In This Issue
Feature: Extending the
Retailer of the Month
Fresh from the Forum
>From Our Customers
Please Write a Review!
Join Our Community
Louisiana State University (LSU) runs a Coastal Roots Program in Baton Rouge to restore declining coastal areas. Established in 2000, this undertaking is fueled by students from grades two through twelve from forty schools in eighteen counties in southern Louisiana.
Dr. Pam Blanchard (of the LSU College of Education) and Dr. Ed Bush (of the LSU School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences) oversee this project. Five schools in southern Mississippi also participate, guided by State Extension Horticulturalist Dr. Gary Bachman.
Each school is assigned to a restoration site in need of vegetative plantings, and students grow seedlings or grass plugs in a nursery.
Seven of the schools are growing bitter panicum, a native dune grass, in EarthBoxes. All these plants are destined for Grand Isle and Cameron Parish beaches, areas that have been recently damaged by tropical storms and the recent BP oil spill.
This dune grass effort has been so successful that Zachary Elementary School in Zachary, Louisiana was awarded the 2011 Disney Planet Challenge Grand Prize for their work in restoring the Grand Isle State Park Beach.
Students in second and third grades at Zachary Elementary have not only raised almost 2,000 grasses, they have also created and sold books to raise funds for wetlands preservation, and to purchase soap to help clean up after the Gulf oil spill. They've also started a school-run AM radio station in which students will broadcast wetland news to the community.
Dr. Blanchard notes that the LSU Coastal Roots Program has three main goals: for students to grow their own restoration plants; for classrooms to make a restoration trip during which they plant their seedlings; and for teachers to incorporate the Coastal Roots program into coastal issue classroom discussions. She is delighted with the progress that has been made over the years, and very appreciative of the tireless efforts of the school communities.
For more information, visit http://coastalroots.lsu.edu/.
For information on starting your own EarthBox project, click here or contact our Education Department at 1-800-821-8838, ext. 8348 or 8369.
Featured Products: Cold Frames
One of the simplest ways to protect your plants from cold weather is to put them in a cold frame -- basically, a miniature greenhouse. Cold frames are light, compact, and will fit just about anywhere in your yard.
Our single cold frame is great for those smaller groupings of plants and seedlings you need to keep warm, whereas our double-sized cold frame, pictured above, is an economical way to double the protection.
Both the single and double cold frames are made from ultra-clear polycarbonate SnapGlas, and allow for excellent ventilation and access to your plants.
We Have a Winner!
We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing photo contest! Darlene Hritz of North Royalton, Ohio will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for her wonderful photo. Here's Darlene's entry:
"Hope you enjoy this photo of the 'cage' my husband built to keep the animals out," writes Darlene. "Thanks for the opportunity!"
Thank you, Darlene!
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.
We hope you're well, and enjoying your autumn EarthBox garden!
Normally, this is the time of year when many of you harvest the last of your produce and begin to winterize your EarthBoxes. But not so fast! It's possible to significantly extend your growing season and even grow throughout the winter, given the right tools and preparation.
In this issue, we'll discuss the use of frost covers, cold frames, and greenhouses, which can help you keep your garden plants thriving long after Jack Frost comes calling.
||Extending the Growing Season
Cold weather need not signal the end of EarthBox growing until spring; indeed, there are several ways to extend the season, and even grow all year 'round. Frost covers, cold frames, and greenhouses offer different levels of protection for your plants.
Frost covers are simple fabric coverings that get your tender plants through mild frosts, so you can maintain them outdoors for a while longer. While you can use almost any piece of fabric, commercial frost covers tend to be more effective and versatile.
Just be sure that the cover isn't touching the plant directly. Also, remove the cover and store it once the weather warms up, so the plant can breathe and the cover won't be damaged by the sun.
Cold frames provide another avenue for extending the growing season. These are basically miniature greenhouses that you can either place over existing plants or move containerized plants into; they're also great for hardening off tender seedlings or starting new seeds. Generally, they're unheated, which limits their use in colder weather, but it's possible to add heating elements if you prefer to do so.
