May 2017 Newsletter

The WINNER of  the "Most Important" Giveaway
Come "SHOW OFF" your School Garden Grown
A look back at Maine School Garden Day
Meet School Garden of the Month:
 ** Trenton Elementary School **
MAY we suggest some Garden Tips?
Who are the "Three Sisters"?
Congratulations to
Darcy Johnston from Appleton Village School
WINNER of the "Most Important" Giveaway

Knowing what’s most important to the success of your school garden each month of the year is what's most important to MSGN! Thank you to ALL of the participants who shared information, it will help us build the Garden Coach Manual we are currently constructing as a resource to sustain school garden programs across the State.


Nobody likes a "SHOW OFF"?

False! At MSGN we LOVE them!
In fact, this year we invite 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 - Sign up here 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!
3) Stay tuned - More information about participating fairs to come!  

Got questions? Email us at anytime!

What a day! 
Thank you to everyone who made Maine School Garden Day a success! More than 50 educators participated in the presentations and workshops which included permaculture design, beneficial insects, agricultural art, poetry and so much more! A huge thanks to Maine Agriculture in the Classroom for organizing the event and providing curriculum resources for everyone who attended. We are thankful for the many volunteers and our hosts at Falmouth High School for the opportunity to explore their impressive garden program. The day was fun and information packed thanks to organizations like Food Corps & ReTreeUS and donations from Bioline Agrosciences, Estabrook's and Plant Something Maine. We look forward to next year!
Don't miss these upcoming events!

Eco-Tour: Yardscaping Ecological Demonstration Gardens
Take home smart tips for your eco-friendly school garden! YardScaping inspires property owners to create and maintain healthy landscapes that minimize reliance on water, fertilizer, and pesticides.  A diverse team of volunteers from Maine public, private, profit and non-profit organizations created this educational project to showcase the possibilities for attractive, low-input, and low-impact gardening. The landscape is a series of linked gardens, from a small, pocket urban garden, to a free-flowing wild garden. June 15th Portland, Maine.   Read more and register.

Northeast Farm to School Institute
The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. Our year-long Institute kicks off with a Summer Retreat held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT from June 27-29, 2017. Learn more here. 
Contact Renee Page from Maine Farm to School if you have any questions.

2017 MAITC Summer Teachers Institute
The 2017 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teachers Institute will be held at The University Maine, Farmington with 36 contact hours or 3.6 CEU's available for recertification. The week will start with curriculum sessions at the College focused on STEM, Nutrition and higher level thinking for students in regard to agriculture. The week-long workshop will include lessons, online resources and grant opportunities and a trip to Boothby's Orchard and Farm Winery. All participants will leave with armloads of materials and megabytes of technology integrating agriculture into your classes from Pre K – 12th grade. Get more details and register here.

School Garden of the Month -
Trenton Elementary School

“Trenton’s Growing up Green project is a cohesive experience across grades and disciplines with an emphasis on environmental stewardship, healthy choices, and place-based learning.  Growing up Green connects students and their families with fresh and local foods, as well as opportunities to engage in and learn from the natural environment.  Growing up Green empowers students to make lifelong healthy choices for themselves, their community, and the world.” - TES 2016

Trenton Elementary School was fortunate enough to spend the last school year involved in Vermont Feed’s Farm to School Institute.  We kicked off summer 2016 with a retreat at Shelburne Farms where we created an action plan built around the idea of joining the “three c’s” classroom, community, and cafeteria at our school.  We have spent the year redesigning and expanding our greenhouse thanks to our students’ hard work.  We have almost wrapped up the final stages of completing the extra garden beds and are starting to grow our spring crop.

Along with the expansion of our garden program we have some staples of our school that we will continue.  In the coming month Kindergarten will be planting pumpkins to be harvested next year.  Our middle schoolers will be planting zucchini to make zucchini bread in the fall for the whole school.  Our second graders are currently vermicomposting and preparing their seedlings for the ever expanding Pollinator Garden.  Some of our classes are getting more creative with the garden space we have with theme garden beds.  Some of the ideas are root veggies, eat your greens,  three sisters, and a fun all purple themed garden bed.  

Although the spring has been a bit chilly and very soggy the first phase of our project of expanding the greenhouse garden space is almost completed.  Our whole school Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration gave us a good jump start on getting our indoor and outdoor beds ready for planting and we are almost there!  We are moving a lot of our decorative plants to make room for our crops!  It has been an exciting year at TES.  As we wrap up our involvement in the Farm to School Institute we look to next year to solidify our action plan and continue integrating student involvement in our school garden.  We have made tremendous progress this year in connecting our community, classrooms, and cafeteria.

May Garden Tips:


Harden off your seedlings before planting them. For a week or two prior to planting, place well watered seedlings outdoors in a sunny, protected area such as the side of a building. Monitor their moisture during the day and bring the seedlings back inside at night. This will help your plants become accustomed to outdoor growing conditions.


Check plant hardiness and average last frost date in your area before planting seedlings outdoors.  

Transplant Brassica family seedlings. 

Direct seed carrots, radishes, turnips, beets and lettuce outdoors.


Start cucumber, melon and squash indoors for transplanting, or wait until June to direct seed them outdoors.

Bend ½” electrical conduit into hoops and cover brassica family seedlings with fabric row cover as soon as they are planted to protect them from pest damage. This is also useful protection for cucurbit crops. Remove fabric once plants have filled out the hoop space and are large enough to withstand feeding damage.

Hold a community work day.

Finish writing your Maine Agriculture In The Classroom grant application.


 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.

Request for applications are available on the MAITC website. Categories included: Agriculture Awareness, Ag Leadership and School Gardens and Greenhouses, in amounts of up to $1,000 or $3,000. The deadline for submission for current applications is 4:00 PM on June 8, 2017.
 Who are they?

Have you heard of the "Three Sisters" garden? Did you know there's a fourth one?
This Native American companion planting strategy uses beans, corn, squash and sometimes sunflowers to maximize the benefits and enhance their "growing relationship". Many school gardens are planning to work with this strategy and take advantage of the following plant characteristics:
Beans - fixes nitrogen in the soil
Corn - acts as a trellis for beans
Squash - keeps shade over soil for moisture and acts as a pest deterrent
Sunflowers - are an invitation for pollinators and secondary trellis for beans

 Learn more here.



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!


June 23 - 24: Nature Based Education Summer Institute (Farmington)

June 27 - 29: Northeast Farm to School Institute (Shelburne, VT)

July 31 - August 4: Summer Teacher's Institute (Farmington)


View MOFGA's events calendar here.


Maine Ag in the Classroom (MAITC) Grant Program - Request For Applications Available Now: Click here for more information. June 8th
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

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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