In This Issue
EarthBox Critter Control
Retailer of the Month
Fresh from the Forum
>From Our Customers
Share Your Experience
Join Our Online Community
Produce abounds on Andy Deck's New York rooftop. Andy's no stranger to rooftop gardening. He's been growing vegetables atop apartment buildings for years.
He decided to bring this experience to his current dwelling -- a co-op apartment building on the west side of Manhattan -- so he and fellow residents can enjoy gardening and eating fresh produce. "The roof has ideal light and it's reasonably protected from wind. With some help from an architect and contractor, we built a railing system that now contains about 20 EarthBoxes," he notes.
The garden includes tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant (smaller and longer varieties), various peppers, zucchini, basil, snow peas, and green beans.
"I discovered the magic of EarthBoxes upon seeing a friend's EarthBox garden in Michigan. Her 'Sweet 100' cherry tomatoes were growing in ridiculous abundance, and that was as good a sales pitch as any!" says Andy.
"This is definitely a communal effort, and one that is continuing to evolve. Our current Board of Directors has initiated a gardening committee, and we have plans for an irrigation system that will include rain recapture.
"The main benefit, of course, is the delicious veggies and the pleasant space we've created on our roof, secluded from nearby buildings by lush greenery."
For more information on starting your own EarthBox project, click here or contact our Education Department at 1-800-821-8838, ext. 8369.
The Shake-Away line of animal repellent products does a bang-up job of keeping critters away from your EarthBoxes without hurting them one bit, using the "Threatening Scents" aspect of critter control. They just don't like the smell, which is encapsulated in granules that you scatter around your plants. All forms of Shake Away are 100% non-toxic and won't hurt your plants.
The Small Critter version uses the scent of the fox to accomplish this for skunks, porcupines, rabbits, squirrels, and other small animals. The Rodent variety adds bobcat to the fox scent.
Meanwhile, the Cat Shake-Away uses coyote scent to keep the local kitties from eating your catnip, while the Deer Shake-Away uses the same to scare off the antlered pests, along with raccoons, armadillo, elk, javelina, beaver, and rabbits.
We Have a Winner!
We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing contest! This month's winning photo comes from John Calabrese of sunny Mission Viejo, California.
"I have fourteen EarthBoxes," says John. "This photo from last October shows just two of them. I had planted 'winter' tomatoes in the one on the left about a month before (varieties Paul Robeson and Costoluto Genovese). The box on the right has basil in it. I had planted it several month previous and by that point had cut it back several times, using the basil for sauces, etc.
"When I took this photo, I was in the process of transitioning my EarthBoxes from being summer gardens to being winter gardens. I had broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts planted in others. However, it was quite warm that week (over 100 degrees!) so I waited before planting cooler weather veggies
in the EarthBoxes that still had summer crops in them."
Photo of the Month Contest
Want to win a $25 EarthBox gift certificate? Just send us your EarthBox success photos with the word "contest" in the subject line of your email, and you could be our next winner!
Please make sure your image is in .JPG format and at least 640×480 pixels or 5 x 7 inches at 72 dpi. We'll pick a new winner every month, and post the entry in an upcoming issue.
To place an order, call us at 866-727-5532 (24/7) or visit our online store. We accept PayPal in addition to all major credit cards.
How to Take Great Photos
As you can see, we use quite a few reader photos in our newsletters. Unfortunately, we use fewer than we might, because some of the photos we receive just aren't up to par for digital publication. Since we'd like to use more, we thought we'd provide a few suggestions on how to take better digital photos. Follow these six suggestions, and you should get a better percentage of good shots:
1. Take advantage of automatic settings and adjustments on your camera, to make it easier and faster to get great shots.
2. Make sure there's enough light; if natural light is minimal, a flash is advisable.
3. Including pets and people in your photos is a plus!
4. If you're taking a close-up shot of your harvest, try to get as close as possible to your subject, or use a zoom feature on your camera. The more objects you try to include, the less visible they will all be.
