EarthBoxes and Gang Prevention
In Binghamton, New York, young men and women at risk for criminal and gang involvement have found positive reinforcement in gardening. High risk youth ranging from 12 to 17 years old are growing vegetables in EarthBoxes at Saratoga, North Shore, and Carlilse Binghamton Housing Authority sites.
Every week, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, green and yellow beans, and a variety of greens are sold at community Farmer's Markets at each site. Though these fresh vegetables are primarily available to residents, neighbors may visit these mini-markets as well.There is also phone order and delivery service for disabled and home-bound residents.
This Broome County Gang Prevention Project is organized and supervised by Program Coordinator Beth Harrington, as part of The Growing Connection. The concept of growing vegetables in the EarthBoxes took root six years ago at the North Shore Binghamton Housing Authority site. Saratoga and Carlilse family housing sites were added to the project this past summer.
This project addresses two health-related needs for these young people. "The program targets an at-risk population, and is intended to offer an alternative to youth crime, delinquency and gang involvement through mentoring and job skill development training," says Ms. Harrington.
"Second, the program addresses childhood obesity through behavioral changes in food choices. TGC focuses on providing nutritional/agricultural education that empowers youth to make healthy eating choices and improve their current and long-term health with the potential to reduce lifetime healthcare costs to individuals, communities and public healthcare programs."
Ms. Harrington says this project has made a tremendous difference in the lives of these youths. "They have learned how to care for the EarthBoxes and the plants from seedling to harvest. The process of sharing the produce with others in need has also had a very positive impact on them."
Ms. Harrington gratefully acknowledges funding from The Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood, both of South Central New York.
For more information on this project, click here.
For information on starting an EarthBox project of your own, click here or contact our Education Department at 1-800-821-8838, ext. 8348 or 8369.
We Have a Winner!
We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing photo contest!
Ron Grabler of Escondido, CA will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for his wonderful photo of his patio plants!
Here's Ron's winning entry:
Ron says, "I've been surprised at the size of the Early Girl tomato
plant in my Earthbox. There is one other plant which is being
overwhelmed with the vigorous growth of the Early Girl. It has been in the box about 45 days. I think the southern California sun must help."
We'll be posting more winners as we choose them -- and we're still waiting to hear from you!
Photo of the Month Contest
to win a $25 EarthBox
gift certificate? Send us
your EarthBox success photos with the word "contest" in the subject
line of your email, and you could be a 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.
Fall is (finally) in full swing, which means cooler weather for some of us. Therefore, it's about time to start preparing for the possibility of a frost or freeze, which can damage your plants and your EarthBox if you face them unprepared.
Even if it seems like winter is quite some distance away, this is a good time to begin prepping for the cold and learning how to defend against it. In this issue, we'll take a look at how to handle frost and freezing, and how to distinguish between the two. We'll consider ways to protect crops from frost, and also discuss plants that can handle the cold temperatures better than most.
Read on to find out more!
|Keep an Eye Out for Cold Weather!|
Fall is here -- though of course that means something different to us all, depending on the planting zone we live in. In southern states, you may still be starting new crops; elsewhere, you may be harvesting what's left of the summer crops and preparing to winterize your EarthBoxes.
In most places, however, cool weather has become a significant worry for EarthBox gardeners. If you don't want your plants to get hit with a frost or, worse, a hard freeze, you'd best keep an eye out on your frost dates.
You can find very good, detailed frost date charts for every state here, at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) website. For a more generalized chart with estimated frost dates for many (but not all) American cities, click here. These charts offer some good basic guidelines that, if coupled with careful weather-watching, will help you avoid losing your plants to frost or freezes.
You may also want to check to see if you live in a microclimate, a locality with conditions that aren't typical of your planting zone. If so, have a chat with your local nursery staff or county extension agent to determine if there's anything special you need to know.
Frost vs. Freeze
It's important to know the difference between a frost and a freeze, because some plants can handle a light frost and some can't -- whereas most will perish in a freeze.
A frost is the result of heat radiating from a surface on a cool, clear night. While the temperature of the air may be slightly above freezing, the surface can get chilled to below freezing through loss of heat, whereupon condensation may freeze into a thin layer of ice crystals. This is generally a surface phenomenon only, but it can kill some tender plants.
When the air temperature drops to below freezing for a significant period, the plant tissues themselves freeze. The growth of ice crystals in the plant cells causes them to rupture and die on a wide scale. Some plants can survive a freeze, if they're tough enough and the freeze doesn't last long enough to destroy core tissues, but don't count on it.
Protecting your plants
To avoid losing your more delicate plants, cover them on nights when a frost or freeze is predicted. Frost covers allow the plants to retain heat instead of radiating it away. Cloth and thin plastic are best, but if you use plastic, don't let it touch the foliage; plastic cools more quickly than plant tissues, and it can suck the warmth right out of the leaves. A simple wooden frame or row cover can help you prevent this. A nice, thick layer of mulch should be adequate for your plant's roots.
Ironically, water can help you save your plants from a freeze. If you know in advance that temperatures are going to drop, all you have to do is water the soil around the plant carefully a few days before the freeze, and the water will hold the warmth in the soil. We still recommend a cover and mulching, however.
Cold Hardy Plants
While we don't recommend planting cold hardy plants this late (unless you have a very late first frost date), there are some plants that will shrug off the cold weather. On the vegetable front, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, lettuce, and parsnips are all cold tolerant, and most can handle a frost or even a light freeze. When it comes to flowers, pansies are the obvious choice, but calendulas, dianthus, diascias, and snapdragons can all handle the cold quite well. For a lengthier list of cold-tolerant flowers, click here.
Winter Prep Reminder!
Prepping your EarthBox for the winter is fairly simple. You don't need to worry about removing the growing medium; just remove the old mulch cover, clear out the old plants and fertilizer, and affix a new mulch cover. Then tip the EarthBox over toward the overflow hole on the side, and drain out all the water you can. If you leave water in the reservoir, it'll expand as it freezes, and may crack the EarthBox.
|Fresh from the Forum
Eggplant in Your EarthBox
Ever wonder whether an eggplant can be rooted from a cutting? Check out the conversation on that very subject in the
Q & A of the forum!
|Retailer of the Month
October is typically a transition month for of our dealers, which means they're busier than usual. So, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of them, everywhere, rather than spotlighting just one.
We hereby salute our EarthBox retailers across the country! We applaud their dedication to teaching about, promoting, and selling the EarthBox system and accessories!
EarthBox growers, you can easily find a dealer near you, as we have more than 2,000 retailers nationwide. To find out more about EarthBox workshops, to add another system to your garden, to find accessories or purchase one for a friend, visit the dealer locator here.
|From Our Customers|
"Here is my corn that was planted on July 5th! (The photo was taken in early August.) This is my first time growing corn AT ALL, but I can't believe the growth in just under a month...
"This is Butterfruit Original Early from Park Seed."
|Join Our Community|
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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 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.