Earthbox Gardening: Information On Planting In An Earthbox


Love to putz in the garden but you live in a condo, apartment or townhouse? Ever wish you could grow your own peppers or tomatoes but space is at a premium on your tiny deck or lanai? A solution just might be earthbox gardening. If you have never heard of planting in an earthbox, you are probably wondering what on earth is an earthbox?

What is an Earthbox?

Simply put, earthbox planters are self-watering containers that have a water reservoir built in that is capable of irrigating the plants for several days. Earthbox was developed by a farmer by the name of Blake Whisenant. The commercially available earthbox is made of recycled plastic, 2 ½ feet x 15 inches (.7 m. x 38 cm.) long and one foot (.3 m.) high, and will accommodate 2 tomatoes, 8 peppers, 4 cukes or 8 strawberries – to put it all in perspective.

Sometimes the containers also contain a band of fertilizer, which continuously feeds the plants during their growing season. The combination of food and water available on a continuous basis results in high production and ease of growth for both veggie and flower cultivation, especially in areas of space restriction such as a deck or patio.

This ingenious system is great for the first time gardener, the gardener who may be occasionally forgetful about watering to downright neglectful, and as a starter garden for kids.

How to Make an Earthbox

Earthbox gardening can be achieved in two ways: you may purchase an earthbox either through the internet or a gardening center, or you can make your own earthbox planter.

Creating your own earthbox is a relatively simple process and begins with selecting a container. Containers can be plastic storage tubs, 5-gallon buckets, small planters or pots, laundry pails, Tupperware, cat litter pails…the list goes on. Use your imagination and recycle what is around the house.

Besides a container, you will also need an aeration screen, some type of support for the screen, such as PVC pipe, a fill tube and a mulch cover.

The container is divided into two sections separated by a screen: the soil chamber and water reservoir. Drill a hole through the container just below the screen to allow excess water to drain and avoid flooding the container. The purpose of the screen is to hold the soil above the water so oxygen is available to the roots. The screen can be made from another tub cut in half, plexiglass, a plastic cutting board, vinyl window screens, again the list goes on. Try to repurpose something lying around the house. After all, this is called an “earth” box.

The screen is drilled through with holes to allow moisture to wick up to the roots. You will also need some type of support for the screen and, again, use your imagination and repurpose household items such as kid’s sand pails, plastic paint tubs, baby wipe containers, etc. The taller the supports, the larger the water reservoir and the longer you can go between watering. Attach the supports to the screen using nylon wire ties.

Additionally, a tube (usually a PVC pipe) wrapped with landscape fabric can be used for aeration instead of the screen. The fabric will keep the potting media from clogging the pipe. Simply wrap it around the pipe and hot glue it on. A screen is still put in place, but its purpose is to keep the soil in place and allow for wicking of moisture by the plants roots.

You will need a fill tube made of 1-inch (2.5 cm.) PVC pipe cut to accommodate the size of container you choose. The bottom of the tube should be cut at an angle.

You will also need a mulch cover, which aids in moisture retention and protects the fertilizer band from getting sodden – which will add too much food to the soil and burn the roots. A mulch cover can be made from heavy plastic bags cut to fit.

How to Plant your Earthbox

Complete instructions for planting and construction, including blue prints, can be found on the internet, but here is the gist:

  • Place the container where it is going to stay in a sunny area of 6-8 hours of sun.
  • Fill the wicking chamber with moistened potting soil and then fill directly into the container.
  • Fill the water reservoir through the fill tube until water comes out of the overflow hole.
  • Continue to add soil on top of the screen until half full and pat the moistened mix down.
  • Pour 2 cups of fertilizer in a 2-inch (5 cm.) strip atop the potting mix, but don’t stir in.
  • Cut a 3-inch (7.6 cm.) X into the mulch cover where you want to plant the veggies and place atop the soil and secure with a bungee cord.
  • Plant your seeds or plants just as you would in the garden and water, just this once.

