Inside the Box masthead
April 2011
In This Issue
EarthBox Education
Featured Product
Vining and Climbing Vegetables
Snow Pea Activity Guide
Please Write a Review!
Fresh from the Forum
Retailer of the Month
From Our Customers
Join Our Community
About EarthBox
EarthBox Education:
Alberta Schools
Outsmart the Snow  
The EarthBox gardening system has helped schools in Alberta, Canada outsmart the snow, which is sometimes on the ground for eight months of the year. Over 25 schools in Alberta, from Kindergarten up to culinary technical schools, are growing vegetables as part of their curricula, and to improve food availability and water/soil conservation. Fifteen more schools will begin EarthBox programs this spring.

alberta hands - white 

Due to the typically low temperatures and high snow volume in Alberta, many schools are growing produce in the classrooms under grow lights. Some are growing in schoolyards and neighborhood ice rinks during the summer. Whether inside or out, all of the students are learning about plant science, weather, math and health. Students experience the entire growth cycle, from seed to table. 

alberta school - white

Harvests are so abundant that one classroom in Lethbridge shared carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes with the entire school. "Kids were eating plain lettuce by the handfuls, no dressing!" observed a Tapaskin School teacher. A colorful cornucopia of herbs such as thyme, basil, parsley and oregano, along with vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, garlic and colored peppers, will be shared with school cafeterias and youth emergency shelters.

Some students will even prepare soups, salads, and salsas for an autumn community harvest celebration for students, parents and possibly even the mayor. 

This is the third EarthBox growing season for some schools, and the first one for others.
"We were introduced to EarthBoxes by Robert Patterson, developer of The Growing Connection, a project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations," notes co-organizer Shirzad Chunara.

The EarthBox Kids Project, which was organized by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, is supported by Federal Growing Forward Funds. "This growing project has created a lot of excitement about growing food and local agriculture," says Chunara.

"By using EarthBoxes, fresh vegetables are now accessible to more children and schools in northern communities. Most importantly, the program promotes the development of healthy eating habits for children, families and the community."

Mrs. Chunara and co-organizers Brent Andressen, Robert Spencer, and Al Dooley look forward to seeing even more schools and communities grow their own food.

For more information on the Alberta project, contact: For more information on The Growning Connection, please 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.
Featured Product
EarthBox Staking System 

The EarthBox is the ideal growing environment for just about any crop, especially tomatoes -- which is why we designed the Staking System. Now you can grow any tall or vining crop with ease.  


staking kit - white 


The Staking System offers a  hassle-free way to support your EarthBox plants as they grow. You can choose from Green, Terracotta, or White. Click here for more details.


For those who own EarthBoxes purchased prior to November 2005 (e.g., first-generation boxes), there's a staking system for your EarthBox, too. This model will ONLY work for the first-generation EarthBox, which has been discontinued.

If you aren't sure whether you have a first-generation EarthBox, here are some identifying features of the older version: the ribs on the box, a lack of caster sockets, and no molded elements inside the box.

Click here to learn more.
We Have a Winner!

We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing photo contest!  

Gary Bachman ("gardendoc") will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for his photo of his tomato jungle. Here's Gary's winning entry:   


april winner white


Says Gary, "Here's a picture of Katie Bachman, a.k.a. Mrs. gardendoc, out in the tomato jungle from the first week of June 2010." 


We'll be posting more winners as we choose them -- and we're still waiting to hear from you

Photo of the Month Contest 

Want 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.

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Now that the weather is finally warming up, EarthBox growers are out in force, starting new plants of all kinds. Among the most popular, of course, is the tomato, in all its wonderful variety.


Anyone who has ever grown America's favorite vegetable knows that beyond a certain point, most tomato plants require good support and judicious pruning in order to maximize their growth potential and fruiting capacity. The same is true for most vining and climbing vegetables.  


To grow the most robust vegetables, you'll need to pay close attention to the twin topics of support and pruning. Read on for helpful hints on both!  


Happy gardening,


Frank's Signature
Frank DiPaolo
Olive Green ArrowVining and Climbing Vegetables


Many of our favorite vegetables are either vining or climbing varieties, which means that they need support to thrive and maximize their yields: that is, they literally need stakes, cages, or trellises to grow and climb on. While many plants welcome support, it's especially important for tomatoes, but also for many varieties of cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, peas, beans, squash, and pumpkins. If these plants aren't properly cared for and kept off the ground, they may be susceptible to pests and stem breakage. 


