December 2014 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Maine Agricultural Trades Show: Jan 13-15

Grant Deadlines

Captain Planet Foundation Grant: January 31

The Flannel Shirt Fund: Feb 1

Networking

Do you have a great idea for a project that needs funding?Barnraiser is a new online crowd funding platform that supports projects related to sustainable food.  

Thanks to FARMS

FARMS hostsWe had a delightful and productive annual meeting at the FARMS kitchen in Damariscotta earlier this month.  We prepared several recipes using local foods and brainstormed how to best support school gardens in 2015.  Thank you for hosting us!

Facebook

Like us on Facebook and share your photos, ideas and questions with other school gardens!

December in the Garden

Chefs 2This may be your last chance to catch up onNovember tasks that fell by the wayside.  December is a good time to make sure all of your garden tasks are completed for the season, before the snow arrives and you can't mulch, find garden hoses and garden ornaments.  Remember too that clay pots left out all winter so they, as well as plastic planters, should be stored in a garden shed or indoors.  Put away all of your supplies and tools, taking the time toclean and sharpen them.

If you have a hoop house, greenhouse or other season extension structures, be sure to arrange who will clear a path to them to remove snow and ice from the structures.  Heavy snow reduces sunlight to plants and can damage structures.  Outside compost bins will also require a cleared path.

December is a good time to take soil samples from various parts of your garden, as long as the ground isn't frozen.  Sample boxes and forms can be sent to the University of Maine Soil Testing Service in the new year before the rush in May and June.  Contact your county Cooperative Extension Service or the University of Maine's Soil Testing Service for a soil testing kit.  A standard soil test kit is $15, but there is a winter discount if the sample is received between January 1 and March 1.

Outdoor composting becomes difficult for many school gardens in the winter.  Vermiculture (worm composting) can be done in the comfort of a classroom or indoor space.  See the resources on our website for more information.

Protect young fruit trees by wrapping them with hardware cloth.

Draw a map of your 2014 garden if you don't have one.  It will be much easier to note where you planted your tomatoes now than it will be in January when planning your 2015 crop rotations. 

Take year end notes in general that will help in planning next year's garden.  Reflect on what went well and what needs to be different next year.  Do you want to stick with that heat resistant lettuce variety?  Do you need to plant more onions?  Did you plant your broccoli too close together?   Write it down before you forget!

Stay warm in the kitchen and use up your root vegetables with this tasty recipe from F.A.R.M.S. (Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools).

Fall Harvest Recipes

Carrot-Apple Salad (from the Portland Press Herald)

1 cup fresh carrots, grated

½ cup raisins

1 cup shredded cabbage

2 unpeeled red apples, chopped

¼ toasted, sliced almonds or chopped nuts (optional)

½ cup low fat plain yoghurt

1 T. low fat mayonnaise

1 T. lemon juice

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Blend together yoghurt, Mayo and lemon juice and add to mixture. Toss and serve alone or on salad greens.

Apple -Stuffed Acorn Squash (from Marie Poulin, Personal Chef)

Serves 4

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

3 cups cube, peeled apples, preferably Granny Smith

½ cup walnuts (optional)

2 T. white sugar

3 T dried cranberries

2T. melted butter

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. pumpkin spice

     Preheat oven to 350. Place squash cut side down in a baking pan filled with ¼ inch hot water. Bake for 30 minutes.

     In a large bowl toss together apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.

     Remove pan with squash from oven, discard water and place squash cut side up and fill each squash half with apple mixture.

     Bake for 20 minutes longer.

Regional Gatherings

NovemberRG

MSGN Board Meetings

We currently hold monthly meetings in Brunswick, on a Tuesday morning.  We are considering the possibility of holding some meetings by phone or video in order to include YOU, our audience.  We would like to know if this possibility is of interest to you, and how we can best accommodate your schedule and needs.

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