EARTHBOX PLANTING GUIDE PDF

Thanks for choosing EarthBox! You know we love them, and for many good reasons. Planting is not difficult, but review these instructions before jumping in. Planting an Earth Box: I planted my Earthbox on my balcony with six different The instructions in the box for setting it up are idiot proof, but there are a few. build your own earthbox! this is the most comprehensive guide i’ve seen to the mechanics of the project. from function i think i would combine this with the form of.

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JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Here at EarthBox, we want to make sure you are getting the planhing out of your container gardening experience. Click any below to learn how to grow them yourself!

Though Artichokes are usually grown in California, home gardeners nearly anywhere can have plantiing success growing them with the right care.

EarthBox® | Instruction Manuals

Artichoke plants are perennial flowers, but can be grown as annuals with plenty of delicious buds. You can either grow them from a seed or a crown–the latter taking much less time than starting them from seed. Artichoke plants favor mild winters and cool, moist summers.

If you see gray mold on the Artichoke leaves, simply remove the infected leaves. Beans are highly-productive, easy-to-grow crops. Pole beans and peas eagthbox tall, vining crops that will need trellising support, such as the Staking System. Pole beans and peas continue producing throughout the growing season, allowing for ongoing harvests and fresh vegetables to eat with lunch or dinner every few days.

Frequent harvesting of pole beans helps ensure that the plants keep producing. Bush bean crops usually mature all at once, which means you’ll wind up with a very large harvest at the end of the growing season. Since bush bean earrthbox reach maturity all at the same time, they are perfect to grow if you wish to preserve several batches by freezing or canning to use at a later date.

EarthBox® | Growing Guides | Grow With Us

Harvest any beans or peas when they are just full and average-size. Letting them get too large can result in tough, “woody” beans with decreased flavor. Beets are a great starter vegetable since they are easy to grow and require very little garden maintenance. This nutritous crop prefers cooler weather, even a light frost, and do not tolerate heat very well. Beets should be harvested once they are approximately two inches in diameter.

Allowing them to grow larger will result in reduced sweetness and a more fibrous root.

Your harvest from this crop will be versatile–beetroots can be boiled or roasted to be eaten hot or cold, thinly sliced and turned into chips with a dehydrator, or pickled to enjoy as a tasty treat at a later time. Young, tender beet leaves can also be harvested throughout the growing season for use in salads. Any stems or skins can be used to naturally dye eggs a bright pink color. Broccoli, an easily-recognizeable vegetable, can be a successful crop in your garden with timely planting and good protection from pests.

This cool-season crop grows best in spring or fall–avoid planting in mid-summer as hot weather can cause premature bolting in broccoli, but keep in mind it requires full sun to avoid slow maturity. Beware of pests and diseases popular with other vegetables in the cabbage family. Placing insect netting over your crops until they are ready for harvest should help keep pests at bay. This classic, nutrient-rich veggie can be enjoyed raw, steamed, roasted, fried, or in soups.

Like other cole crops, Brussels sprouts are a nitrogen hog, and require consitent watering and cool temperatures. Brussels sprouts are best planted mid-summer for a fall harvest.

These tasty morsels grow on a stalk and can be easily picked once the knobby sprouts are one inch wide, harvesting from the bottom first.

Why Brussels sprouts are vilfied is unknown, as they have a similar taste to that of cabbage and are delicious when roasted or carmelized. Keep pests away with insect netting, and watch temperatures so your crop does not bolt. Like most other cole crops, cabbage grows best where there is a cool fall growing season with light frosts. Cabbage is a water and nutrient hog, requiring a high nitrogen and potassium fertilizer.

Cabbage is ready for harvest when heads are firm. It is common for a second smaller head to form if enough of the stem was left intact from the initial harvest. This versatile crop can be made into cole slaw or sauerkraut, stuffed, braised, added to soup, or sauteed. With some careful planning and attention, carrots are a snap to grow. These Vitamin A-rich veggies require a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen, and high in phosphorus. They do best when planted from seed rather than transplants, and thinning is imperative to prevent twisted or crooked roots.

