Helping the Needy in
Upstate Locavores is a project group located in upstate South Carolina that provides EarthBoxes to economically challenged families. "We provided EarthBoxes in spring 2009, with replant kits in the fall," reports co-coordinator Ellie Taylor (RN, MS). "We'll provide them with kits again in spring 2010."
The organization is governed by a steering committee drawn from many segments of the local community. "We're also working with two other projects now, one on the campus of Clemson University and one with a local Catholic Church, which has a Hispanic Ministry," says Ellie. "The latter two projects are just starting." The necessary money is raised from individuals through churches and other organizations.
Ellie and her group intend to continue the program for many years. "EarthBox is making a difference in the community, because more people have access to food at their doorstep," she points out. "Many are rekindling their love of gardening and remembering the taste of whole, healthy food, and are sharing the bounty with friends and neighbors."
Clemson University sociology professor Catherine Mobley, who is co-coordinator of the project, says of the EarthBox system, "I love the simplistic approach of just adding water. It's like Gardening for Dummies. Watching it grow was a wonderful gift."
Collards greens, the classic southern staple, are an Upstate Locavores favorite. "Our weather is different from the coastal and southern parts of the state," says Ellie. "In the south, collards like fall, winter and spring. Cool and cold weather make them thrive."
Collards can be used in many dishes, like stir fries and soups, in salads, and added to casseroles. They're very mild in taste, especially when leaves are young, tender and smaller. Here's a recipe
we recommend from a book Ellie co-authored with Pamela Gould entitled Feeding the Kids and Feeding the Kids Workshops: Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters.
We Have a Winner!
We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing "Grab Some Free Goodies" contest! Carolyn Weaver of Belvedere, CA will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for her wonderful photo.
We'll be posting more winners as we choose them -- and we're still waiting to hear from you!
Here's Carolyn's winning entry:
"The side of my house had a wasted strip of soil where remodelers had dumped all kinds of waste, from paint thinner to kitty litter. The soil was basically dead. The EarthBoxes were my solution. I can't tell you how proud I am of my side yard now!"
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 their 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!
I hope this letter finds you enjoying mild temperatures as Spring takes hold. If you're like us here at EarthBox, you're happy to see the last of the really cold weather for a while.
By the way, we really appreciate the response to the growing zone poll in our February issue. If you haven't responded yet, here's the link. We asked about your growing zone so that we can periodically provide you with information pertaining to your zone. So...what's your zone?
We thought we'd provide you with some zone-related information for April, because some of you will have planting on your minds, while others may already be harvesting. Wherever you are in the process, happy gardening!
|April in Your Zone |
In any growing zone, your first task before planting anything is to check two things: your zone's last frost date, and days until harvest. Your average last frost dates are approximations at best, so you'll need to check with your county extension agentor a master gardenerfor your area, then follow the weather forecasts closely for complete climate projections.
If the last frost date for your zone is safely past, you can (finally!) start planting those warm season vegetables: beans (bush, snap and pole), cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, peppers, pumpkins, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, and watermelons, oh my!
Now, let's take a look at a few tips for the hardiness zones that you, our customers, have indicated you live in.
Given that the average last frost date for your region falls between May 1 and May 30, at the moment you're probably in planning mode. Right now is the time to make decisions about which seedlings you'll plant, and how many you'll need to buy.
We recommend that you wait until several weeks after the last frost to plant crops that require warmer weather, especially tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and their relatives.
And keep in mind that in addition to seeds and seedlings, your gardening checklist should include all the other components you'll need for planting or replanting your EarthBox. We've got all the replant kits you need, all of which include mulch covers, fertilizer and dolomite. There's still time to order if you need one. You can do without a replant kit, but be sure you get your own fertilizer and dolomite, and make sure the mulch cover is still usable.
Zones 5,6, and 7 experience their last frosts a bit earlier than Zone
4, somewhere between April 30 and May 30. This means you can start cool
weather crops like lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, peas and
radishes around April 1. These early crops grow best in cooler weather and can
tolerate light frosts.
