Category: Crops

Harvesting Winter Squash for Peak Flavor and Optimal Storage Life

By Caleb Goossen Winter squash look ready to harvest before they actually are mature. It is important to wait for maturity to maximize storage life and eating quality, whenever possible. The fruit of most squash varieties reach full size by 20 days after pollination (fruit set). Accumulation of starch and other dry matter peaks at

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Summer Crops for Fall Harvests

By Sam Schipani Summer may feel like the middle of the growing season, but the warmest days mark a time when Maine gardeners can start a new round of crops for autumn harvest. Emily Pence, seeds field coordinator at Fedco Seeds in Clinton, says that planting in the summer can make for an easier growing

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Rodale’s Vegetable Systems Trial

A Testimony on Linking Soil Health to Plant Nutrient Quality By Dr. Gladis Zinati, Director of the Vegetable Systems Trial at Rodale Institute Beginning in the early 1900s and coinciding with the Industrial Revolution, industrial farming was characterized by intensive farming of crops and animals where large-scale monoculture and high levels of chemical pesticides and

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Yes, You Can Grow Figs in Maine!

Figs are a subtropical plant from the Mediterranean region and need some special care to flourish in Maine … but you can do it! The easiest way to grow figs is in a container. You should bring it inside in fall after leaf drop. maintain dormancy. Unheated cellars work great. Potting mix should be well

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Soil-less Mixes for Vegetable Seedling Production

by Eric Sideman, PhDMOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist Emeritus Farmers developed soil-less mixes for use in containers for seedlings because field soil does not work well. Soil alone is heavy and poorly aerated. It tends to become waterlogged and sticky when wet. Then it shrinks when it dries, pulls away from the container edges and turns

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Basics of Organic Vegetable Gardening

Prepared byDr. Eric Sideman andDr. Jean English Introduction The science of gardening is complex, but the actual practice is simple. The central goal of organic gardening is to maintain or improve the ability of the soil to support plant life as it produces a crop of vegetables each year. That ability depends on a dynamic

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Ridge Tillage at Hackmatack Farm

By Nicolas LindholmPhotos and illustrations 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

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Whodunits

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. The causes of some garden tragedies are obvious, while other causes are mysterious. When Colorado potato beetles eat every leaf and your potatoes never get larger than golf balls, there really is no puzzle to solve. But sometimes gardeners don’t know what went wrong, and they chalk some problems up to

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Sunflowers Fuel a Maine Dairy Farm

Sunflower seed is planted in rows 30″ apart using a tractor-mounted corn planter and cultivated several times with mid-mounted sweeps. These plants were growing at UMaine’s Rogers Farm. Rick Kersbergen photo. by Polly Shyka If the pinecone is Maine’s state flower, then the sunflower, a native, useful, generous and beautiful plant, should be the national

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Grow Turnips

Rutabagas (right) have a denser, mostly yellow-fleshed, rounder root than turnips. The leaves of rutabagas have a blue tint and are not hairy, as are those of turnips, and the roots of rutabagas arise from the underside of the tuber as well as from the taproot. Rutabagas take longer to grow but have a richer

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