Carrots grow very well in peat-based growing media do not require a heavy amount of water, but perform well in consistently moist soils–which make them ideal for growing in the EarthBox gardening system.

You’re more likely to find four-footed critters rather than buggy pests around this crop–deer, rabbits, and woodchucks can all destroy this delectable crop. Once harvested, carrots can be stored for more than a month in the refridgerator.

Freezing and canning are also great ways to preserve this sweet harvest for a later consumption. Cauliflower is a cool-season crop, partially hardy to frost and light freezes, and can be grown wherever there are cool growing seasons. When planting your cauliflower, choose a spot in full sun. If it is an unusually warm day, you can move your container into shade. Water is critical in the beginning of the season while it may still be a bit warm outside.

Cauliflower is affected by pests like other members of the cabbage family. Repel flea beetles and root maggots on young seedlings by covering your containers with insect nets immediately after planting.

This versatile veggie can be used as a carb substitute for rice or cous cous, and can even be made into gluten-free pizza crust. Some gardeners will find growing celery difficult, as it has a longer growing season, and can be a bit finicky with a high level of temperature sensitivity. Celery needs ample sun, plenty of water, and balanced nutrients for fast growth.

Celery can be started indoors before the season, or sown directly earthbpx a summer crop. It may require some additional support to keep the bunches together while growing.

While celery is hardy to light freezes, daytime temperaturess should ideally stay moderate. To prevent pests, use insect netting early in the season.

Celery diseases are rarely an issue in home gardens. Once harvested, celery should be used rather quickly. Enjoy as a crunchy snack with veggie dip or sunbutter. To use your harvest at a later time, it is best to incorporate your celery in some broth-based soups which can be frozen or canned. The best environment to grow collard green or mustard greens is in full sun with plentiful, consistent moisture to thrive in your garden.

Greens are frost tolerant, so growing them as a late season crop is ideal. Planting greens can also be done in early spring for a summer harvest, but more watering is likely necessary for them to grow successfully during the summer heat. Use insect netting to help protect from early insect infestations. Collards are best consumed in gumbo, braised, or sauteed.

Perhaps one of the sweetest rewards in your garden, sweet pplanting is a warm-season crop sensitive guiide frost and light freezes.


Inside the Box

February 20, 2018 at 4:40 PM / by EarthBox Sales & Marketing

The end of your outdoor growing season doesn’t have to mark the end of harvesting fresh vegetables from your garden! No matter where you reside, you could try your hand at growing food inside during the off months with any of the EarthBox® gardening systems. Yes, it is possible to grow some fruits and vegetables indoors, but you should not expect the large yields you normally get from growing outside. If you have the space and the ambition to grow inside, go for it! Read on to see our tips, challenges, and recommendations for indoor container gardening.

Indoor Growing Tips

By using the EarthBox® gardening system to grow indoors, you are able to maintain control of the environment in which your plants grow.

Follow these tips to make the most of your indoor garden:

    Start with a clean gardening system.
      Thoroughly clean one of your existing systems or set up a new one.

      Pro tip
      : If you are growing in an indoor utility space like a garage, enclosed porch, or mudroom, you may opt to replant an established gardening system, since potential pests may not be a nuisance in these areas.

  • Use brand new, sterile growing media.
    • Using old growing media could bring hidden pests or larvae indoors that may emerge unexpectedly.
  • Use grow lights and be mindful of the artificial lighting you supply for your plants.
    • Full-spectrum grow lights mimic natural sunlight but may not provide an even spectral distribution to your growing vegetables. It’s better to use the correct grow light based on the type of plant you are growing.
      • Red or violet colored lights enhance flowering, budding, and fruiting and are excellent for tomatoes and other fruit plants.
      • Blue colored lights enhance vegetative growth and are ideal for leafy crops. Fluorescent lighting is an inexpensive option that provides blue light.
      Pro tip: Sunny windows do not make a good light source for anything more than houseplants. If fruit and veggies are what you’re after, these plants need long hours of consistent light for energy. Windows are often protected with UV treatments or blinds, and probably don’t receive more than just a couple hours of direct sunlight.

