December 2018 Newsletter

Announcing the 10th Annual
~Maine School Garden Day~
Presence is a Gift! MSGN visits

School Garden of the Month:
 ***   PATHS   ***

Cultivate Gratitude in 2019
Meet the MSGN Board

December Garden Tips
Events & Opportunities

Oh what a year!!


2018 was a whirlwind year filled with many milestones including the celebration of 10 consecutive years of service to school gardens in Maine. Here are a few things we proudly look back on:

  • The first ever Summer Success Garden Tour 
  • A gathering of nearly 100 participants at the 9th annual Maine School Garden Day
  • The release of our "life changing"  School Garden Coach Manual
  • The commissioning and launch of the Gratitude Tree and it' migration of nearly 1,000 miles
  • Establishment of the Garden Health Engagement Program and IPM education
  • Increased staffing to position MSGN for development in 2019
  • Fostered partnerships with new sponsors and grantors
  • Met so many new garden educators and students who motivate us to keep working!

As we wrap up a successful year here, we thank you for your support for our mission and for giving us the pleasure of impacting communities through garden education. To learn more about milestones over the years at MSGN see our timeline.

Best wishes for the new year!

Announcing the 10th Annual

Maine School Garden Day


Save the date, more details and registration to come! 

Have topics you'd like included in the program this year?

Please share your ideas,
email us today!


MSGN Wants to Visit YOU!

With 2019 right around the corner, we are already wondering how we can help you! Do you need support for...
  • planning your garden
  • connecting curriculum
  • managing pests
  • gathering resources
MSGN is planning site visits into the coming year, and it's our reslolution to expand our reach to all regions throughout Maine. Help us out and send us and invitation to your garden! No matter the season, we are always excited to learn about your program and help you plan ahead for success.
We lend support to garden educators and leaders, but did you know that we also offer educational visits year round for students of all ages?  Let us plan a visit to help keep your students thinking about their impact in the garden this winter and learn how to prepare for the garden challenges ahead.
Contact us today to plan a visit!   

School Garden of the Month -
Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS)

Portland, Maine

A growing "path" to success indeed! Learn more about a unique program located in southern Maine.

Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) is a large and exciting place.  As the Career and Technical Education school for Cumberland County, it has about 400 students learning various skilled trades in such fields as carpentry, masonry, welding, performing arts, early childhood occupations and culinary arts.  But the most interesting part of the school (in our opinion, at least!) is the Landscapes and Gardens program, which was started in 1976.  About 30 lucky students get to work in a “classroom” space of 40 acres, which includes vegetable gardens, decorative display beds, an herb garden, an orchard, a huge greenhouse and even an outdoor pizza oven!
The instructor for this inclusive curriculum is Kathy Tarpo, who has been with the school for 5 years. She previously worked in the nursery industry for 10 years, and has over 12 years of teaching experience.  She has a wonderful way of connecting with her students, giving them guidance and down-to-earth skills, but at the same time encouraging them to take on responsibilities and develop the work habits they will need as they transition from school to the outside business world.
This focused program teaches students career skills such as garden preparation and design, retail and wholesale marketing, aquaponics, pruning and plant maintenance, integrated pest management, greenhouse operations, sustainable agriculture, and even farm-to-table cooking.
During the year, students get to experience a wonderful range of seasonal projects and activities.  In early spring, they tap the maple trees on the property and make syrup (a sugar shack is an upcoming project for the carpentry students). Their greenhouse becomes a nursery for hundreds of veggie and flower seedlings. In late spring, they hold a seedling sale. Then they’re off and running with planting and maintaining their 3000 sq. ft. of vegetable beds, and the flower gardens on campus, through the spring and summer. At times, outside groups make use of the harvest, like participants in the local Cultivating Youth gardening project. Vegetables, herbs, greens and lettuce are harvested and shared with the Culinary and Food Service programs at PATHS. Among their other crops are carrots, garlic, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, squash, parsnips and leeks. A lack of fences is a challenge, with some crops lost to deer and rodents.
In the fall, there’s a Harvest Celebration for the whole school and apple cider pressing using the harvest from their 35 apple trees. Then the students get busy with crafts and projects for their upcoming holiday sale. Botanical salves and soaps, balsam wreaths and table decorations, and catnip mice are some of the unique items they create. Through the winter they maintain a collection of succulents and houseplants in the greenhouse and plan for the upcoming growing season. They also oversee the aquaponics setup, complete with tilapia, in the greenhouse. The floating raft beds grow lettuce, mixed greens and herbs.
So the PATHS Landscapes and Gardens program is more than your typical school garden. It is growing future professional gardeners, nursery workers, landscape designers, horticulture therapists, farmers, florists and educators.  It is a program worth supporting!  If you wish to learn more, visit their Facebook page, or contact Kathy at

Thank you to Johnny's Selected Seeds for their continued support for our School Garden of the Month locations!
Please email us and let us know if you would like to be one of our School Gardens of the Month for 2019.

Cultivate Gratitude in 2019

Inspire students, staff and community to share what makes them thankful with MSGN's Gratitude Tree. Create a colorful display of personalized leaves on the tree mural and inspire positivity at your school. After all, growing gratitude is a beautiful thing and we invite you to experience it at your school in 2019!

In its first year it has migrated nearly 1,000 miles! Will your school be a destination in 2019? Learn more about hosting here
To sign up Email us today! 

Pleased to Meet You!

Ever wondered who is behind the scenes of the Maine School Garden Network?
Meet the group of volunteers and staff who make it all happen! Each month we will introduce you to someone new.


