July 2014 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Pittston Fair: July 24 - July 27

Open Farm Day: July 27

Northern Maine Fair (Presque Isle): July 25-August 2 

Bangor State Fair: July 25-August 3

Monmouth Fair: July 29 - August 2

Summer Teachers Institute (Unity College): August 4-8 

Topsham Fair: August 5-10

Cooking For Crowds (Bangor): August 7

Skowhegan Fair: August 7-16

Networking

Do you use QR Codes in your school garden program?  Share your ideas and interest in learning more with ryan.fahey@maine.gov.

Facebook

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

The Fall Garden 

cabbageThe window for planting many fall crops is about to close.  Johnny's Selected Seeds has a helpful fall planting calculator that can help guide your planting schedule.  Generally, it is a a good plan to start your fall seeds before the end of July.  Keep in mind that with shortening days and cooling temperatures, crops planted for fall may take longer to grow  than the days-to-harvest indicated on the seed packet.  Consider planting varieties having shorter days to maturity.  On the bright side, those cooler temperatures will provide you with extra sweet peas and less likelihood of bolting broccoli and lettuce.   

Harvest of the Month: Cucumber

mysterybug1Cucumbers are 96% water, which makes them cool and refreshing and means that you should keep the plants well watered on hot, dry summer days.  You can grow cucumbers in black plastic or fabric mulch to warm up soil, reduce weed pressure and limit plant contact with soil-borne disease.  Cucumbers can also be planted in hills to drain and warm soil.  To avoid pest damage, immediately cover plantings with fabric row cover.  

Cucumber plants can be left to sprawl or trained up a trellis.  Teepees made of saplingings are popular structures in school gardens.  Acattle panel (a length of woven wire fencing that can donated from a hardware store) can be bent into an arched trellis.  Shaded tolerant greens can be planted in the space beneath the arch.  

Making pickles with students provides the opportunity to teach about pH, fermentation, temperature, ratios, food safety, nutrition and more.  When you are finished, you can turn that pickle into a battery!  If you haven't yet incorporated food preservation into your garden program, head over to UMaine's Cooperative Extension for resources and to sign up for one of their hands on summer workshops.

QR Codes and School Gardens

Create a guided tour and encourage visitors to linger by enhancing your school garden with QR Codes.  QR Codes are scanned by smartphones and tablets to link to online content.  The Arrowhead Primary School Nature Zone in Copley, Ohio links QR Codes to videos created by students to describe the each stop on their self-guided tour.  QR Codes can be affixed to plant labels linking to planting, pruning and harvesting content and recipes, all created by students.  Virginia Cooperative Extension offers a powerpoint with more ideas and how-to information for incorporating QR Codes into the school garden.  

Curried Carrot Soup

This recipe was submitted by Pam Lanz of Manchester Gardens for Learning, in hopes that you might consider serving this soup at your School Garden Open House.  

Recipe adapted from a Recipe from Rachel Ray & the Food Network
¼ c. olive oil
2 small/medium onions, chopped
3# carrots, peeled + chopped
3 qts. Chicken broth
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2-3 Tbsp curry powder
Salt (to taste)
1 pint of sour cream (optional & for garnish)
Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, onions and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add 8 c. chicken stock, curry and cayenne to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. Blend soup with an immersion blender (or food processor) until the carrots are fully pureed, adding  remaining stock, as needed to achieve desired consistency. Adjust seasonings. Place sour cream in a plastic condiment squeeze bottle or into a medium food storage bag. Cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag with scissors. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a swirl of sour cream. 

School Garden Open House

We would like to invite you to participate in the 4th annual School Garden Open House!

Saturday, September 27th, 2014.

Plan now to hold an Open House event at your school garden, in conjunction with Maine Harvest Lunch week.

Open your garden to the public, provide tours, have fun and educational activities.

Generate support for your garden program among parents and the community.

Help your students show pride in their hard work.

Recruit new volunteers and supporters for your garden.

Help to publicize school gardens in Maine!

Click here for info on planning your event; email info@msgn.org with questions.