  • Connect grow lights to a timer .
    • This will ensure the plant consistently receives enough light according to its instructions, and you won’t have to remember to turn the light on and off. Use our growing guides to find the light requirements for your plants.
  • Use casters
    • This will allow you to easily rotate and move your plants if necessary.
  • Elevate the system on a bench or with the garden stand.
    • This will help keep curious pets from bothering plants.
  • Be mindful of placement.
    • Keep plants away from a drafty door or window where they are subjected to cold air. Likewise, placing them too close to a heater or vent can dry them out.
  • Give plants some breathing room.
    • Helps prevent mold and mildew.
    • Prune regularly to remove dead and diseased foliage.
    • Keep the air in the growing area well circulated by keeping vents open and unobstructed. Humidity should be maintained around 40-50%.
  • Maintain temperatures in your growing area according to plants’ needs.
  • Keep your growing area clean and free of debris.
    • Pick up fallen leaves, wipe any spills, and clean up any growing media that didn’t make its way into the container when planting.
  • Challenges Growing Indoors

    The two main challenges with growing inside are:

    1. Lack of pollination
    Without exposure to the outdoors, your plants will be lacking in beneficial insects and wind. Beneficial insects, such as bees, help by moving pollen between flowers and breezes move and shake plants, which also help to distribute pollen.

    2. Limited lighting

    Light is crucial for plants to grow and develop properly. Through photosynthesis, plants transform light into energy, and without it they cannot grow. Fruit plants, like tomatoes and peppers, need a lot of energy to produce flowers.

    As with any plant grown outside, you also run the risk of your indoor plants becoming infested with problematic insects like aphids, fungus gnats, and mites or infected with diseases such as powdery mildew and various molds.

    You can overcome these difficulties if you pollinate flowers by hand, provide supplemental lighting, allow for air circulation, and keep your indoor growing area clean and uncluttered. Keep a close eye on your plants and monitor them daily by inspecting leaves and stems for early signs of pests and disease.

    Best Crops to Grow Indoors

    Tomatoes

    Many of us would like to harvest tomatoes year-round and while they are challenging to grow indoors, it is possible with some patience and proper planning.

    Choose a determinate variety for containers, usually labeled as a patio tomato or dwarf type. Invest in a quality grow light and connect it to a timer so the plant receives 8-10 hours of consistent light. You will also need a staking system to support the plants (the staking system is also a great way to hang the grow light, too).

    Spinach & Salad Greens

    Leafy greens will produce continually and abundantly indoors, providing you with fresh veggies for quite some time. Cutting back greens regularly will yield new growth, so you can enjoy harvesting for quite some time.

    Fresh herbs are expensive to buy at the grocery store, but are easy to grow at home. The EarthBox® Junior is small enough for your kitchen counter, and is perfect for growing three or four of your favorite herbs.

    To create an indoor herb garden, keep plants with similar needs and growth grouped together. Herbs tend to fall into three category types: delicate (chives, parsley, dill), woody (rosemary, thyme, oregano), and bushy (basil, lemon balm, sage). Regular trimming for use in cooking will keep herb plants manageable .

    Better Off Outside

    It might be tempting to push the limits and see what you can grow indoors, but you should remember that some plants need a lot of space to grow and can become overgrown and messy. These are the plants that you should reserve for outdoor growing:

    • Indeterminate tomato varieties
    • Pumpkins and gourds
    • Squash (both winter and summer varieties)
    • Melons
    • Corn

    By choosing the right type of plants, having the right tools, and with proper care, you can grow a successful indoor garden and enjoy harvesting year-round!

    Tell Us in the Comments: What type of fruit or vegetable plants have you tried growing inside?

