January 2013, Somerset County Master Gardener Newsletter

December 31st, 2012 12:00 PM

Hi, Everyone, and Happy New Year! The year 2013 holds tons of promise for those of us who are to thumbing through the stacks of new seed catalogs that have found their way into our mailboxes. At this time of year my garden always looks the best with the least amount of effort, as I look at the pictures in the seed catalog and decide where on my garden plan I can put my new selections for my 2013 garden. It is only after having my better half check out the plan that I am brought back to reality and the fact that we don’t really have the space to grow an extra 20 tomato plants or another 30 feet for the latest onions. Oh! Where am I going to put another variety of sweet corn? It’s fun to dream. But after the dreaming is done, the real planning begins. If this is going to be your first garden, you may be wondering where to start. The following items may hold some answers to your questions.

Items of Interest

  • What do I want to plant and will it grow here? 

Choosing the right varieties of vegetables to grow is an important part of successful gardening. Decide on vegetables that you enjoy eating and then on how much space you can devote to each. For information on which vegetables grow in Maine, check out Vegetable Varieties for Maine Gardens.

  • What did that soil test say I needed to do? (You did get your soil tested, didn’t you?)

If you’re having trouble understanding the soil test you received back from your sample you sent in, then visit the Maine Soil Testing Service website and check out “Interpreting Soil Test Results for Gardens & Grounds.”

If you haven’t done a soil test yet, Bulletin #2286 Testing Your Soil will explain the benefits of testing your soil. Now through March 31, 2013 you can have your soil tested at a reduced price of $12.00 for the basic test!

  • When can I start my seeds to have them ready to go when the soil in my garden is ready?

Learn what to do in Bulletin #2751, Starting Seeds at Home.

  • Raised bed, square foot garden — what are those? Would raised beds make it easier to maintain, harvest, and take care of my soil and plants?

If you recently decided to scale back your garden or just want to try something new, raised beds may be an option you should look into. You may also want to try making a square foot garden. In combination, both methods have many advantages and more information can be found in Bulletin #2761, Gardening in Small Spaces.

  • Winter Moth Alert

The Maine Forest Service has posted their latest conditions report. They have issued an alert on the invasive geometrid winter moth (Operophtera brumata), which has been found in the two coastal Maine communities of Harpswell and Vinalhaven. In addition, reports have come in of moths in flight in Cape Elizabeth on December 2-3. Please send reports of moths flying: in unusual numbers, in other communities, in December or January. If you can also catch some of the moths, put them in a zip-lock bag and mail them to:

Charlene Donahue Forest Entomologist
Insect & Disease Laboratory
168 State House Station -50 Hospital St.
FAX (207)287-2432

  • Spotted Wing Drosophila 2012 Season Summary

David T. Handley, UMaine Extension Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist, and the folks at Highmoor Farm have released the Spotted Wing Drosophila 2012 Season Summary for Maine Berry Growers. This pest should be of concern to all who grow soft fruits in Maine.

  • Kitchen Gardeners International

From Maine to Mumbai, Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI) works with a wide variety of partner groups that share an interest in and commitment to helping more people grow more of their own healthy food. These groups include school gardens, community gardens, garden clubs, organic farming associations, food pantries, churches, and other groups interested in achieving greater levels of health and food security in their communities via kitchen gardens. A message from KGI:

Thanks to a windfall of generosity on the part of garden companies, we find ourselves up to our ears in seeds and supplies looking for a good home. We are currently accepting grant applications via a new program called “Sow it forward!” to insure that they fall into worthy hands. As part of this program, we’re offering grants of seeds, supplies, online garden planners, books, small grants, and solidarity to nonprofit causes launching new garden projects or scaling up existing programs. At KGI, we see seeds and kitchen gardens as the gifts that keep giving and as part of the partnership; grantees will be asked to “sow forward” their grants within their communities so that others might share the benefits of healthy, homegrown foods. For more information or to apply, please go to the Kitchen Gardeners International.

  • Living with Wildlife

If you’re handy, like watching wildlife, and would like something relaxing to do this winter while at the same time providing a home for wildlife, then the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website has some very easy plans for the homeowner to build items to entice birds and such to their yards. For the plans, visit Living with Wildlife.

