Community Garden Q&A

What is the best time to start an EarthBox Community Garden?
You can start up an EarthBox Community Garden at any time of year. In late fall and winter, you can organize, plan and lay out the garden. In mid-winter, you can plant seeds to grow starters for cool and warm weather crops. In late summer, you can plant cool weather crops once again.

Where can I get horticultural support to select, nurture and harvest crops?
It is always best to get local support. You can locate an expert at your local cooperative extension. You can also join the Forum to chat with EarthBox “experts”.

How many EarthBox Containers are needed to start a community garden?
That depends on the model. Let’s say ten families want to share the produce grown in a community garden. Then, the group might want each member to plant 5 EarthBox Containers with a specific crop to share their yield amongst themselves. By doing so, the individual grower will become an expert on a single crop. Eventually, the group could share their knowledge with each other so everyone becomes an expert.

How many EarthBox Containers are needed to produce enough to open, or join, a Farmer’s Market?
It depends on the size of your market and the crop selection. If you grow one crop such as tomatoes, herbs or peppers, then six EarthBox Ready to Grow Kits will get you started. In any case, six will be manageable first time out. As you become more comfortable, you can add more each season. Don’t forget to grow out as many crops as you can throughout the year. Plant cool weather crops in the spring, warm weather in the summer and cool again in fall. This way you will get the most bangs for your buck.

How many EarthBox Container Garden Systems can one volunteer manage?
That depends on the volunteer! However, 5-10 containers can usually be managed by one volunteer, particularly if it is just 1, 2, or 3 crops.

Should we order the EarthBox Ready-to-Grow Kits or the EarthBox Container Garden Systems?
That depends. The EarthBox Ready to Grow Kit is the easiest way to train folks. You can use one kit to train all of them on the set up and then divide the kits among the volunteers without fearing that they are adding too little or too much dolomite fertilizer or potting mix. If you are a seasoned grower, then you might fare well procuring the growing media on your end. This would certainly cut down on the shipping and handling costs of the kits.

How do we handle vandalism?
Critter and human vandalism become challenges for some community gardens. The critter is usually the more threatening of the two. A fence is the first line of resistance for both critter and human vandalism. If the critters move into the garden, place a Have a Heart trap in the garden. Use an apple or cabbage as bait. Once you trap the critter, be sure to take it miles away to let it loose, or it will return. Steer clear of the critter when you pick up the crate. They can be nasty.

How often do you have to oversee the garden?
It is best to visit the garden at least once a day to make sure all water reservoirs are full, to identify and remediate pest and diseases early on, and to harvest when crops are ripe. If a crop becomes diseased or has pests, then it is best to remove the container from the garden, treat it afar, and return it when the issue is resolved.

How do I know what to plant?
Contact the local cooperative extension to learn what and when to plant in your area.

How do I lay out a community garden?
Layouts will differ based on the location and crop selection. Regardless, you must have are a sunny location and water access. You will also need to have four foot walking paths between boxes and two feet between the boxes in each row. Be sure to have the water tube facing the same direction in each row to facilitate the watering process. To learn more, order the EarthBox Youth Garden Guide. The guide will answer lay out, design and ever so many other questions.

What do I need to start a community garden?

  • Purchase A Youth Garden Guide and (6) EarthBox Container Garden Systems
  • Allow for Prep time (plan your garden in the winter)
  • Establish contact with the local cooperative extension for help with crop selection, maintenance, and harvest
  • Select your crops
  • Decide to plant by seed or seedling and do so in a timely fashion
  • Pick a safe location in a sunny spot with water access and a fence if possible
  • Establish a watering schedule

Are there quantity discounts?
Yes, we have quantity discounts. Contact the education department at 800-821-8838 to learn more.

Where can I find funding for a community garden?
Go to the funding pages on our web site, review the education newsletter archives and sign up for the education newsletter which lists funding sources.

How can I start a Job Readiness EarthBox garden?
Use the EarthBox Job Readiness Training Guide to get started. Call 800-821-8838 to learn more.

What kinds of groups have started EarthBox Community Gardens?
Here is a list of some organizations that have started EarthBox Community Gardens. Many will be willing to work with you to help you plan your garden. Contact the Education Department at 800-821-8838 for more information

  • Faith-based groups
  • Girl Scouts
  • Boy Scouts
  • Community Activists
  • Hospitals
  • Cancer Research Centers
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Centers
  • Learning Disabled Work Places
  • Drug and Alcohol Centers
  • Entrepreneurs (CSAs)
  • Cities
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