Warm season crops, on the other hand -- such as tomatoes, pepper, eggplant
and vine crops such as melons, squash, beans and cucumbers -- should be
planted around May 31. However, depending on the weather trends, it is not
unheard of to plant these crops a week or two earlier. These crops should be started earlier indoors from seed, or purchased from your
local greenhouse or plant supplier. They can't handle a frost or
cool soil temperatures.
The average last frost date for Zone 8 occurs between February 28 and March 30. In other words, you'll probably be harvesting your cool-season veggies right about now, if you haven't already begun, and it's time to get warm-season seeds started.
Once the cool-season crops are harvested, you can start sowing the warm-season crops: squashes, cucumbers, legumes, and melons. You can also plant tomatoes or peppers, but it doesn't hurt to wait a bit later for those heat-loving plants.
By the way, freezing is a great way to preserve any of the produce that you're unable to eat right away. Not only is it easy, it's your best choice for retaining nutrients and flavor. Vegetables will do fine for up to 18 months if kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
We expect that if you live in Zone 9, your gardens are in full swing! The average last frost date for your zone falls between January 30 and February 28, so you can get started with your gardens quite early.
Right about now is a good time to start heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. And by the way, if you're growing tomatoes and started them a while back, you may need to cage or stake them now, especially those sprawling indeterminate varieties.
You're probably well along in your early harvest by now, considering the average last frost date for your zone occurs before January 30 -- which means that you have a long growing season indeed. It's certainly time to plant your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, if you haven't already, or to plant a second wave of other crops for multiple harvests.
We hope you've found these zone-by-zone tips helpful. And one more thing: if you're an EarthBox novice, be careful with the
placement of your EarthBox. It's a lot easier to move before the soil
is put in than after!
|Fresh from the Forum
Mosquitoes bugging your
EarthBoxes? To find out how some of your fellow growers are tackling this
issue, check out the thread titled, "EarthBox mosquitoes? Drat!!" in the Tips and Tricks section of the EarthBox Forum.
|Retailer of the Month
|Hyannis Country Garden, Massachusetts
Every month, we highlight one of our valued partners so you can learn more about them and their products. This month, we salute Hyannis Country Garden in Massachusetts, which operates under the motto "Big enough to serve you, small enough to know you."
This family-owned, seven-acre gardening supermarket has been serving its loyal community of landscapers and homeowners for over 40 years. Begun as a produce stand on Cape Cod, Hyannis now carries an impressive array of bonsai, cacti, greenhouse plants, herbs, shrubs and trees, fountains, aquarium products, aquatics plants and supplies, bird supplies, tools, organic products, annuals and perennials.
Classes and seminars guide customers with vegetable gardening, lawn care and general landscaping, among other projects. The website and blog also provide a wealth of information on gardening. The friendly professional staff is eager to help you with advice and guidance for all your outdoor gardening projects, both in person and through their new online store -- a giant step forward in helping Hyannis Country Garden provide its customers with the best, most convenient service and highest quality products available, at down-to-earth prices.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 9-5 p.m. EDST.
Hyannis Country Garden
380 W Main St
Hyannis, MA 02601
|From Our Customers|
"I'm so excited to have my first tomato plants growing in my new EarthBoxes! The first ones are some Creole tomatoes I purchased about six weeks ago and put in the EarthBox about two weeks ago. The cute little small ones are Anahu tomatoes I grew from seeds. These are from Hawaii and are supposed to be able to take the heat and humidity of our New Orleans summers. Before I transplanted them, they really were much taller than this, but I planted them as deep as I could.
"I have two more EarthBoxes to plant. One will have mixed peppers -- green, jalapeno and habanero -- and the other will have New Zealand spinach.
"I think I'm going to love this EarthBox growing!"
A Happy Customer from Zone 9a
New Orleans, LA
||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.