Taking Root Blossoms BIG

The return of the Taking Root Plant Sale this spring (after a Covid hiatus in 2020) was a huge success, breaking records both for number of plants sold and funds raised. This fundraiser is the Land Trust’s biggest fundraiser of the year and covers all of the day-to-day operating expenses for our Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG), which includes 80 plots for community members, a large area where volunteers grow food for the clients of Mid Coast Hunger Prevention, as well as several community partnerships and research efforts.

Last Saturday morning, there were over 2,000 beautiful plants filling the Exhibition Hall at the Topsham Fairgrounds, and in just a few short hours all but about 75 of them were gone. Hundreds of community members came to the sale, with the checkout line extending through the hall by around 10 am.

But really, the most wonderful part of the morning, was the HUGE outpouring of volunteer support.

The sale is run by an amazing lead team who start their planning for next year just weeks after the sale. They oversee every aspect of the sale, from dividing and growing plants at TSCG, to bringing in and preparing donations from the community, to managing site logistics, volunteers, and so very much more. In addition to that, dozens of volunteers coordinate major areas of the sale – everything from parking to sales to trees and shrubs.

In the days leading up to the sale and on the day of, dozens more volunteers show up to move plants, set up tables, direct traffic, and the list goes on. Arriving at the sale in a crowded parking lot baking in the hot sun, visitors were greeted by smiling faces helping them find their way. The hall sported “plant experts” in yellow aprons helping buyers chose just the right plants for their yard. As you left the hall with a tray laden with plants, volunteers literally vied with one another to help you check out, while others pressed offers of help with carrying, and wagons for your load.

It’s really an amazing experience, especially when you realize that essentially every aspect was coordinated and completed by a volunteer, and every smiling face helping you with your purchase was a volunteer.

So, BTLT wants to say THANK YOU – to the community members that donated plants, to the community members that came to purchase plants, AND to the community members who have volunteered so many hours to bring the two together.

The sale isn’t “complete” when the hall is emptied, or all those roots are settled into soil. There are ripple effects that just go on and on, as the funds raised are able to support so much good at TSCG. For that we are particularly grateful.

*Photos by Burke Long

2021 WGW Pollinators

2021 WGW Pollinators

By Averil Fessenden

Here we are in a tantalizing time of year, with the light and warmth on the upswing, foretelling gardening season. Yet cold days and nights, brown and dull colors coming into sight as the snow disappears are with us as winter wanes.  What better way to tame our eagerness for the coming season, than to learn about creating a colorful and useful pollinator garden. What is a pollinator garden? It is a garden designed and planted with specific nectar and pollen producing plants in a way that attracts pollinating insects.  Dev Culver, coordinator of the Common Good Garden, offered a workshop on how to build and maintain pollinator spaces as part of the Winter Garden Workshops: Growing Literacy series put on annually by BTLT and Curtis Memorial LibraryView the workshop webinar here. 

“The Bank”, healing in garden for plants destined for Tom Settlemire Community Garden’s annual Taking Root Plant Sale.
Photo Credit: Ellen Maling

Much of our plant food, – nuts, fruits and vegetables, and many flowers depend on pollination to reproduce. Insects – bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and even ants do this essential job. They are in decline due to our hotter, drier climate, loss of natural habitat, and pesticides. We depend on these insects and thus can’t survive without them. Creating gardens and landscapes to attract and feed them is one way to maintain or increase their populations. These are colorful gardens as color is a main feature that attracts insects to particular flowers. In this virtual show we saw beautiful photos of a variety of pollinator gardens and many of their insect pollinators. 

Dev offered 8 tips for creating a pollinator garden or landscape. He suggested using native plants as they provide shelter, and food for native wildlife species, and they are well suited to local soils and conditions. Natives don’t require fertilization, and promote biodiversity and ecosystem health. Fortunately there are many native plants that thrive and bloom through the growing season, see a list by bloom month here in Dev’s presentation slides.  Native plants like lots of sun, so planting in open spaces is best. Insects are most attracted when plants of the same kind are planted in groups or bunches.  Provide a water source, such as a birdbath with rocks in itAnd we were reminded that developing a pollinator garden to its full potential takes time – a few years in fact.

2020 CGG volunteers building TSCG’s newest pollinator bed which focuses on plants that attract moths, and other less well known pollinators.
Photo credit: Dev Culver

Dev told his audience that The Tom Settlemire Community Garden had a busy and successful summer in 2020. The Common Good part of the garden yielded 4,000 pounds of vegetables for Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program with the help of 23 volunteers – both new highs. Volunteers under the leadership of Ellen Maling also have planted hundreds of perennials that will be available for purchase in the BTLT plant sale on June 5 at Topsham Fair Grounds Exhibition Hall.  

