Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Growing Cannabis at Home

July 9, 2020

Legislation passed in 2016 and amended in 2018 allows Maine adults to grow up to three flowering cannabis plants per adult in the household for personal use on their land. In his article “Why Grow Cannabis at Home,” John Jemison of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension writes about why he grows cannabis, how cannabinoids affect the body, and how to grow the plant in your own garden. “Cannabis is easy to grow (it is called weed), but like potatoes, it is hard to grow well,” he says. Read more in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Consider an EarthLoom

July 2, 2020

This year we'll miss the beautiful weaving that has grown on the EarthLoom in previous years during the Common Ground Country Fair (an online, alternative event this year). You can still read about that loom and its history in Sonja Heyck-Merlin's article "EarthLooms Weave Community at MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair" in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Maybe this is the year to build your own EarthLoom.

Cranberries – Don't Assume You Can't Grow Them

June 25, 2020

Most folks think of cranberries as a crop with requirements that are too challenging for their situation. Cranberries like sandy, acidic, soggy peat soils that can be flooded at will, whereas the average gardener has (or aspires to have) a well-drained, marl, near-neutral soil with sufficient nitrogen-containing humus. Will Bonsall found, however, that the crop is not quite that picky. The summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener relates his experiences with growing this plant in a low spot in the landscape.

Beautiful and Useful Calendula

June 18, 2020

There are so many reasons to plant a big bed of calendula, Calendula officinalis. It blooms until frost for cut flowers and medicine, it isn’t fussy about where it’s planted, pollinators like it, it can be added as a garnish to food, and its seed is easy to save for next year’s planting. Read Joyce White’s article “Calendula – Beautiful and Useful” in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Time for Rhubarb Shortcake

June 3, 2020

In the May-June 1975 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Spoons & Spiders columnist Barbara Mather wrote, “There are some things that neither Mort nor I cared for until we grew our own and ate them as they should be eaten, rather when they should be eaten – picked when ripe and eaten fresh. Rhubarb is one of those things. Now we look forward to the treat of Rhubarb Shortcake – hot, stewed rhubarb heaped between and on top of a big biscuit, and generously topped off by a mound of whipped cream.” By the way, the “spiders” in Mather’s long-running column reflect, she said, her “abiding faith in and devotion to cast-iron pans, which were called spiders years ago. Teflon II, Miracle Maid, PAM – Bah, Humbug! – I wouldn’t trade my cast-iron pans for anything!”

Tea-Time Tip

June 1, 2020

Amid the harvest of tomatoes, green beans, broccoli and other veggies this summer, take some time to harvest the makings for tea. An hour or two spent harvesting the leaves of raspberry, mint and other plants, then drying them, can save several dollars in herbal tea bills throughout the year, can provide a good haul for gift giving, and can produce a healthful beverage.

Broccolini: What’s in a Name?

June 1, 2020

By Jonathan Mitschele

Last April I bought a peat tray of six seedlings labeled “sprouting broccoli” because no ordinary broccoli was available, and I transplanted the seedlings into my garden. I also had a packet of Piracicaba “non-heading broccoli” seed that I had bought a year or three earlier but had never grown successfully. Why not give it a try, too, I thought, and I started a six-pack of Piracicaba. Which brings us to the question: Just what was it that I grew?

Lath for Weed and Moisture Control

June 1, 2020

By Jonathan Mitschele

The older plaster walls in my 1850s farmhouse were made by spreading wet plaster on a framework of thin wood strips, or laths. I don’t know what folks shopping at Home Depot or the like buy lath for today, but I have hit on a way of putting it to good use in the garden.

Mulch Apple Trees with Wood Chips

May 21, 2020

John Bunker says that he chips all prunings and branches from his newly cut firewood and spreads them around the base of apple trees as mulch. “I’m fooling the trees into thinking they’re in the woods,” he writes, adding, “Can you really fool a tree into anything?” Trees like the forest, Bunker continues, “and the forest floor is not that different from a bed of wood chips. The chips break down and feed those trees.” Read more in “Spring Orchard ‘Work,’ and then, Ice Cream” in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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Raise Strawberries Under Low Tunnels

May 14, 2020

At The Berry Patch in Stephentown, N.Y, Dale-Ila Riggs and Don Miles grow everbearing strawberries in low tunnels so that "instead of having to make it or break it in three to four weeks in June, we can have berries in late July or August and into October when nobody else has berries," says Riggs. Bungee cords hold the plastic to the frames. Thanks to low tunnels, the farmers can pick quality berries even after a heavy rain. Read more about these farmers' techniques, presented at MOFGA's 2019 Farmer to Farmer Conference, in the spring issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Photo: Strawberries grow in low tunnels covered with clear plastic with ventilation holes. Photo courtesy of The Berry Patch

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