How to grow organic fruit crops



Gardening experts Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto PHOTO BY STACEY CRAMP COURTESY OF PAGE STREET PUBLISHING CO.

Gardening experts Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto
PHOTO BY STACEY CRAMP COURTESY OF PAGE STREET PUBLISHING CO.

ELLSWORTH — Gardening experts Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto, who co-authored “The New England Gardener’s Year,” will share their knowledge about organically growing strawberries, raspberries and high-bush blueberries at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, at Ellsworth City Hall Auditorium.

The Ellsworth Garden Club is hosting the free public event, at which the co-authors, who live in Ellsworth, will cover organic gardening techniques for each of the small fruit crops, from getting started through the annual growing cycle. Topics will include variety recommendations, required growing conditions (including soil pH, drainage, sun exposure, organic fertilizers, pruning), cultural challenges and specific pollinators and other insect life associated with each of these small fruits. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation.

Manley and Peronto, whose book is a full-color, month-by-month guide for gardeners in the Northeast, will have signed copies of “The New England Gardener’s Year” for sale.

Manley has gardened in South Carolina, Washington state (while earning his Ph.D. in horticultural sciences), Massachusetts and, for the last 12 years, Maine. He writes about his garden in a weekly column and online blog for the Bangor Daily News.

Over four decades, he has taught horticulture at technical colleges and universities, including the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of Maine, Orono. He currently teaches for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program.

Peronto received her Master of Science in Environmental Education degree from the University of Wisconsin. Between college degrees, she spent more than two years in Togo, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by three years as community garden consultant with the Save the Children Federation. She is a University of Maine professor with 20 years experience teaching courses in ornamental gardening, ecological landscaping and home food production. She trains Master Gardener Volunteers to conduct community outreach projects that promote sustainable gardening and food security.

For the past nine years, Marjorie has conducted research trials on native trees and shrubs for Maine landscapes. For more information, contact the Ellsworth Garden Club’s publicity chairperson, Mary Blackstone, at [email protected].