Mobile Community Garden Pilot Project Spans the Generations
EarthBox growers, like vegetables, come in all sizes. In Orleans County, New York, toddlers, middle and high school students, and adults are getting their hands dirty in their EarthBoxes.
Recently, the New York State Department of Health funded an initiative called Healthy Communities Capacity Building. In Orleans County, children just old enough to stand are already learning how to grow at P.Raising Kids Child Care Center, as are their pre-teen friends. Middle and high school students at Liberty Partnerships/LIFE Program are bonding with each other as they grow vegetables in their boxes.
Adult members of the MHA of Orleans County Drop-In Center in Albion are also successfully growing produce: in fact, they're already enjoying the first fruits of their labor for dinner!
"We're a mostly rural county surrounded by great farmland, yet many people don't know how to start their own gardens," notes Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Orleans County Health Department Public Health Educator. "Many of the participants in the Pilot Project tend to eat processed foods, not having experienced a garden that produces healthy foods.
"Taking a different approach to the community garden concept by providing the materials without having to be concerned about location, tilling/hoeing the land, excessive weeding, etc. makes the Mobile Community Garden process more exciting for participants."
Each participating group is encouraged to join the EarthBox Forum as well as our Facebook page, in order to share their projects. After the completion of this pilot project, the initiative organizers hope to find interest in and funding for other EarthBox growing projects.
We salute Orleans County for their sterling efforts to bring the joys of growing fresh produce to all age levels of their populace! Great job, folks!
For information on starting an EarthBox community 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!
Steve Zumbo of Canandaiga, New York will receive a $25 EarthBox gift certificate for his wonderful photo.
Here's Steve's winning entry:
"I've attached a few photos of this year's EarthBoxes," writes Steve. "As you can see, I
have eight older style 'Boxes and a couple of the newer style as well. I'm
growing tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and an herb garden. I built a stand to
raise most of the EarthBoxes, and I've created my own staking system that I
use year after year. I've had great success for many years with
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 x7 inches at 72 dpi. We'll pick a new winner every month, and post the
entry in an upcoming issue.
I hope your summer is winding down nicely! It's still hot across most of the country, but fear not: the cooler weather will be here before you know it.
At this point, many of you are harvesting produce -- and some of you may be bringing in quite a bit of it. We're sure that all your friends and neighbors are enjoying your bounty as much as you are! But even so, are you getting the most out of your crops? In this issue, we'll give you a few tips on how to get everything possible from your EarthBox plants.
We'll also help you with some storage tips. Sharing with friends and community kitchens is lovely, but you may still end up with more goodies than you expected. Don't fret if you have an abundance; you can freeze and store it for later enjoyment. Read on to learn more!
|Harvesting and Freezing Produce|
You've worked hard to grow your fruits and veggies, and harvesting them properly is critical not just in keeping them fresh and intact, but also in ensuring that you maximize the harvest itself. But there are so many different varieties, even within a particular species.
Therefore, it's helpful to have a guide, so that you know what the fruit or vegetable should look like when you harvest it. That way, you don't pick it too early, while its edibility is limited, or too late, when it might be spoiled. Here's a handy guide that will help you to harvest your vegetables at the proper time. You can find the proper information for popular fruits here.
Once you know what your ripe produce should look like, keep this in mind: regardless of what you're harvesting, you should harvest at the coolest point in the day, which is generally the early morning. This will insure that your produce is at its cool, crisp freshest.
Put it in the Freezer
Speaking of harvesting: you may end up with more than you can eat or give away. We all know how cucumbers and zucchini can overproduce, for example. Well, there's no need to lose any of your surplus harvest, because freezing is a great way to store your fresh produce for future enjoyment. Let's take a look at what you need to do to freeze your produce properly.
It's important to get your harvested produce to the freezer as soon as you can, so plan before you pluck. Once everything's been harvested and brought indoors, wash the produce thoroughly in cold water. Fruit can be drained and packed plain, or in sugar and syrup, and then put in the freezer. Depending on the fruit, you can peel it first, but that's not necessary. Here's a neat little guide on freezing fruit, complete with tips on how to pack it and how much syrup or sweetener you may need. There's even a simple recipe for pectin syrup.
With the exception of herbs and green peppers, vegetables should be blanched and cooled before you pack them for freezing. Blanching is simple: you just put the veggies in boiling water or steam for a few seconds or minutes. For details on how to blanch specific types of produce, click here or here.
Blanching softens the vegetables a bit, making them easier to pack. Furthermore, the heat will also help to clean off any remaining dirt, and will kill some bacteria.
Remember, what you put in the freezer is what you get out. If you properly prepare and freeze only the best quality, freshest produce, then you should enjoy the same quality when it comes time to eat it for dinner. If the produce has been mishandled or isn't very healthy in the first place, it won't improve through freezing.
Here are a few basic storage guidelines:
- Store your produce in bags or in moisture- and vapor-proof containers
- Label and date the bags and containers
- Set the freezer to 0º F or below
With a little care, you can enjoy your fresh produce for months. In fact, you may have enough to last you right up until the harvest next year, since properly prepared produce can maintain its quality for 12-18 months if kept at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
|Fresh from the Forum
Built to Last
Do you know how long EarthBoxes can last? Find out what some of your fellow EarthBoxers have to say on the subject in the Q&A section of our Forum!
|Retailer of the Month
Williams Nursery and The Gift House
Each month we salute one of our valued retailers, and this month we highlight Williams Nursery & The Gift House of Westfield, New Jersey. This family-owned garden center has roots that stretch back to 1920, and the business has been growing ever since!
Williams serves Westfield and surrounding communities with over six acres of splendid plants, trees and shrubs. In addition to annuals and perennials, bulbs, ground covers, herbs, evergreens, orchids and even Christmas ornaments are available. Customers who would like to do the planting themselves but aren't sure how to design their gardens need look no further: Williams has a professional design staff that will help with the urban and suburban landscapes. Fall is especially exciting, with hayrides and pumpkin picking.
One particularly special and unique way Williams shares the gift of greenery is through their Trees For Troops program. Military men, women, and families are the recipients of live Christmas trees purchased by customers. Some even include personal messages.
Accolades for Williams Nursery include David Williams serving as current President of Garden Centers of America, and volunteering his time as co-chair of a community garden project called Westfield in Bloom.
By the way, that's David's father Ed in the picture. As David tells us, "He always likes to brag about being the first in the neighborhood with any ripe veggies. This was his first year with EarthBoxes, and even though he's retired he's one of my best sales people now!"
Visit Williams Nursery & The Gift House at:
524 Springfield Ave.
Westfield, New Jersey
Visit our websites at:
Visit my blog at williamsnursery.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter: Williamsnursery
|From Our Customers|
"Yes, watermelons can grow on a New York porch!
"I have three nice size watermelons growing well, from a seedling that I almost discarded because I thought it was dead. This one had been growing steadily for two weeks and is 4 pounds so far."
Southern New York State
|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 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.