Newsletter: December 2020
Our Gifts to You
We're Hiring!
 Monthly Gardening Ideas
School Garden Resource Highlights
Three Ways to Support MSGN
Upcoming Events
Harvest of the Month
Funding Opportunities 

Our Gifts to You

Here are a couple new resources for our network of gardeners: 

Check out our new and improved Grants +Funding for School Gardens resource. Some entries are more widely applicable to outdoor learning and STEM education, but all pertain to school garden projects. Please share this widely!

If you're considering integrating school garden produce into the cafeteria, please consider establishing standard operating procedures which provide clear instructions and uniform processes for ensuring food safety. Read more in our HACCP Plans resource.

You may have seen us on TV recently! Check out the video of the recent TV spot of MSGN and our partners! 

We're Hiring!


  • Finish planning your garden design and rotation of crops. has many free garden planning tools to help design and maintain your garden. Brainstorm with your garden team about projects for the next gardening season--and start planning now! 
  • Avoid planting crops in the same place for 3-5 years. Planting vegetables in the same place repeatedly will attract pest and disease infestations, and diminish soil quality. Explore crop rotations!  
  • Attract beneficial insects to your garden by including flowers and herbs into your design. 
  • Consider incorporating perennials such as fruit trees, fall bearing raspberries, asparagus, and rhubarb. These make great additions, as their maintenance and harvest align with the academic year. 
  • Incorporate deer repellent plants to help manage hoofed garden intruders. 
  • Curb your summer maintenance struggles by planning to use the Back to School Garden technique! This involves mulching heavily in late spring and planing fall seedlings when school is back in session. 
  • Work with students to map out your design on graph paper.  
  • Share your design with MSGN so we can share it with other schools in Maine!  
  • Make a list of seeds, tools, and supplies that need to be purchased. Reach out to seed companies for donations! Determine which seeds you may purchase. 
  • Explore different growing techniques! Check out this DIY Hydroponics activity or brush up on greenhouse growing with the United States Botanical Garden's Greenhouse Manual: An Introductory Guide for Educators.
  • Utilize the calendar! Create a planting schedule. From there, make a harvest schedule based on your planting schedule and days to maturity of your selected crop varieties. Consider incorporating seed saving in to your garden activities.  
  • Plan winter activities such as building a seedling stand, starting a compost or vermiculture program, or growing microgreens.
  • Connect with other school gardeners and learn new ideas by attending SGSO Network's upcoming webinars and virtual gatherings.
  • Cultivate a relationship with your local Cooperative Extension professionals! 
  • Read through MSGN's School Garden Coach Manual and identify areas of growth for your garden!
Check out our MONTHLY SCHOOL GARDEN CHECKLIST to learn more about what this month looks like in the garden! For even more information, try out these awesome resources: MOFGA's Planting Calendar, Fedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template

School Garden Resource Highlights

In advancing MSGN’s mission to promote and support educational gardens for youth, it’s imperative we provide resources that assist garden educators in creating and fostering inclusive spaces where all students feel welcome and engaged.
  • Follow this link to our Social and Racial Justice & School Gardens Resources from MSGN document. A couple highlights for the most recent additions:
  • Culturally Responsive and Antiracist Science Teaching webinar 
  • Get involved! The 2020 Maine Environmental Changemakers application closes December 21. Changemakers is a youth-led, intergenerational network that is seeking applications from youth ages 15-30 and mentors 31+ who are passionate about environmental and social justice.
  • Online Common Ground Country Fair content is still available! Check out recordings of keynote speakers Leah Penniman, Winona LaDuke, and Barbara Damrosch, or other talks and demonstrations in the video library
We know districts have been working so diligently on mapping out what this school year looks like and teachers have been adapting to instruct children in a number of different ways. We've compiled some information we thought might be helpful for our network of educators and school garden leaders. A few highlights are below, but please find a more extensive list here
  • Teach ME Outside is building an online directory of Maine Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning providers and organizations that will exist as a dynamic and searchable tool and will be launched this winter. Becoming a listing on this directory is a totally free opportunity and helps to build awareness of who these providers are and the great work happening around the state! Share the survey widely with organizations that do outdoor learning or environmental education in your community. 
  • Book Study: Ambitious Science Teaching with Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance 
  • Maine Forum on Outdoor Learning resources
  • Outdoor Policy Guide from NBEC has outdoor learning and recreation policies from across the US

