|Anneli Carter-Sundqvist and Dennis Carter created the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead. Layla Motta photo.
|Photo courtesy of Four Winds Farm, Gardiner, N.Y.
|Ridge tillage at Hackmatack Farm. Lindholm photo.
|Dave Ouellette grows certified organic grains. Photo courtesy of Slow Money Maine.
By Anneli Carter-Sundqvist
Summer is an exciting time at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead. What for the rest of the year is a quiet and secluded place in the woods – our homestead – suddenly bursts with activity when each year Dennis Carter and I welcome hundreds of travelers from all walks of life. Our guests experience not just a good night’s sleep and a communal dinner each evening but also a way of life they might never have encountered before.
The Noon Farm – Where Conservation, Art and Sheep All Flock Together
By Stowell Watters
Sheep graze and ferment. They sniff and chew their way over the fields, taking what they like and unpacking it with bacteria in their awesome bellies. Simply by eating, they preserve and translate energies within the flow of an immutable cycle, acting as quiet guardians of the future-land, incubators and inoculators; conservationists wrapped in wool.
No-Till Certified Organic Vegetable Production
By Jean English
Jay and Polly Armour of Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, N.Y., practice certified organic no-till vegetable production. They grow crops in permanent beds – some in place for 17 years – that are never plowed or rototilled, so they depend less on energy-consuming tractors and capital-consuming equipment, while fighting fewer weeds.
Ridge Tillage at Hackmatack Farm
By Nicolas Lindholm
Ridge tillage as we practice it at Hackmatack Farm is a system of growing vegetable crops in raised ridges formed before planting. Essential to this system is incorporation of winterkilled cover crops and other organic matter into the top surface layer of soil as we form the ridges. Practically speaking, our crops grow on a single-row raised bed. Ridge tillage, in essence a hybrid between raised bed production and single row cropping, offers many of the benefits and advantages of both.
The Legendary American Chestnut
By Jeanne Siviski
Renowned Maine poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow implies resilience with his words, “Under a spreading chestnut tree.” Folklore tells of a squirrel byway from Georgia to Maine, made from the spreading limbs of the American chestnut. Profusions of white flowers, blanketing the eastern mountains when the tree was in bloom, looked like snow in summer. We still sing songs of roasting chestnuts. These traits of American chestnuts have slipped into legend as the tree itself began to disappear.
Slow Money Maine: Investing in Maine’s Sustainable Agriculture Sector
By Jo Anne Chester Bander
May 15, 2013, was a glorious Maine spring day with sun streaming on newly leafed trees at Augusta’s Viles Arboretum when more than 80 individuals gathered under the Slow Money Maine umbrella – a must-attend event for those seeking information on capital investments in Maine’s sustainable agriculture and food product system. The goal: to hear presenters, make connections and learn how to participate in Slow Money Maine (SMM). Attending were investors, nonprofit leaders, individuals interested in new ventures and those seeking funds for expanding operations or for start-ups – and Bonnie Rukin.
West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Maine
State develops plan for possible spraying
By MOFGA Staff
Arboviral diseases are transmitted by arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes and include Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Because EEE and WNV have been detected in Maine, the Maine Legislature directed the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF) and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to develop a plan for protecting the public health from arboviral diseases.
Grow Your Own Sunnies
By Will Bonsall
I’m amazed that so many gardeners plant a row of sunflowers along the edge of their garden to feed the birds. What amazes me is that they plant only for the birds (and perhaps for a windbreak on the north side) and that they plant only a row rather than a whole block – not just for birds, but for themselves to eat.
|The Seed Swap and Scion Exchange.
|At the Maine Heritage Orchard in April, 2014. John Bunker photo.
Some of the Best Things in Life Are Free
By CR Lawn
On a bleak late-March Sunday morning, MOFGA Executive Director Ted Quaday counted more than 250 folks who braved the torrents of spring to attend the 15th Annual Seed Swap and 32nd Annual Scion Exchange, that event on the MOFGA calendar that promotes graft (but not corruption).