Upcoming Events

  • 2013 Poultry Coop Contest

UMaine Extension and the Maine Poultry Growers Association are inviting Maine poultry keepers to submit photos and descriptions of their poultry coops for consideration in the contest. For details on the contest, see Statewide Photo Contest Will Highlight the Finest Poultry Coops.

  • The 72nd Annual Agricultural Trades Show

 The 72nd Agricultural Trade Show will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on January 8-10, 2013.  Admission is FREE! This show provides an atmosphere to walk through, observe, and educate the public about different areas of agriculture.

Show hours:

Tuesday, January 8, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 9, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 10, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For more information, visit the 2013 Maine Agricultural Trade Show website.

  • The USDA Peoples Garden Webinar Series

If you’re always interested in learning about gardening, but can’t get out to take a class or course, this webinar series may be just what you’re looking for. The USDA promotes growing healthy food, people, and communities. It encourages USDA employees and communities to plant gardens because the simple act of planting a garden can make a neighborhood a healthier place to live, work, and play, while addressing issues such as hunger and the environment. USDA is excited to offer their Fall Webinar Series for a second time. This year’s sessions will provide practical gardening advice on such topics as seed saving, gardening with native plants, composting, volunteers, and school gardens. For more information, please visit The Peoples Garden Initiative.

  •  Somerset Beekeepers 2013 Basic Beekeeping for Beginners

If you’ve thought about how much fun it would be to raise your own bees for their honey or to pollinate your flower garden, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, but just didn’t know how to get started, then this event is for you!

Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (registration will take place between 6:00 and 6:30 on February 19), starting February 19 to March 19 with a (snow date of March 26).

Where: Somerset County Extension Office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan, ME 04976

Cost: The course fee is $40 per person/couple and includes a 1 year membership with the Somerset Beekeepers, as well as the course manual, Beekeeping Basics.

Preregistration is preferred so that adequate course materials may be provided. A postponement notice will be announced by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the session if needed.

Instructor: Samantha Burns

Contact: Questions about the course may be addressed to Samantha Burns, runamukacres@gmail.com or 207-696-4906.

SC Extension Homemakers’ Educational Program Update #10

November 9th, 2012 1:00 AM

Somerset County Extension Homemakers – Schedule of Educational Programs

November 16, 2012 to November 30, 2012

Program Title, Group Location, and Date

Tenerife Embroidery – Named after one of the Canary Islands, is a method of embellishing items with particular designs using embroidery floss.                    

  • Clinton [November 21]

For more information please contact:
Somerset County Extension Homemakers [SCEH]
Phone: (207) 474-9622 or
800-287-1495 (in Maine)
FAX: (207) 474-0374
or E-mail us at: someh@umext.maine.edu

Office hours weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

UMaine Extension Announces 2013 Master Gardener Course in Somerset County

November 2nd, 2012 9:53 AM

Master Gardener working in garden; photo by Edwin RemsbergAre you a gardening enthusiast? Would you like to share your gardening knowledge with your community? If so, you may want to consider joining the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Somerset County Master Gardeners.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is pleased to again offer its popular Master Gardener program in the Spring & Fall of 2013. This year the course will be run in a split session format with the first session starting on March 4th through May 6th. The second session will begin on September 9th and continue until October 7th. This year’s course will feature an online manual. Participants in the Master Gardener program will receive fifteen 3-hour training sessions on gardening starting March 4th. The 2013 program will focus on ornamental horticulture and volunteerism, therefore we expect each participant to attend all of the training sessions and work actively on volunteer projects following the course. Projects can include such things as community gardening, planting and maintaining a community vegetable garden, designing and creating a mobile display to be used at fairs and other public functions, or answering public calls and requests for gardening information. The fee is on a sliding scale determined by household income. Scholarships are available. The program will be held on Monday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. beginning March 4, 2013 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 (in Maine). Applications are due on February 2, 2013.

If you are a person with a disability and will need any accommodations to participate in this program, please call Tom Goodspeed at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office at 1-800-287-1495 (in Maine) or TDD: 1-800-287-8957 to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodation at least 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however all requests will be accepted.

Somerset County Master Gardener November 2012 Newsletter

November 1st, 2012 4:45 AM

Really, it’s November already? The older I get, each year seems to fly by faster than the previous one. I have just finished putting my garden to bed and am already starting to receive online garden catalogs for 2013. No wonder things seem to be moving along faster than we would like. I hope this newsletter finds you well and looking forward to spending time with friends and family as the holiday season approaches.

