November 2014 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Maine Farm to School Conference(Ellsworth): Nov 2

Beginner Bee Keeping(Falmouth): Nov 13.

Maine School Garden Network Annual Meeting(Damariscotta): Nov 14

Pollinator Health & Safety Conference(South Portland): Nov 20



What topics would you like to learn about at your local regional gathering?


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November in the Garden

Reiche Learning Garden Portland

Gardening is an ongoing process until the ground has frozen and snow has blanketed our gardens for the winter, so continue harvesting cool weather crops like carrots, onions, chard, lettuce, spinach, radishes and cole crops (which many say taste better after a frost or two). When nights are cold, cover salad greens, spinach and radishes with a light row cover for frost protection. Remember to monitor crops in the hoop house for water and temperature. Open the doors or roll up the sides during the day, especially on cool, sunny days when the inside temperature can get above 70.

Winter seed spinach, which will come up in the spring. Cover with mulch.

When removing plant waste, cut plants to ground level, leaving roots to decompose. Compost non diseased material by cutting up plant material into smaller pieces and putting in compost bin. Discard diseased material. Good sanitation in your garden beds helps prevent diseases, pests and fungi.

Rake leaves or pine needles in the schoolyard and add to compost for carbonaceous material.  Reserve some for mulching newly planted garlic, flower bulbs, recently divided or planted perennials and storage carrots (check packet first to be sure carrot is a storage variety can be overwintered). Continue to mulch raised beds and any barren garden space to avoid soil erosion and nutrient loss over the late fall and winter.

Take soil samples for a soil test before the ground freezes, if it’s been more than two years since you last took one. This can pinpoint nutrient and micro nutrient deficits or over abundance and give you a soil pH level, pinpointing what you need to add to your soil in the spring. It can be submitted in January when test results come back more quickly. (Maine Soil Testing Service, U. of Maine, Orono, ME. or Maine School Garden Network- Resources-Soil Testing)

Drain and store rain barrels.

If you don’t have a composting system, this is a great time to build or construct one. (Maine School Garden Resources-Composting)

Save seeds as part of a seed saving project.

Bring in garden hoses and sprinklers and fragile garden decorations. Wash and dry garden tools, seed starting materials and garden pots and store for the winter.

Plan a cooking project with your class, using produce from the garden, if possible. Carrots, pumpkins, sweet and white potaoes and squash are great for making delicious and nutritious soups.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Here’s a recipe adapted from Kitchen Gardens International.  Quantities can be increased, depending on student numbers and portion size.

2 lbs. carrots, washed, scraped and chopped

3lbs. sweet potatoes, washed, scraped and chopped

8-10 cups veggie or chicken stock

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh ginger (optional or use dry ginger, ½ teaspoon or to taste)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

To prepare:

In a large saucepan, heat oil and add onions and garlicand cook until they begin to sweat and soften. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, and stock. Simmer until veggies are tender, 30-40 minutes. Cool slightly for 10 minutes and then blend in a food processor or immersion blender until pureed. Add spices and mix in well. Reheat soup and serve. If desired, top with a dollup of sour cream.

Maine Farm to School Conference

F2S2014STDJoin students, teachers, school food service folks, and a wide range of citizen supportsers who come together to share stories, lessons learned and the dynamic energy of the Maine Farm to School Movement.

This event will provide an opportunity to:

Learn about the 3 legs of the movement:

  • Buying and Cooking Maine Products for School Means
  • Hundreds of School Gardens, spreading rapidly, and doing fish, critters, seed saving and more.
  • Food and Agriculture Education projects that are being woven into diverse curricula.

Hear from National partners from the National Farm to School Network and the USDA

Learn how Farm to School is a key lever in Maine's local food system movement.

Network with diverse practitioners from across the state.

Enjoy a yummy local foods lunch.

Funding for theis event has been provided by Maine Agriculture in the Classroom and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.

Register and find more info here.

Regional Gatherings

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