January 2018 Newsletter

Meet the Board Intro
New year, new dreams!
- Planning tools & fun ideas
- Request a planning session

School Garden of the Month:
 ** Miller Elementary School **

January Garden Tips
Events & opportunities

Pleased to Meet You!

Ever wondered who is behind the scenes of the Maine School Garden Network?
2018 is the year to meet the group of volunteers and staff who make it all happen! Each month we will introduce you to someone new, but here's who we are in a nutshell...
MSGN is organized by 1 part-time coordinator and 11 volunteer board members representing a broad sector of professions. We join together to share our individual expertise in support of the success and expansion of school garden programs as a platform to connect young people to healthy food and outdoor environments. We have the perceptions of teachers, student councilors, farmers, landscapers, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, FoodCorps, ReTreeUS, Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, St. Mary's Nutrition Center, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Additionally we collaborate with Farm to School/Institute, and share some members with Maine Nutrition Council and other critical support organizations. We come together monthly to strategize and work towards the continuous development of resources and connections that will allow educational gardens throughout Maine to thrive.

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.

BIG Shout Out goes to...

Offering a generous donation to all Maine school gardens!

Start your season with local, organic products for your garden. Here's how it works...

- Search Coast of Maine
website to find your local retailer
- Visit the local retailer and request up to 10 bags of Coast of Maine Product
- Contact
Cameron with any questions or additional needs for your school garden program!

"This helps your program, brings a local retailer closer to the community it serves and acts as a seed starter for a lifelong love of gardening, health and the environment. In short, we all win."

Follow Coast of Maine on Facebook and learn more about their products!

School Garden of the Month -
Miller Elementary School

Waldoboro, Maine

A new year with new goals! Miller Elementary School is ramping up for big things, check out their goals and get inspired. Growing something wonderful always begins with a plan!

The Miller School garden is a new addition to the school, and there are many teachers in the community that believe in Garden Education. The greenhouse provides a covered place for students to work and learn, as well as the 8 raised beds surrounding. 
The garden is much like a community garden for classrooms. A class registers for half a garden bed to plant in the spring and harvest the following fall. The teacher may use the vegetables and flowers in a lesson or as a healthy snack. Kindergarden to 5th grade students will return to the garden to see what has grown. Lessons in the garden are taught by the local FoodCorps member. Teachers coordinate who will water and tend to the garden in the summer. Many of the supplies and seeds are donated from the MV High school program and also provided by the Maine Ag in the Classroom Grant program. 
Short Term Goals:
1. Recruit 2-5 community or parent volunteers to help in the garden, both during the school year and during the summer. 
2. Students in Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 5th grade will receive ongoing in-class lessons about gardening, the food system, and cooking. 
3. School Garden will be finished and expanded to include 4 additional raised beds and possibly some fruit plants. Inside the greenhouse will be completed with tables and potting area. 
4. Creation of a 3-5 member School Garden Leadership Team to oversee garden and garden integration in school. 
Long Term Goals: 
1. School garden will continue to expand and will be integrated into lessons in each grade.
2. School garden will be overseen by a School Garden Leadership Team of teachers, and will be aided by community and parent volunteers. 
3. Elementary garden lessons will scaffold and continue into the garden lessons of Medomak Middle and High School. 


Need help getting a plan in place for your program? Email MSGN today to schedule a visit or to learn about resources to help you get growing in the new year!

WANTED 2018 School Garden of the Month!
MSGN wants to share your story. Please email us and let us know that you would like to be one of our School Gardens of the Month.

Plan Something New in 2018
 Here are a few resources that may serve as creative inspirations in your 2018 garden planning. 


"Sow Successful" - Have old seeds? Want to know if they're still good? Get students involved with seed testing with some pre-germination trials. Check out seed trial basics here

Why Wait? - Sow in the snow! Some native plant species germinate better with the help of mother nature's cold temperatures. Learn what it means to "stratify" your seeds here.

Wild Idea! - Every thought about devoting garden space to reestablishing native wild plants? Take a look at the Wild Seed Project and give back to native habitats. Get started with "Autumn and Winter Seed Sowing in Six Easy Steps".

Grow Something "Weird" - Have fun with "Swine's Snout, Nosebleed and Other Weird Plant Names", maybe plant a few of these native flowers to enjoy in the garden.

DIY Dirt - If you just can't wait to feel the dirt between your fingers, then we suggest making your own! Here's a potting soil recipe that's just perfect for starting your seeds indoors.

Plan with the Pros - Planning a new garden bed? Get help choosing which garden bed system will best suit your school and your long term goals. Learn more and register for this webinar on
January 30th @ 4pm by the National School Garden Network. 

Know Your Enemies! - Learn how to build your custom "IPM toolbox" with information and resources from MSGN on how to prevent insects and plant diseases from harming your garden. Learn from your friends at MSGN, email us to plan a visit today.


Have any "go-to" resources for garden planning? Please share them with MSGN, we love to know what works for you and inspire other programs with proven tools. Email us!

