Somerset County September 2012 Master Gardener Newsletter
Wow, where did summer go? Fair season is in full swing here in Maine and lots of folk are taking advantage of the numerous opportunities to go and visit their local agricultural fair. With Labor Day fast approaching and the kids going back to school, our attention might be turned to taking care of what’s left in the garden and getting a head start for gardening for spring 2013 by preparing your garden area now! For information on fall garden clean-up, check out our video on Putting the Garden To Bed. For information on food preservation, visit our Food & Health website.
Here’s hoping you have had a great summer and are looking forward to enjoying the crisp clean air and the beautiful colors of fall in our great state.
Gardening in September:
- Well, if you’re looking for that extra bit of color for your flower garden or just want to insert more color into your fall display garden, “MUMS” the word. In greenhouses, nurseries, and more, fall mums abound in all sorts of colors and sizes. Also, while you’re looking around, don’t forget to check out selections of fall asters and flowering kale and cabbage. You may even be able to find some great deals on ornamental grasses along with other nursery stock left over from spring.
- Now is a good time to take a soil test to get your garden or lawn area ready for next spring by adding the amendments now to allow time for them to break down in the soil. For information please see Bulletin #2286, Testing Your Soil or stop by your local UMaine Extension county office.
- Once you have taken your soil test, you may decide to plant a cover crop to help build up the nutrients and protect your soil from the harsh winter winds that would like to carry it to your neighbor’s yard. You can find information on cover crops at our website, or see Cover Crops for Home Gardeners by Cornell University.
- Are you thinking about getting your lawn ready for next spring or just reseeding after the skunks, moles, voles, and raccoons have stuffed themselves full of the grubs living there and in the process aerated your lawn for you? If you have plans to do lawn work, the UMaine Extension has information on lawn care to help you. Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine and Bulletin #2243, Maintaining a Home Lawn in Maine may be just what you need to help answer your questions.
- If you are thinking of how much fun it would be to grow your own garlic, watch our video: How to Grow Garlic in Maine for helpful tips.
Items Of interest:
- Free Pesticide Disposal for Maine Homeowners, & Family Farms
Maine Department of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Resources
Walt Whitcomb, Commissioner
August 10, 2012
Contact: Henry Jennings, (207) 287-2731
State Sponsors Free Pesticides Disposal for Maine Homeowners, Family Farms
AUGUSTA—Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control (BPC), the Maine Department of Agriculture, and Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are partnering to provide homeowners a free opportunity this fall to dispose of old pesticides that may be stockpiled on their properties.
Required registration—the deadline for which is Sept. 28—is now open for the disposal day, which gives owners of homes and family farms and greenhouses the opportunity to safely and legally get rid of pesticides that have become caked, frozen, or otherwise unusable, including those that are banned in the state.
It’s not uncommon for new owners of older homes or farms in Maine to discover they have inherited hazardous waste in the form of pesticides, with old chemicals such as DDT, lead arsenate, 2,4,5-T and chlordane left behind in barns, basements or garages.
While disposing of these chemicals can seem daunting, it’s important for the protection of public, wildlife, and environmental health that they are dealt with properly and not tossed in the trash or down the drain where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water.
“We urge people holding these chemicals to contact us immediately to register,” said BPC Public Education Specialist Paul Schlein. “There will be four sites throughout the state where preregistered participants will be able to bring their obsolete pesticides and dispose of them conveniently and at no cost.”
The collected chemicals go to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed.
Due to safety and regulatory requirements, disposal “drop-ins” are not allowed, so registration by the Sept. 28 deadline is necessary. The BPC will contact registrants several weeks prior to that drive to inform them of their local collection date and location.
To register, get additional details or learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to their website or call Henry Jennings, Maine Board of Pesticides Control, director, at 287-2731.
Through their jointly sponsored disposal events—which are funded entirely through pesticide product registration fees—BPC and DEP have kept about 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since 1982.
- New Agricultural Basic Pesticide Applicator License.
A new Maine Law requires farmers to obtain a pesticide applicators license by spring of 2015. If you sell more than $1000.00 worth of plants or plant products for human consumption and use any pesticides, you may need to obtain a license. In the spring of 2011 the Maine Legislature passed a law which requires many growers to be licensed by the Maine Board of Pesticide Control. For more information on who is affected by this change please see Agricultural Basic Pesticide Applicator’s License or visit your local UMaine Extension county office.
- Update on Spotted Wing Drosophila.
The newest pest for small fruit and berry growers—Spotted Wing Drosophila—is gaining ground throughout Maine. The latest update from August 24 raises concern that the numbers of these pests are growing. With the amounts increasing in the traps that have been put out in areas around the state, concern is growing. For more information, contact your local UMaine Extension county office.
- Looking for information on pest management?
The UMaine Extension: Insect Pests, Ticks & Plant Diseases website provides pest management information useful for Mainers. The goal is to help you understand pest issues and make informed choices. Knowledge and communication are the keys to minimizing pest damage and pesticide risk.
- Area Fairs are in full swing across Maine.
If you enjoy agricultural fairs as much as I do, you may be looking for one more to attend. See Agricultural Fairs and Special Events for a listing of some of the fairs you may want to check out.
- Fruit Tree Field Day at Highmoor Farm – September 8, 2012
Highmoor Farm will be hosting a field day with tours of the orchards and an apple tasting for people with an interest in fruit trees, offered by Renae Moran, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Learn about new varieties, bud grafting, and important diseases and insect pests. Also sample summer apple varieties such as Zestar and Pristine! No pre-registration fee or pre-registration is required. For more information, contact your local UMaine Extension county office.
- Maine Apple Sunday
The second Sunday in September is known as Maine Apple Sunday. It is a time for celebrating the local apple harvest. Mark & Wendy Sheriff of Avalon Acres Farm invite the public to visit the farm and learn about the many varieties of apples that theye grow and each variety’s specific uses. You may also want to stop by and visit their Farm Store, Saturdays & Sundays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Maine Apple Sunday is September 9, 2012! For directions, please visit the Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm website.
- The Common Ground Country Fair.
This year the fair will be from September 21 thru September 23, with the gates opening each day at 9:00 a.m. For more information on the fair, please see the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website.
- Master Gardener Volunteer Opportunity.
Master Gardener Volunteers are need to help staff a booth at Campbell’s Agway True Value location in Skowhegan, on September 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. UMaine Extension will be hosting a weed identification booth, along with a talk presented by Kathy Hopkins. Please contact Tom Goodspeed or Kathy Hopkins at 1-800-287-1495 or e-mail email@example.com for more information and to volunteer.
Thanks to Gail Cardarelli and Tony Smith for their help in our UMaine Extension Raised Bed Gardening Program. Gail and Tony are our Eat Well Nutrition Associates and showed our group some of the wonderful and nutritious things that we can do with produce raised in the garden. The food was great and everyone went home with the knowledge of new things to try from their gardens.
Thanks to Cindy Gibson for her work with weeding and harvesting the produce grown here in the UMaine Extension Somerset County office gardens and delivering it to the Skowhegan Food Pantry!