Frequently Asked Questions

Materials

What are our beds made of?

We use #1 grade, kiln dried spf (spruce, pine or fir.)

How long do the beds last?

Our finished beds are painted with Timber Pro UV (a non-toxic wood stabilizer) to extend the life of the wood. We anticipate that they will last somewhere between 7-10 years.

What is the pest fencing?

Our fencing is 5 feet tall, and is made from conduit poles, sturdy hex mesh, and Velcro closures for easy in-and-out access to your garden. The poles are attached with metal brackets to the base of the raised beds. Our pest fencing comes in two standard sizes of 4’x4’ and 4’x8’ that are designed to fit our beds exactly.

What is the irrigation system?

Our drip irrigation configuration comes standard with the raised bed installation. Quarter inch black tubing connects the automatic timer (DIG) to the bed where ¼” lines with drip holes every 6 inches deliver water to the plants. Drip systems are water efficient as the irrigation lines deliver water directly to the soil at the base of the plant where the roots have easy access. The beds are watered thoroughly without a lot of excess, decreasing leaching of nutrients as well as wasted water.

Horticultural

What’s in the soil mix?

Our soil mix is made up of 50% organic compost/topsoil blend, 25% verimiculite (for drainage and to promote microrganism life), and 25% peat moss (to balance the acidity).

Where do we get our soil?

This year, we purchase our topsoil and compost from Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, MA. Brick Ends is the recipient of the food waste from Save that Stuff, a local org that collects compost from area universities, business, and restaurants. We were excited to find a source of local, diverse, food-based compost, straight from the city!

Where do our plants come from?

We get our starts from certified organic Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA. We get our seeds mail order from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. We chose certified organic seeds varieties when available. We are happy with our partnerships that allow us to support local, sustainably focused farming operations.

What is a hybrid? Is it the same as Genetically Engineered (GE or GMO)?

No, hybrids are not the same as genetically engineered varieties. Johnny’s does not sell any genetically engineered varieties. To learn more about Johnny’s position on genetically engineered crops, see our Safe Seed Pledge. Hybrids are developed by the long, slow process of traditional plant breeding, which relies on natural reproductive methods. Hybrids are crosses between two or more parents with different desirable traits. Pollen from one parent plant is transferred to the flowers of the other parent plant. The seeds that develop are an F1, first filial generation, hybrid. Hybrids are identified by (F1) after the variety name. Johnny’s founder and chairman, Rob Johnston, Jr., has written a description of the work that went into breeding six of Johnny’s own varieties. It’s a great read, and a good way to learn more about the various procedures used in traditional plant breeding.

Are we organic?

We are not certified organic, but all horticultural and soil materials that we use are. We aim to be no spray (such as the addition of beneficial insects, organic fertilizer, and manual pest removal.), instead employing other methods of pest and disease prevention that may be less sensitive to your garden’s ecosystem.

What are our pest control practices?

We emphasize minimal spraying and the cultivation of healthy plants and soil to create a pest and fungus free environment. Our first go to are beneficial insects. Whether manually adding ladybugs to the beds for aphid control, or just not using harmful chemicals that disturb the natural ecosystem, we aim to keep around the “good bugs” to help us do our job better.

We apply compost tea, weekly for a punch of effective microorganisms to keep plants healthy –healthy plants are most effective at resisting disease. When we do need to apply a pesticide, we always use OMRI (organic materials review institute) certified products that are approved for organic farming. We typically stay away from these materials completely at residential sites and use them where production is a main priority.

Services

How long is our season?

A typical MA growing season is from mid-April-October. With GCG cold-frames, your season can last year-round (depending on the year), but definitely from the beginning of March-December.

Do we sell retail?

No, we do not sell retail. We have limited surplus materials available to sell (including soil, soil components, irrigation materials and cold frame components) depending upon availability. Please email Scott for specific requests.

Do we have a C.S.A.?

We do not have a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture). All of the produce that we help our clients to grow is the property of the client. Many of our business and education programs chose to donate the produce, but are not obligated to do so.

Cold Frames

What is a cold frame and how does it work?

A cold frame is a wooden base with am aluminum and plastic lid that fits on top if the raised bed or directly over plants in an in-ground plot. It acts like a mini greenhouse, letting in the suns rays through the clear top and then trapping the heat inside. The cold frames are season extenders, allow for a later fall harvest (through December) and a head start in February, long before plants or seeds can be planted directly in the ground outside of the cold frames. Certain vegetables “over-winter” in the frames including root crops, certain herbs and greens. Cold frames are not included with the raised- bed installation but can be purchased with a maintenance plan or for the do-it-yourselfer.

Administrative

How am I billed?

For installations, 50% deposit is due at signing of the contract and the rest is due on the day of the installation. Maintenance clients are billed monthly and payment is due upon receipt of invoice.

Can I pay by credit card?

Yes, you can now pay bills online using your credit card.