Pollinator Gardening was a workshop in Growing Literacy, the winter gardening series that is sponsored jointly by BTLT and Curtis Memorial Library. This collaboration is supported by Camden National Bank – we extend our appreciation. Working together, Local Business, Library and Land Trust make a valuable contribution to our community.

 

 

Winter Garden Workshop Recordings Now Available

We had a great line up of Winter Garden Workshops this year, thanks to our partnership with Curtis Memorial Library, our sponsors Camden National Bank, and all our great speakers.

You can now see videos of all the presentations HERE.

Topics included:

Gardening for Small Spaces, Kate Wallace, Resilience Hub

Kate Wallace is the Programming Director and PDC Facilitator of the Resilience Hub. She facilitates educational experiences, Permablitzes, and designed permaculture systems for clients both independently and through the Resilience Hub. Join Kate to learn all about how to maximize your use of a small garden space. Don’t think you have enough room to grow a tree, vine or tubers? Think again! Let Kate show you her favorite proven tricks.

Food Forest Gardening, Aaron Parker, Edgewood Nursery

A food forest is a way of laying out a landscape to mimic a natural forest, providing food and other human needs with a minimum amount external inputs and maximum benefits to wildlife and the greater environment. Join Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery to learn how to better mimic nature to increase the productivity of your plot. Incorporate more perennial foodstuffs, work less on maintenance and reap the benefits of a system that works in harmony with nature’s natural cycles. his workshop will introduce the concepts of ecological niches, analogs, and resource partitioning so you can design your own home scale food forest. To help you implement your design we will also cover best practices for starting a food forest and recommended species to plant. 

Pollinator Gardening, Dev Culver, Common Good Garden Coordinator, TSCG

Join Dev, Common Good Garden Coordinator for BTLT, to learn about the lesser known pollinators, such as moths, the importance of pollinator gardens, what plants attract pollinators and how to manage pollinator gardens to do the least harm to the pollinators themselves.

Gardening for Plant Based Diets, Dave Asmussen, Blue Bell Farm

There are many reasons for choosing to follow a plant–based diet, whether they be humane, environmental, or health oriented. Learn how to grow the types of foods needed for a well rounded diet. Hint: it involves beans! After adventures far and wide through several states, homesteads and farmland, David Asmussen & Meredith Eilers were excited to put down roots in Bowdoinham in 2013 where they grow diverse vegetables, berries and other perennials such as nut crops. Dave is a graduate of MOFGA’s Journey-person program and is proud to be farming on land with an agricultural conservation easement through the Maine Farmland Trust.

2021 Winter Garden Workshop Schedule

Every winter, BTLT offers a series of workshops to engage with the community, support the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, and offer skill-building exercises for gardeners of all abilities. These workshops are a wonderful opportunity to learn from master gardeners and experts on a variety of gardening subjects. BTLT is proud to partner with Curtis Memorial Library for this event series.

*All series events will be virtual (via Zoom). Please check our Events Page for more information.

 

2021 Winter Garden Workshop Schedule

 

Gardening for Small Spaces: Feb 7th, 1:00-2:30pm

 

Food Forest Gardening: Feb 21st, 1:00-2:30pm

 

Pollinator Gardening: Mar 14th, 1:00-2:30pm

 

Gardening for Plant Based Diets: Mar 21st, 1:00-2:30pm

 

 

 

2021 Winter Garden Workshop is kindly sponsored by Camden National Bank

2020 Annual Meeting

Tomato and Pepper Plant Sale to Benefit TSCG!

Mini Plant Sale to Benefit Community Garden

Where: Tom Settlemire Community Garden (Maurice Dr. Brunswick)

To keep our community members safe:
  • Bring exact change or pay with a check
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill or have been exposed to someone who is sick
  • Use hand sanitizer

When: Sat., May 30, 9am- 12pm

What’s for sale:

Jet Star Tomato- FEDCO’s best selling hybrid tomato. Produces prolific 7-8 oz tomatoes.

Rutgers Original Tomato- great old time flavor. Outstanding slicing, cooking canning fruit.

Sun Gold Tomato- “there is no summer without Sun Golds”- a spectacular tasting cherry tomato.

Premio Tomato-Cluster tomato, almost 4 oz tomatoes with 4-8 per cluster, Juicy , sweet, firm

King of the North Pepper- the most popular green pepper- produces a good crop in Maine

All seeds from FEDCO- raised organically

PRICE: $4.00 per plant donation to BTLT Garden Project.  Please bring exact change, or a check.

