road. Go past High School, follow to end (5 miles). Turn left on Rt. 43 toward St. Albans. Go 3 miles, turn right onto Dexter Rd. The farm is 1 1/2 miles on the left. From Skowhegan, take Rt. 2 east to Rt.150 (Hartland Road) into Hartland. Take right onto Rt. 23 to Dexter Road. Turn left onto Dexter Road. Farm is about 1 1/2 miles on left.

UMaine Extension Somerset County is happy to announce gardening with raised beds and container gardening series.    

  • This year’s Master Gardener Volunteers will teach you how to go from start to finish, or more appropriately, from boards to harvest. In this series you will learn hands-on how to build, plant, maintain, and harvest from raised bed square-foot-gardens and containers.
    • Session 1 – Building a Raised Bed
      Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
      Rain Date: Friday, May 11th at 3:00 p.m.
    • Session 2 – Starting Your Garden
      Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
      Rain Date: Friday, June 8 at 3:00 p.m.
    • Session 3 – Caring for Your Garden
      Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
      Rain Date: Friday, July 13 at 3:00 p.m.
    • Session 4 – Using Your Harvest
      Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
      Rain Date: Friday, August 10 at 3:00 p.m.
      With special guest Gail Cardarelli, Nutrition Associate
    • Session 5 – Putting Your Garden to Bed
      Thursday September 13, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
      Rain Date: Friday, September 14 at 3:00 p.m.

To register for sessions, please call the office at (207) 474-9622 or 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine) to register. There is no charge for this program.

If you are a person with a disability and will need an accommodations to participate in this program, please call Tom Goodspeed at 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine) to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least (10 days) before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however all requests will be accepted.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Volunteer Projects:

  • Detroit Community Garden is looking for volunteers to put on educational programs for the group and to assist in the development of the gardens. If you are interested in this project, please contact Tom at 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine) or e-mail or Deborah at 207-581-3874 or e-mail
  • Bloomfield Elementary School Garden: The Bloomfield Elementary school would like Master Gardeners to work with them in support of their 3-year plan to do raised bed vegetable gardening. Anyone interested in this volunteer project should contact Tom at 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine) or e-mail This would be a great opportunity for someone wanting to help young people learn to garden and give back to the community.

In closing we would like to express our condolences to the families of Loring W. Pratt, M.D. and Shirley Bastien, two members our Master Gardener family. They will be truly missed.

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