August Pathfinder: Harvesting the Garden and Back to School!

This month Pathfinders will cover two different things. School will be resuming by the end of the month, so we have included some “back to school” ideas, both for the kids and their parents. But, the gardens are really starting to come in now, too, so it’s everything at once! We have also included a few different ideas on preserving some of the garden harvest for the winter months.

Harvesting the Garden


Preserving the Garden Harvest

This site gives a great deal of information about when crops should be ready for harvesting or how long you will probably be able to harvest. Check out the wonderful Seasonal Availability Chart that can be printed for reference at:

Another thing that always seems to come in abundantly this month is garden herbs. Try this site for harvesting herbs.

There are several ways to extend the harvest over the winter through proper storage techniques. For a chart of many storage conditions including optimal temperatures and storage life needed to maintain the quality of harvested fruits and vegetable go to:

Cold Storage & Root Cellars

Something as simple as a cellar window can be utilized as a cold storage spot. The following diagram will show you many of your possible options.


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The entire article on storing food in root cellars can be found here.


The Organic Gardening site has some great tips on putting together a root cellar along with tips on storing vegetables and healthy recipes for using the food from the cellar all winter long. All kinds of information can be found at:,1

Other hints and ideas on root cellars are available at:


For a free guide to canning from the United States Department of Agriculture go to:

The Ball Book canning site has hundreds of recipes that can be searched by the by the name of the produce you wish to preserve. It also provides you with complete instructions and has a wonderful glossary. Check out the site at:


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Drying foods such as fruits, herbs and seeds is actually quite simple. Many sites have plans for a food dehydrator–some electric; some solar. A simple design you can do yourself using everyday materials can be found at:

Other Ideas

There are many other ways to save your harvest for the winter long months. You can freeze, pickle, or make jams and jellies. The National Center for Home Food Preservation covers many other ways you can preserve your harvest safely. Check out their site at:

If you don’t have a garden and still want to put up some wonderful fresh fruits and veggies, try the “Get Real Maine” site for farms and farmer’s markets. Access the site at:

But, if you have extra produce and are not able to preserve it in some way, be sure to contact your local Cooperative Extension office to find out where to donate the surplus to local soup kitchens and food pantries to help fight hunger through the Maine Harvest for Hunger program. Their website is:


Once the garden has been harvested, and August draws to a close, you know what that means:  it’s time for back to school!

Back to School

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For Parents

These sites have some great tips for making the back to school transition easy for you and your child.


Back-to-School Transitions

Back to School

Back-to-school organizing tips

How to Wake Your Kids Up for School: 5 Sleep Tips for School Hours

15 Tips for Managing the After-School Activities Juggle

Here’s a book list for back to school books:

Books about School Archives


For Kids

Have you ever wondered “why are school buses yellow”? Here’s your answer:

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Why Yellow School Buses?


Here are some great tips to make going back to school a breeze!

Going Back to School


Back to School Green Tips


For Teens

Get into the school spirit with these awesome crafts!

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How to make paper pencils (tutorial)


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How to Cover a Text Book with a Shopping Bag


Do you buy your lunch or pack your own?  This is a typical school lunch for Japanese students:

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Take a look at more school lunches from around the world:

What’s for School Lunch?


Are you planning to take the SATs this year? Brush up on your reading comprehension skills by reading short non-fiction articles, like the ones found here:

The Economist