Talks by Koehler, Smart focus of Press Herald column

Talks made during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show by University of Maine Cooperative Extension faculty Glen Koehler and Alicyn Smart were the focus of the latest column in the Portland Press Herald “Maine Gardener” series. Koehler, a fruit-tree specialist who also studies climate, spoke about “Farmer Adaptation to Changing Weather.” Koehler used charts, maps and statistics to prove that the climate is changing. In addition to being warmer in Maine, it also has been wetter, and the weather has been more extreme, according to the article. Koehler said to adapt, both farmers and home gardeners will have to more faithfully follow good farming practices, such as adding more organic matter to the soil and improving irrigation systems. In her talk, Smart, a plant pathologist, listed the most common diseases sent to her lab last year. She offered tips to prevent disease, such as planting the most disease-resistant varieties of any crop, sterilizing pots and trays, getting a soil test and being sure not to over-fertilize. Smart urged farmers and home gardeners to send her samples of any diseased plants. Not only can she provide solutions, it will help her keep track of the plant diseases hitting Maine, the article states.