    Written by EarthBox Sales & Marketing

    Since 1994, EarthBox® has been the pioneer in container gardening. The patented EarthBox® gardening system was developed by commercial farmers and has been proven in both the lab and on the farm. This maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more-than-doubles the yield of a conventional garden all with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort!


    Inside the Box

    January 25, 2017 at 8:06 AM / by EarthBox Sales & Marketing

    The EarthBox® gardening system is a unique, sub-irrigated planter that allows the average home gardener—anyone from 4 years old to 94 years old—to grow a multitude of vegetables, herbs, and fruit without having a traditional, in-ground garden. It’s no secret that growing in the EarthBox® leads to a bountiful harvest but have you ever wondered just what exactly makes the system work so well?

    All About Gardening Basics: What’s in the EarthBox® Gardening System

    It starts with four main components—the EarthBox® container, aeration screen, water fill tube, and mulch cover—proudly made in the USA from food-safe plastic which is UV-stabilized to prevent fading and wear-and-tear, even with long-term sun exposure.

    EarthBox® Container

    The container itself comes in a variety of colors and is UV-stabilized, BPA-free (#5 plastic) and boasts integrated caster sockets, a wide-mouth overflow drain, angled fill tube support, aeration screen supports, 3-gallon water reservoir, and two wicking chambers—these features set the foundation for a properly-working growing system

    Aeration Screen

    The aeration screen is the divider between the water resevoir and the growing media. Aligning with the wicking chambers, the screen rests in the supports around the inside perimeter of the container, and provides an air space between the water and underside of the screen. Small holes in the screen allow the roots of plants to obtain oxygen, which helps prevent root rot.

    Water Fill Tube

    Plants are always watered through the water fill tube, which leads directly into the reservoir. The integrated overflow drain in the container prevents over-watering. Once the reservoir is full, any excess water will flow out. The two wicking chambers in the corners of the container are packed with growing media and meet the water reservoir to promote natural wicking. Wicking occurs and the roots draw water from below to nourish the plants.

    Mulch Cover

    The mulch cover is a black and white reversible cover made from durable agricultural film. It is one of the most important elements of the EarthBox® gardening system that serves several critical functions to control and protect the system’s environment:

    • Keeps rain out of the growing media to prevent crucial nutrients from being washed away.
    • Prevents evaporation and conserves water.
    • Stops weeds from transplanting in the system which would otherwise compete for space, water, and nutrients against your plants.
    • Helps deter insects and other pests from burrowing or digging in the growing media.
    • Depending on the climate and which color is face up, the mulch cover helps to attract or reflect sunlight. This assists in controlling the temperature of the growing media. Use the white side up in hot, dry climates to prevent young seedlings from dying or in contrast, help warm the soil to stimulate growth by using the black side up in cooler climates.

    Two mulch covers are included with each EarthBox® gardening system and Replant Kit: one to grow, one for snow. Properly winterizing your system at the end of the growing season will make it easier to replant in the Spring .

    The Perfect Growing Recipe: Required Nutrients to Grow Healthy Plants

    Just like people, plants need proper nutrition to grow big and healthy. The ideal blend of nutrients for plants to grow consists of three essential ingredients: growing media, dolomite, and fertilizer.

    Growing Media

    Plants require a healthy substrate to grow in, with just the right pH level. While the EarthBox® gardening system employs a similar technique to farming, traditional topsoil just won’t cut it in the system. By purchasing and using a sterile commercial growing medium, you are guaranteeing a safe environment for your plants to grow in, free from soil-borne diseases and pests. A Sphagnum Peat-based potting medium is recommended since peat acts as a sponge, absorbing water to deliver to thirsty plants. Commercial mixes typically have vermiculite (shiny flake mineral) and/or perlite (small white mineral) mixed in to allow for proper aeration and drainage so the mix does not become overly saturated. The right type of substrate for growing vegetables in containers does not contain rock, clay, sand, or topsoil.

