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February 2013, Somerset County Master Gardener Newsletter

February is the time when gardeners will be finalizing plans for their 2013 gardens and ordering seeds if they haven’t already done so. If you’re planning on starting onions or leeks from seed, you should be starting them soon. For other seedlings, follow the packet directions on when to start each variety indoors. Here at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, things are picking up with gardening questions already coming in. We are also  getting ready for the Master Gardener Class of 2013 that will be starting on March 4th and it looks like we are going to have a good group.

Items of Interest

  • Organic Seed Finder Website

The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) has put an organic seed finder on their website. The purpose is to bring together organic seed vendors and persons looking for organic seeds. They have a very diverse listing of field crop, fruits, and vegetable seeds, along with other organic seeds. To view the seed finder, go to the AOSCA website.

  • 2013 Master Gardener Volunteers Project Grant Application

If you are working with a group or organization for your Master Gardener project, the following may be of interest to you. This year, projects may apply for up to $500 towards their Master Gardener Volunteer project. Applications are due March 1, 2013. The MGDB will review applications shortly after March 1 to make their decisions, so please be aware of the deadline. For an application, please contact Tom Goodspeed or Kathy Hopkins at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office. Phone: 207-474-9622 or 1-800-287-1495.

  • Blueberry and Asparagus Plant Sale to Benefit Master Gardener Program

The public can support Master Gardener Volunteer projects by ordering a set of highbush blueberry plants, consisting of three young plants, two varieties per pack, for $35.95, and/or a pack of 10 asparagus crowns ready for planting in the spring for $15. Plants must be ordered by April 30 and will be available for pick up at UMaine Extension offices and at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth on Saturday, May 18th.

Purchasers will receive expert advice on growing blueberries and asparagus. “This is more than a plant sale. It is an educational experience with positive results,” says Richard Brzozowski, UMaine Extension educator in Cumberland County.

For more information, or to place an order, go to the Master Gardeners “Grow It Right! Benefit Plant Sale website.

Upcoming Events:

  • Apple Tree Workshop — Save the Date!

Master Gardener Alumni Mark Sheriff and family, in collaboration with UMaine Extension, will be hosting an apple tree pruning and grafting field day at Avalon Acres in St. Albans (234 Dexter Rd.) on Saturday April 6th 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 encouraged to attend. Please wear appropriate footwear as we will be walking on uneven terrain. Registration is not required, but would be appreciated so that we will have enough handouts. There is no charge for this program.

For more information and/or to let us know you plan on attending, please contact Tom Goodspeed at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 474-9622 or toll free in Maine at 1-800-287-1945.

  • 2013 Master Gardener Class to begin!

The University of Maine Cooperative in  Somerset County is pleased to again offer its popular Master Gardener program in the Spring and Fall of 2013. This year the course will be run in a split session format with the first session starting on March 4 through May 6. The second session will begin on September 9 and continue until October 7.  The course will feature an online manual that requires a reliable internet connection. Please contact the extension office if you do not have reliable internet access. Participants in the Master Gardener program will receive fifteen 3-hour training sessions on gardening. The 2013 program will focus on ornamental horticulture, ecological landscaping, and volunteerism. The program will be held on Monday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., beginning March 4 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office on Norridgewock Avenue in Skowhegan. For more information or to request an application, please call the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 474-9622 or 1-800-287-1495 (toll free in Maine). Applications are due on February 15, 2013.

  • The 2013 Maine Vegetable & Fruit School

The school will be held on Tuesday, March 12 at Seasons Conference Center in Portland and on Wednesday, March 13 at the Bangor Motor Inn.

Topics include:

  • Storage Crops and Post Harvest Considerations
  • Determining Your Storage Needs and Designing a Solution
  • Produce Cooling and Storage by Design at Laughingstock Farm
  • Storing Vegetables at Checkerberry Farm
  • Marketing Winter Crops at Six River Farm
  • Spotted Wing Drosophila Quiz
  • A Virtual Visit to Jordan’s Farm
  • Marketing to Your Community at Jordan’s Farm
  • Should Strawberries be on Your Menu?
  • Using Compost: The Good, Bad and Ugly
  • New Pest Update: Spotted Wing Drosophila, Stink Bugs, Cutworms, Borers, and Moths

More information is posted on the Highmoor Farm website.

Please, register by February 25. The cost is $35.00 and includes lunch. Participants may receive 1 Pesticide Applicator recertification credit, and Certified Crop Advisors may earn 5 recertification credits.

  • The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Looking for garden-related activities to attend this time of year? The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay has something to interest gardeners of all ages. A schedule of planned events for 2013 is now listed on Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens website. This year’s theme of “Trees, Timbers and Traditions” encompasses the many facets of trees and their multitude of uses. Look for the simple tree icon that will mark theme-related programs, events, exhibits, and activities.

Thank you!

Kathy and I wish to say thank you to all of you who attended the Master Gardener potluck dinner held on January the 28. We are in hopes of making this an annual event. We had approximately 16 people in attendance with some great homemade dishes for dinner. We gave out 1-year pins to all those in attendance who had reached their 20 hours of volunteer time, need for re-certification as Master Gardeners, and new name tags for those who were in the 2012 class that had completed their 40 hours of volunteering. A presentation on pollinators was given by Master Gardener & Somerset County Bee Keeper President Samantha Burns. A good time was had by all!

Below are seven of our Master Gardeners who earned their re-certification and were in attendance to receive pins for volunteer efforts in 2012. Thank you all!

Master Gardener Volunteers

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