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Somerset County Master Gardener, March 2013 Newsletter

Marching into spring! Well, here we go! March 20th is, by the calendar, the official start of spring. We’ll have to wait to see what Mother Nature has to say about that! Mother Nature always seems to be the deciding factor when it comes to what and when we gardeners do. Hopefully, we will have one of those rare springs where the weather is ideal and we can get into the garden to implement all our long awaited plans.

  • March is also a time when most gardeners begin starting their seedlings inside. Be sure to check the seed package if you’re unsure of the timing of when to start a particular variety. There’s nothing worse then winding up with a leggy, spindly plant. For more information, see Bulletin #2751, Starting Seeds at Home (includes plans for building a seed stand) or watch our video How to Build a Seedling Stand to Extend the Gardening Season.
  • This month is also a time when home gardeners begin to prune their fruit trees and check their trunks for insects and borers. You also may want to do some early spring pruning on some flowering shrubs that are in your landscape. Just be sure you know when they set their flower buds so that you don’t prune off this years spring flower buds. For more information, see Bulletin #2169, Pruning Woody Landscape Plants.
  • It’s also time to prune and clean up raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries if you didn’t get to it in the fall. You can find more information in UMaine Extension’s gardening videos and publications.

Items of Interest

  • Kennebec County Tree & Shrub Sale! The Kennebec County Soil & Water District is now accepting orders for their annual Tree & Shrub Sale. Orders can be placed online or mailed in. For more information on this and a list of the plant materials available, please visit their website at and follow the link to the sale.

Upcoming Events

  • So You Want to Farm in Maine? Free Webinar

So You Want to Farm in Maine is a farm business course for people who want to start a profitable farm or expand their farm hobby to a profitable business. This course will be offered in a series of eight webinars, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., starting Thursday, March 7. Classes will be held on the Internet live and with an archived version that will be available shortly after the live session.

Topics will include selecting and evaluating a farm enterprise, writing a business plan, record keeping, market research, and much more. Cost of the webinar is free. Course texts can be purchased through the UMaine Extension publications online store:

More about the webinar seriesTo pre-register.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 564.3301 or 1.800.287.1491 (in Maine), or contact:

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator
165 East Main St.
207.564.3301 or 1.800.287.1491 (in Maine)

  • Apple Tree Workshop. Save the Date!
Apple pruning field day

Mark answer questions on pruning fruit tree.

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 Road) on Saturday, April 6 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 clothing and 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 that you plan to attend, please contact Tom Goodspeed at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 474.9622 or toll free in Maine at 1.800.287.1945.

Directions to Avalon Acres Farm: From Newport, takes Rt. 7 West toward Nokomis High School. Turn left on Williams Road. Go past the high school, follow to end (5 miles). Turn left on Rt. 43 toward St. Albans. Go 3 miles, turn right onto Dexter Road. The farm is 1 ½ miles on left. Form 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 ½ miles on left.

  • Upcoming MOFGA Events: Our Living Earth, Living Soule Series

Avena Botanicals herbalist and owner Deb Soule is hosting four talks about herbs to honor and raise funds in memory of Russell Libby. The speakers are donating their time, and all proceeds go directly to the Russell Libby Memorial Fund. Classes are by donation only, with suggested donations of $5 to $500. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. For information and registration, call Avena Botanicals at 207.594.0694. For more information on upcoming events, see Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association.

  • The 20th Annual Maine Garden Day

The date for the 20th Annual Maine Garden Day is April 6 at Lewiston High School. This event is a day filled with gardening workshops, educational displays, and a trade show. To register for this event, visit 20th Annual Maine Garden Day.

  • Maine Maple Sunday

Join Maine’s maple producers to celebrate Maine Maple Sunday on March 24.  This is the day when sugar makers around the state open the doors of their sugar-houses for the public to join them in their rites of spring: making maple syrup.

Most sugar-houses offer free tasting and live demonstrations of how syrup is produced from tap to table. Many offer a variety of other treats and activities, including syrup on pancakes or ice cream, sugar bush tours, sleigh or wagon rides, live music, and lots more. For more information and a map of sugar-house locations, please visit Maine Maple Producers.

Volunteer Opportunity

  • Jamie Doiron of Cedar Ridge Nursing Home would like a Master Gardener volunteer to assist with two raised bed vegetable gardens that they will be building at Cedar Ridge. They would like to be able to raise vegetables for the residents, and for the residents to be able to work in the garden and learn about gardening. If you are interested in this project, please contact Jamie Doiron at 207.474.9686 as soon as possible, or call Tom at 207.474.9622.

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