Maine Vegetable & Fruit School 2018

The day-long school is offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association. The event is for Maine  gardeners and farmers on two dates at two locations:
  • March 13 in Portland
  • March 14 in Bangor
Topics will include Soil Health and Weed Management, Cover Crops, IPM for High Tunnels, Paper Mulch Trials, Root Diseases and more!
Preregistration is required. Learn more and register here.  

In case you missed it!

A must have for your 2018 Garden Season

School Garden Coach Manual - DRAFT

A "How To" handbook devoted to a key player in educational garden program sustainability - The School Garden Coach (SGC).

The Maine School Garden Network embarked on an important mission to define the position of School Garden Coaches, evaluate their critical role in sustaining garden education programs and to advocate for schools to adopt the model. We see the investment in a School Garden Coach as the key to sustainable programs and this manual as a tool for guiding garden leaders to achieve that.

This manual is a work in progress; evolving as a result of a multi-year program piloted at several schools with the support of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and the Quimby Family Foundation. As an outcome of this project we have promised release of a manual in Summer 2018, however thanks to the dedication of our MSGN and collaboration with 5 pilot locations and 6 dedicated SGCs, we have created a well rounded, comprehensive DRAFT worthy of early release. Our gift to you!

Please remember, this is a DRAFT - a work in progress! We welcome your feedback, please feel free to
email us and help us build this manual. With over 70 links to resources for your school garden and experiences from incredible SGCs across the State, we hope that you find this manual helpful. A gift that meets your needs and takes your program to the next level in 2018!

View DRAFT Manual
Winter - Orchard Tips

Click the image to view the video
Bring your classroom out to the orchard this winter for a fun learning activity. While the trees go into a dormant state, we still need to protect them from rodent damage, a common problem if not properly cared for. Stomp around the base of the trees to prevent rodents from burrowing and eating the tree's cambium - the living part of the tree just inside the bark. Use screens or three guards around the base of the trunk as extra protection. With these steps your fruit trees will stay healthy and hardy through the cold months ahead!
Want to plant a tree or orchard? Contact ReTreeUS today!
Don't miss these upcoming events!

Wolfe's Neck Center - Understanding Integrated Pest Management Practices 
January 27th

Are the bugs and weeds in your garden getting you down? Come to the farm and dig into integrated pest management and integrated weed suppression management practices. We'll focus on organic solutions to help you get out of the weeds. This lecture based workshop is suited for all adult learners. January 27th 1pm - 3pm. $15 admission. More info and registration click here.

Maine Farm to Institute Summit 
February 9th
The Summit will gather farmers and food producers, food service operators, advocates, educators, administrators, and others dedicated to cultivating the power of institutions to develop an equitable and resilient Maine food system. Learn more. Register today!
Maine School Garden Day - April 28th - Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Hinckley, ME
The Maine School Garden Network, in collaboration with Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, will host a full day of hands on workshops, presentations and discussions. We are in the planning phase of this exciting and informative annual event. More information about how to register will be available soon on our website and February Newsletter.

January Garden Tips: 

  • Finish planning your garden design and rotation of crops. Planting vegetables in the same place repeatedly will attract pest and disease infestations, and diminish soil quality. Avoid planting crops in the same place for 3-5 years. Kids Gardening is one of many free garden planning tools available online to help you design and maintain your garden. Graph paper works well, too! Consider including flowers and herbs to attract beneficial insects to your garden. Perennials such as fruit trees, fall bearing raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb are great additions as their maintenance and harvest align with the academic year. 
  • Share your final garden design with MSGN to make it available to schools throughout Maine!
  • Make a list of seeds, tools and supplies that need to be purchased.
  • Make a planting schedule. Visit for resources.
  • Order seeds. Maine based companies are:
  • Make a harvest schedule based on planting schedule and days to maturity of your selected crop varieties.
  • Plan winter activities such as building a seedling stand, starting a compost or vermiculture program, and growing microgreens. Visit for resources and for curriculum.

Check out our SCHOOL GARDEN CALENDAR 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.
Keep your eyes peeled!
MSGN is preparing to update their online directory. You should be hearing from us! Please keep an eye out for surveys and information requests. We want to know what's going on in your garden and how we can help!


Do you have a new project you'd like to promote in your school garden? Are there things you'd like for us to share with you? Let us know!


Feb 9th, 2018: Maine Farm to Institute Summit (Belfast)
March 25th, 2018: Maine Flower Show (Portland)
Spring 2018: Maine School Garden Day (TBD)

May 18th - 20th: 2018 Nature Based Education Institute (Farmington)
June 26th - 29th 2018: National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference Coming to MAINE!
View MOFGA's events calendar here.


Maine Ag in the Classroom - 2018 Education Grants June 7th
The Flannel Shirt Fund – June 1, October 1, February 1 ($400 to $1200)
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing

Annie's Grants for Gardens - 2018 new grants TBA
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!

For more grant opportunities, visit

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!


Copyright © 2018 Maine School Garden Network, All rights reserved.

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