Questions or Preorders?: Call Tom  207-841-6747

 

TICK TALK FOR TEENS: How to Safely Enjoy the Outdoors and Avoid Ticks

TUESDAY, MAY 19 AT 1:00 PM (ON ZOOM)

Join Teens to Trails for a presentation followed by questions and answers about ticks and the diseases they may carry, with two people from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, ME. Chuck Lubelczyk and Molly Meagher will combine facts & humor to share how to avoid being bitten by ticks while on the trails and what to look for in ‘tick country.’ Chuck and Molly will also talk about keeping pets safe, both around your home and while out in the woods. With funny examples of what not to do, we will cover what to wear to avoid tick bites, the proper precautions to take before heading out, and what to do if you find a tick on yourself or your pet. Preferred registration for teenagers and outing club members, but all outdoor enthusiasts are welcome!
Brought to you by Teens to Trails, we believe Life Happens Outside!

To register go to Teens to Trails Special Events.and click on the register here button.

 

In case the hyperlinks in the message don’t work for you, here they are:
Teens to  Trails Special Events: https://www.teenstotrails.org/special-events
Register directly; https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArdumtrzorGNOGpiFziTEAkkNYV90tsLuY

Spring Programming in the Face of COVID-19

Spring is usually such a pleasant, hopeful time. My family loves getting in the garden, watching birds, and checking in on all the new green sprouts and buds emerging each day. There are a host of BTLT programs that always feel as much like the start of spring as the crocuses and warblers – the Taking Root Plant Sale, Spring Birding Extravaganza, and Saturday Farmers Market at Crystal Spring Farm all make us know that the season has really changed.

Unfortunately, this season, as BTLT endeavors to keep our community safe in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, these programmatic harbingers of spring in many cases will not happen, and in others will have a very different feel that we are typically used to. Please read below for updates on all of your favorite BTLT spring programming.

  • Taking Root Plant Sale – the sale has been cancelled for this spring, BUT we are taking this opportunity to establish a nursery of unique and heirloom perennials as a source of plans for sales for years to come. We hope that you will still consider potting up a few of your favorite perennials, and donating them to us so that we can cultivate them to share with the community over the coming years. The Plant Sale is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and your donation this year will help to support the Tom Settlemire Community Garden for years to come.
  • Tom Settlemire Community Garden – the Garden was designated by the State as an Essential Business, and will be open to families who wish to grow their own food. There are still plots available if you’d like to join us! We will also continue to work with volunteers to grow the hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that we donate each year to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. We have established a set of protocols for plotholders and a new volunteer policy to keep our plotholders and volunteers safe at the Garden. One of those guidelines is that the Garden is NOT OPEN to the general public for visitation at this time. If you are interested in renting a plot for your family, or would like to volunteer, please contact garden@btlt.org
  • Spring Birding Extravaganza – Our collaborative birding outings will not be happening, at least through May. We are considering scheduling bird walks of some kind during the summer if social distancing regulations are relaxed at that time. We are also working to share virtual birding trips with you on our website and social media. We also welcome the community to share their adventures with us, we might share your short film on our YouTube channel. Please contact kate@btlt.org if you’ve got something to share.
  • Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm – Farmers Markets are an essential business statewide, and we have been working diligently to assure that our market will be open to the community this spring. The Market is very likely to be hosted in an alternative location to allow for greater distancing and regulation of crowds. Watch the BTLT website and social media for updates.

GARDEN CHATS – Growing Resilience from the Ground Up

The UMaine Cooperative Extension is offering a free gardening series via Zoom on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays!

All are invited to these one-hour Zoom sessions. Join members of the UMaine Extension Home Horticulture team for short online lessons followed by a facilitated discussion with fellow gardeners from around the state. Just tune in either through your computer or by phone.

No registration necessary. Click here for more information.

STARTING SEEDS
Mon, April 6, 9am: Variety Selection and How to Get Started
Wed, April 8, 12pm: Annual Veggies and Flowers
Thurs, April 9, 6pm: Building your Own Seed Starting Stand
GARDEN & SOIL PREP
Mon, April 13, 9am: Selecting your Garden Site
Wed, April 15, 12pm: Soil Testing
Thurs, April 16, 6pm: Amending your Soil
GARDEN MANAGEMENT
Mon, April 20, 9am:- Trouble-shooting Weeds
Wed, April 22, 12pm: Succession Planting
Thurs, April 23, 6pm: Direct Seeding

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:https://maine.zoom.us/j/786090734

Or Telephone:
US: +1 312.626.6799 or +1 646.876.9923 or +1 301.715.8592 or +1 346.248.7799 or +1 408.638.0968 or +1 669.900.6833 or +1 253.215.8782 / Meeting ID: 786-090-734