February 2015 Newsletter

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Northeast Farm to School Institute

Maine Farm to School Network will be sending at least one team from Maine to the Northeast Farm to School Summer Institute training in Vermont.  

Applications are due by February 27.

Learn more and apply here.


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

February In The Garden

2013 Sunflower

This is a good month to continue focusing on garden related curriculum in the classroom and begin planning your garden with students, including selecting what you want to grow and which varieties, as well as the design of your garden. Here are two (of many) links to garden planning sites:

Square Foot Gardening - by Garden's Supply Company

Garden Planner - by Mother Earth News:

The Mother Earth News garden planner can cost $25 but is a great tool for succession planting, crop rotation, spacing, etc.  There’s also an option for using the software free for 30 days.

If you want your garden produce to be utilized in the cafeteria, now is a great time to discuss this with your food service manager. They can tell you what vegetables can be best incorporated into the menu. Salad bars are popular, so ask about growing spring lettuces, spinach, radishes, and other salad greens that can be grown and harvested this spring while school is still in session. It‘s a good place to start when trying to move your food service towards using garden produce and saving money at the same time.  

Garden Lesson

80 image 1

*For additional Garden Lessons aligned to Maine Learning Results and Common Core Standards, visitteachmefoodandfarms.org

Here’s a classroom activity that teaches teach about seeds, germination, the different ways a monocot (corn) and a dicot (bean)seed develop into seedlings. It also helps students develop the skills of comparing, contrasting , predicting and observation. Lesson plan: courtesy of Cumberland/York Co. Coop. Ext. Services, grades: 4th-6th


1 quart mason jar for each child, pair, or small group

Dark colored construction to fit inside each jar

Polyester batting

1-2 packets of bean and corn seeds

1 journal for each student, pair or group


Prepare germination chamber by cutting construction paper to fit inside mason jar, against the glass.

Cut batting and stuff into the jar so that it holds the construction paper snugly against the jar wall, all the way around.

Pour warm water over the batting until you see about ½” of water in the bottom of the jar.

Place two bean and corn seed s(which have been pre-soaked in a 10% bleach solution for 5 minutes,

then in warm water for 2 hours) in the chamber between the construction paper and the glass, about 1/3 of the way down. Use a pencil or tweezers to pry the construction paper away from the glass to insert seed; one seed on each side of the jar.

Watch to make sure water wicks all the way up to the construction paper.

Place mason jars in a warm, well-lit place.

It’s critical to maintain water in the bottom of your germination chamber. It’s equally critical that no seed is submerged- it won’t germinate if left submerged. Your seeds should germinate as long as construction paper is in contact with seeds and kept moist.

Make daily observations of your seeds germinating over two weeks and include labeled drawings (on each school day). Ask students to label parts of the seed and number each day. The first day is 0, tomorrow is day 1, etc.

Discussion questions:

Is a seed alive? How do you know?

What does a seed need to start growing?

When did your bean seeds start growing? Your corn seeds?

How did they grow in different ways? The same ways?

What would happen if we left our seeds in these germination chambers?

Regional Gathering Registration


Click the link for more information about each Gathering on EventBrite!

Lincoln County: Morris Farm, Wiscasset - February 28, 9:30a-12:30p

York County: Bonney Eagle Middle School, Buxton - March 14, 10:00a-1:00p

Oxford County: Roberts Farm Preserve, Norway - March 20, 4:00p-7:00p

Cumberland County: Falmouth High School, Falmouth - March 28, 10:00a-1:00p

Kennebec County: Maranacook High School, Readfield - April 9, 4:00p-7:00p

Androscoggin County: Leavitt Area High School, Turner - April 30, 4:00p-7:00p

Penobscot County: Ridge View Community School, Dexter - May 14, 4:00p-7:00p

Washington County: Washington Academy, East Machias - June 6, 10:00a-1:00p