November 2017 Newsletter


Give Thanks with SeedMoney
Annual Meeting - a success!
School Garden of the Month:
 ** Auburn Middle School **
Squash for dessert!
Winter -
keep your head in the garden!
November Garden Tips
Leaf it Alone
Events & opportunities

Give Thanks with

MSGN has launched a fundraising campaign to support our mission to help school gardens throughout Maine thrive! We are committed to this work and your support is critical to our success and meeting our $5,000 goal.

How has MSGN helped you? Please consider sending a donation to show your appreciation. We are thankful for contributions of any amount $5, $10, $20 or more and spreading the word is all we ask!

In fact, if each of our 1,000 newsletter subscribers each gave $5 we would easily meet our goal!

Read more about the campaign and our goal HERE and THANK YOU for your donation.

Oh what a night!

The MSGN Annual Meeting was held on November 9th at Messalonskee High School. Our gathering was best described as a productive and informative gathering of fun, passionate and inspiring educators agricultural experts and enthusiasts. We are thankful for everyone that could join us- guests, presenters and hosts at Messalonskee.

We left motivated but we did not leave hungry! The potluck was delicious and filled with creative and unique dishes showcasing vegetables and fruits. A special thanks to Johnny's Selected Seeds and their Community Outreach team that joined us and provided a buffet of different squash varieties. Also thanks goes to Longfellow's Greenhouse and Plant Something Maine for donating plants as a gift to our dedicated MSGN Board Members.
The evening was a wonderful collaboration that provided valuable feedback on how to continue to best serve you and a direction for our future.

To see more pictures from the meeting check out our recent post on Facebook.

School Garden of the Month -
Auburn Middle School

Auburn, Maine

At Auburn Middle School they see the opportunity within the trees thanks to the work by ReTreeUS, in collaboration with TD Bank and the Arbor Day Foundation. A 50 tree orchard was recently added to expand their garden program!

On September 29th, an annual TD Tree Days was hosted at the middle school where many hands came together to provide this opportunity. Over 55 TD staff volunteers, middle school classes, and additional volunteers from Wolfe’s Neck Farm, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Project Canopy, and Androscoggin Land Trust all came together to plant the fifty fruit trees. Media students from Edward Little High School also came to the planting to practice their video and interviewing skills!
The recently established organic fruit tree orchard is made up of a variety of apple, peach, pear, and plum trees. The middle school hopes this will enhance the garden program’s role in classroom curriculums, and as a source of fresh food for school lunches as they begin to bear fruit. The expanded school garden and the outpouring of community support gave science teacher and school garden coordinator Nicole Melcher a boost of inspiration, “There’s just endless opportunities for the orchard. It’s got me thinking about how it can be used. I was asked the question ‘How often do you think you’ll be out here’; a lot I’m hoping!

 Read more about this expansion in a recent story in the Sun Journal. Learn about how ReTreeUS can help your school grow and educational orchard on their website and keep up with all their exciting projects on Facebook. Enjoy!

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. All featured schools receive School Garden Pails with seeds and materials from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Squash for Dessert!?

It's no surprise that we'd learn about a creative dessert idea while chatting with Beth Prelgovisk, School Garden Coach at Messalonskee High School. Autumn brings plentiful squash and with so many sweet and savory flavors and varieties why not make it the focal point of everyone's favorite part of the meal? Dessert!

Try this recipe, we think it's the a great use for left over squash and the perfect grand finale to any Fall dinner! 

Got recipes to share? Email them to MSGN!

Winter - "Keep Your Head in the Garden"

Preventing Winter stagnation in your garden program can be a challenge, however there are so many opportunities to engage your students and garden club members. MSGN wants to help you keep your "head in the garden"!

We would love to visit you this winter to discuss your garden plans, and to help you be proactive in your  inevitable battle against pests and diseases. We are still offering Garden Health Engagement visits that help students see plant challenges as learning opportunities and learn about Integrated Pest Management techniques used in agriculture!

Let's plan your winter visit today, email us at  
Don't miss this upcoming event!

Maine School Garden Day - TBD
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. We want to hear from you! What has been valuable? What would you like to see next year? How can we help?
We welcome all garden educators! Whether you're just digging in or continuing to build upon a flourishing garden program, we look forward to seeing you!
Please send feedback to and help us make the most of this upcoming event.

November Garden Tips: 

  • Harvest cool weather crops
  • In unheated hoop or greenhouse:
    • cover newly planted crops on cold nights
      • (row covers/remay)
    • winter seed spinach and mulch, for spring crop
  • Remove plant waste:
    • discard diseased waste and compost the rest
  • Rake leaves and pine needles and add to compost
  • Mulch:
    • garlic
    • flower bulbs
    • new and recently divided perennials
    • raised beds and barren spaces
  • Take soil samples before ground freezes and submit for testing in January
  • Drain and store rain barrels
  • Bring in garden hoses, sprinklers, fragile garden decorations, etc.
  • Wash and dry tools, seed starting materials and pots. Store inside.
  • Build a compost system
  • Plan cooking project using fall crops (carrots, potatoes, winter squash, garlic and onions : soups, muffins, etc.
  • Plan ways to engage garden clubs throughout the winter months

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.
Leaf it Alone
If you haven't managed to rake up all those leaves then we suggest you leave them alone! The value of leaves in your yard is endless! It creates shelter for insects and organisms throughout the winter and provides nutrients to the soil.  
"Look at all those leaves as brown gold. The leaves of one large tree can be worth as much as $50 worth of plant food and humus."
Though it they may not be aesthetically pleasing, it's a great way to feed the yard or garden. If you must collect them be sure they add value to the soil and stay out of a landfill. Use them in your own garden or donate them to a school garden. Learn more about the value of nature's brown gold here.
Join our Team!

The Maine School Garden Network is seeking enthusiastic new Board Members!
Are you motivated to support the development of school gardens across Maine? Do you have valuable experiences and connections that can serve our mission?
Let us know! Email us to learn more about this opportunity!


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!


Registration Deadline
January 1, 2018 in time for ReadME Week of March 19th - 23rd 2018
Feb 9th, 2018: Maine Farm to Institute Summit (Belfast)
March 25th, 2018: Maine Flower Show (Portland)
Spring 2018: Maine School Garden Day (TBD)
June 26th - 29th 2018: National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference Coming to MAINE!
View MOFGA's events calendar here.


NEW! Natural Resources Council of Maine - Nov 30th - $500 grants to middle school (6th, 7th, or 8th grades) teachers and clubs in Maine
The Flannel Shirt Fund – June 1, October 1, February 1 ($400 to $1200)
RetreeUS – orchards for schools, ongoing

NEW! Youth Garden Grant - Due Dec 8th - 25 programs awarded $1000
NEW! FY18 Farm to School Grant - Due Dec 8th - USDA
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 © 2017 Maine School Garden Network, All rights reserved.

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