    Dolomite

    Dolomite is limestone that is mined from the earth. This mineral is comprised of calcium and magnesium—and, when added to your growing medium—helps raise the pH level of naturally acidic peat. Calcium and magnesium are both required elements for growing healthy fruit, and help prevent the development of Blossom End Rot (BER) on the fruit of tomato and pepper plants.

    Fertilizer

    Fertilizer is food that helps the plant grow. Commercial fertilizers in the United States are required to be tested and provide a guaranteed analysis. The analysis lets the gardener know the N-P-K concentration which stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

    • Nitrogen: Responsible for the growth of foliage. Using a high-nitrogen fertilizer will result in a lot of green growth which is great for growing lettuces, herbs, field greens, etc.
    • Phosphorus: Responsible for flowers and fruit development, as well as root growth. Using a high-phosphorus fertilizer will help the plant develop strong roots, develop flowers, and set fruit which is excellent for growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.
    • Potassium: Responsible for the general health of the plant. Using a high-potassium fertilizer will help the plant’s overall functions.

    Using a dry, granular fertilizer with N-P-K between 5-15 is ideal for use in the EarthBox® gardening system. Some commercial growing media already contain fertilizer, but—due to the low concentration—additional plant food should be added during planting per the EarthBox® instructions.

    Let's Get Growing!

    Once all these elements are put together in the system, the plants are able to take water and nutrients—which help them grow and produce. While the EarthBox® gardening system can grow many varieties of plants, we recommend only growing one type of plant per EarthBox® system, and sticking to the EarthBox® Plant Placement Chart. Due to the nutritional requirements and maturation size of different plant types, adding too many plants will result in a decreased yield, due to competition for resources. Less is more.

    Thirsty plants receive water as it moves up through the dry growing media by the principle of capillary action. Capillary action involves two important properties of water—adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is the force that holds individual molecules of water together, and cohesion is the force that makes water molecules stick to other surfaces. Water begins adhering to small particles of the growing media and slowly works into small spaces between the growing media particles. As water adheres to the particles, cohesion allows for continuous drawing of water from the reservoir. Eventually, all the growing media becomes moistened and the plants can use as much water as they need. As the plant absorbs the water, more is pulled from the reservoir as transpiration takes place. Keeping the reservoir full ensures the plant will always have the right amount of water never too little, or too much.

    Fertilizer and dolomite provide plants with nutrients that are necessary for plant health and function. Just as water is drawn up, nutrients are pulled down. Water and fertilizer molecules diffuse or move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. The fertilizer is concentrated, so it is good for the entire growing season, providing adequate nutrition to the plants.

    Accessorizing Your Garden

    Depending on your needs and your plants’ needs, your growing system may require additional accessories for support or watering. Different accessory items, such as casters, Garden Stands, Staking Systems, and the Automatic Watering System (AWS) make the growing experience more maintenance-free.

    Casters are optional, but are recommended for gardeners wishing to extend their growing season by bringing the system in and out of their home or garage during cooler nights or for anyone with a shaded yard who may wish to “chase the sun.” The EarthBox® Caster Kit provides a set of four casters, two of which have a built-in lock to help secure your garden in place. The casters may be placed directly in the sockets on the bottom of the system, in the legs of the EarthBox® Garden Stand, or in the outrigger feet of the EarthBox® Staking System (two additional non-locking casters are provided with this product).

    Staking System

    Help your garden reach new heights with the EarthBox® Staking System. This provides a supportive trellis for tall and vining crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, winter squash and more. By allowing plants to grow vertically—not only are you saving space—plants can get more airflow and stay off the ground away from pests. Casters can be used on this item, so mobility is maintained

    Garden Stand

    Recommended for elderly gardeners, or those with chronic back pain, the EarthBox® Garden Stand elevates your gardening system to a comfortable height. Low-growing crops, such as lettuces and herbs, can also be raised off the ground away from hungry critters with the Garden Stand. Casters can be used on this item, so mobility is maintained.