A Taste of a Tzedakah-driven Food System
By Grace Oedel
A celebration of abundance took place at the annual Seed Swap and Scion Exchange held at MOFGA in March. Because participants did not have to pay to attend the event, and because people offered all the seed, scions and treats free, the swap feel particularly joyful. Plant material itself offers an incredible example of how the principle of abundance can function. While caring for and pruning your trees, you generate scionwood to share. Abundance generates more abundance.
Cold Hardiness and Winter Injury in Fruit Trees
By C. J. Walke
This past winter was one of the coldest and longest winters we’ve experienced in Maine in recent years, and that brought up questions about the cold hardiness of our fruit trees and the potential for winter injury to them.
Maine Heritage Orchard Update: A Wonderful Winter for the Apple Trees
By John Bunker
The winter of 2013-14 is now a memory. Some might say it was an unpleasant one. For the fruit trees, it was mostly good. While many birch and other native woodland trees were damaged by the December ice storm, fruit trees fared well. Fruit trees are designed to handle a lot of weight: Think fruit. Apple branches often drape right to the ground with no ill effects. Most of them took the ice storm in stride.
Two Important Updates Regarding Livestock
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) recently sent letters of non-compliance to certifiers that allowed external use of zinc sulfate, ZnSO4, to treat hoof infections of sheep, goats and cows. MOFGA Certification Services was one of those certifiers.
The Maine Legislature in 2014 voted into law changes for facility requirements for operations processing fewer than 1,000 birds. The specifics for facilities are less onerous. Now you have to show the state inspector, when he or she arrives to inspect your facility, that what you are doing is safe and sanitary – so look carefully at your facility and process.
Treating a Sheep without Antibiotics
By Patti Hamilton
This was an exciting case in which attentive nursing by the farmer, as well as herbal and nutritive supplements and homeopathic remedies, saved the life of a ewe. Pyrogen, a remedy made from putrescent meat, effectively did its job of reducing the fever. – Diane Schivera
Vegetable Pest and Disease Calendar
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Sometimes it is better to be prepared for bad news then to be surprised by it. This chart prepares growers for some of the most common vegetable problems seen in Maine.
|Jude Lamb photo
|You can visit Will Bonsall's Khadighar Farm in Industry, Maine. See the Daytripping list of farms and gardens to visit this summer.
The Slow Flower Movement Grows in Maine
By Karen Volckhausen
Welcome to the first column in a series about the slow flower movement in the United States and Maine. It is time to start highlighting the great flower growing that is going on here and elsewhere. Like the slow food movement and with similar goals, the U.S. slow flower movement is taking off. Sustainable, local, small scale, seasonal is what it is all about.
Harvest Kitchen: Local Protein
By Roberta Bailey
Maine and Vermont have two of the fastest growing local food movements in the country. That is apparent in the number of new farms and people trying to figure out how to get onto a piece of land; through the health of the seed industry; in local farmers’ markets; in the availability of local community supported agriculture farms; and on the plates of local restaurants.
Daytripping in Maine – Farms and Gardens to Visit This Summer
Growing Organic – Thanks to Your Leadership
By Ted Quaday, MOFGA Executive Director
After a cold and snowy winter in Maine, spring took its sweet time arriving. Folks in and around Unity figured the season had finally turned on April 1, when the sun came out and the temperature hit a high of 46. Of course the danger of slipping back into winter persisted for a while, but eventually spring happened. It always does.
Soil Organic Matter: Making Every Little Thing All Right
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
"Don't worry about a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
… if you pay attention to soil organic matter.
Maybe Bob Marley wasn’t thinking of soil organic matter when he sang that happy song, but if we want every little thing to be all right, we need to keep organic matter in mind – and in the soil.
Invasive Plant Medicine: the Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives
Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections
Simple Flower Arranging: Step-by-Step Designs & Techniques
Always in Season – Twelve Months of Fresh Recipes from the Farmer’s Markets of New England
Fair Food – Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All
Growing Strawberries Organically
The Xerces Society’s Bumblebeewatch.org/
Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in Your Garden – Who They Are and How To Get Them To Stay
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) “Get Started with NRCS
Beyond Black Plastic
New Manuals from Organic Seed Alliance
Growing Food Connections
The Greenhorns' Cooperative Farming Handbook
Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern U.S.
The Northeast Forest Mushroom Growers Network
USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Library of Publications
USDA Food and Nutrition Service Fact Sheets