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MOF&G Cover Spring 1999

  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSpring 1999MOFGA – Spring 1999   
 MOFGA Notes – Spring 1999 Minimize


Portland Flower Show – One Organic Garden, by MOFGA and Old Stage Farm
Coming Soon – MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference Returns
Scionwood Exchange Moves to MOFGA Education Center
1st Annual Common Ground Spring Thing
Common Ground Dedicated Tree Planting

 

Portland Flower Show – One Organic Garden, by MOFGA and Old Stage Farm

Insight in the sanctuary of the garden. Seclusion within flowers. The grace of fragrance and beauty. Insight found through the senses in a mirrored image to the soul. Integrity of organically grown flowers and herbs.

This is the MOFGA garden at the 1999 Portland Flower Show [Thurs., March 11, 10 am to 6 pm; Fri and Sat. March 12 and 13, 10 am to 8 pm; Sun., March 14, 10 am to 5 pm; Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St., Portland] – the only organic garden at the show. Flowers, herbs and other plants for the MOFGA garden all have been grown organically at Old Stage Farm in Lovell by Susan and John Belding, who grow certified organic flowers for fresh flower sales and for seed production. Old Stage Farm sells flowers and seeds at its farm stand, at farmers’ markets, and through Fedco and the Seed Savers’ Exchange. In addition to the display garden, MOFGA will host a Flower Seed Saving Workshop on Saturday, March 13, at 11:45. This workshop, presented by Susan Belding, will tell why and how to save your own flower seeds. Individual seed saving is critical for preserving seed diversity and for being prepared, should some commercial seeds become unavailable. Susan will discuss how to choose open pollinat- ed and heirloom varieties that will grow successfully in Maine, and she’ll demonstrate practical seed cleaning tips using everyday household items.

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Coming Soon – MOFGA’s Spring Growth Conference Returns

Before “Common Ground Country Fair, in the early 1970s, MOFGA ran an educational event called Spring Growth that was the major gathering of organic farmers and gardeners in the state. The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and the Hinckley School near Skowhegan were the hosts. Now, in 1999, we’re reviving the event at our new home in Unity.

On Saturday, March 20, we’ll be hosting a day-long (9 to 5) workshop on “Year-Round Production and Marketing Systems.” For four years now, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch have been running Four Seasons Farm in Harborside on an “off-season” schedule, marketing salad mix and other freshly harvested vegetables from October through May. Eliot will be sharing some of the lessons he’s learned as well as the potential for increasing the market.

We’ve also gone outside Maine for other perspectives and knowledge. David Cohlmeyer of Cookestown Greens in Cookestown, Ontario, is a chef turned farmer. His emphasis has been on building a production system that will hold his customer base year round. He does off-season salad production and storage crops. From the beginning, David has emphasized the need to keep records to ensure profitable production. We think you’ll enjoy his perspective on setting prices at a level that brings you a profit at the end of the year.

Some farmers in New England have been developing their own variations on long season production systems. We’ll have a panel discussing some of the challenges in getting started.

Cecil Stushnoff of Colorado State University has been studying the factors that influence the cold-hardiness of plants, and what happens to plants when temperatures fall. He’ll be bringing his knowledge of what happens with plants at cold temperatures to the table.

Finally, we’ll hear from Anna Edey of Solviva Gardens on Martha’s Vineyard. Anna has been marketing salad mixes, herbs and other vegetables from her integrated greenhouse system for nearly 20 years. She is the author of Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre & Peace on Earth.

We hope (and expect) this to be a well attended session. Markets throughout the state have expressed interest in more winter production of salad greens, and several farmers have recently expanded their production capacity.

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Scionwood Exchange Moves to MOFGA Education Center

On Sunday, March 28, from 12 to 4, the Maine Tree Crop Alliance will host the annual Scionwood Exchange. After many years at Unity College, this year’s exchange is moving a few miles east to MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center. Every year scions from dozens of varieties of apples, pears, plums and other fruits are given away. Participants are encouraged to bring scionwood, cuttings or seeds if they have any to share.

Only a few fruits come “true to type” if propagated from seed. All others, including apples, pears and plums, can only be replicated by grafting. Cuttings called “scions” (pronounced sigh-on) are spliced onto small trees called rootstock. The technique is called “grafting.” Once you get the hang of it, you can collect your own scions from any tree you like and start your own trees by grafting them yourself. It’s not hard to do.