    Automatic Watering System (AWS)

    Thirsty plants, such as tomatoes, require a lot of water when growing. It is not uncommon for two mature tomato plants to drink 6-10 gallons of water per day! The EarthBox® Automatic Watering System (AWS) delivers a constant supply of water to your plants without wasting a drop of water. A sensor placed in the water fill tube regulates the amount of water in the reservoir so you don’t have to.

    Simply put: the technology of the EarthBox® gardening system allows plants to take water and nutrients when they are needed—with minimal maintenance by the gardener. By providing the plants with everything they need up front, and protecting their growing environment they can grow rapidly and healthy—resulting in larger plants and increased crop yield.

    Share your EarthBox garden photos with us on social! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram #EarthBox

    Written by EarthBox Sales & Marketing

    Since 1994, EarthBox® has been the pioneer in container gardening. The patented EarthBox® gardening system was developed by commercial farmers and has been proven in both the lab and on the farm. This maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more-than-doubles the yield of a conventional garden all with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort!


    Florida Gardening Suggested Planting Schedule

    Remember to plant your seeds with at least 3 months of warm, sunny weather ahead. Choose a location with full sun and remember to keep the water reservoir filled for these heavy drinkers. Corn smut, a disfiguring parasitic fungus that forms large “boils” on stalks, leaves, tassels, or ears can be a major issue for corn.

    While delicious, corn has little nutrients to offer, but can be used in any number of ways to eat. Cucumbers are an easy to grow and prolific crop. Ensure the reservoir is kept full, otherwise they may end up being bitter if they don’t receive enough moisture.

    Always wait to plant your cucumber plants until the weather is consistently warm, since they are highly sensitive to cold. You can use frost covers to speed warming and protect plants from pests at the same time. Remove the covers before temperatures get too hot in midsummer, and to allow for pollination. Cucumber beetles are plantin largest problem with this crop. Cucumbers are best when they are picked at a small to moderate size, otherwise larger ones become guied and tasteless.

    Consume your harvest within a few days, or pickle them to enjoy at a later time. Eggplants are a unique fruit earyhbox grow best in full sun and hot weather. Like other members of the Nightshade eartgbox, eggplants should not be planted until all danger of frost has passed, and daytime temperatures are consistently warm.

    Be certain to use the black side of the mulch covers to speed soil warming and early growth. These globe-like fruits tend to produce very well in containers, especially if overnight temperatures are warm.

    If a cold spell is expected, use a frost cover to protect plants, or bring them indoors. Check water levels daily, since eggplants are earthbx drinkers, and fruit may become bitter of they eafthbox not receive adequate water. Flea beetles are the most common pest, leaving tiny holes all over the plants’ large leaves.

    When harvesting, be sure to use pruners, since the stems will not release the fruit without destroying the plant. Garlic is a relatively easy to grow crop – each clove planted will yield one whole bulb when harvested. Even watering is important, especially during bulbing mid-May through June.

    Garlic has very few pest issues in the garden and it can actually serve as a natural pest repellent. Like onions, garlic can be added to nearly any dish to plannting robust flavor, or it can be roasted and plantinf as a savory spread. Be sure to let garlic bulbs dry after harvesting, and they will keep for several months. Nothing tastes better than a fresh, crisp salad made with lettuce straight from the garden.

    Head lettuces are lettuce varieties that form together like a cabbage such as Romaine and Iceberg. Home grown lettuce tends to be higher in flavor and nutrients than the store-bought variety, and can be very easy to grow yourself.

    Lettuce likes a lot of water and prefers cool growing conditions, as it can bolt in higher temperatures. Growing nasturtiums near your lettuce can naturally help keep damaging aphids away.


    Self-Watering Containers, an Earthbox Photo Tutorial

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    Starting a garden in containers can save the day if you don't have good soil, you don't have enough garden space, or you have physical issues that would keep you from tending a garden. The only requirement for a container garden is adequate sun for the plants you are growing. I'm temporarily in a wheelchair, so I plan to grow tomatoes on my driveway. I took photos of the process of getting my Earthboxes ready to plant. The drawings provided with the boxes when you buy them are fairly clear, but sometimes it's easier to understand a real photo.

