May Newsletter

Staying Connected
       *Join us this week*
Distance Learning Resources
Upcoming Virtual Gatherings
Share Your Experiences
Featured Activity

      *Growing Microgreens*
Join Us This Week!
We're hosting two network meetings this week, focusing on school garden safety: considerations for protocols, supplies you may need, and the importance of communicating with other stakeholders. More details are on our website. Please note: Thursday's meeting time has been changed to 6pm, as we're teaming up with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension's Garden Chats series. 
Join by Zoom Wednesday 5/20 11a
Or by telephone Wednesdsay 5/20:
+1 312 626 6799  or  +1 646 876 9923  or +1 301 715 8592 
    Meeting ID: 933 7944 7765

Join by Zoom Thursday 5/21 6p
Or by telephone Thursday 5/21: 
+1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592     
Meeting ID: 786 090 734

Mark your calendar! After this week, we'll host our next discussion June 11th where we'll talk about summer tips & have a gardening Q&A with a school garden expert!
Video Highlights
This month we're highlighting some of the outstanding video resources available because we recently launched the MSGN YouTube channel! In addition to creating some original content, we're curating playlists of videos--some for sharing with students, others featuring gardening tips, and other best practices pertaining to school gardens. Here are some highlights, from right here in Maine!

For additional resources (print & video!), find an ever-growing Strategies for Remote School Garden Engagement document on our website. We invite you to provide resources or tips you may have to assist others. Topics include safety, videos, curricula, and funds, among others. Please contribute to this shared document, or just take some ideas from it!
Maine-Based & Beyond

From the University of Maine Cooperative Extension:
  • Growing Maine Gardeners Online events for increased garden education led by UMaine Extension’s Home Horticulture team
  • Garden Chats 1-hour sessions are held every Monday at 9:00 AM, Wednesday at 12:00 PM, and Thursday at 6:00 PM on a variety of topics. Recordings available.
  • Victory Garden for ME 20-minute pre-recorded videos geared towards Mainers growing their first vegetable garden. After watching the weekly video, tune in to virtual office hours, hosted by county offices.
  • Virtual Office Hours Connect with the Home Horticulture team and ask gardening questions. Virtual office hours will be offered via Zoom daily, twice a day for the months of May and June. If you can, try to tune in for your own County’s office hours for a chance to connect with your local staff!
  • Garden Mentorship Program Matching Master Gardener Volunteers with beginner gardeners in order to provide technical assistance and encouragement via phone or email throughout the season.
  • Ask the Experts Submit a gardening question online or review the Q&A archive
  • Growing Maine Gardeners video tutorials Weekly short video tutorial on a variety of different gardening topics.
  • Learn at Home Educational resources to use during school closures, by grade level then subject.
  • The Essentials of Accessibility: School & Community Gardens Practical tips for making gardens available to all ages and abilities - upcoming 6/16 1pm
From MOFGA: 
Webinars from
  • How to Build a Partnership with Parents & Families as They Lead Education in the Home - link
  • How to Create Daily Schedules to Support Home-Based Learning for Students with Autism - link
  • Online Learning During COVID-19: Data, Stories, and Tips from the School Front Lines - link
  • Remote Learning Toolkit: Leading and Learning in a Virtual World - link
  • Teaching Online: Learn About the National Online Teaching Standards - link
  • Ethical Challenges in Remote Learning: Student Data Privacy, Digital Equity, Leadership  - link
  • Beyond Content: Taking a Culturally Responsive Approach to Online Learning - link
  • Self-Care for Educators in the Time of COVID-19 (and Beyond) - link
  • May the Infographic Be With You! - link
Other Webinars & Virtual Events:
SAVE THE DATE: In-Person Events
Farm to School Online Workshop for K-6 Educators
3/21 3pm
Join Shelburne Farms' School Program Coordinator, Courtney Mulcahy, to engage in food systems and Farm to School activities that come alive both in an online environment and in the classroom. This online workshop is FREE! A recording will be made available after the event. 