All these plants also need occasional pruning to keep them on course -- so let's take a closer look at both support and pruning options.

It's important to decide on the support system and install it immediately after planting your seedlings; you might be surprised at how soon your plants will need it. You can either build your own, or use one of our EarthBox staking solutions.


If you choose to do it yourself, a very simple trellis or growing framework can be made from wooden strips connected with brads or small screws. Similarly, staking can be as simple as tying your plants to sticks or slats. In either case, be sure that you avoid using chemically-treated wood, which can poison your plants.

One thing you should keep in mind: make sure all your plants are open and accessible for pruning on all sides. Don't set them up against a wall or fence where you can't easily get to them. And speaking of pruning...

Most plants will require a little pruning during the growing season. A plant that's pruned of excess growth is more likely to direct its energies to producing fruit or flowers more quickly, and the results will usually be larger than otherwise. Furthermore, the leaves of a pruned and supported plant dry faster, so they're less susceptible to pathogens like bacteria and funguses. The leaves also tend to be denser, which protects fruit more effectively.    


Prune only when the foliage is dry; that is, avoid pruning early in the morning or immediately after you've watered. In particular, check for discolored and damaged or diseased stems and leaves; prune out the unhealthy growth, and tend to any pests you discover immediately. Always prune flush with the stem, if possible. If you want to limit the height of the plant, pinch back the top as it reaches the top of the staking system.

The Long and Short of It

To get the healthiest possible harvest from your vining and climbing EarthBox vegetables, follow the simple tips for staking and pruning that we've outlined above. Some plants just respond better when they're supported properly and prudently trimmed. The thing is, it doesn't take that much work -- and the results tend to be very bountiful, compared to the amount of time and effort you put into it.

Olive Green ArrowSnow Pea Activity Guide
Teach Kids About Growing Food!


Pea Pod/Staking - orangeGet more out of your EarthBox garden for less! Order the discounted EarthBox Snow Pea Activity Guide to grow out an early cool-weather crop that teaches children where their food comes from, along with lots of interesting facts about the Snow Pea itself and how to eat healthy. You'll get an automatic 30% off at checkout!

Olive Green ArrowPlease 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.  So please, don't hesitate to post reviews on the product profiles at   


Here's the process: once you're at the 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.

Olive Green ArrowFresh from the Forum
Cold Frames for Your EarthBoxes 

Fresh From the Forum

Some of our handy and resourceful EarthBox growers have constructed their own cold frames for their EarthBoxes.
To find out how to create one of your own, click here!    

If you'd like to ask a question, commune with your fellow EarthBoxers, or just swap recipes, we urge you to join us in the Forum at  
Olive Green ArrowhereRetailer of the Month
English Gardens of Michigan   

retailer - orange

This month we salute English Gardens in Michigan. Dearborn Heights is where family-owned English Gardens planted their first seeds in 1954.  Now, there are seven garden centers and a full service landscape design and installation company serving Michigan residents.

Visitors will be well advised to make lists before shopping at one of the nurseries, as there are items for every level of gardening and outdoor living. Note-taking is a good idea when attending one of their free in-store gardening presentations.

Those considering an EarthBox or first time users benefit from an online web site planting demonstration. And EarthBox growers can purchase everything else they need to become successful, such as vegetable seeds and seedlings, herb plants, numerous tools and even soil-less potting media.

Advice and problem solving are always at the ready, as English Gardens offers workshops, on-line tips, a weekly television broadcast on local WXYZ and design and diagnostic services.

Treat yourself to a visit at one of their seven full service garden centers! For store hours, directions and general information, visit

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.  
Olive Green ArrowFrom Our Customers
Italian Tomatoes 

customer tomatoes-orange"It's been a while since I posted any pictures, so I thought I'd share some I recently took of my EarthBox patio garden. These are some of my Italians."     



Zone 51

Southeastern Wisconsin

Olive Green ArrowJoin 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.

We'd also like to remind you about our forum, which you can find at  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. And 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!
Olive Green ArrowOrdering 

To place an order, call us at 866-727-5532 (24/7) or visit our online store.

Olive Green ArrowAbout EarthBox

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
. To request a catalog, call 888-917-3908.
EarthBox® 1350 Von Storch Avenue · Scranton, PA 18509 · 1-866-727-5532