5. We prefer for the EarthBox(es) to be visible in the photos.
6. Remember: simplicity can lead to some magnificent shots. Keep it uncomplicated!
Try these tips next time you take some proud pictures of your EarthBox crop, summer or winter, and you're likely to see more of your photos published either here or in our Education newsletter -- or possibly even on our website or in our yearly catalog!
Spring's right around the corner, according to that woodchuck in Punxsutawney. Though admittedly, it didn't feel very spring-like to many of us as blizzards and high winds roared through the mid-continent recently!
Even so, the calendar has the new season arriving on March 20, and in most parts of the country, trees and gardens are preparing to spring to life. As they begin to emerge, some of your local wildlife may start admiring your flowers and crops...for culinary reasons. Even cats and dogs may get in on the action, depending on what you're growing.
So in this issue, we offer some gentle options to help you keep animals from feasting in your garden. Read on to learn more!
||Protecting Your EarthBoxes from Animals
Most wild animals will be looking for a good meal as spring growth begins to emerge. Beware: they may turn their attention to your budding EarthBox gardens. Some of the animals you may encounter eating your vegetables and flowers include deer, rabbits, squirrels, voles, crows, chipmunks, woodchucks (a.k.a. groundhogs), gophers, opossums, prairie dogs, raccoons, porcupines, coyotes, and javelina (a kind of small wild hog native to the Southwest).
For that matter, some of our wandering domesticated animals, especially cats, aren't picky about where they eat, especially if your EarthBoxes include certain herbs like catnip and valerian.
Fortunately, keeping hungry four-legged invaders away from your garden doesn't have to involve trapping, the use of harsh chemicals, or great expense. In this issue, we offer some clever, gentle, and mostly inexpensive ways to keep the furry diners away from your gardens.
The first step to keeping critters out of your yard and garden is to clear debris, which eliminates hiding spots. You'd be surprised at what might be hiding in a brush pile, or even under a pile of leaves.
Once you've cleaned up, consider putting barriers around your property. We recommend a fence at least eight feet high for deer; it should also extend at least several inches below ground to keep diggers like rabbits out.
Mesh netting, such as chicken wire, is another option for protecting your EarthBox crops. Try our protective nets for keeping pests away from your plants.
Unpleasant Scents and Tastes
Some unpleasant odors may just be smelly, while others can mimic the scents of predators. These offer excellent options for reasonable prices. Liquid Fence, for example, keeps out deer and rabbits both. It doesn't harm the animals, and it's completely safe and biodegradable.
Similarly, you can keep your plants, families and pets safe while sending deer and rabbits scurrying with our slow release Plant Pro Tec, a repellent vapor that remains potent for months and will not wash away in the rain. Red pepper spray is another safe, non-toxic way to send hungry critters packing.
For threatening scents that reproduce the odors of blood or predators (though at a level your nose isn't likely to notice), try the Shake-Away critter products featured in our Featured Products section on the left side of the newsletter.
Audio and Visual Scares
Combining sight and sound makes a more impactful "scarecrow." For example, iridescent reflective foil strips, an inexpensive party goods item, can be attached to fence posts and deck railings. As they blow, they catch the sunlight, changing colors and making sounds, startling some animals away. Biodegradable bags placed around posts will have a similar effect. Be sure these items are securely fastened and replace them as they wear out.
If you've identified a "critter highway" where they often pass on their way to your garden, you can install a motion-activated scarecrow water sprinkler that will serve as a visual and physical "keep out" message. If they ignore it, the sprinkler will noisily leap into action, squirting them with water! We've found the Water Chase by Contech to be effective.
Solar-powered "mole chasers" are easy to install, and the sounds and vibrations send underground animals away before they reach your mouth-watering plants. Leaving a battery-operated radio tuned to an all-talk station in the garden may deter some critters; just be sure not to leave it out in inclement weather.
Garden Protection Galore
As you can see, you've got a variety of ways to keep marauding animals away from your garden, all of which are safe for pets, people, the animals themselves, and the environment. A well-trained dog who regularly patrols the garden can also work. It can not only chase away the animals it notices, the scents it leaves behind will be enough to discourage some animals, like woodchucks.