    Step 1, Gather the parts . Here I have the box, the reservoir screen and the fill tube. You can't see the casters, which I've already installed. If you want the boxes to roll, buy the factory casters. The hardware store furniture casters won't fit.

    Step 2, Assemble . The reservoir screen lies over a variety of support posts in the bottom of the box. There are three holes. Two are large rectangular holes that allow potting mix to be packed and submerged in the water. That packed soil is a wick that pulls water up by capillary action and supplies the plants with water and dissolved nutrients. The smaller round hole is for the water fill tube. It provides a way to get water to the reservoir, to be used as the plant needs it. You can't see it in the photo below, but there is a hole in the box itself, that keeps the reservoir from overflowing and allows an air gap between the water surface and most of the soil. You can see the overflow hole in the parts photo, above.

    Step 3, Soil wicks . Pack potting mix in each of the square corners. The bottom of the box is molded to make a basket to hold the packed soil. Be sure the soil is packed tightly. If it isn't, the water won't wick correctly into the rest of the box. It's hard to see, but the soil is packed into the wicking basket here.

    Step 4, Bottom layer . Spread an even layer of potting mix over the reservoir screen about two inches deep. Pat the soil into place to make a firm layer, but not a solid one. This will provide the base for the remainder of the container and ensure that the soil won't filter down into the water reservoir.

    Step 5, Soil & Dolomite Lime . Add additional potting mix to fill the Earthbox to within 2-3 inches of the top. Level the soil, but don't compress it. Spread one pound (a generous cup) of dolomite lime evenly over the surface. Mix the soil and lime to a depth of 3-4 inches. When you have completed these steps, lightly compress the soil.

    Step 6, Fertilize . This step will vary, depending on what you are planting in your Earthbox. The setup instructions show fertilizer placement and seedling locations for a variety of vegetables and plants. I wanted to plant my tomatoes in the middle of the box, rather than along the edge as Earthbox instructions show, so I modified the fertilizer placement. I put two thin strips of fertilizer at each side of the box, in a 2-inch deep trench. I used, as the instructions specify, two cups of chemical fertilizer. Cover the fertilizer with the soil pushed up to make the trench. However you plant, space the fertilizer so it isn't too close to the plants' roots and where it won't "burn" the plant with too much fertilizer.

    Step 7, Finish the soil . Mound soil at least two inches taller than the edges of the container. Pack lightly as you add to keep the mix from falling out. If you use a two cubic foot bag of mix, you should have just enough to complete a nice loaf-shaped mound.

    Step 8, Cover and plant . Pull the plastic mulching cover over the fill tube using the pre-cut hole. If you live in a cooler climate, use the black side of the cover out, to help warm the soil. In warmer areas, such as here in central Texas, use the white/grey side of the cover to help keep the soil a little cooler. The elastic around all of the edges of the cover will pull over the upper lip of the box and secure snugly. All that's left is to use a sharp knife to cut slits in the cover at the desired planting locations, dig a small hole to fit your seedling, plant, and water the seedling lightly. Fill the reservoir until water flows from the overflow hole. Add more water every two or three days at first, then every day as your plants grow and need more water.

    For another type of self-watering container, see the Forum thread below. Learn how to use a few inexpensive parts and a little time to make your own self-watering container, an "eBbucket."

    If you want to find out more about the Earthbox, available accessories, or where to buy them, visit their website at:

    Whether you buy your self-watering container or build it, it is a great way to grow plants or vegetables when you might not be able to have a full-sized garden or grow plants in the ground. The water reservoir helps to ensure that your plants get consistent, even watering, and the potting mix and fertilizer ensure good growth. Finally, by growing in a covered container, you guarantee that you never have to pull weeds!


    Watch the video: Earthbox Set Up and Planting Demo


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