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December

Ever have questions about your garden? Our local extension has a whole library of free and easily accessible publications on a wide range of garden topics. These publications are locally focused for right here in Georgia! And if you can't find what you are looking for in the publications library, there is a Master Gardener Help Desk you can call to find answers (706-613-3640). Can't get your class to the phone? Use the Ask an expert widget.

Looking to help fund a gardening or other Farm to School Activity? Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful offers grants for Green School Activities. Continuous - KACCB Green School Grant $50, $200, $500.

And it isn't too early to start thinking about spring planting. Plants that will be distributed in March need to be started late January or early February! Orders open until January 15, 2017.

Give the School Garden Network a call to be directed to the resources available for your class! Stacy.Smith@athensclarkecounty.com or (706) 613-3501 x309
TEACH!

Drought in Georgia is the big news this month. Try some activities to help students understand how our weather affects the garden and how they can conserve water.

6 to 8th Grade Water Conservation in the Garden

Fourth: Lettuce Learn About the Water Cycle 

Second Grade: Tracking Weather 

Our Seed Stories: November Challenge 

Seed Myths - If all plants come from seeds, it is only logical to wonder: where do seeds come from?

Objective: Students create (through writing, drawing, or discussion) a myth about the origin of seeds. Alternatively, about the origin of a specific plant or food.

Grades: 3-12 (could be for older audiences, if appropriately tweaked)

Core Competencies: Stories-Myths, Cause and Effect Logic

Find more lesson ideas by looking through the grade level sorted lessons from the  UGA School Garden Resources Website!


 
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PLANT!

What to plant this month, Start indoors: Kale and other greens

December tasks from the ACC Extension Office,Why not get started early for next year?:
  • Spread manure, rotted sawdust, and leaves over the garden and plow them under; you’ll be surprised at the difference this organic matter will make in the fertility, physical structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • Take a soil sample to allow plenty of time to get the report back. Lime applied now will be of more benefit next year than if it is applied in the spring before planting.
  • Start planning next year’s garden now! Order flower and vegetable seeds in December or January, while the supply is plentiful.
  • Review the results of last year’s garden and order the more successful varieties.
  • You may have seeds left over from last year. Check their viability by placing some in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage.
  • Draw a map of the garden area and decide how much row spacing is needed for each vegetable.  
Find more information on garden care on the UGA Extension Publications Page.

 
EAT!

Eating from the garden this month: Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Kale and Other Greens, Lettuce, Pecans, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Winter Squash, Turnips

Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad (Source: Martha Stewart)

INGREDIENTS
1 pound pumpkin, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3/4 pounds red onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, halved if small
1 red apple, cut into six wedges
1 pound small turnips, halved
1/2 bunch fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
Maldon sea salt

DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the upper and lower third racks.
  • In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, red onion, apple, turnips, and thyme. Add olive oil and season with coarse salt and pepper; toss to combine.
  • Remove hot baking sheets from oven and divide vegetable and fruit mixture evenly between them, spreading in an even layer. Return baking sheets to oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 35 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking.
  • Remove baking sheets from oven and drizzle with vinegar; shake to combine. Transfer to a serving platter; drizzle with olive oil and garnish with thyme leaves. Season with sea salt and serve.

Borrow the  Office of Service Learning Cooking Kit  or find a local chef to visit your classroom.
From former GA FoodCorps Member Lauren Ladov:

From October through June, I will be in India learning and sharing the stories of seeds. Seeds are most essential; our origins, our futures. The seeds we choose to sow are the narratives we choose to tell our children. We have lost so many species of seeds (apples, corns, mustards to name a few) and many are in jeopardy. While seeds may not be as cuddly as pandas, their extinction poses a threat to the balance of our ecosystem and the resiliency of our agricultural system.  I intend to learn more about the mechanics of seeds and seed saving (the art of preserving seeds for future seasons), the histories behind species loss, and how to build systems that support biodiversity. I will share as much as I can through these newsletter and social media. 

I invite you to contribute by adding your voice and your students’ voices to the vision of cultivating a participatory interactive digital curriculum. Each month, I will propose challenges for classes to try out. If you choose to accept, we can test out the lesson and tweak it for further sharing. In the spirit of open-source seeds, all content created during this project will be accessible for free. And we can publish your student's work on National Geographic! If you have any lessons or resources about seeds or biodiversity you’d like to share, please send my way!

Lastly, if your class is interested in starting a penpalship about food with me or students in India, let me know. I would love to see if/how we can make this happen.

From Seed To Shining Seed, 
Lauren
EVENTS!
 
Clarke Central High School FFA Poinsettia Sale, after school until 5 PM (until sold out!) $10 each or preorder online
Middle School Produce Markets
CMS, Mondays 4-6
Hilsman, Wednesdays 4-6
Coile, Thursdays 4-6
(The 3 middle school produce markets (CMS, Coile, and Hilsman) for the week of December 19 are combined into one final market of the season at Hilsman for Monday December 19, 4-6.)
West Broad Farmers Market, Saturdays 10 to 2 and Tuesdays 4 to 7, West Broad Market Garden. (last market 12/10)
Athens Farmers Market Every Saturday from 8 to Noon at Bishop Park and Weds 4-7 at Creature Comforts (last market 12/17)
Georgia Organics Annual Conference and Expo, Feb 17-18, Atlanta GA
5th Annual Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance Conference and Research Symposium, March 3-5, Buford, GA

 
 
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