It's best to install your cold frame on a slight slope with a southern or southeastern exposure, so it receives the most sunlight possible and enjoys good drainage. If possible, place it next to a hedge or wall (located immediately to the north) to block the wind, and sink the frame slightly into the ground so the soil provides an extra level of insulation. Leave enough room all the way around the cold frame to maneuver and care for your plants.
A greenhouse can let you keep harvesting all through the cold months, providing a continual flow of fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers. It can also help you get an earlier start on the spring season, while the ground is still frozen. Even unheated structures are good homes for those plants that prefer cooler conditions, and can generally keep the internal temperature 10-20° above the external temperature, with no worry of wind chill damage.
Here's a brief sampling of plants that can thrive in a greenhouse, whether heated or unheated. These plants are perfectly comfortable with 40-50° nights. For more ideas about what to grow, click here.
- Easter lily
- Sweet olive
The truly cold weather is on its way, and it won't be long before you see the first sprinklings of frost in the mornings -- if you haven't already. But that doesn't mean you have to give up on your EarthBox gardening for the winter. Take a few precautions and use the right tools, and you're good to go for months yet.
||Retailer of the Month
This month, we salute Rail City Garden Center, which serves northern Nevada. Established in 1996 and locally owned and operated, Rail City offers gardeners everything they need: seeds, seedlings, growing media, amendments, fertilizers, pest control products, tools, accessories, and more.
Rail City employees encourage customers to grow in raised beds and containers, particularly in EarthBoxes. There are several planted EarthBoxes around the garden center, brimming with tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and lettuce. Owner Pawl Hollis says, "This is a great selling tool, as it shows the EarthBox's ease of use, and the types of plants and vegetables it can support.
"We have found that many of our customers are new to container gardening, and are growing EarthBox veggies on patios and in smaller yards. They're pleased with how easy EarthBoxes are to use, and how abundantly they produce!"
Customers also learn about EarthBox growing at Rail City's weekly "Green College" classes on vegetable gardening, which include EarthBox set-up and planting demonstrations. A local television spot, hosted by Mr. Hollis, features growing tips, and sometimes includes a segment on EarthBox growing, which is well received.
For more information and hours, call Rail City Garden Center at 775-355-1551, or visit them at www.railcitygardencenter.com.
To find an EarthBox retailer near you, visit our Dealer Locator page. If you're a retailer interested in carrying EarthBox products or have a favorite garden center that you would like to recommend for EarthBox products, please contact Kathy Sponenberg here.
||Fresh from the Forum
If you live in the Northeast and you're thinking about planting garlic, see what these EarthBox growers have to say first!
||From Our Customers
"My EarthBoxes are on 12 x 12 stepping stones, which are on two 2 x 2 cedar skids to provide an elevated level surface, for a few reasons:
"First, so the fire ants don't build a home in the boxes.
"Second, so I can trim around and under the boxes (so the weeds/grass don't grow into and around the box).
"And third, so I can see the water overflow easier. I don't want to wash out the nutrients.
"I had them on casters during the spring, but had problems with them turning over in wind storms."
Alabama Gulf Coast
||Please Write a Review!
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! We look forward to reading the reviews, and improving your EarthBox experience. So please, don't hesitate to post reviews on our product pages.
||Join Our Community
Join fellow EarthBox growers on Facebook for interesting gardening discussions. For example, we've recently posted a link to an awesome review of the EarthBox system on About.com's Container Gardening website. Check our Wall, or click here to go directly to the review itself.
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.
We also invite you to participate in our forum. We'd love for you to weigh in on any EarthBox matters that interest you, and show us how your EarthBox crops are faring this year. Don't hesitate to ask questions, because your fellow EarthBoxers are a wonderful source of information who will gladly help with any of your EarthBox issues!
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 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.