Concrete Courtyard Yields Bountiful Harvest
The concrete schoolyard at P.S.
107 in Brooklyn, New York has been transformed into a robust vegetable garden! Teachers
and parent volunteers began the EarthBox project together last summer.
Michele Israel, Co-Chairman of the
PTA Garden Committee, describes the evolution of the project: "Although
P.S. 107, an urban public elementary school in Park Slope, is two blocks from
Prospect Park, most of its students live in apartments and have no access to
hands-on gardening opportunities.
school's Sunshine Garden
changed that! Envisioned and created by parents, students, teachers, and other
school personnel, this edible garden, sitting in the school's sparse concrete
courtyard, is a humble yet influential fruit and vegetable garden, designed to
enhance over 480 Pre-K-5th graders' engagement with science, nutrition, and the
"We began using EarthBoxes last summer, when we had to empty our raised beds
in preparation for window replacement. We wanted to continue gardening, so we
purchased 12 organic EarthBox kits for our larger, sunnier schoolyard. Our
garden last summer was incredible... probably due to the combination of direct
sunlight and the EarthBox ingredients and construction. We grew eggplant,
tomatoes, three types of basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, beets, peppers,
chives, sage, pole beans, and string beans.
"We have since purchased six additional EarthBoxes, as we now have 13 teachers
gardening, including seed starting in the classroom. These boxes are
perfect for personalizing the classroom gardening experience. They also nurture
plants amazingly well...they stay moist, are easy to water, easy to manage.
They are very child-friendly. For us, the organic boxes have been
These experiences have broadened students' agricultural and environmental literacy,
and have encouraged healthier food choices in school and at home. The garden is
the cornerstone of Harvest Day, P.S. 107's celebration of gardening, fresh
produce, and nutritious food, culminating in a school lunch that includes
This year, the school has received two grants to support a garden-based environmental
exploration project. Students will use the garden to examine environmental
challenges that impact growing. Through research, interaction with specialists,
and classroom study, students will examine the issue and then propose ways to
address it. It's a fine mix of gardening, greening, and environmental advocacy
(a much-needed civic engagement on the part of the students).
For information on starting an EarthBox school project of your own, just click here
or contact our Education Department at
1-800-821-8838, ext 8348 or 8369.
Snow Pea Activity Kit Awarded!
Each year, the Tilliwig Awards
are presented to the best new toys, games and other children's products. They're tested and evaluated for both their educational or entertainment value.
This year, our very own EarthBox Snow Pea Activity Kit
received a Tilliwig Brain Child award!
To find out more, click here
We Have a Winner!
We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing "Grab Some Free Goodies" contest!
Stephen Bellingham of Irvine, California will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for his wonderful photo.
Here's Stephen's winning entry:
"Please see the attached photo of my EarthBox zucchini plant. Pictured with it is my daughter Anna. Our neighbors and friends are amazed!"
We'll be posting more winners as we choose them -- and we're still waiting to hear from you!
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 post the entry in an upcoming issue.
Send your contest entries to photos@Earthbox.com, with the word "contest" in the subject line, and we'll be sure to take a look!
Most EarthBox gardeners are committed to growing produce, and have enjoyed great success in doing so. However, we haven't forgotten that many of you also enjoy growing flowers. So in this issue, we'll explore that topic, and offer a few tips for getting started.
We hope you're enjoying the glorious sights and sounds of spring!
|Growing Flowers in Your EarthBox|
For those who prefer a splash of color or a visual array of different textures and shades, growing flowers in your EarthBox is an excellent idea. You can put them virtually anywhere -- at least, once you've found plants that will thrive in your zone. The patio, deck, around a swimming pool or fish pond, against a plain wall, or alongside a stairway or walkway are all fine locations, as long as there's enough sunlight for the varieties you're growing.
There are so many shapes, heights, colors, textures and fragrances to choose from, and some of the options are edible!
It would be helpful to start with a plan on paper, to determine how many EarthBoxes you'll dedicate to flowers and where you'll put them. Other factors should be considered, too, depending on location: for example, if the EarthBoxes are going to be on the ground, don't select plants that will cascade. However, for elevated EarthBoxes, trailing plants do add a nice visual touch.
