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Somerset County Master Gardener, April 2013 Newsletter

Finally April is here! I’m hoping that the old saying, April showers bring the flowers that bloom in May, is going to apply. It would be really nice to see stable weather conditions without the extremes of unseasonable highs and lows. This is the time that gardeners are wondering when will the soil dry and become warm enough to work. Also now is the time most people are starting seeds or transplanting those that they started earlier. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has many great gardening publications on our website, along with gardening videos, to help you with your up coming gardening adventures.

 April is the Month to…

  • Start warm weather seedlings, such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs, which 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, 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 towards the end of the month.
  • 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.
  • Once more, if you haven’t done a soil test, NOW is the time to get your soil test into the UMaine soil testing lab.
  • For those of you who are interested in information on the delicious fiddlehead fern (Ostrich Fern) we have two bulletins on the subject: Bulletins #2540, Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads and #4198, Facts on 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

While we are waiting for things to dry out, you may want to take in some of the upcoming gardening programs put on by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension or other gardening groups in the area. For more information on what’s going on from the University of Maine and others please visit the links below.

Upcoming Events

  • Apple Tree Field Day

Master Gardener Alumni, Mark Sheriff and Family in collaboration with UMaine Extension, will be hosting an Apple Tree pruning and grafting field day at their Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm in St. Albans, Maine, 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 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.

2012 Apple Tree Pruning Field Day.

Mark Sheriff talks with participants about prunning fruit trees.

Directions to Avalon Acres Farm: From Newport, take Route 7 West toward Nokomis High School. Turn left on Williams Road. Go past High School, follow to end (5 miles). Turn left on Route 43 toward St. Albans. Go 3 miles, turn right onto Dexter Road. The farm is 1 1/2 miles on left.

From Skowhegan take Route 2 east to Route 23 (Hartland Road) into Hartland. Then turn right onto Route 43 east/ Corinna Road. Turn left onto Dexter Road. Farm is about 1 1/2 miles on left.

Learn more about Avalon Acres Farm & Orchards.

  • Spring happenings at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

We invite you to experience Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ spectacular 250-acre landscape. The gardens and wild spaces are uniquely beautiful and always full of surprises, including 11,000 tulips in the spring!

If you’re a Maine resident, stop by (with ID) for free admission during Maine Days at the Gardens, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. throughout Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. Check out their calendar for more information and a look at their “GROW” Program.

The mission of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is to protect, preserve, and enhance the botanical heritage and natural landscapes of coastal Maine for people of all ages through horticulture, education, and research.

  • The Somerset County Soil & Water District

The Somerset County Soil & Water District is now taking orders for their annual Trout Sale! The updated order form for 2013 is available on the Trout Sale section of their website or call 474-8324, ext. 3 with questions or for more information. Deadline for orders is May 10. Pickup day is Wednesday May 14. See order form for prices and more details.

  • The Bangor Garden Show

A traditional rite of spring returns with a new name and a new look this year. Scheduled to take place from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., April 5-6 and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., April 7, the garden show will be held at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center. Admission is $5; children under 12 are admitted free. Now known as the “BDN Maine Bangor Garden Show and Spring Fling,” the show will be presented by New England Home Health. Organizers promise there will be something for everyone. For more information visit Bangor Daily News website.     

  • 20th Maine Garden Day

A day-long extravaganza of gardening workshops, food, along with a trade show. Over 30 workshops on topics ranging from permaculture, growing great tomatoes, and managing soil organic matter to increasing curb appeal with native plants. Preregistration is required by visiting the website or calling the UMaine Extension Oxford County office at 743.6329 to request a paper registration brochure.

  • Fruit Tree Workshop

This half-day workshop on growing fruit trees in Maine will focus on pruning and dealing with diseases and insect pests. It’s open to the general public — anyone who would like to learn more about the cultural requirements of fruit trees. The class will be taught by Renae Moran, UMaine Extension tree fruit specialist. The class will begin in the meeting room behind the barn. If weather permits, we will have a pruning demonstration in the orchard and a tour of the fruit tree research orchard. The workshop is free of charge, but please preregister by calling Renae Moran at 207.933.2100 or e-mail rmoran@maine.edu. For more information on fruit trees, visit Cooperative Extension’s Tree Fruits website.

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