June 2018 Newsletter

Summer Garden Success Tour
School Garden of the Month:
 ** Sebago Elementary School **

School Garden Grown
Meet the MSGN Secretary
Rain water collection & safety
Pest info resources

June Garden Tips
Grant opportunities & events

Stay Tuned!


Ahhh the sweet smell of SUCCESS!

Join Maine School Garden Network for the 1st ever 
Summer Garden Success Tour
Meet garden educators and experience their programs first hand. Network with other garden goers, participate in a showcase of MSGN's program offerings and learn about ways to enhance the success of your summer garden program. 

Participation for this September tour event will be limited so if you dig it and wish to stay informed as details emerge send an email HERE and let us know how to keep you informed over the summer.
Wishing you a growing success, see you in September!

School Garden Grown
MSGN invites you to promote your school garden and "show off" your School Garden Grown! We know how hard you work and we want to see the fruits (and veggies) of your labor. The program will be offered at Common Ground Fair and many of the other Agricultural Fairs throughout Maine. We are working to create exhibit opportunities (including prize money to support your school garden program) and to promote educational gardens throughout Maine.

Want to "show off"? Here's how:
1) Let us know
Email us to receive more info 
2) Start planning - What fruits or veggies would you like to enter? Now is the time to sow the seeds for success! View fair dates and detailed entry information in fair books
3) Stay tuned - More information about participating fairs to come!  

Got questions? Email us at anytime

School Garden of the Month -
Sebago Elementary School

Sebago, Maine

Setting realistic and attainable goals is the key to success in the mission to use their garden as an outdoor laboratory and classroom. We've appreciated their interest in viewing pests as opportunities for investigation through our Garden Health Engagement program.

Sebago Elementary School is a small K-5th grade school of one hundred students, located in the town of Sebago, near Sebago Lake. The gardens were started by a parent of three Sebago Elementary School students in 2004. Her vision was to develop a community garden, growing fresh food for local families to enjoy. Initially there was lots of enthusiasm by parent volunteers who donated their time, seeds and seedlings. They built wooden raised beds that were later replaced by cinder blocks when they rotted. Many vegetables were harvested early on, so many that there was a huge surplus that couldn’t be handled. Interest in the gardens waned as people moved on to other projects and jobs. Ted Bridge-Koenigsberg took over stewardship of the gardens in 2009. He’s a third and fourth grade teacher, teaching fourth graders in the morning and third graders in the afternoon. When Ted took over, he realized that because the school is small, the gardens would only be sustainable if he set realistic and attainable goals. While his forty kids are involved daily in garden related activities most other classrooms participate to some extent throughout the school year.
     Ted views the garden space as not only a place to grow vegetables, flowers and fruit but an outdoor laboratory and classroom where students and staff can experiment, pose scientific questions and  answer them, solve garden related problems and of course in the process, learn new things in an authentic hands-on way. As Ted said, “our gardens aren’t meant to be showcase, high maintenance gardens but a place where inquiry and learning can take place.” Kids do grow cherry tomatoes (regular tomatoes weren’t popular in the cafeteria), cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and beans for drying, all of which are used in the school’s cafeteria. In addition, they grow grapes, and have a peach and a plum tree. They’ve also grown clover, flax, zinnias and daffodils, as well as buckwheat and rye as cover crops. His students started rice in the classroom and hope to plant it in the garden before school ends for the year.
Administrative support has been strong, with the principal connecting Ted to resources statewide and beyond. He said he’d like to see wide-spread administrative support in all school gardens, statewide since it’s a critical element of school garden success. In order to involve more teachers, he strongly believes garden related activities must be aligned and integrated into the curriculum, making them easily accessible to busy educators.
Current projects happening at Sebago Elementary include: using a zinnia barrier to try to keep  woodchucks out of the gardens (Ted and his students discovered they ate everything but the zinnias)! He’s also experimenting with different mulches to see which ones are most effective. He’s planning a lacto-fermentation system for food waste that he hopes eventually to add back into the soil.  With the assistance of Jason Lilley from Cooperative Extension, he and his students are planning on planting pumpkins and corn in crushed rye, to see if they grow better than in conventional ways. The rice project is underway, with young seedlings growing under grow lights in the classroom. Under his direction, students will plant them outdoors.
The gardens run on a small budget which is primarily funded by the annual sale of daffodils, planted soon after the garden’s inception, along with homemade jellies and grape “leather”. Summer care is minimal, with Ted doing most of the needed work.
Going forward, Ted hopes for a time when the process of growing, harvesting, and getting food into the cafeteria becomes more seamless and routine and that teachers become ever more at ease with integrating their curriculum into the garden “laboratory” , whether it be every day, once a week or month for a particular project or even just occasionally.
He’s appreciated the technical support MSGN has provided, particularly regarding garden pests. The workshops and connections with other school gardeners, farmers and resource people have also been very helpful in moving the gardens forward in new and positive directions.