Flowers that EarthBox growers have found easy to grow in nearly all environments include impatiens, petunias, caladiums, marigolds, violas, morning glory and moonflower. But remember, the EarthBox is a unique growing system, unlike any other gardening container. Consulting with your local nurseries or your county extension agent is always a good idea before planting.
Here are a few other flower candidates we like, by zone:
All Zones, as annuals
The Butter Daisy (Melampodium) is a good choice just about anywhere. This cheery yellow flower requires little care, as long as it gets enough water and medium shade to full sun. It'll last a long time, too: five to six months on average.
Mona Lavender (Plectranthus) is another easy-care plant that requires medium shade to full sun. This mint relative, which is native to Africa, manifests as a perennial shrub that offers stalks of light purple blooms that contrast with the plant's dark green leaves. But no worries about it spreading under your EarthBox cover: unlike its mint cousins, Mona Lavender is not invasive and does not set seed. In fact, the flowers are sterile.
Ti plants, or cordylines, thrive in similar conditions during frost free seasons, lasting about six months. They offer up elegant leaves in a variety of shapes, in shades of red, pink, and green.
Up to Zone 4, as perennials
Flowering Juncus Grass, which comes in several varieties, is a good choice for spring, summer, and fall. It's evergreen, yielding up tiny pale-brown to pale yellowish white flowers in clusters during the summer. It thrives in anything from light shade to full sun, and is easy to care for. Some varieties are extremely fond of water.
Zones 3-9 as perennial
For these zones, Creeping Jenny, with its hordes of bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers, is a good choice. Creeping Jenny is one of the more amenable flowering groundcovers, and will grow all year round in frost-free zones. This is one of those trailing plants, so save it for your raised EarthBoxes.
Dwarf White Striped Sweet Flag Grass isn't quite a sedge or a grass, but has characteristics of both; it's actually an evergreen perennial. Another moisture-lover, it requires light shade, and may grow up to a foot tall during its six-month lifespan.
The lovely Canna Lily is an excellent choice for these zones. This exuberant plant, with its broad green leaves and large flowers, is easy to care for if given all the water it needs. Otherwise, just provide plenty of sun, and it'll respond with lots of flowers and come back every year from its corms. Cannas come in numerous bright colors.
Both Aloes and Anthuriums are good choices for your zones, because they can grow all year. Aloes love heat and full sun; they produce lance-shaped clusters of small, tubular flowers, and the thick, succulent leaves have medicinal uses. You must be vigilant in protecting them from freezes, however. Anthuriums produce showy, single-petaled flowers with a tall central spike, bloom all year long, and require medium shade.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it offers at least a starting point for your EarthBox flower gardening. If you find other species that work great for your zone and 'Box, don't hesitate to let us know. Be sure to put the word "contest" in the subject line -- and you just might be our next contest winner!
|Fresh from the Forum
Looking for information on growing strawberries in your EarthBox? Check out this Forum thread for some great pointers!
|Retailer of the Month
Bordine's Nurseries, Southern Michigan
Now the largest family-owned production retail nursery in Michigan, Bordine's had its humble start as a roadside stand in 1939. Their mission to provide top-quality native species to residents is still carried out today at all four Bordine's locations. They grow their own annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and roses. Numerous plants, grasses, trees and gardening items for both the novice and avid gardener are also offered. As part of Bordine's Green Initiative, natural products for feeding and pest control are available as well.
Top-notch advice is readily accessible through Bordine's design services, workshops and newsletter. Their staff is comprised of seasoned professionals who are dedicated to helping their customers enjoy gardening success.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday 9-8 p.m. and Sunday 9-6 p.m. EDST. Visit Bordine's website for more information and for store locations, or call 248-651-9000.
|From Our Customers|
wanted to share a photo of my peppers doing well in my
EarthBox. I'm a first-timer, and have already purchased another EarthBox for my lettuce. There
are more photos and EarthBox-related posts at my blog.
"I appreciate all the help I've received on the
forum. It's made my first EarthBox experience a success!"
||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.
And don't forget to check out our videos! This is a members only feature, so if you're not already a Facebook member, you'll need to sign up to view the videos.
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. To order a catalog, call 888-917-3908.