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DONATIONS OF GARDEN TOOLS SOUGHT FOR 4-SEASON GREENHOUSE

April 5, 2011

NR11035

For the past several years, students in the University of Maine at Fort Kent Ecology Committee, in collaboration with Professor Kim Borges and other interested faculty and staff, have worked to establish an organic greenhouse on the UMFK campus. 

This spring semester, the campus will finally get to see the structure put in place. The purpose of the greenhouse is to produce organic vegetables, which will be purchased by Aramark food services and served at the cafeteria in Nowland Hall during the fall and spring semesters. 
 
Currently, supplies are being gathered for the first planting in June. But students need help with the donation of the following tools: spade; square shovel/snow shovel; spading fork; pitch fork; trowel; garden rake/smoothing rake; watering pail; cordless drill; water hose; hose nozzles; five-gallon; buckets; and, a wheel barrow/garden cart.
 
If you have, and are willing to donate, one or more of these tools in serviceable condition, please e-mail Charles Michaud at charles.michaud@maine.edu or call him at (207)-316-6284.
 
Following the model put forth by winter-gardening guru, Eliot Coleman, the greenhouse will produce food throughout the school year without the need for heating. This probably seems impossible given that the area is plunged into sub-zero temperatures during the intended growing season. However, the problem is overcome with two changes to the normal greenhouse plan. 
 
First, a second layer of protection is placed over the plants in the greenhouse. In Coleman’s farm along the coast of Maine (hardiness zone 5), this prevents the soil from reaching freezing temperatures throughout the winter. 
 
In UMFK’s colder (hardiness zone 3) it can be expected that the soil will be frozen during the coldest weeks of the year. Because the soil is frozen and plant growth has ceased, does not mean that a harvest can’t take place. 
  
This is where the second modification takes place. The crops grown in the greenhouse during the coldest part of the year are very tolerant of low temperatures. These crops include spinach and many lesser known salad greens such as mizuna, mâche, and tatsoi. 
 

The production in this greenhouse will provide students with fresh, local, organic veggies and herbs throughout the school year.