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Somerset County Master Gardener May Newsletter 2013

Flowers are finally beginning to appear in the flower beds and the forsythia are starting to bloom. Planting the vegetable garden can’t be far behind. I know some of you have already started planting things like peas, spinach, and other cold tolerant crops, and then some are still waiting for their soil to warm and dry out enough to be able to plant. If you have questions on gardening, please ask an expert for help.

May is the month to:

  • Start hardening off those seedlings you started earlier indoors and begin planting cold tolerant crops into the garden. In early May if you haven’t put in your peas already, now is a good time to get them in along with most greens (such as spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, and more). One major factor to early planting is soil temperature and moisture in the soil. Too cold or wet soil may invite problems. To view the latest publications and videos on gardening in Maine, please visit our UMaine Extension’s gardening website.
  • Need to repair dead spots in your lawn? Once your soil temperature has warmed to at least 55/60 degrees, you may go out and prepare your area by first raking out the dead grass and roughing up the soil. Then you are ready to fertilize and replant the effected area. Be sure to cover the area afterward with a thin layer of straw to protect the new seed from washing away in a heavy rain or to make it harder for the birds to find the seed. Once planted be sure that the area does not dry out. The ground should be kept moist until the grass is up through the straw. You can find more information on lawns and lawn care in Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine, by Lois Berg Stack, UMaine Extension ornamental horticulture specialist.
  • May is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs. With all the renewed interest in non-invasive plants and planting native plants in the landscape, Lois Stack, Ormantel Horticulature Specialist at the UMaine Extension, has compiled information on Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Native Landscape (Bulletin #2500).
  • If you’re planning on growing your own strawberries this year and have already put in your order, May is the time you will want to start preparing the site you have chosen to locate them in. As with all first time garden areas you will want to get a soil test done by the University of Maine Soil Test Laboratory to determine what steps you need to take to get your soil suitable for growing strawberries. Check out our video on How To Grow Strawberries: Planting A Strawberry Bed or Bulletin #2067, Growing Strawberries.

Upcoming Events

The Northeast Livestock Exposition

  • Will be held May, 17, 18, and 19 at Windsor Fairgrounds with many past favorites and new events for youth! For more information on this event, visit Northeast Livestock Expo. To register, click on Youth. New this year will be a market lamb sale with a jackpot show at Skowhegan Fair! Local breeders will be offering great market lambs for youth to purchase for Maine market lamb shows and sales.

Raised Bed Gardening Series

  • The second session of our raised bed gardening series will be held on May 15 and we will be focusing on starting your garden. If you haven’t signed up for this session, but would like to, please call 207.474.9622 or 1.800.287.1495 (in Maine) to register.

Northern New England Home, Garden, and Flower Show

  • Celebrate the arrival of spring with them at the 11th Annual Home Garden Flower Show at Fryeburg Fairgrounds, May 17, 18 & 19, 2013 with great exhibitors, garden centers, and awesome fair food! For more information, visit the Fryeburg Home Show website. 

Somerset County Soil & Water Conservation District

  • 2013 TROUT SALE! The deadline for the trout sale is May 10, 2013. Prices for Brook Trout or Rainbow Trout are the same as last year. PICK UP DAY for trout will be Wednesday May 15. For more information, see Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District website.

Discover Gorgeous Gardens!

  • The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens invite you to experience their spectacular 250 acres of gardens and landscapes. Their 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, 9:00-5:00 throughout Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is open daily year-round. The Gardens Gift Shop is now open for the season, and the Kitchen Garden Cafe opens May 1.

Items of Interest

Emerald Ash Borer

  • The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in New Hampshire. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in Concord, NH, in March 2013. EAB attacks ash trees, and is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees in the mid-west. For more information, visit Protecting New Hampshire Trees and Forests. For information on the state of Maine’s’ efforts in detecting and preventing the Emerald Ash Borer, please visit Purple Traps and the Emerald Ash Borer.

Farm to School Meeting

  • UMaine Extension will host a Farm to School meeting Thursday, May 9, 2013 at the UMaine Extension Penobscot County Office, Bangor, ME at 7:00 p.m. At this free event growers, school food service directors, and the general public will learn about school lunch requirements, acquire strategies for building successful local procurement relationships, and network for the 2013 season. A guest farmer, food service director, and Maine State Child Nutrition Services employee will be on hand to share their experiences with Farm to School and answer questions. For more information and to RSVP, please e-mail Food Corps Service Member Zoe Hastings at

2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guide

  • Copies of the 2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guide are now available at Highmoor Farm. The guide contains the latest information on management control options for the major small fruit pests as well as scouting information. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.53 postage for a total of $12.53. Copies of the 2012-2013 New England Vegetable Management Guide with color pictures of the important pests and diseases are also available at Highmoor Farm. Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $3.43 postage for a total of $28.43. To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, attention Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or
Farmer Joe with second graders at Forest Hill School

Farmer Joe with second graders harvesting another crop. Joe Bergeron is a Master Gardener in Somerset County and is co-owner of thelazyway.

Forest Hills School Second Grade Receives Grant to Grow!

  • Forest Hills School is pleased to announce that second grade teacher Marisa Achey was chosen by Johnny’s Selected Seeds to support their growing projects in her classroom. They will be receiving a shipment of seeds shortly.

Mrs. Achey has been active in the 5, 2, 1, 0 (five or more fresh fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of recreational screen time, one or more hour of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks) for over a year, bringing lots of healthy learning activities into her classroom. “Farmer Joe” (Joe Bergeron) has adopted the classroom and the students have enjoyed cooking lessons and lots of fresh produce grown in the library’s window.

To learn more about this project and farmer Joe, visit

Thank you!

Mark Sheriff demonstrating grafting process

Mark Sheriff demonstrating grafting process

A big heart felt Thank You Goes out to Master Gardener Mark Sheriff and Wendy Sheriff, owners of Avalon Acres Farm & Orchard for hosting this years’ Apple Pruning Field Day. This event has become an annual right of spring held at their orchard in St. Albans. This year we had a great turnout for the event with 75 people attending, representing 5 counties (Somerset, Kennebec, Piscataquis, Penobscot, and Waldo). Information was shared on pruning, planting, grafting, and growing, along with a tour of the farm and fresh bake goodies and hot drinks on a very windy, cold, information-filled day. If you’re in the area, stop at Avalon Acres Farm and pick up some farm fresh fruits and vegetables.

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