June 2015 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Maine Fiber Frolic: June 6-7

Maine Fare: June 30

MAITC Summer Teachers Insititute: August 3-7

School Garden Open House: September 21-25 

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June in the Garden

June in Maine is a great time to plant, but it’s also the last month of the regular school year for most schools. Try planting as late as possible to increase the amount of harvesting you are able to do when students return to school for the next academic year. An additional benefit, shared by Don Spranger of Washington Academy at a recent School Garden Regional Gathering, is that planting potatoes and brassicas late in June has allowed his crops to avoid the pest pressure from potato and flea beetles that is rampant earlier in the season.

Planning summer care of school gardens now will save you a lot of effort over the summer. If possible, enlist staff members, students, families, community members and local businesses.

Consider:

  • Make a schedule or monthly calendar with all weeks that need coverage, who’s caring for plants and phone numbers; distribute to all participants.
  • Host a training meeting so everyone caring for the gardens knows the expectations, where keys and tools are, how to access water, how often to water, etc.
  • Keep a garden journal in a visible place so caregivers can leave notes about what they did, concerns, food harvested, etc.
  • What will be done with garden produce during the summer? Should volunteers or summer school staff take some, donate it, etc.? Make these expectations clear to those tending the gardens.
  • Succession planting. Will you plant new crops over the summer and if so, who will do it?
  • Who will be responsible for the daily chore of opening, closing and watering your greenhouse?
  • Make a garden “map” if you haven’t already, and label everything clearly. Post in a garden shed or hoophouse.
  • What other summer garden projects might you want to tackle during the summer months when people may have more free time (build a compost system, a new raised bed, put up a fence, etc.)
  • Have a potluck celebration at the end of summer for all who volunteered.

Finally, here’s a fun classroom project to do with students, if you’ve been growing a variety of salad greens or microgreens this spring. Have a taste test to see which greens are most popular. Put each variety in a separate bowl and have several salad dressings on hand too. Give each child a paper plate and let them select greens to try. Do an opinion poll and chart which were the most and least popular varieties and share this with your food service staff and use the information for your late summer/fall plantings.

Have a great summer in the garden!

Russell Libby Agricultural Scholarship

10649826 10154020188489057 2703197161608297929 nDo you know a student interested in pursuing a degree in sustainable agriculture? The newRussell Libby Agriculture Scholarship will provide a Maine High School Senior $1,500 to study sustainable agriculture at a Maine college.

The application is short and simple, comprised of a few biological questions and a 350-word essay. The application is due JUNE 15, however, so share this opportunity ASAP!

 

MAITC Summer Teachers Institute

Armloads of Curricula! Online resources!
Local Ag Tours!  Guest presenters! 
3.6 CEU's or 36 Contact Hours for Re-certification
$200 cost ($450 value) Scholarships Available
Registration form available at

Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project

IMG 0001First off, we would like to congratulate the MVHS Heirloom Seed Project for earning a $20,000 Seeds of Change grant!

We would also like to encourage you to further explore this amazing program. Saving seeds not only teaches students about plant biology and biodiversity, it provides them with a physical connection to history and geography.

The Heirloom Seed Project has a new website that can be viewedhere. The program is eager to share it's knowledge and resources with other schools. You can explore historical accounts of trees planted in their Living History Arboretum, peruse their seed catalog,  and connect with them to learn more about how you can start saving seeds in your own school garden.