MSGN engages with the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network which has tons of information for garden integration in schools. Their website  has webinar recordings, an online forum for School Garden Support professionals (like you!), and information about school garden best practices. Their Best Practices Documents feature topics such as program assessment, networking and communications, and program assessment. Visit the SGSO Network website to dig through their resources! 
If you know of helpful resources for school gardens, please consider reaching out to to share what you have found to be the most useful for your project! 

Three Ways to Support MSGN
Method 1:
When you shop at, Amazon donates. Please consider choosing Maine School Garden Network as the recipient of the charitable contributions you generate by shopping! Here's our unique charity link: . 
Method 2:
We spend the year supporting school gardens. Please take a few moments to show your support for MSGN and the work we do across the state by making a tax deductible contribution to our organization. Visit to make an online contribution via PayPal or mail a check to: Maine School Garden Network, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. 

Method 3:
Maine School Garden Network is actively looking for interested people to serve on our board. The board supports the mission and work of the Maine School Garden Network to promote and support educational gardens for youth, and to encourage school programs which teach healthy eating and environmental stewardship. As an MSGN board member there are many opportunities for you to serve, including executive committee and program committee roles. More details are available upon request. If you are interested in becoming an MSGN board member, please contact: info@msgn. We hope you will join us as we strive to support school garden programs in Maine!
Maine Harvest of the Month
December is Maine Winter Squash!
January is Maine Potatoes!

Local heroes disguised as nutrition directors and cafeteria staff are making sure youth stay fed across Maine. Catch up on all the details and learn how your school can participate in the Harvest of the Month program by visiting the DOE website.
For more HOM curriculum resources, Maine Ag in the Classroom has pages on the Teach ME website!

A HUGE thank you to our SPONSORS!


Stay Engaged:
Upcoming Events


12/16 12-1p - Garden Planning - Selecting the Right Seeds webinar

12/16 2p - Winter School Garden Programming during Covid-19 SGSO webinar

12/17 7-8p - MEEA Outdoor Learning Virtual Roundtable

12/21 - Due: Maine Environmental
Changemakers application

1/12 2p - Cooking with the Maine Harvest: Using Unusual Maine Vegetables

1/13 2p - Designing Garden Education to Support English Language Learners

1/14 7p - MOFGA's Annual Meeting via Zoom

1/14 - MEEA Outdoor Learning Virtual Roundtable

1/19-1/23 - Maine Agricultural Trades Show

1/21 10a-12p - How Maine Feeds Our Children During the Coronavirus Pandemic 

1/26 2p -Cooking with the Maine Harvest: Savory Harvest Pies

1/31 + 2/7 4-5:30p - Beginner Beekeeping

3/22-3/26 Read ME Agriculture 

4/6-4/7 - Nutrition During the Pandemic: Trends and Triumphs 

4/7-4/8 - MEEA Annual Statewide Environmental Education Conference (virtual)

5/1 Maine School Garden Day 


For other upcoming events check out: 
Maine Audubon
North American Food Systems Network 

Funding Opportunities

12/18 Youth Garden Grant

1/8 USDA Farm to School Grants

2/1 The Flannel Shirt Fund Grant

2/1 The American Honda Foundation Grants
Get grant help! Join us 12/1 for our Network Meeting.
MSGN's School Garden Coach Manual:  a collection of resources including ideas other schools have used to fund their garden efforts.

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