November 2015 Newsletter

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November in the Garden

If you’re lucky you may have kale, chard, carrots, and salad greens that have weathered a few frosts in your garden. and maybe some hardy lettuces, mache, radishes, spinach, kale and chard, etc. growing inside an unheated hoop or green house. Monitor night time temperatures and cover the crops inside your hoop house and outside, with remay fabric or even bed sheets. You can dig up carrots before the ground freezes or mulch them heavily with leaves and harvest as you need them. Mulch your garlic with a 4-5 inch layer of leaves or straw. Ask your facilities department to save leaves and pine needles they clean up so that you can use them in your compost pile“brown” or carbon material and as a mulch for your gardens.

Compost spent plants from your garden, but leave roots to decompose and improve soil structure. Cut up plant materials to promote decomposition in your compost pile. Consider starting a pilot project by having one or two classes compost their lunch or snack waste. This may interest other classes or even persuade the whole school to compost more food waste.


Wash out used pots and bring in garden ornaments, tools, hoses, and rain barrels to store everything for the winter. Make sure tools are clean before putting them away.


Speak with your custodians and facilities staff now if you have areas of the garden that you would like to have access to or have protected over the winter.


Fruit trees require some protection over the winter. Remove weeds from around the base of the tree and cover the cleared area with mulch, but don’t let it rest against the trunk. Wrap hardware cloth three feet high around the base of the tree to prevent rodent damage. For more info on tree care, e-mail Richard Hodges at: You can also request to be added to the RetreeUS Orchard Caretaker listserv to receive periodical information.

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. Consider teaching your students about the Iroquois custom of planting the Three Sisters. You could plan to plant native seeds in the coming year to celebrate the harvest next November. Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project offers native seeds. Seed Savers Exchange is another resource for purchasing native seed and learning about the history of native varieties.

Seed Money


Annual Meeting Recap

Thank you to Whiting Farm for taking us on a tour to kick off our annualIMG 20151022 154656501meeting. Visit the farm's Facebook page to learn more about them. We had a wonder meeting and dinner at St. Mary's Nutrition Center in Auburn and would like to thank them for hosting us. They have a Lots to Gardens youth gardening program. We had a brainstorm session to generate ideas for projects and focus areas in 2016. Please share any ideas or input you may have by contact coordinator Ryan Dennett at We will be drafting our goals and establishing project committees by the end of the year.