LINCOLNVILLE —A double treat awaits those who take the Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days tour of the Cartwright and Gould farms in Lincolnville on Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gene Cartwright lives at 34 Townhouse Road. The former Manhattan architect “got tired of looking at the computer screen,” and after a three-year stint in Belfast, he literally headed for the hills, and back to his roots, as he grew up in Illinois, farming with his mother.
Five-acre Whaleback Farm faces the sweeping ridgeline that appears on the label of his new venture—a hard cider that will land on Belfast Co-op shelves this September. This spring he put in a 220-tree apple orchard in a lower field. To one side of the house, 500 newly grafted apple treelets grow in orderly lines next to drip irrigation. Large beds contain herbs that will be used in various cider recipes. Root vegetables, beets, cabbage, okra and others are slated to become a bounty of soups, sauces and borscht this winter. Grapes grow along one trellis; hops reach high toward the sky on another.
An easy stroll away, at 57 Townhouse Road, Kelly Gould raises Katahdin sheep on the farm where she’s lived for seven years. Flowerbeds with everything from bronze fennel to towering sunflowers front the large red barn that the lambs wander into every day for their noon nap. Over at the clean-lined Colonial house, curving ornamental beds show off Gould’s skill as a master gardener. She’s also a member of the Belfast Garden Club. Gould only weeds for a few minutes a day in August. Her secret? “I plant closely, and mulch heavily in June,” she said.
One farm is a colorful mass of flowers; one is in layered shades of green, starring a weeping Norway spruce.Both farmers rotate their livestock. Gould rests each of her pastures for thirty to sixty days, and lets her Ancona ducks scour them of parasites. Cartwright is opening a new pasture containing a former hand-dug vegetable garden for his pigs. He has two Large Black-Red Wattle-crosses—“one to keep, one to sell.”
To get to Townhouse Road, drive out Lincolnville Avenue, cross Route 1, and continue on Route 52 past Slab City Road to Townhouse Road on the right. Cartwright is on the left; Gould is on the right.
A $5 donation helps the Belfast Garden Club maintain 12 public gardens in Belfast and award two scholarships each year. Strips of eight tickets for $30 are on sale at any of the Open Gardens and at Left Bank Books in Belfast. For more information visit BelfastGardenClub.org or call Martha Laitin at 207-323-2368.