September 2013 Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

Sign up for the School Garden Open House on 9/28!

Cumberland Fair 9/22 - 9/28.

Maine Harvest Lunch Week 9/23 - 9/27.

Fryeburg Fair 9/29 - 10/6.

Networking Opportunities

What would you like to learn from other school gardens?  Send us an email with your query and we will post it here.


Fact Sheet regarding pesticide use in school gardens.

MOFGA's latest Pest Report.

Find Us On Facebook

We are now on Facebook - Like us to stay up to date with featured gardens, useful articles and the opportunity to share your ideas!

Crop of The Month - Winter Squash & Pumpkins

39 image 1If you grew winter squash or pumpkins this year, you may be starting to wonder when and how they should be harvested.  Cooperative Extension has a useful fact sheet that includes a video showing how to harvest and store these crops.  It even features a pumpkin that was stored successfully for an entire year!  Doesn't this sound like a science experiment in the making?

Teach ME About Food & Farms offers an ELA lesson utilizing winter squash.  Consider growing a 3 Sisters garden next year.  Students will learn about Native American culture, can compare yields of corn beans and squash grown separately to a 3 Sisters plot, learn about diversity and observe differences between monocot and dicot plants. 

School Visit - Ricker Farm at Sweetser

Sweetser10aI was lucky enough to visit Ricker Farm on Ruel Ricker Day, a celebration of the man who managed this school farm for 4 decades.  I was able to hear stories from his son about how the farm used to feed the entire school.  Students would help harvest in the afternoon and gather under a tree to pick beans or shuck corn.  A 40 acre garden prior to 1950 shrunk to 10 acres with the advent of nitrogen fertilizers.  The farm was well known for its pig breeding program and dairy. 

Today, the farm is part of Sweetser's Experiential Learning Program.  Students are able to grow crops and sell them at the school farm stand, hatch eggs, and tap maple syrup.  A new barn houses alpaca, sheep, horses and poultry.  It also features a teaching kitchen where students learn to make pickles and an adjoining classroom.  Farm Manager Julia Birtolo finds that the opportunity for students to interact with the many farm animals to be a great bargaining chip that encourages good behavior and successful learning experiences.

School Garden Open House

On September 28, as a culmination to Maine Harvest Lunch Week, educational gardens around the state will open their gardens to the public, to showcase their garden programs and students' hard work.  Please join in this statewide Open House so you can display your garden project to the community, gather support for your program, and spread the word about the benefits of a garden curriculum.  This is also a great time to get your students involved, sprucing up the garden, thinking about the work they've put in, and showing pride in their accomplishments. 

Tell us about your Open House event.  We'd love to hear how it went and see pictures of your garden.  Share on our Facebook page or send us and email