MICHIGAN SCHOOL GARDEN NEWSLETTER
Educational site in southeastern Michigan offers youth the opportunity to experience farm to table in action.
by Kaitlin Koch, Extension Educator
Community Foods Systems
Cool Weather Crops in the Fall School Garden
By Kristine Hahn, Community Foods Systems Educator
Gardening is not typically thought of as an autumn activity, but it is a chance to teach students (and some adults!) about the value of cool weather crops. It is an opportunity to cash in on the novelty of an extended gardening season and the enthusiasm of returning students (and teachers).
Many crops such as lettuces, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower grow better in the cool temperatures of autumn. These vegetable crops are prone to "bolting" during hot weather. Bolting is when the plant sends up a tall shoot to produce a flower and ultimately seeds in response to hotter temperatures. The bolting process usually spoils the taste of the desired crop, especially in leafy vegetables where the leaves will acquire a bitter taste. Conversely, fall frosts can have a sweetening effect on Cole crops such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Seeds of lettuces often will not germinate in hot temperatures. These examples illustrate the adaptation of Cole crops to cooler temperatures that allow them to avoid competing with the more familiar hot crops of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. These crops work well with the curriculum subject of adaptation.
Other crops that often perform well in the fall garden have shorter growing periods, such as radishes that are often ready for harvest within three to four weeks of planting. Other root crops such as carrots and beets fare well in the fall garden as long as you choose varieties that will mature fast enough, and are planted early enough. Please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for further information about fall or cool weather vegetable crops.
It is usually recommended that fall crops be planted by September 10 in Michigan so that they have enough time to mature. That early of a planting date can be a challenge during the beginning of the school year when there is such a flurry of activity. Planning the fall garden in the previous spring before school ends can help the fall garden be more successful. Also partnering with other teachers and after-school clubs can lighten the load of establishing a fall school garden.
So take this unique learning opportunity and get out there and expand your school's horizons with a fall vegetable garden!_
School Garden Grant Information
We would love to hear about your garden grant stories, awards or applications! Please feel welcome to write us with them so we can highlight your experience in the newsletter.
Due dates quarterly, next two are August 1 and November 1
Schools, nonprofits classified as 501(c) (3) s and private or public schools (elementary and secondary) are eligible.
Award range: $20,000 - $75,000 for one year
Due date: September 30th
Schools, nonprofits and other organizations are eligible, as long as they are exempt from federal taxation. Proposals must include three considerations: be project-based, be performed by youth and have real environmental outcomes.
Due date: September 15th
Certified, core academic teachers for grades K-12 that are interested in using agricultural concepts to teach core subject areas and enhance students' understanding of agriculture.
Award: Five $1,500 grants
Due date: December 31
Formal or informal educators who are using innovative projects to enhance herbal education in school systems, communities or in any public forum.
Award: One or two $5,000 grants
Community Impact Grants currently open
Schools and 501(c) (3) organizations are eligible.
Awards are up to $5,000
Apply online at this link
The Home Depot also has opportunities to match donations from local stores with nonprofits. Follow this link for more information on how to request a match.
Open date: June 1, 2015
Due date: October 2, 2015
Schools, nonprofits and community organizations are eligible with at least 15 children between the ages of 3-18. Proposed projects must be within a 50 mile radius of a Jamba Juice store. Awards consist of $100 in soil amendments and plants and $400 in gardening supplies. Apply online at this link
Open: February 1, 2015
Due date: None, distributed on a rolling basis
Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible. Must be submitted by district food service director.
These grants are $2,500 and can assist with offering educational activities in the lunchroom, encouraging students to try new veggies and fruits. Read more and apply online at this link.
2016 Grant currently open
Due date: January 8, 2016
Nonprofit organizations, schools, 501(c) (3) organizations, food banks, community gardens (and more!) are eligible.
Projects are to focus on food garden projects that benefit their community.
Awards are full or partial. Full grants are $300-400 in cash and remainder in seeds and garden supplies. Partial grants are $300 cash and $25 one year subscription to Kitchen Gardeners International garden planner.
Apply online at this link.
Michigan State University Extension Educator
Community Food Systems
Eastern Market Office
Detroit, MI 48207
NEW LOCATION and phone number
"We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle