Home made Earthbox

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Here's how to make a homemade EarthBox(TM) in about 10 minutes, and for about $10 (instead of the $30.00-plus-shipping that the genuine article costs).




http://www.josho.com/Earthbox.htm

Davenport, IA(Zone 5a)

Wow! This makes so much more sense! I'm certainly no "tight-wad",but see no need to pay an exorbitant fee, for something I could make myself. Thanks so much for sharing these plans!
Deanna

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Good Luck

Oakland, OR(Zone 8a)

That looks really great. And the directions are very nice and clear. It seems to me that if you are in a really hot area, that you could use white vinyl or even a completely white set up to keep from broiling your plants. Does that make sense to you? Dotti

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Sounds like a good idea to me ;-)

Conroe, TX(Zone 8b)

scooterbug, thanks so much for all your hard work with formulating a "homemade", of sorts, Earthbox. From what I have been reading on this forum and others this company needs to have a majour change in their attitude with customers. I was considering purchasing one, but after reading about many of the members of DG that have had problems and issues......FORGET IT!

Did you happen to read the posting of one of our members attempting to secure a bulk order from them? This was from a guy who had already bought quite a few EB's already and was trying to help out our members. These idiots at EB, like our member said, just slapped everyone in the face. As a dentist of over 25 years, I have no time for vendors that "bite the hand that feeds them". What these morons don't understand is that EB's are not rocket science and that they are easily duplicated, if not improved. I applaud you for your dedication and hard work that will allow many of our less fortunate members to secure one of these convenient devices without the hassle and heart ache in dealing with the feckless miscreants at EarthBox.

Having said all of this scooterbug, I have just the two Rubbermaid containers ready for my initial entry into this new realm of gardening. I must tell you that I was not familiar with the "pond strainer/basket" you listed, but found them on the web and have ordered 6 of them. You can see I am expecting great results.

I have read fairly extensively about some of the materials used in the actual EB, like the fertilizers and formulated soils. Do you have any recommendations about these two issues. To me, the Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting mix looks like the one to consider and perhaps Micro-Life/6-2-2 organic fertilizer along with their Green Sand micronutrient product.

BTW, have you seen the other gardeners rendition of the EB? You can find it at: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0501044214330.html?12

Take a look if you have the time. I really like your design much more as it is so simple and straight forward. From all the postings about the EB's they seem to make "miraculous grandios" claims, but seem to fall extremely short. I am looking to using these things during the winter here in Souteast Texas. I already have a 2,700 sq.ft. garden, but managing the likes of these containers in the winter not only to hopefully have winter tomatoes, but to get one heck of jump on next year's crop.

I will let you know when my pond basket/strainers come in and get one put together. This is so exciting because I can start experimenting with my tomatoes virtually any time now. As I need more ersatz EB's they are just a quick drive to the local store for more Rubbermaid boxes and won't have to dread dealing with the likes of some snotty nit wits on the phone over a botched up order.

Thanks for your hard work and support here at DG's,
Tomatomaniac

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Maniac,
I'm in Houston and am going to make the Rubbermaid EBs, too. I'm a newbie to growing veggies, and need help in this area determing when to plant what. I'm interested in planting beefsteak and cherry tomatoes, a variety of bell peppers (we use a lot for cooking), some squash (but NOT zuchinni --ugggh!) and maybe some okra. This is just a small start for a newbie. Since you're right up the road in Conroe, please help me with a planting schedule. Someone sent me all sorts of heirloom tomato seeds and I am just totally lost. Should I plant the seeds now and keep them inside to start them transplant them to the EBs when I make them? And when to plant? Where do the boxes need to be? I have an east facing patio that could hold about 5 EBs over the winder. We're probably going to put up a temporary Plastic wall to protect the summer tropicals that are on the patio already. But I can make room for the EBs. The temp walls will be on three sides and should get enough light. I could also put a heater in there to provide some heat, if necessary. Please advise...

And I like your, "don't bite the hand that feeds you," philosophy. Never could understand why merchants don't understand they could die rich and happy, if they just treated their customers fairly and with respect...

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Gymgirl, I would hold off on starting those tomato seeds until January for plants next spring. If you started them now, you probably will not get tomatoes before it gets too cold. Just my advice...someone might disagree, but that is my understanding.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ms. Merae,
You're exactly right. I mentioned it to a co-worker who grows tomatoes every year here and she told me to plant the seeds in January, then transplant them to the EBs the 2nd week of March. This gives me time to make all my EBs! I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited! Please tell me which varieties of bell peppers and yellow squash are good to plant. And where do I get okra seeds/plants? Do I start all these seedlings in January? I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited.

I can't WAIT to pull my first tomato off the bush/tree/vine? tee hee hee.

Just kidding. I know it grows behind the cabbage patch!!!!

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

gymgirl - let me look at my magazine's when I get home and I will reply to you, k?
I know I am excited too!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Gymgirl, I really enjoy the flavor of good old yellow squash; I've grown them 3 years in a row now, and absolutely love them, especially when they're picked young. I've been using 'Early Prolific Straightneck' because it takes off early in the season, and gives me plenty of veggies (along with some eggplants) to tide me over until tomato and pepper time here in Virginia.

Some people say the older crookneck varieties are more flavorful, and having sampled a friends (http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/49972/index.html), I have to agree they are amazing. If you have the room, why not try both! :)

Being relatively new to gardening, squash are a fun plant, not only because the constant growth, but also because you learn alot about plant care from them. Some things I've learned from them:

1. I find them to be the thirstiest plants in the garden, and in your zone I can imagine they will be even thirstier. I water 1-2 times a day during the peak of VA summers (and still get some wiltage), so you if you haven't made your Squash EB's yet, make the reservior big!

2. They like lots of room, especially the early prolific - I can usually only fit 2 to an EB sized container.

3. Since they are almost all water, I have to support them fanatically, I lost an entire crop my first season to a strong downpour. I use a metal cage/frame that is oversized for the EB with large (4 inch square) openings; plenty of room for branches and fruit to rest.

4. Keep an eye on the back of the EB's - every season, it is inevitable that I find a hidden, rock-hard, 4 pound squash behind the darn earthbox. :)

I hope you have great luck with them this year, GymGirl!

P.S. If you find yourself with an abundance of squash flowers, my father swears these are a delicacy in his hometown of Ancona, Italy: http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blv260.htm. I kinda have to agree, and think they're made more special by the fact you only have them once or twice a year. :)

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I like it scooterbug.

Questions.
How many gallons of water does your reservoir hold?

Me and my grandfather have been talking about using a 55gallon plastic drum ($5) to make a homemade EB so it can hold more water. Basically using the same technique you have.
The more soil room a mater plant has the bigger they get.
But will a larger water reservoir cut down on the oxygen due to less watering?
The only way to know for sure is to try it. Right?

Cricket

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket,
Probably not, because the plant is still taking in the water it needs. It's not going to drown itself drawing from the reservoir, however, what is all the extra standing water going to do for the mosquito population? Just wondering...

P.S. I like the thought of the 55 gallon drum!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

Extra water so I dont have to water as much.
Some folks in florida were having to water the EB every day during the heat of the summer.
I plant alot------alot-------alot of tomatoes. (Income)


I went out this morning and bought 2 Sterilite containers like the rubbermaid. They were 18 gallon and cost $3.97 each.

Just wondering ----how tall is a 10" aquatic pot
(net basket)? Wondering if I should order them or make do with something else this year.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Cricket - I wonder how 'tall' the wick into the reservior can be, before the plant has difficulty accessing the reservior. I would try one or two varieties, one with a deep reservior, and one with a shallower one. Like you said - you won't know for sure until you get a couple prototypes up and running!

