If you live in the vicinity of Hampton Roads, Virginia here is a great opportunity to get some first hand, hands-on experience with EarthBoxes. The Outdoor Show starts at McDonald Garden Center today at 9 am and continues through Sunday, March 7. Hurry!
It is great to see a garden writer enthusiastically support a local garden center's event like this. It is also great to see a garden center featuring sub-irrigated planters like the EarthBox.
I don't find events like this very often but have no doubt that there will be many more of them this spring and summer. The good news about the many benefits of SIPs is spreading through the grapevine even without much institutional support.
You can help feed yourself, your family and the economy. Have fun!
You can have soil that's poor and difficult to drain.
You can have moles that tear up your yard and voles that eat your plants.
You can have a shady yard with a spot of sun or the reverse — sun with a splash of shade.
Yet you can still successfully garden if you plant in a box or any container large enough to support what you grow.
For years, gardeners have planted vegetables, annuals, perennials and even small trees and shrubs in half barrels, wooden boxes and large pots. Tomatoes and peppers will even grow in straw bales.
Nowadays, weed-free container gardening is a cinch because companies like Earth Box offer kits that you tote home, fill with potting soil and plants and then sit back to enjoy the view or reap the harvest.
You can see how containers like Earth Box and its water reservoir, fertilizer band and mulch cover do all the work for you during the 16th Outdoor Show for home and garden Friday through Sunday at McDonald Garden Center.
Earth Boxes are foolproof for any gardening ability. Beginners will particularly like them because everything but potting soil and plants comes in the kit. Instructions tell you how many plants to use and how to place them for optimal results, or you can create your own design.
All it takes is about 10 minutes of your time to get the Earth Box system going. The box also comes with casters so you can move it to maximize sun exposure as needed. Potting mix in the Earth Box can be used for up to five seasons.
Planted in succession, an Earth Box will easily give you three seasons of edibles. In early spring, plant lettuce, radishes and onions for fresh salad makings. In May, replace those with tomato, squash and pepper plants. When their season is done, remove the plants, add new fertilizer and begin your fall veggies such as salad greens, spinach and broccoli. Anything from strawberries to okra can be grown in the box, according to the company.
In addition to the Earth Box display and demonstration, the Outdoor Show at McDonald Garden Center features exhibits and seminars on pruning, Always-in-Bloom containers, mole and vole tips and lawn-care advice. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days; parking and admission is free. The garden center is located at 1139 W. Pembroke Ave., Hampton. For more details, visit www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com or call 722-7463.