Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Consider a Crabapple

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November 8, 2018

When is an apple really a crabapple? Generally a crabapple is any Malus species with fruit under 2 inches in diameter, explains Roberta Bailey in her article, "Grow Your Own Crabapples." Now that the leaves have fallen, crabapple fruits that remained on some trees are readily apparent – and some varieties hold their fruits into winter, when birds enjoy them. Some varieties are good for cider or jelly. If you don't have these trees in your landscape, plan now to plant one (or two – they need a pollinator, but that could be any apple or crabapple tree that blooms at the same time) in spring. Fedco has some tempting offerings.

Connecting with Fungi

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October 25, 2018

Are abundant edible mushrooms popping up at your local farmers' market or perhaps even in your own fields and woods? Roberta Bailey writes about mycorrhizal relationships between plants and fungi and about the growing awareness "of the interconnected microbiome that surrounds us and thrives within us – at the same time that we strive to thrive within all of that biome." Read about her thoughts and try the recipes from her article "Connecting with Fungi" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Clean Beans

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October 4, 2018

How do you harvest and clean dry beans? In his article "Dry Beans – A Staple Crop Worth Growing," Will Bonsall says that he piles dead plants of mature bush beans on a tarp for threshing and then, using a flail, "I wale away at the pile until all the pods have shattered and the beans are in a dense heap at the bottom … For smaller crops I may just strip off the pods." He scoops up the resulting beans and pours them between two buckets in a gentle breeze to winnow them. "With pole beans I pick dry pods off the vines … I either dump the beans into a large galvanized washtub to trounce with my feet or I stuff them into a burlap bag and beat them with a flail or just a stick."

Cooking the Harvest

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September 27, 2018

Did you stock up on garlic and potatoes at the Common Ground Country Fair? Is your garden still pumping out tomatoes? As always, Roberta Bailey provides recipes in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that feature the abundance produced by Maine farms and gardens. Here’s her suggestion for Creamy Salsa: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast 10 large or 15 small paste tomatoes on a sheet pan. Cool and peel. Blend in a food processor or blender. Add 1 to 3 cloves of garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Blend until smooth. With blender running, in a slow drizzle, add 1 cup olive oil. Add chopped herbs as desired, or serve as is. Excellent with chips or crusty bread.

Visit a Garden Labyrinth at MOFGA

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September 20, 2018

In 2014, volunteers created a perennial garden labyrinth in MOFGA’s south orchard during Farm & Homestead Day. The ambitious project was a success due to the hard work of about a dozen dedicated volunteers organized by Jack Kertesz, Rose Swan (who donated many of the perennials) and Dee Clark. The design, a three-circuit classical labyrinth with 2-foot paths and 3-foot beds, provides hundreds of square feet of planting area as well as a contemplative path to the center. Visit the labyrinth during the Common Ground Country Fair to see how it’s filling in, to get ideas for your own planting or just to meander its path and relax.

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