Have you already designed them, or can we all do it as a group project? :)

Good Luck,

Chris

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket et al,
Here's a schematic for the rubbermaid containers. Costs about $10/per EB. This is Josho's design and detailed instructions, so give him his props if you do use his plan. I'm gonna build these for planting in March. I'm a newbie, too, so let's compare notes.

http://www.josho.com/Earthbox.htm

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I guess we could start a thread on barrel earthboxes for those who have easy access to barrels and would like to put them to use. It would be interesting to hear ideas.

In the long run--I guess the rubbermaid or sterilite containers are easier to do and more practicle for moving around. Tis why i bought two of them today. Meanwhile I have two barrels outside dieing to be used but their lids have be cut off. ( starting new thread) to be continued.



Scooter---I will be using your plan for the diy earthbox.
but I do not have a net basket--------suggestions?

Cricket

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Unless Scooter and Josh are one and the same person, the Rubbermaid EB design is Josh's, I think.

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

ok oops--i was goin to use the site that scooter gave for the EBs.

But I was greedy and didn't want to use two boxes to make one since i have 150 one gallon pots.
I just cut the lids to fit as my soil base, put 5 one gallon pots in the reservoir to support the lid(soil base).

Thanks scooter for the site information on the EBs.
and thanks Gymgirl.

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket,
Post the pic! Thanks!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

wonder why it didnt show---oh well----trying again


Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

its not working right on this thread---its shows up on other threads. hm

maybe i should try new thread.
and maybe yall could tell me what i did wrong with the ebs

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

well the picture showed up on the tomato forum threads.

so go over there---sorry for the inconvience.
And hopefull they wont mind either.

http://www.davesgarden.com/forums/t/635791

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

trying again

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

ONE more time

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I installed FireFox.
Will see if downloading pictures will work now.

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

Imagine that.

ok so that picture was of 5 one gallon pots in the bottom of home made eb.

the finished ebs

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

they are ready for dirt. Did I forget to do anything.
I drilled my drain hole in the side just below the soil base.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Those look great Cricket!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

oh yeh. cost $5.50

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

They look like they should work .

Don't forget to drill the overflow level hole :)

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket,
So, you fill each pot and the space above the top with dirt? Did you have to trim the edges off the top to get it to fit inside the tub, or did you just force it down inside there?

P.S. Is that a hole in the middle of the lid base and is it covered with something or is that just the one-gallon pot underneath peeking through?

This message was edited Sep 19, 2006 1:59 PM

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

YOu only fill the center pot with dirt. The other pots are for support to hold the lid in place. YOu cut the lid to fit snug on top of those pots. And I made sure the pots were about half the height of my box so the box will be half water and half soil.
Yes that is a hole in the center of the lid and one gallon put underneath.


Before I cut the lid:

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

The other 4 pots will also fill and hold water and slow drain out as the plant uses it. The pot that is in the middle is full of soil and will wick up the water to the soil above.


AFter I cut the lid

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

Planted

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket,
I see two steps you didn't do and wonder how important they are:
1. Did you put the strip of fertilizer on top of your soil (or did you mix it into your soil)?

2. Are you going to cover the soil with the vinyl to keep heat in?

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I havent got that far yet.
I need to buy some fertilizer. If I cannot find any , then will feed it water soluable fertilizer with a tad of calcium.

I will put a heavy duty trashbag on the top (cutting a slit for the mater to fit through) and tie it down under the lip of the container.

This tomato plant will be living indoors in about 3 weeks.
Along with a few others in the sunroom that gets about 7-8 hours of sunlight.

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Use the rim you have left from the top to hold the plastic down maybe ???

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Cricket,
That's a great design you have. So many variations on a theme! My DH is a welder, and I'm wondering if you could envision a metal frame or plate that would sit on legs or on top of the pots like your cut out top. Is this overkill, and should I then worry about the frame rusting down inside the reservoir? Just a thought...

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

it will deffinately rust.
I do not know what rust will do to plants.
personally--i do not want rust in mine.
Think about how heavy it will be too.
This earth box I made only has soil in it right now--no water in reservoir and it is so heavy .

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