The usual assortment of interesting workshops, including grafting techniques for beginners and experts alike, will be offered. Books, grafting supplies and rootstock will be for sale. There is no admission fee though donations are accepted.

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1st Annual Common Ground Spring Thing

By Ernest Glabau

There is a new event happening this spring at the Common Ground site in Unity, Maine. It is called the Common Ground Spring Thing and will be held on Saturday, May 15, 1999 from 10am to 4 pm and Sunday, May 16, 1999 from 10 am to 3 pm.

The Common Ground Spring Thing is a theme-centered event. The theme is plants and gardens in particular and the green world in general. It was created and sponsored by the MOFGA Common Ground Landscape Committee to accomplish several goals.

The Common Ground Spring Thing will provide an opportunity for both hands on and educational workshops about planning, planting, care maintenance and harvesting of plants in a garden setting. This is an expression of MOFGA’s longstanding goals of educating its members and the general public about the practical methods of using organic growing methods. Some of the workshops already scheduled include: planting and caring for bare root, container and balled and burlapped nursery stock and perennials; planting and caring for herbs and perennials; vegetable and annual flower bed preparation; site selection and garden design; setting up a home worm composting operation; the cultivation of shiitake mushrooms and herb walks for both children and adults.

The hands on workshops will be centered on the planting of all types of plants and nursery stock at Common Ground in Unity. These will be ongo- ing workshops happening throughout both Saturday and Sunday and will demonstrate how to best plant and care for all types of plants and nursery stock. This will also provide an opportunity for volunteers, MOFGA members and anyone interested to help contribute to the planting of Common Ground. Fedco Trees of Waterville, Maine will be donating a free bare root tree or shrub to all who volunteer to help with the planting.

The Spring Thing is also an opportunity to purchase all your spring gardening needs. Maine based vendors and plant growers will be at the event and will be selling trees, shrubs, seedlings, culinary and medicinal herbs, seeds, garden tools and supplies, organic fertilizers, garden features and statuary, garden art and craft items with a plant or garden theme. Vendor preference will be given to growers of MOFGA certified or certifiable products. Food vendors will be providing healthy, nutritious food during the event.

Please patronize the Spring Thing vendors. They are donating a percentage of their sales at this event to the Common Ground Landscape Committee. These donations will help to establish a planting and landscape budget for Common Ground for 1999 and beyond.

There will also be free lunchtime music from noon until 1 pm on both days. John Pino and friends from Mooar Hill Farm in Mount Vernon will provide Saturday’s music. Sunday’s music will be provided by Amy LeBlanc’s teenage string orchestra, a student string orchestra from the Farmington-Wilton area that will be performing a mix of light classical, folk and fiddle tunes.

The Common Ground Spring Thing promises to be an event with something for anyone with an interest in gardening and landscaping. Mark May 15 & 16, 1999 on your calendar to visit a new and hands-on Maine gardening event.

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Common Ground Dedicated Tree Planting

By Ernest Glabau

The Common Ground Dedicated Tree Planting program will begin its tree planting activities at the First Annual Common Ground Spring Thing on May 15 & 16, 1999 at Common Ground in Unity. The Common Ground Landscape Committee sponsors this program.

The Common Ground Dedicated Tree Planting is an ongoing program. Any individual, group or Maine-based business wishing have a tree planted at Common Ground in Unity is welcome. All donated trees will have a stake-mounted plaque near the tree with the tree name, its hardiness rating, date of planting and name of the person to whom the tree is dedicated. Multiple tree donations are greatly appreciated. Trees may be dedicated to someone other than the donor.

A $300.00 donation will purchase a 2 to 2-1/2-inch caliper (for most tree species, 10- to 15-foot tall) tree, which will be planted at Common Ground.,’’ Tree planting will begin at the First” Annual Common Ground Spring Thing in mid-May 1999. Trees will be supplied by Maine-based nurseries.

Dedicated tree donations will be planted at future Landscape Committee sponsored workdays during 1999 and beyond. Any surplus funds generated by this program will help fund additional Common Ground Landscape Committee planting and landscape maintenance activities.

Planting a Dedicated Tree is a great way to create a physical remembrance or just to plant a tree, which will provide shade and enjoyment for all those using the Common Ground in the future. For more information and sign-up forms, contact the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

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