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.

What is your pest fencing made of?

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 comes with the irrigation system?

Our drip irrigation configuration comes standard with the raised bed installation. Quarter inch black tubing connects the automatic timer 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.

What is a cold frame and how does it work?

Cold frames are season extenders, allow for a later fall harvest (through December) and a head start in February. A cold frame is a wooden base with an aluminum and plastic lid that fits on top of the raised bed or directly over plants in an in-ground plot. It acts as a mini greenhouse, letting in the suns rays through the clear top and then trapping the heat inside. Certain vegetables, such as root crops, greens, and certain herbs, can “over-winter” in the frames. Cold frames are not included with the raised- bed installation but can be purchased with or without a maintenance plan.

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?

We purchase our topsoil and compost from City Soil in Boston, MA. City Soil helps grow sustainable farming projects and, along with GCG, is helping to grow the urban agriculture movement. 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 local organic farms and our seeds mail order from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. We chose certified organic seeds varieties when available, and we support local, sustainably focused farming operations.

What types of crops can I grow?

See our Crop Map for a complete list of vegetables, herbs, and fruits that we offer.

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

No, hybrids are not the same as genetically engineered varieties. Our seed supplier, Johnny’s, does not sell any genetically engineered varieties (see their Safe Seed Pledge). Hybrids are developed by the long, slow process of traditional plant breeding, which relies on natural reproductive methods. Read this description of the work that went into breeding six of Johnny’s own varieties here 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, instead adding beneficial insects, organic fertilizer, and manual pest removal to lighten our impact on the garden ecosystem.

What are our pest control practices?

The first line of defense 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 emphasize minimal spraying and the cultivation of healthy plants and soil to create a pest and fungus free environment.

Weekly, we apply compost tea full of microorganisms that keep plants healthy so they can most effectively resist disease.  When we do need to apply a pesticide, we always use OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certified products approved for organic farming. We typically use pesticides at sites where production is a priority and rarely use them at residential sites.

Services

How long is our season?

A typical Massachusetts growing season is from mid-April-October. Cold frames can extend the season from March-December and even year-round, depending on the year.

Do we sell retail?

No, although we have limited surplus materials available to sell (including soil, soil components, irrigation materials and cold frame components) depending upon availability. Please email Sarah for specific requests.

Do we have a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture program)?

No, 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.

Administrative

How am I billed?

For installations:  50% deposit due at signing of the contract, rest due on the day of the installation

Maintenance clients: billed monthly, payment due upon receipt of invoice

Can I pay by credit card?

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