Student perspective papers written by Sebago Elementary Students are a great example of how the garden can inspire science, research and writing!

We enjoyed many of these thoughtful reports, here is one of our favorites!



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.

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.


 Anna Libby, MSGN Treasurer

Anna Libby grew up here in Maine and enjoyed helping in her family's garden.  At the time, Anna's favorite things to grow were claytonia and calendula.  Now Anna gardens on the same piece of land, though she prefers to grow peas and tomatoes.  She keeps chickens and bees as well.
 Anna works at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association (MOFGA) as the Educational Programs Coordinator, helping to provide programming for gardeners and homesteaders.  She has worked there since 2013.  Previously, she worked with volunteers at other non-profits in Maine and served two years with AmeriCorps*VISTA.   She has served on the Maine School Garden Network board since 2016. We are so fortunate to have Anna!!


To learn more about educational opportunities, events and resources visit Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's (MOFGA) website.



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.

Thank you!

Thank you to Maine Community Foundation and the Harold Dudley Charitable Foundation! Recently the Maine School Garden Network was awarded a grant to continue supporting school gardens throughout Maine. Without the support of grantors and sponsors our work would not be possible.



Rooftop Rain... is it safe?
It has been dry... so DRY!!
From gardeners across the State, we have heard an overwhelming concern about how dry the spring has been and what it means for maintaining the garden this summer. Many schools use rain water collection as a means of sourcing enough water. Do you use rain water collection or plan to in the future to overcome challenges with watering? Here are some things to consider regarding water quality and safety when it comes to rooftop rain harvesting from the Journal of the NACAA.
Thank you to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for sharing this resource.

Pest Information Resources

You've hear us say it a time or two... "If you build it THEY will come!"

Pests (and diseases) are an inevitable challenge in our gardens. Approaching the season with that expectation and the right resources in hand to overcome their pesky presence are essential. Information resources for learning about pests are the first defense in learning how you can impact the health of your garden. We recommend subscribing to the MOFGA's Pest Reports to view detailed pictures and information that's sure to help you win the battle. 

Good luck out there!
Don't miss these upcoming events!
Tour Maine Rice Paddies w/ MOFGA
July 17th
Image result for wild folk farm
Many of you have added rice paddies to your school garden since Maine School Garden Day. Come see the farm that presented this opportunity!
MOFGA Gather & Grow event. 6:00 p.m., Wild Folk Farm, Benton, Maine. Wild Folk Farm has been growing rice for 5 years in paddies. We raise ducks and azolla in the rice paddies as well. Last year we grew 3,000 pounds, 12 varieties and sell the rice as seed and food. We transitioned our no-till garden plots from a mixed vegetable CSA into CBD hemp last year and this year we will also be growing upland rice in our garden plots. Donations to support this and other MOFGA programming are accepted at the door. For more information, contact Anna Libby.

History Haywagon Ride - Wolfe's Neck Farm
August 25th & September 22nd
Join us for a Wagon Ride to the Past…Climb aboard our haywagon and travel through time as you hear stories of the ship captains, fishermen, farmers, teachers, and homemakers who have lived on Wolfe’s Neck over the past 250 years!  This “Wagon Ride to the Past” is a unique opportunity to learn from local historians about the history of our oceanfront farm and the surrounding countryside. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

MOFGA Common Ground County Fair
September 21st - 23rd
If you’ve ever been to the Fair, you know – and if you haven’t been, anyone who has will tell you – it's an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine To learn more click here.

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. 

 Enter who’s volunteering, when and phone numbers. Distribute to all involved.

Hold a training meeting for volunteers. Explain expectations, where keys and tools are, how to access water and how often to water, etc.

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, what will you plant over summer. Who’ll open and close 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 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.


School Garden Grown Opportunities Statewide! Coming to a Fair near you, email us.

September 2018: Summer Garden Success Tour signup for details TBA

September 21st - 23rd: Common Ground County Fair


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, “Grow” Grants ($1000-$3000): September 15

Seattle Seed Company Organic Seed Fundraiser

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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