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In This Issue
EarthBox Education
Fresh From the Forum
Retailer of the Month
From Our Customers
About EarthBox
EarthBox Education:
Local Conservation District
Goes EarthBox
As one of 66 conservation districts in Pennsylvania, the Luzerne County Conservation District is a non-profit, local government entity whose mission is to provide for the conservation of the natural resources of Luzerne County. It does this by ensuring a sustainable balance between protection of the environment and the benefit of the county residents.
 
Recently, EarthBox had the opportunity to meet with Shawn Rybka, Watershed Program Coordinator in Luzerne County, who learned about EarthBox, its popular water-saving features, and its success in eliminating evaporation and run-off from Bruce Trumbower. Bruce is a member of the Luzerne County Conservation District Board of Directors; he also oversees, maintains, and promotes a greenhouse at Clark-Summit State Hospital that uses 50+ EarthBoxes to grow fresh produce.
 
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Shawn Rybka, Watershed Program Coordinator, in the EarthBox Garden at the Luzerne County District Office in Shavertown, PA.

"The Luzerne County Conservation District paid for 30 EarthBoxes through our Environmental Education Fund," says Rybka. "Our non-profit status entitled us to special packages from the Education Department at EarthBox. In 2009, we'll be adding to our existing EarthBox garden while giving out even more EarthBoxes at our presentations, because of a grant we received from the P.A.C.D. (Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts)."

Rybka and his colleagues are excited to demonstrate to the public the benefits of using the EarthBox, especially the ways it prevents non-point-source pollution.
 
The Luzerne County Conservation District also partners with the Penn State Cooperative Extension of Luzerne County. Together, they provide a wealth of information and hands-on workshops for the benefit of the community.

In 2000, Penn State University performed an interesting experiment with EarthBox called "High Tunnel Production of Lettuce Using Paper Mulch, Bare Ground and EarthBoxes." The results showed that the romaine lettuce grown in the EarthBox grew and matured faster while using less water. 

Mature EarthBox lettuce was harvested on April 17th, compared to May 12th for the paper mulch and bare ground treatments. Also, the EarthBox lettuce weighed more than the other lettuces. The Penn State report concludes: "Taste test results seemed to suggest that lettuce grown in the EarthBoxes was sweeter than that from paper mulch and bare ground treatments."
                  -- John Romanaskas
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Dear EarthBox Customer,
 
Insect pests are among the greatest challenges to any garden, EarthBox or otherwise. Last month, we outlined the problem and discussed one class of troublesome insect: the Chewers. This month we'll look at two other types of insect pests and some natural solutions.
 
The Suckers. Aphids, tiny insects with soft bodies in various colors (usually green), are common in vegetable gardens. They leave a sap or light syrupy substance that makes leaves sticky and may support sooty mold growth. Ants are often a sign of aphids, as some ant species herd the insects onto plants so they can feed on the honeydew the aphids produce. There are many ways to rid your garden of these critters, from water spraying to unleashing wheel bugs or ladybugs on them, to applying Neem oil or an insecticidal soap.

Thrips, which often attack onions, are even smaller. The typical thrips (the term is both singular and plural) is only about 1/16 of an inch long, with four wings and fringed hair. They suck the juice out of plants, causing them to appear silvery or gray. Big-eyed bugs, damsel bugs, yellow sticky traps, or hose spraying should help with infections.

The Soil Inhabitors. We've all turned up the occasional fat, white grub in the garden. They're the larvae of various kinds of beetles, which will happily inhabit the soil underlying any vegetation, whether flowers, vegetables, or turf. These pests will damage your plants as they bore through their bases, resulting in wilted or stunted growth. They can be controlled by treating the soil with milky spore powder. Robber flies and nematodes have also been noted as natural predators of these worms.
 
Wireworms are stiff-bodied, yellow-orange larvae that mature into click beetles. They burrow through the soil feeding on roots and stems of plants; they're particularly damaging to crops like potatoes, though they love all varieties of veggies. Pyrethrins or tomato/pepper vegetable spray should send them packing.

Beneficial Insects to the Rescue! There are many beneficial insects that will help protect your EarthBox, including honeybees, assassin bugs, big-eyed bugs, ladybugs, wheel bugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and praying mantis. Though some of these creatures may be purchased via mail-order, it's worthwhile to try to attract them with plantings. Most are drawn to flower nectar, so planting flowers that will yield nectar most of the year is ideal. Some herbs, such as fennel, coriander (cilantro), and dill, will also invite your helpers into the yard.
 
A Few Final Pointers. Keeping your plants free of stress will reduce insect and pest problems. Always keep the EarthBox reservoir filled, and be sure to follow the EarthBox instructions when applying fertilizer; excessive nutrition isn't necessarily a good thing. It can leads to an abundance of new, tender plant tissue, which is an invitation for both insects and disease.

Careful inspection of your plants throughout their growing cycle is crucial for a successful, healthy, and bountiful EarthBox harvest. Don't forget to take a close look at the undersides of the leaves with a magnifying glass on occasion. Close attention and a sharp eye can help you win the battle against the bugs!
 
Happy gardening,
 
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Frank DiPaolo
EarthBox
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Fresh from the Forum 
An Organic Remedy for Whiteflies
 
If you've been having trouble with whiteflies, you'll be happy to know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with a simple, organic home remedy that kills their larvae and eggs. For an interesting discussion of the recipe and how to use it, visit our Forum.
Retailer of the Month
McDaniel's Do It Center 
 
EBMSDanielWe at EarthBox value our partnerships with our authorized EarthBox Gardening System retailers. There are nurseries and garden centers throughout the country that carry our systems; some even offer seminars and workshops on getting the most out of your EarthBox. This month we feature McDaniel's Do It Center, a family owned hardware store with a large garden center and nursery located in Snohomish, Washington. 
 
In 1966, Bo McDaniel bought the store from Graeme Wilson, whom he had worked for since 1955.  Currently his son Brad is the owner, and is constantly changing their 30,000 square foot store to better serve the customer. In 2000 the McDaniels added a small nursery. Since then, their garden department has expanded regularly, constantly adding new and exciting products to their line-up. We're happy to say that this is their second year carrying EarthBoxes, and thanks to the EarthBox website, some of their new customers have traveled over 30 miles to get their boxes!
 
McDaniel's Do It Center is located at:
 
510 Second Street
Snohomish, Washington 98290
360-568-1544
From Our Customers 
Drought? What Drought?
 
california garden"This spring we waged war on the backyard weeds, graveled the garden area, and planted 14 EarthBoxes. Turned out to be a timely project, since a drought was declared statewide earlier this month. I'm very pleased with my water-conserving garden!"
 
Mekanamom
N. California
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. To find out more, visit www.earthbox.com.

EarthBox® 1350 Von Storch Avenue · Scranton, PA 18509 · 1-888-445-6295