Things to do in the garden

  • The garden season is almost over for 2012 even if the weather seems to encourage you to Plant Now! Stop and think before taking the chance on losing something you may really want for spring. There are some things that you can still plant and they should be okay. If you find a good deal on spring blooming bulbs or possibly your favorite garlic, those should be alright to set out (as long as your ground isn’t frozen), and you may possibly find a deal on some small trees and shrubs that you can put in now. The key to planting small trees and shrubs this late in the fall is not to stimulate a plant into sending out new growth! Most plants that have been outside in the nursery are already preparing themselves for the winter, so the key here is not to encourage new growth now that will surely die later when the real weather hits. Plant as usual, but do not fertilize, and be sure to water and mulch heavily. For information on planting trees and shrubs, see Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting, and Caring for Trees and Shrubs.
  • Cut back any remaining dead plants in the perennial bed or dead blossoms off from shrubs such as hydrangea if you don’t care for the winter interest that they will bring when covered with frost or snow.
  • Add any amendments to your soil as recommended in the soil test you sent in earlier in the year. By adding them now they will have time to work into your soil and be readily available to your plants in the spring.
  • If you haven’t already done so now is the time to mulch and do whatever maintenance on your roses that you have been putting off.
  • One last item that you can do now is mulch and put tree wrap on any young new trees that you planted this year, to protect them from rodent damage.

Upcoming Events

Longfellow’s Greenhouse 2012 Art & Artisan Show & Sale

  • If you’re looking for another excuse to go and visit a nursery and greenhouse, this may be the event for you. Longfellow’s Greenhouse located on 81 Puddledock Road in Manchester, Maine, is holding their annual Art & Artisan Show & Sale on November 3 and 4. For information on this event, please visit Longfellow’s Greenhouse website or call them at (207) 622-5965.

Horse Health Education Conference being held in New Gloucester, ME

  • Horse owners, caretakers, and pre-veterinary students will learn about the most serious infectious diseases that can affect their animals, and what can be done to improve bio-security and prevent disease outbreaks on the farm, at the Horse Health Education Conference on Saturday, November 17 at the Pineland Equestrian Center in New Gloucester. This program is for horse owners, prospective pre-veterinary students, 4-H and Pony Club leaders and older youth, boarding farm owners and operators, horse business owners, horse trainers, farriers, auction houses, fair superintendents, and others from New England who are interested in learning more about infectious diseases of horses.

Cost for the event is $15 for adults and $10 for students for early registrations received by November 9 (a limited number of scholarships are available; please contact us.) Late and walk-in registrations are $25 for adults and $20 for students.

To register, send check for registration (made out to UMaine Extension) and your name, address, phone, and e-mail to Melissa Libby, 134 Hitchner Hall, UMaine Extension, Orono, ME 04469-5735, 207-581-2788 or 1-800-287-7170 (in Maine) or or Melissa.Libby1@maine.edu. Or register online at umaine.edu/livestock/equine/horse-conf. Bring your own lunch or purchase a lunch ticket at registration desk.

For more information you can also visit the UMaine Events Calendar.

The Maine Harvest Festival

  • Will be held on November 10 – 11 at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center in Bangor, Maine, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days. General admission tickets are $5.00 each, with children 10 and under free. For more information, see the Maine Harvest Festival website.

Items of Interest

  • One of the most popular holiday house plants at this time of year is the Poinsettia. This popular plant now comes in a wide range of colors and can be found in many different sizes. The University of Illinois has a great website with many interesting facts along with tips on how to care for Poinsettias.
  • Non-Timber Forest Products: Goods from the Maine Woods Balsam Fir, Bulletin #2541, by David Fuller, UMaine Extension Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional, is an informative look at products past and present, made from the Balsam fir tree (Abies balsamea) here in Maine.

Thank you!

To Mark Whitney, who worked on cleaning up the raised beds here at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in Skowhegan. Also thank you to Sheryl Ruman and Cheryl Perkins for cleaning up the flagpole bed. The raised beds are ready for the 2013 gardening season and the flagpole bed looks the best it has since spring and is ready for an upgrade in the spring of 2013.

