December 2013 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Agricultural Trades Show - Jan 7 - Jan 9.

Resources

Keep up with the Central School's Outdoor Garden.

Networking Opportunities

Share your garden activities and projects with us!  Email ryan.fahey@maine.gov.

Find Us on Facebook!

We are now on Facebook - Like us to stay up to date with featured gardens, useful articles and the opportunity to share your ideas!

Looking ahead to 2014

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These short, dark days are the perfect time to start planning next year's garden. I recommend ordering your seeds in January. You should have a plan for your garden in order, noting what crops you will grow and where they will be planted. It does not have to be finalized yet, and will likely be revised throughout the course of the growing season, but a rough design will help you decide which seeds to order. You will want to know, for example, whether to order a variety of broccoli best suited to spring planting or fall planting, depending on your garden design. Cooperative Extension recommends vegetable varieties suited to Maine's growing conditions.  If you will be planting a container garden, reference thisarticle for recommended varieties. From there, you can create yourtentative planting and harvest schedules. We'll address that next month, along with tool inventory.

Winter Garden Activities

558645 3617776920594 453737249 nBuild a birdhouse!  Learn about bird feeding basics.  Check out recommendations of where to look for birds in your region of Maine.  Exploredata maps and graphs of bird sightings. 

Build a worm composting system!

 

Visit - Central School's Outdoor Classroom

South Berwick Elementary School's garden program is a showcase for creative activites and community involvment.  I will share a few examples here, but will soon post a new page on our website with a more extensive list of suggested activities.  Please send me any special activities from your own garden program.  If you seek funding for your garden program, this list will provide  helpful ideas for grant proposals, as grants often prefer to fund projects and activities, rather than operating costs. 

Chefs Move to Schools: The Central School's Outdoor Garden has partnered with chef Kathy Gunst through the Chef's Move program.  Kathy cooks with students once a month.  On my visit she masterfully orchestrated a cooking2013-12-13 09-14-37 533 lesson for about 85 second grade students.  They prepared and ate a meal of pasta with kale pesto, homemade tomato sauce and roasted cherry tomatoes.  At least 10 parents were present as volunteers to help the cooking session run smoothly. 

Organic Valley Farmers: Organic Valley donated shredded cheese to be used in the cooking session, and brought a Maine dairy farmer to speak with the children about farming and food.  More details will be included on the web page.

Planting of the Green: The school gathers on St. Patrick's day to announce which vegetables will be assigned to different classes for planting.  Students cheer with excitement as they find out which vegetable they will be responsible for!

Hike Through History: The school garden is incorporated in this annual event.  A garden is the perfect setting for your own short hike through history.  Have students make corn husk dolls during Maine Harvest Week.  Kate Smith found that many of her students had never shucked corn before!

"I Wonder" Initiative: Students are given unconstructed time to wonder in the garden.  Interesting materials can be tucked into an outdoor weaving loom.  This is also a great opportunity to invite local specialists to offer guidance to student's wonder of the garden.  The Outdoor Classroom has invited scientists, naturalist, solar energy specialists and others to help students identify trees, ecological relationships and more.

Again, this is a just a sampling of activities.  We would love to hear about YOUR school garden projects as well!