We wish you wonderful harvests!
||Retailer of the Month
This month we salute Bauer's Market & Garden Center of La Crescent, Minnesota. Bauer's now carries EarthBox products. "After hearing the fabulous results of many gardeners, we decided to stock the EarthBox line for our customers," says John Hoscheit, Nursery Manager. To maximize the EarthBox growing experience, Bauer's is hosting a vegetable growing workshop in April, which will include tips for growing plants in the EarthBox system.
"We'll be offering the full product line, and will have replant kits and trellis kits on sale at our nursery," says John. "We look forward to hearing about our customers' growing successes with the EarthBox container gardening system."
Bauer's has been in business at the La Crescent location for over fifty years, offering annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and seasonal items. Fresh summer produce, locally grown apples in the fall, and winter delights attract local residents as well as travelers.
Bauer's is open seven days a week, year round. For more information, visit www.bauersmarketplace.com, call 507-895-4583, or stop by 221 North 2nd Street, La Crescent, Minnesota.
||Fresh from the Forum
Although spring really is on the way, it always seems that winter likes to strike one more unexpected blow before it gives up for the year. So: are you wondering how to handle an impending cold snap? One grower in Maryland got some good advice about saving her broccoli from a freeze back in November. Take a look; the same advice should work for a late freeze as well as an early one.
||What's Growing on Facebook
Spring is just about here, and that means it's time for many of you to replant in your EarthBoxes. Need a few reminders on how to do it? Just watch Frank DiPaolo's 12-minute YouTube video for a refresher on replanting in your EarthBox. Check our Facebook timeline for February 28 for the link.
||From Our Customers
Feast your eyes on this nice late spring crop from last year. Here's what the grower, "morganmac," has to say about it:
"I have one EarthBox with one Roma tomato and three peppers, one EarthBox with greasy pole beans (which my grandma in western NC used to can... delicious!), and one EarthBox with one zucchini (Black Beauty) and one yellow straightneck squash.
"The tomatoes, peppers, and beans were planted at the beginning of April (the tomatoes and peppers were transplants; the beans were from seed). The squash and zukes weren't planted until about five weeks later. I have various other herbs and the odd extra tomato and pepper plant stuck in other containers because my very nice elderly neighbor bought more than she could plant and gave the extras to me, on the condition that I would share the end results with her.
"I thought I would be brilliant and use the pole beans to help shade a very, very hot western-facing window in my sunroom...a purpose they'll serve, but they're threatening to climb up onto the roof! Guess I just have to wait for them to flop back over and do some creative trellis weaving."
The wonderful photos and stories about EarthBox gardening that appear in this space every month come to us from folks like you. Just send us an email with your photos and a description, along with your name, planting zone, and city, and we'll take it from there. You never know when you might see your photo in a newsletter or catalog!
||Share Your EarthBox Experience
We appreciate your opinions about EarthBox products, and so do your peers. Because we recognize how helpful and valuable our customers' viewpoints can be, we would love to receive your comments -- whether positive or negative.
Here's the process: go to our website, click the category on the left column, and then click on the product name. Next, click on "Review this item," and start writing.
Thanks in advance for your help!
||Join Our Online Community
Join fellow EarthBox growers on Facebook or our Forum for interesting gardening discussions, EarthBox offers and resources, and to view awesome photos. Your fellow EarthBoxers are a wonderful source of information, always willing to advise you on your EarthBox issues!
Gardening with children in EarthBoxes? Find ideas for growing in or outside
the classroom on our Education Department Facebook page, in the Education section of our Forum, and in these videos.
You don't have to be an educator to find inspirational ideas on growing plants with youngsters. Videos are a members only feature, so if you're not already a Facebook member, you'll need to sign up.
You can also view tutorial videos on combination plantings, replanting your EarthBox, winterizing your EarthBox, and more on our EarthBox videos page.
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 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. To request a catalog, call 888-917-3908