SC Extension Homemakers’ Educational Program Update #9

October 25th, 2012 1:00 AM

Somerset County Extension Homemakers – Schedule of Educational Programs

November 1, 2012 to November 15, 2012

Program Title, Group Location, and Date

Tenerife Embroidery – Named after one of the Canary Islands, is a method of embellishing items with particular designs using embroidery floss.

  • Solon [November 8]

Maine Birds – This training will focus on songbirds that live in Maine and how to feed, support, and enjoy them.

  • Ripley [November 8]


  • Book Reviews, Norridgewock, November 13
  • Decorating for the Holidays, Embden, November 13

For more information please contact:
Somerset County Extension Homemakers [SCEH]
Phone: (207) 474-9622 or
800-287-1495 (in Maine)
FAX: (207) 474-0374
or E-mail us at: someh@umext.maine.edu

Office hours weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Job Opportunity: Nutrition and Food Systems Professional

October 22nd, 2012 1:31 PM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking a Nutrition and Food Systems Professional to provide direct education using Extension research based knowledge and programs to individuals, groups, and Extension staff in Kennebec and Somerset with an emphasis on human nutrition including obesity prevention, management of the Eat Well Nutrition Education program in both counties, food safety and food preservation. Complete job description and application instructions.

The University of Maine is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workplace.

SC Extension Homemakers’ Educational Program Update #8

October 9th, 2012 1:00 AM

Somerset County Extension Homemakers – Schedule of Educational Programs

October 16, 2012 to October 31, 2012

Program Title, Group Location, and Date

Tenerife Embroidery – Named after one of the Canary Islands, is a method of embellishing items with particular designs using embroidery floss.                    

  • Madison [October 18]

N.W. National Parks – Introduction to the great adventures available to us in our own Northwestern USA.          

  • Clinton[October 17]

For more information please contact:
Somerset County Extension Homemakers [SCEH]
Phone: (207) 474-9622 or
800-287-1495 (in Maine)
FAX: (207) 474-0374
or E-mail us at: someh@umext.maine.edu

Office hours weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Somerset County Master Gardeners Newsletter October 2012

October 1st, 2012 8:00 AM

Well, a chill is in the air and the colors of autumn are all around us. Most of the garden chores are done, with the possible exception of planting some garlic for harvest next July. Also, if you haven’t done so already you may want to plant a cover crop in the garden area to protect the soil for next season. Those of us with flower gardens might be putting in a selection of flower bulbs for early color next spring.

Gardening in October

  • With the beginning of October usually comes a brief stint of warm weather, instilling in us the urge to Plant Something! If you haven’t already done so, check for some great buys at the local stores and garden centers that are looking to clear their shelves of fall bulbs to get ready for that other season that’s just around the corner. Remember, fall bulbs bring spring color! Don’t be caught looking for tulips and daffodils in April at your local merchants.
  • Dig up tender bulbs, corms, tubers, and roots (canna lilies, dahlias, and gladiolas) after their foliage has died back or has been killed by frost. Let them dry in a well ventilated room, with temperatures between 60º – 70°, and out of direct sun. Most tender plants will take 1-3 days to cure; gladiolas can take much longer — up to 3 weeks. To store the cured materials, place them in a ventilated container and layer them with peat moss, sand, and shredded newspaper or sawdust. Store them in an area with temperatures ranging around 35 to 45º. For more information, check out University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension’s  Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures.
  • If you love garlic and have noticed the prices in the stores going up for whole garlic bulbs, then you might want to try your hand at growing your own. It’s still not too late to get it in the ground, but time is running out. For more information on planting garlic, watch our video How Do I Grow Garlic in Maine?

