Mr. Handyman to the Rescue
This year, the director of Pennsylvania's Dunmore Senior Center, Jeanne Hugenbruch, planned to plant fruits and vegetables with the seniors in the 50 EarthBoxes funded by local rotary clubs.
However, the boxes sat dormant all summer, because there were no funds or assistance available to install a fence -- a requirement to keep pests and vandals out.
Then the Mr. Handyman franchise in Lackawanna County stepped in, to support The Growing Connection (TGC), a collaborative gardening effort that sponsors projects around the world and in our own backyards.
Four Mr. Handyman employees spent three days installing a fence. The labor was free, and the materials were funded by the Dunmore Rotary Club.
Completion of the fence means the seniors will be planting garlic with children from the local HeadStart class this fall. In the spring, they'll take full advantage of the season to grow beans,
tomatoes, herbs, and flowers. Many meals will be prepared on-site with the produce.
This TGC project was funded by the Scranton, Dunmore, Abington,
Mount Pocono, Mid Valley, and North Scranton Rotary Clubs.
Grab Some Free Goodies!
Want to win an EarthBox gift certificate? Just send us your best EarthBox-related recipe, article, or photo, and you might find yourself a winner.
Here are the categories we'd like you to shoot for:
- A helpful story that provides EarthBox owners with information
- A story on your most successful crop
- A photo illustrating a successful EarthBox crop
- Your greatest number of EarthBoxes in use at once
- Your best disaster story, so everyone can learn from your mistakes
- Your quickest recipe using an EarthBox harvest
- Your spiciest recipe using an EarthBox harvest
- Articles on non-traditional uses of the EarthBox
Your entry should be brief and to the point. We'll pick a new winner every month, and we'll post each winner in an upcoming issue.
Send your contest entries to photos@Earthbox.com, with the word "contest" in the subject line, and we'll take a look!
Fall is upon us. Now that temperatures are dropping, you need to be aware of your area's projected first frost date if you plan to plant new crops in your EarthBoxes. Once you've determined that, be sure to consult your seed packets for information on the number of days it
will take the plants to mature, bloom, and set fruit; if the time to maturity
exceeds the number of days left in the season, then it's a good bet you
Some plants with a multi-year lifecycle can
handle the cold weather if properly cared for, and we've all seen the
regenerative power of pansies after a frost. However, a hard freeze will kill
most plants. Hot-weather vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are
especially susceptible; they may succumb even to a light frost.
Enjoy the fall season,
We hope you find this information useful as you plan for your fall gardens, and
continue to harvest your summer bounty!
|Know Your Frost Dates
Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a
series of frost dates for the entire country. While the frost dates are based
on historical records and aren't absolute, they do offer a good general reference;
but remember that an unexpected late frost in the spring, or a surprise early frost
in the fall, is always a possibility. |
If frost is even remotely possible, keep a close eye on the
weather forecasts. And remember to take microclimates
into account; factors like urbanization, prevailing winds, elevation, direction
of sunlight, and proximity to water can all affect whether or not a frost
Frost vs. Freeze
Since some plants are somewhat
frost tolerant but will die if a solid freeze occurs, you should keep the
difference between a frost and a freeze firmly in mind. A frost occurs on a
clear, still night, when heat radiating from a surface lowers the temperature
of that surface to the freezing point of water. Condensation on the surface
freezes into a thin layer of ice crystals, which can kill some tender plants
without harming other species. You'll need to cover those tender plants to
protect them from harm on nights when frost is likely.
A freeze occurs when the air temperature
drops to below freezing for a significant period, whereupon plant tissues begin
to freeze. A hard freeze, which is enough to kill many plants, occurs when
temperatures plunge below 25 degrees. Whether or not a plant shrugs off a hard
freeze depends on the length of the exposure and the plant's hardiness.
The USDA has mapped plant
hardiness zones for the entire U.S.,
based on ten-degree temperature differences across the continent. Unless you
live in a particular microclimate or can otherwise protect fragile specimens,
it's best to stick with the plants recommended for your specific zone when
Fair warning: the most recent USDA hardiness zone map was compiled in 1990.
While it still works as a general guide, in recent years the vegetation zones
have been shifting steadily northward as average annual temperatures increase.
For the same reason, first frost dates are occurring later in the year for many
areas. The National Arbor Day Foundation offers one of the most up-to-date
hardiness zone maps here.
Check your location yearly against the Arbor Day hardiness zone map, to be sure
your zone hasn't shifted.
While it's not practical to protect most non-woody plants from frost and freeze
damage in the long-term, it's possible to do so during a short-term cold snap.
The simplest way is to cover them with something that helps them
retain heat rather than radiate it away, such as cloth or thin plastic
If you go this route, and especially if you use plastic, try to
keep the covering from touching the leaves; this can damage the foliage, either
physically or because the covering itself gets cold and steals the heat from
the leaves. A wooden frame or a floating row cover can help prevent this.
To protect the roots, maintain a layer of mulch around the bases
of your plants, so that the soil will also retain heat.
|Fresh from the Forum
Thinking about growing garlic
in the fall? Check out this discussion in
the Q&A section of our Forum.
||Retailer of the Month
Every month, we highlight one of our
valued partners, so you can learn more about them and their products. This month we salute Yamagami's Nursery in Cupertino, California.
Yamagami's is a
family-owned, full-service nursery, in business since 1948. Customers will
find a complete range of products and services at Yamagami's, from lawn care to
exotic plants. They offer a vast selection of fruits, herbs, and vegetables for
the edible landscape, including hard-to-find Asian varieties. Yamagami's also
provides custom-planted containers and features a You-Plant-A-Pot table, where
customers plant their own pots under the guidance of nursery employees, with no
charge for soil or fertilizer.
You'll find a wealth of information about gardening at Yamagami's, both on site
and online. In person, you can speak with one of their trained staff
about your lawn and garden needs, or avail yourself of their plant doctor
service -- which includes house calls. Or visit their website for online
gardening guides, monthly garden planners, the Q&A section, video podcasts,
and links to other important and timely information.
Yamagami's Nursery is open 7 days a week. Visit them at:
1361 S. DeAnza Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014
||From Our Customers
"My tiki hut was falling apart, so I took off the top and sides. Now
it's my EarthBox garden -- but it needs a new name. Any ideas?"
||Join Our Community|
EarthBox is on Facebook! Now you can become a fan of EarthBox, joining a community of fellow EarthBox users for conversations, advice and photo sharing -- or just to check out whatever new information EarthBox has to enhance your gardening experience!
To place an order, call us at 866-727-5532 (24/7) or visit our online store.
|The patented EarthBox was developed by commercial farmers, and proven in the lab and on the farm. Our maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden -- with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort. It's used successfully on a daily basis by commercial farmers, educators, and consumers. Distributors are also finding it to be a popular growing system.|
EarthBox is a remarkably easy-to-set-up system that can be used to grow produce virtually anywhere. EarthBox systems have been incorporated into community gardens all over the world, enabling families and neighbors to share fresh produce, while minimizing work and expenses. EarthBoxes can even be found in classrooms. Our EarthBox Pre-K through 12th grade standards-based curriculum support packages can bring science to life, with hands-on cross-curricula lessons that teach principles of growing and nutrition utilizing the scientific method in student-driven experiments.
To find out more, visit www.earthbox.com.