And it keeps growing!

lunchlettuce1.jpgNow that the outdoor garden has been put to bed the students are focusing on the heated greenhouse and the four season unheated greenhouse. There are still wonderful living plants in the garden! The garlic is safe under its mulch and the parsnips are awaiting spring to give back the sweet taste of last summer.

The list of plants now growing in the greenhouse are numerous. The greens include spinach, tatsoi, arugula, mustards, mizuna, lettuce, swiss chard and beet greens. Tomato plants are waiting to be planted so fresh cherry tomatoes will be available in the spring. Flowers are carefully being placed in and around the veggies.

Students have planted morning glories, various varieties of marigolds and cosmos. Hanging petunias are being put up from saved seeds from one of our favorite petunia plant. It was a hybrid so we plan on having some interesting plants!

coop.jpgMuch of the produce is being sold at the Belfast Coop. Ali, our produce manager, tracks sales and does quality control for everything that leaves the greenhouse for consumption. Students check with the TAHMS cafeteria on a daily basis, supplying much of the greens for the salad bar and onions for the kitchen. Swiss chard and other goods are brought to the soup kitchen on our nearly weekly runs.

Bean Hole Beans in the Snow

splitwood.jpgThis past week we brought our history lesson to the garden by digging a hole in the ground, burning lots of dry hardwood and loading in our bean pot to cook overnight. The activity was decided on after the students read about one of Maine’s oldest traditions of cooking in the ground, a process that was developed by the Penobscot Tribe.

News article – Click here

digb-ean.jpgThe Penobscots taught the early loggers of the North Woods how to cook in this manner. The Cook and Cookee working the logging camps could stay a day ahead and downriver from the loggers by leaving the beans cooking in a cast iron pot under ground for the loggers to enjoy for breakfast the next morning. This gave the workers a good high protein start to the day.

beandugup.jpgOur bean dinner worked out just right. It was the first snowfall of the season as we warmed up with hot bowls of bean hole beans. Many students brought in cornbread and our talented lunch ladies made molasses cookies to finish off the meal. Micheala and Kaitlyn recommended the Logger beans, while Tyler B. preferred the Penobscot recipe. Mr. Tanguay told stories about Maine logging camps, where beans were served at every meal and provided good nutrition and energy.

beanclass.jpgOther upcoming projects this month include the production of reusable grocery totes and aprons. Fabric, thread, sewing machines, and parent volunteers are requested. Trail repair and bridge building, hoophouse construction, wreath making and bird feeder design are also planned for December.

beanmeal.jpgBean Hole Recipes

4lbs. of Yellow Eye (Great Northern or Jacob’s Cattle are also good) beans soaked overnight. (We don’t par boil as it seems to make the beans mushy and toughens the skins). Dig a hole at least three feet deep and wide. Layer the bottom with flat rocks and burn lots of dry hard wood until you have a ten inch bed of coals. Carefully lay the pot in the coals with a wet towel placed tightly between pot and lid (wet burlap placed over the pot makes for cleaner beans). Cover with dirt, tarp and load with raked leaves for extra insulation.

*Consistant heat is the key to great beans.

The Penobscot Recipe (our interpretation):

  • 2-3 cups of wild onions
  • 1 cup wild carrots (Queen Anne’s Lace)
  • 2 cups maple sryup
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-4 teaspoons dry hot mustard
  • 4 sliced apples
  • 1 lb. moose meat or deer venison

goodbeans.jpgThe Logger’s Recipe ( my uncle’s version):

  • 2 THMS garden onions
  • 1 1/2 cups molasses
  • 1 cup maple sryup
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-4 teaspoons dry hot mustard
  • 4 sliced apples
  • 1 lb. smoked ham hock (sliced). Place at bottom of pot. Layer onion, molasses and beans. Cover remaining ingredients and pour in hot water to just cover beans.

Carefully pull out the beans making sure to brush away all of the dirt before opening the lid. Serve with lots of corn or brown bread, apple cider and molasses cookies.

Preparing for Winter

beans.jpgAs we make the late transition from outside to in, the students have been finding that there is great fun to be had in using all the garden has to offer. The beans and popcorn are drying into so many wonderful colors and shapes. Mr. Thurston asks us to be patient so they have time to dry properly….then we’ll be prepared to eat.


Bean hole beans will be in the ground next week which is a tasty way to learn about our Maine heritage. This style of cooking was both a favorite of the Penobscots and the loggers of the North Woods.


After school last week, the Green Thumb club kids finished the work period by cooking up some garden potatoes in our bean lodge pot.

Each student took a turn dicing up the potatoes with our very cool slicer. Check out all of the different colored potatoes. We especially like the purple ones that Mr. Thurston found in our purple garden.

This week Ms. Coleman, our favorite math teacher, set up four types of popcorn so that we could test the yield each variety gave us when cooked with a hot air popper.

We popped 1/4 cup of each variety to compare amounts to Orville Redenbacher’s hybrid popping corn. The consensus was that it would be an accomplishment to come within twenty percent of their corn. There was some preparation needed for this experiment.

Last winter the seeds were chosen and then planted just before school let out for summer. The plants were allowed to get really tall and dry before harvest. After a few months of drying on the ears, we dug right in and rubbed the kernals off of the cob. The kernals should be allowed to dry a few more months but we just couldn’t wait.

Later today…….. the results for the popcorn were excellent:

Orville Redenbacher popcorn 1/4=7 cups

Yellow corn 1/4=6 cups

Black Flint corn 1/4=5 cups

THMS dark corn 1/4=4 cups.

Note- survey results indicated that THMS Dark Corn was the only popcorn that did not require butter.
The popcorn was really tasty. I can’t wait until the bean hole beans!!!   Avary L.

And the Winner Is ……


Mrs. Davis and her new friend, Big Mac at 132 Lbs.. Being the closest to picking the correct weight made her the lucky winner of our Big Mac pumpkin.

100_0394.jpgHere’s Big Mac in her back yard with his face all lit up sitting up bright in his wheelbarrow.


Apparently his pulp was donated to a nice home-brewed pot of soup and a few warm pies.

Now that’s a happy pumpkin.