Inside the Box masthead
May 2011
In This Issue
EarthBox Education
Featured Product
Natural Insect Control
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:
A Rooftop Brims 
with EarthBox Vegetables  

What do a radio station and vegetables have in common?  They both share space with EarthBoxes!  

At Radio Newport, Rhode Island, fresh vegetables sprout on the roof -- in EarthBoxes. Radio station directors Steve and Alexandra Cerilli converted the flat, rubber roof of their offices into an EarthBox container garden several years ago. 


They have slowly acquired more boxes and staking kits, to best use the space while being careful not to overload the roof's weight capabilities.    

earthboxes on roof - white


"We grow a variety of heirloom, organic vegetables from early spring through the fall, including broccoli rabe, kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, arugula, Asian greens, cauliflower, sunchokes and dandelion," notes Steve.

The crops receive natural rainwater, captured on the roof; this is referred to as the "Rainwater to Food" project. EarthBox and the Cerillis have worked together since 2007 to "green" Rhode Islanders, by demonstrating the ease and success of this process.


The rainwater is stored in three 60-gallon recycled olive barrels, courtesy of the Great American Rain Barrel Company. Added benefits to economizing on water usage are elimination of runoff and cooler offices.     

Steve and Alexandra have set an example in their community by converting "brown space" into a green, food-producing area at their non-profit, low-power radio station. Their gardens have been featured in the Seeds of Change catalog, and readers  have contacted them with great interest in the "Rainwater to Food" project. 


"We hope to inspire people to plant in containers in areas where a traditional garden is not feasible -- roofs, driveways, patios, decks, areas with poor soil," Steve says. "With EarthBoxes, you can grow a garden anywhere, as long as there is sun."

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
Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew 

Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad, a
product first isolated from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island...from an abandoned rum distillery, of all places! 


Captain Jack's 

Deadbug Brew kills bagworms,  beetles, borers, caterpillars, codling moths, gypsy moths, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more! You can use it safely on fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus, grapes, nuts and ornamentals. To learn more, just click here.

We Have a Winner!

We've chosen the latest winner in our ongoing photo contest!  Mary Ann Kinney will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for her photo of her beautiful bell pepper plant. Here's Mary Ann's winning entry:   


pepper plant winner white


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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Insects are a natural part of any garden, but you need to know which ones are helpful, and which ones can harm your plants. A working knowledge of good and bad bugs lets you take advantage of natural insect control, a purely organic "pesticide" option that uses no chemical poisons, avoiding environmental damage altogether. 


The process is simple enough: you keep beneficial insects in your garden, and use them (and other natural treatments) to "weed out" the harmful bugs. Certain plants can help you attract and maintain these good-guy insect populations; meanwhile, others will do their part by deterring bad bugs.


In this issue, we'll examine a few natural methods that can protect your EarthBox garden from bad bugs with a minimum of fuss.  


Happy gardening,


Frank's Signature
Frank DiPaolo
Olive Green Arrow

  Natural Insect Control


Insects and other tiny pests (collectively known as "bugs" in our book) are the causes of some of the common problems that your EarthBox plants may display. If a plant looks sickly, carefully check it over to see if you can detect the presence of insects. Use a magnifying glass if you have to, and take samples or photographs of the bugs you find in order to identify them. Here's a good resource to help you with the task; if that's not sufficient, ask your local County Extension Agent for advice.


Basic Protection

The best way to handle insect pests is to do so naturally. One of the simplest natural "insecticides" is your hands: if you can, pick the damaging bugs off your plants, dropping them into a jar of soapy water to kill them quickly. You can also spray them off your plants with water, or fall back on longer-term natural treatments that won't hurt you, your plants, or the beneficial organisms that live on them. Alternately, you can keep insects off your plants altogether by covering them with our insect netting


Beneficial Bugs

Speaking of beneficial organisms: they're among the best protective measures for your garden, because they kill pests effectively without harming your plants. Here's a quick rundown of the good guys you should encourage to colonize your garden: 

  • Ladybugs and lacewing larvae eat aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
  • Praying mantises eat just about everything.
  • Fly parasites kill filth flies (like houseflies and bluebottles).
  • Predatory mites control spider mites and other pest mites.
  • Trichogramma wasps prey on more than 200 leaf eater species.
  • Whitefly parasites eliminate greenhouse whiteflies.
  • Mealybug destroyers eliminate mealybugs.
  • Beneficial nematodes can kill almost all damaging insects in the soil.

You can order some of these bugs right here at EarthBox!

Beneficial Plants

There are many wildflowers, weeds, ornamentals, trees, shrubs and cover crops (and even certain herbs and vegetables) that either drive away harmful pests or feed and protect beneficial insects so that they'll stay in the garden. You can plant them along borders, or intersperse them among your EarthBox crops as companion plants. Here are a few of the more effective species:

Annual Marigolds deter a wide range of bugs, including Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, hornworms, and whiteflies. They can also repel or even kill root knot nematodes that live in the soil.

Bachelor's Buttons release nectar from their leaves, even when not in bloom. This attracts flower flies, ladybugs, lacewings, and beneficial wasps.

Sweet Alyssum is highly attractive to flower flies, which eat aphids.

Borage is very attractive to many beneficial bugs, with an average of over 100 found per square yard. Common green lacewings strongly prefer to lay their eggs on borage.

Cup Plant attracts both beneficial insects and small birds, because the leaves form a cup that collects dew and rainwater. In mid-summer, the leaves and flowers are also highly attractive to many insects.

Golden Marguerite flowers are highly attractive to ladybugs, lacewings, flower flies, tachinid flies, and mini-wasps like Trichogramma.   


While they're too numerous to list here, many other plants can help you either deter harmful insects or support beneficial ones. Be sure to ask your local County Extension agent about the beneficial plants that are hardy for your planting zone, and don't hesitate to ask them about any of the other suggestions we've made here as well. Good luck with this year's crop!

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

Olive Green ArrowFresh from the Forum
What Are Those Tiny Black Bugs? 

Fresh From the ForumHere's a great example of how EarthBoxers can help each other with problems -- in this case, insect control. Why not join the discussion?


By the way, two safe and organic ways to get rid of bugs like these is through the use of beneficial bugs or a good spinosad spray


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 ArrowRetailer of the Month
Dickman Farms, New York   

This month, we salute Dickman Farms Greenhouses & Garden Center of Auburn, New York. Dickman Farms has been serving communities in the Finger Lakes Region for years. Hobby gardeners and commercial growers alike will find fresh, high-quality plants and growing aids for gardening success at Dickman's. 


Their top greenhouse production facilities yield healthy, robust plants which are offered for sale at the garden center. Customers may also avail themselves of many helpful services, including custom potting, garden sketches, delivery, free soil testing, and numerous talks and events.

retailer-orangeThe photo of the vegetable garden, they tell us, "was taken inside our garden center greenhouse last year during our VaVa Bloom Garden Show. Our customers liked it so much that we left it in place for longer than expected... Our planted display EarthBoxes are always an attention getter. Once we get the customer's attention, the interest grows from there!"


Stop by and visit Dickman Farms any day of the week.  For more information, click here or call 315-253-3030,  ext. 1.

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
Great Big Strawberries 

strawberries orange"I just started harvesting strawberries about a week ago...they are getting pretty big. This is my biggest one yet!  These berries are no longer naked...they have been covered in CHOCOLATE!!! YUM!!!" 




Zone 10

Southern California

Olive Green Arrow 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.

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 Arrow  Ordering 

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

Olive Green Arrow  About 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