The Educational EarthBox®
Earthboxes and Junior Master Gardener -
Nature AND Nurture
“ At Doris Hancock Elementary School, in Las Vegas, Nevada, an incredible experience is underway. The GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) students are working alongside the Kindergarteners and students in Special Education to develop a school garden. Through the planting, maintaining, and tracking the growth of the vegetables and herbs in the EarthBoxes, students are able to learn about the environment and how plants grow.
This is a perfect example of how NATURE and NURTURE work together to provide students with an optimal learning environment. Valuable and relevant, hands on activities create the opportunity for our children to integrate core curriculum with real world experiences. Relationships are being fostered between our students of various age and ability levels, while they measure, observe, draw and journal all about the plants and their experiences together.
This coming school year we hope to integrate the nutrition aspect of the program by incorporating a Healthy Hancock Hawk Cookbook with recipes created by our students and families using the fruits, vegetables, and herbs we grow in our Earthboxes. As our program and crops grow, we look forward to using our Earthboxes as a source for community service projects.
Thanks Earthboxes! ”
— Hadassa Lefkowitz
EarthBoxes and Wee Folk Team Up to Grow Healthy Produce for Sound Nutrition
DECATUR - Last year, participants in the school-age program at Wee Folk picked the vegetables they grew and got to take some produce home as well.
“They also used the produce in the kitchen,” recalled Megan Medina, “to teach nutrition.”
“I took plates and a knife out, and we cut watermelon right in the patch,” Medina said.
But there was also at least one difficulty with the garden plot the young people were managing. It’s often hard to tell a weed from a growing plant, so sometimes the vegetables got stepped on and broken.
However, after attending a conference where she was introduced to the EarthBox, Jennifer Schultz Nelson knew that problem was solved. So this year, Nelson, University of Illinois Extension Macon County horticulture educator, and Medina, a Master Gardener, assisted the children in planting in the EarthBoxes.
The planters, Medina said, are self-contained. They have a screen, watering tube and cover.
“After you fertilize, you put a cover on, and you don’t have to weed. If weeds can’t get sun, they die,” she said.
And EarthBoxes are mobile.
“It’s an advantage to being mobile,” Medina said. “You can’t move tomatoes in the garden, but you can move these.”
The mobility enables an EarthBox to be placed most anywhere.
“There aren’t many limitations. You can plant anything in them you can plant in the garden,” Medina said.
At Wee Folk, the students planted squash, tomatoes and peppers. But Nelson said even sweet corn can be planted in the containers, which measure 29 by 13½ inches and are only 11 inches high.
The children respond to being able to garden, said Marsha Petts, school age director at Wee Folk. The young people move the boxes each day during the week so the grass under them doesn’t die. And so far, she said, the plants look really healthy.
— Arlene Mannlein can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 421-6976.
Story credit: Decatur Herald & Review