Items of Interest

  • Now is a great time to get outside and enjoy our beautiful state in all its color. Time spent out on your favorite hiking trail is always a rewarding experience. For information on trails in Maine or places of interest to leaf peepers, visit Maine’s Official Foliage Website.
  • Living with Wildlife: Are you having problems with wildlife around your home, garden or maybe the lawn? Help is on the way. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is currently assembling helpful information about common Maine Wildlife that may be causing conflicts with humans. The site, Living with Wildlife, is new and still being developed.
  • Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau writes:

We at National Garden Bureau have of  late become more curious as to what inspires a person to become a gardener. Was there a special person in your childhood who showed you the joy of planting a small seed and watching it turn into a stunning sunflower or delicious tomato? Was it your own inspiration after you bought your first home and wanted to beautify the landscape in order to “keep up with the Joneses?” Or maybe it was the local movement and food safety issues that prompted you to grow your own produce? We are asking you, our loyal reader, to give us a minute of your time to help us explore this topic. We’d really like to know which childhood, young adult or adult experiences, if any, helped inspire you to become a gardener. Even if you have not had any experience in or inspirations to garden, we would still like to hear from you! Please share your experiences by taking this short survey.

Also, if you have an interesting story on how or who introduced you to gardening that you would like to share in our Master Gardener Newsletter, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Tom Goodspeed at thomas.gooodspeed@maine.edu or Kathy Hopkins at kathy.hopkins@maine.edu.

Upcoming Events

  • Living History Days: The Maine Forest & Logging Museum at Leonard’s Mills on Route 178 in Bradley, Maine, is a great place to spend the day and enjoy the foliage, along with experiencing a 1790s logging and saw-milling village! Enjoy the bateau and wagon rides, and fresh-pressed apple cider. Watch a water-powered sawmill and more! Living History Days at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum takes place October 6-7, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Leonard Mills website.
  • 2nd Annual Avalon Acres Harvest Festival — October 8, 2012: Bring the kids and learn about life on an apple orchard. The orchard will be open for apple picking, the farm store will also be open, and there will be many apple and harvest related demonstrations throughout the day. Money raised from this event goes to a charitable cause. Last year’s proceeds benefited the St. Albans’ Grange, Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, and St. Albans’ Parent Teacher Organization. For more information visit Avalon Acres & Farm.
  • Great Maine Apple Day: Interested in apples and apple trees? Then the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) fairgrounds are where you want to head on October 21 for rare and heirloom apple displays, educational talks, and apples and apple products for sale. For more information, visit the Great Maine Apple Day on MOFGA’s website.
  • The Fryeburg Fair: With the fair season drawing to a close in Maine, many will be heading to the largest fair in our state. The Fryeburg Fair is slated to begin on Sunday September 30 and run until October 7. You can get more information and directions to the fair at the Fryeburg Fair web page.


To Ted Weber and family on the passing of Nancy Weber, fellow Master Gardener and friend of Extension. Nancy’s dedication to her family and friends, and her lifetime spent teaching and sharing, was a model for us all.

Thank you!

Somerset County Master Gardener Volunteers

To date the Master Gardener Volunteers in Somerset County have

  1. volunteered over 1,040 hours in their communities;
  2. reached over 480 people through volunteering; and
  3. donated over 370 pounds to local food banks & neighbors.

This is just what we have to date (9/19/12), with more coming in each day!

Thank you and keep up the great work in your community and county. Please remember to send us your hours and produce donations to be counted as soon as you can.

At the present time I am glad to announce that we have been able to send out Master Gardener Volunteer Certificates to five people in our 2012 class and four re-certification certificates to previous Master Gardener Volunteers.

SC Extension Homemakers’ Educational Program Update #7

September 24th, 2012 1:00 AM

Somerset County Extension Homemakers – Schedule of Educational Programs

October 1, 2012 to October 15, 2012

Program Title, Group Location, and Date

Tenerife Embroidery – Named after one of the Canary Islands, is a method of embellishing items with particular designs using embroidery floss.                    

  • Norridgewock [October 9]

N.W. National Parks – Introduction to the great adventures available to us in our own Northwestern USA.          

  • Ripley [October 11]


  • Christmas Crafts, Embden, October 9
  • Casserole Totes, Solon, October 11

For more information please contact:
Somerset County Extension Homemakers [SCEH]
Phone: (207) 474-9622 or
800-287-1495 (in Maine)
FAX: (207) 474-0374
or E-mail us at: someh@umext.maine.edu

Office hours weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Somerset County September 2012 Master Gardener Newsletter

September 1st, 2012 8:00 AM

 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

Public Advisory

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 registrationthe deadline for which is Sept. 28is 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.

For more information, visit the Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

  • 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.

Upcoming Events:

  • 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 thomas.goodspeed@maine.edu for more information and to volunteer.

Thank You!

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!