 Kat Coriell, MSGN Board Member

I think I grew up spending more time outdoors than in, and I’ve always had a love of nature, animals and plants. My family did a lot of gardening, hiking and camping, and I spent even more time in the woods during many years in the Girl Scouts.  I decided to make the outdoors my career, so I went to college in Michigan and studied environmental education, horticulture, and then veterinary medicine.  After moving to Maine, I did volunteer nature guiding for kids at Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston, and created a school garden for my son’s second grade class. Years later, when I saw a presentation about the successful Troy Howard Middle School garden program, I got inspired to do something to spread the benefits of school gardens to kids around the state. So in 2008 I helped Jessica Bean re-start the Maine School Garden Network, which had been active in the early 2000’s, but had lost its leadership.  Since then MSGN has continued to grow, and we work hard to enlighten schools around Maine about the wonderful learning and fun a school garden program can offer their students. I believe its one of the most rewarding ways that a school can enrich their curriculum!   

We look forward to introducing you to a new MSGN board member each month here in the newsletter and hope to shake hands at future events and workshops!

If you are interested in becoming a board member or discovering volunteer opportunities with MSGN please send us an email.

Shout Out!

GoldenOak Band is a Portland-based indie/soul/folk band who generously selected MSGN as the recipient of their 2019 Annual Holiday Giving Campaign -- that is music to our ears!
Please head over to their website and check them out!! While you're there, grab some merchandise because until the end of December MSGN will receive 10% of all merchandise sales.
Thank you GoldenOak!

See us at the Trades Show!

MSGN invites you to stop by the Demonstration Stage at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on Thursday, January 17th from 11:00am - Noon for live cooking demonstrations. We'll be there with students making smoothies! Come watch, learn and taste samples of delicious and nutritious recipes featuring Maine ingredients made by students who benefit from our programs.

We're excited to share a recipe using Icelandic Kelp Blend (IKB) Powder from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables! learn more about the benefits of IKB

Donate to a local garden!

This year instead of a SeedMoney campaign of our own, we wish to promote awareness of all the campaigns throughout Maine worthy of your support. Please consider making a dontaion to one of the campaigns local to you. Need help finding a project to support? Take a look at the interactive map or the list of Maine programs seeking support this year on this link

December Garden Ideas:

  • Do a final check for all garden tasks to be finished
  • Continue watering and care of veggies growing in your hoop or greenhouse.
  • Cover plants at night with row covers and/or remay when temperatures are around or below freezing.
  • Arrange who’ll snow blow or shovel a path to the hoop or green house, compost bins, etc. and clear snow and ice off and around them, when necessary. Heavy snow reduces sunlight to plants and can damage the structures.
  • If you haven’t taken a soil sample do it now before ground freezes and send to U. Maine’s Soil Testing Service.
  • Consider vermiculture (worm composting) in your classroom. Google vermiculture or find the book Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils (2003). Also, The Edible Schoolyard Classroom: The Garden Companion (2008), as well as many other resources.
  • Do more cooking with your class. Make a carrot-apple salad or apple stuffed acorn or butternut squash.
  • Contact MSGN for a visit!

 Check out our MONTHLY SCHOOL GARDEN CHECKLIST to learn more about what this month looks like in the garden! For more information, try out these awesome resources: MOFGA's Planting Calendar, Fedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template.
Recommended Film -

The Kid's Menu
Check out a FREE Viewing 12/15
Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville, ME

This wonderful documentary is about kids and food politics, brought to you by Joe Cross and the many children he interviews!

"In this inspiring and hopeful documentary, we see amazing programs in action, inspiring individuals paving the way for change, but most of all — Kids, taking the lead in getting healthier options on their own menu."

This is such an important film for the entire family as well as our community!

Join us and bring friends!

This is a FREE screening and of course donations are always welcome to help continue such important community events brought to you by Mainely Birthing and Revisit Healthcare.

Winter is a great time to catch up on educational reading and movies. Have any resources to recommend? Let us know! 
We are building our network and our team!
Are you interested in having an impact on garden education in Maine? Join us for updates on statewide programs and projects - let's grow together!
Future Meeting Dates: Dec 19th, Jan 23rd
Meetings are held in Augusta, inquire about remote connections.
We also welcome support for special projects via committees like fundraising, event planning, technical support and more. Want more information about current projects at MSGN? We'd love to work with you!
Email us today at


"The Kid's Menu" - FREE Viewing: Dec 15
2019 Maine Agricultural Tradeshow: Jan 15th - 17th
2019 Maine Flower Show: March 28th - 31st
2019 Maine School Garden Day - April 27th
View MOFGA's events calendar here.


The Flannel Shirt Fund – June 1, October 1, February 1 ($400 to $1200)
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing
New England Grassroots Environment Fund –Seed grants ($250-$1000): ongoing

Seattle Seed Company Organic Seed Fundraiser

KidsGardening Grants - Budding Botanist due Nov 19th, Youth Garden Grant due Dec 17th, Carton2Garden due March 25th, NEW Tower Garden Giveaway 
Digital Wish Grants – 15th of every month, submit a lesson plan to win
Fruit Tree 101 – orchards for schools, ongoing
Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools – get a salad bar for your school, ongoing
Whole Kids Foundation Grants - School Garden grant, Extended Learning grant, Honey Bee grants and more!

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!

Copyright © 2018 MSGN, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333

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Maine School Garden Network · 28 State House Station · Augusta, ME 04330 · USA

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