Community Learning for ME Rural Aspirations is working partners to identify areas of need, and develop a comprehensive resource to support learning from home. This site contains resources for families, educators, and organizations.
MAITC Grants – Ag Leadership Grants are due 6/12. Other grant program deadlines coming up 8/21. For assistance on writing grants, start with this: Helpful Tips for Promising Proposals

Maine Farm to School Network wants to hear from about what food systems resilience looks like in Maine's communities. Are you able to incorporate local produce in your school meal distribution? Do grab and go meals feature local apples? Are you able to keep school gardens afloat? We want to hear from you, and learn how we can best support your school community. Thank you!

Portland Public Schools just announced the release of Next Gen Science Standard Lesson Bins for School Gardens. This lesson compilation was done in partnership between Cultivating Community, FoodCorps, and Portland Public Schools. For more information, see the press release and dig into the lessons folder.

Teach ME Outside seeks applicants to join the Professional Learning Advisory Team, focusing on compiling a list of high-quality community-based environmental learning PD experiences for Maine educators. Work runs June-December 2020 for a $1000 stipend. Apply by 5/27.


The Essentials of Accessibility: School & Community Gardens Practical tips for making gardens available to all ages and abilities - 6/16 1pm

Not everybody has access to outdoor growing spaces. A great way to have a garden inside is by growing microgreens! Using multiple seed varieties or growing in different locations around the home can open up this activity as a science experiment. Describing the different flavors if the tiny plants can be a creative writing reflection. And planting them is just plain fun! 

In this brief Grow Microgreens video, UMaine Extension's Horticulturist Kate Garland provides an overview of growing these at home: supplies needed, planting & harvesting instructions, and insights on different varieties. An instruction sheet is available here: How to Grow Microgreens Indoors. Happy planting!

May is Wild Maine Blueberries &
June is Maine Leafy Greens!

Though schools' doors are closed, school food is very much in operation. Nutrition directors and cafeteria staff are working around the clock to see that children are fed now, and into the summer. 

Catch up on all the details and learn how you can prepare your garden to be the source for your "Harvest of the Month" here. Be sure to look for Maine Ag in the Classroom's lesson plans! And please let us know how we can support your school garden's participation in this program!

June Garden Ideas
  • Plant tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, Brussel Sprouts (seedlings), beans, carrots, (direct seed) cukes, squash, melons and pumpkins (seedlings or direct seed).
  • Plant annual herbs, summer lettuces, mustards and arugula, as well as annual flowers.
  • Summer care is crucial so plan well. 
    - Enlist the help of staff members, students and their families, as well as interested community members.
    - Make a summer schedule/monthly calendar with weeks/months needing coverage. Include who’s volunteering, when and phone numbers. Distribute to all involved.
    - Ensure careful scheduling in order to maintain social distancing and other CDC guidelines. Hold a virtual training for volunteers. Explain expectations, where keys and tools are, how to access water and how often to water, sanitizing protocols, and other procedures for maintaining safety. 
  • Provide a map of the gardens and garden journal and post/place in visible location. - Caregivers can write notes about concerns, food harvested, food pantry deliveries, etc.
  • Consider donating summer produce to local food pantries or needy school community members. 
  • Succession planting: do new plantings of salad greens, beans, beets, etc.
  • If you have a hoop or green house, solidify what you're planting over summer as well as care--opening and closing it, water plants, check internal temps., etc.
  • Summer garden projects: build a compost system, new raised beds, fencing, new shed, grape arbor, etc.

 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 CalendarFedco's Veggie Chart, and Johnny's Planting Calculator and Succession Planting Template.ibe to their newsletter.
Plant Something Maine
Plant Something is a grassroots, nationally established campaign designed to increase the public’s support of local growers, nurseries, garden centers, and landscapers through awareness of the benefits of planting specialty crops for the landscape and garden. Plant Something Maine is a program of The Maine Landscape & Nursery Association (MELNA). If you’d like to learn more, then connect with them on facebook, visit their website, or subscribe to their newsletter.

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

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